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EPA proposes nine more Superfund sites

Sales chief of Hungarian toxic mud company quits
Budapest (AFP) Oct 20, 2010 - MAL, the company responsible for Hungary's toxic sludge disaster, announced Wednesday the departure of its German sales chief because he could not speak any Hungarian. The contract of German-born Martin Ruemmelein "has been terminated by common consent ... due to the lack of essential proficiency in the Hungarian language expected from a manager in this position," MAL Hungarian Aluminium Production and Trade Company said in a statement. His contract was terminated with effect from October 15, but Ruemmelein would remain in the company as head of the German subsidiary MAL Deutschland Aluminium GmbH in Duesseldorf, the statement said.

Ruemmelein had been head of sales for MAL, which exports 70-75 percent of its output to the European Union, since 2008. At least nine people were killed and more than 150 injured when the reservoir of an alumina plant operated by MAL near Ajka, 160 kilometres (100 miles) from Budapest, burst on October 4, sending a tidal wave of toxic sludge into the surrounding area. The investigation to determine the cause of the accident is still ongoing and police have already detained MAL's managing director Zoltan Bakonyi and technical chief Jozsef Deak for questioning. The director responsible for environmental protection -- identified only as Jozsefne F. -- was detained Monday, but Ruemmelein has not been questioned so far. On Monday, MAL offered to pay 5.5 million euros (7.6 million dollars) in compensation to the victims of the disaster over a period of five years.
by Staff Writers
Washington (UPI) Oct 19, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it has proposed adding nine "Superfund" hazardous waste sites to the National Priorities List.

The proposed sites are located in Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas and two in Puerto Rico, the EPA said in a release.

Contaminants found at the nine proposed sites include arsenic, asbestos, barium, cadmium, chromium, copper, dichloroethene (DCE), lead, mercury, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), tetrachloroethene (PCE), trichloroethane (TCA), trichloroethene (TCE), vinyl chloride, and zinc, the EPA said.

Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country. Currently, there are 1,343 final and proposed sites on the list.

With all Superfund sites, EPA tries to identify and locate parties potentially responsible for the contamination.

For sites without potentially responsible parties, the EPA says, it will investigate the full extent of the contamination before beginning significant cleanup.

earlier related report
Protesters burn bus in Naples garbage protest
Naples, Italy (AFP) Oct 20, 2010 - Local residents skirmished with riot police and set a bus alight in a town near Naples on Wednesday in a second day of protests over the region's waste disposal crisis.

The situation "is still very heated," police chief Santi Giuffre said, as protesters tried to block trucks from unloading at a tip near the town of Terzigno, some 20 kilometres (12 miles) southeast of Naples.

"This is a very serious situation," Stefano Caldoro, governor of the Campania province where Naples is located, said on SkyTG24 television.

Caldoro called for citizens to stop the "illegal blockage of a functioning garbage tip" and said the government would offer "economic subsidies" to local councils that agree to host dumps on their territory.

But local officials have demanded the immediate closure of the Sari tip as public anger mounts.

"The Sari tip is a source of serious environmental pollution," Gennaro Cirillo, mayor of the nearby town of Trecase, said.

Residents say the tip is already full and have said they will put a stop to plans to set up a second tip in the area.

Cirillo said opening a second tip would be "an intolerable calamity."

The inhabitants of Terzigno and several other municipalities in the area are planning to bring their case to Rome on Friday, where they are to hold a rally.

Tensions have been rising in the Naples region on this flashpoint issue, which helped Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to his election victory in 2008 after he promised to stamp out the waste disposal problem in the area.

The European Court of Justice earlier this year criticised Italy, saying it did not have an adequate system for waste disposal in the Naples region and warning that the problem was a risk to human health and the environment.

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Can Hungary's Red Sludge Be Made Less Toxic With Carbon
Bloomington IN (SPX) Oct 18, 2010
The red, metal-laden sludge that escaped a containment pond in Hungary last week could be made less toxic with the help of carbon sequestration, says an Indiana University Bloomington geologist who has a patent pending on the technique. The bauxite residue now covers 40 square kilometers south of the Danube River, and has caused the deaths of eight Hungarians and injured at least 150. The ... read more

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