GMA comments on EPA process for Superfund sites

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The Geosynthetic Materials Association (GMA) participated in a public listening session held by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) March 30, 2011.

The session was held in Albuquerque, N.M., and addressed the topic of vapor migration as a component of the selection and evaluation process for Superfund sites and the National Priorities List. Specific information can be found on the EPA website.

The comments offered reflected the written opinions that GMA has previously submitted to the EPA docket. As with coal ash, GMA stressed that its members offer materials that can be efficiently and effectively used to address this issue and provide solutions to improve public health and the environment. The core of the message is summarized here in text taken from the written submittal to EPA.

GMA recommends the inclusion of vapor intrusion as a consideration for the hazard ranking system for CERLA (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liabilities Act)/NPL (National Priorities List). It is our organization’s—and our respective members’—experience and judgment that vapor intrusion and the corresponding dispersal of harmful and hazardous materials is a danger to public health and the environment.

GMA member companies, in fact, supply materials that perform as vapor barriers and containment membranes and are regularly used to prevent or control the movement of vapors through soil subgrades, foundations, slab structures, and buildings.

In addition to the official GMA presentation to EPA officials at this hearing, there was opportunity to expand the range of GMA contacts with the EPA staff members, discuss other topics and issues face-to-face, and further identify GMA as a source for solutions to EPA issues and concerns.

A ruling on changes within the Superfund selection process is expected before the end of the year.

Boyd Ramsey, chief engineer at GSE’s North American headquarters in Houston, is chair of GMA’s Executive Council. Andrew Aho is the managing director of GMA.

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