Come and Get Your Lead!

TCEQ turns up the heat in the toxic-TV-tube saga

Glenn Shankle, the executive director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, has ordered Penske Truck Leasing to remove 99 roll-off bins containing hundreds of tons of waste – some of it lead-contaminated – from the Texas Disposal Systems Landfill near Creedmoor. The order comes about a week after TCEQ commissioners overruled a previous decision by Shankle that would have reclassified the waste from "hazardous" to the less-toxic "special" category and would have allowed the waste to remain (see "Naked City: TCEQ: Get the Lead Out," Sept. 24).

The waste – the hazardous portion of which is a batch of Zenith television tubes that were smashed when a Penske truck carrying them rolled over in Hays County in 1997 – has been the subject of regulatory and court fights for years between TDS and Penske. TDS, which has been lauded repeatedly as an environmentally conscientious landfill operator, says Penske misrepresented the nature of the waste and never should have dumped it in their landfill, which is not certified to handle hazardous material. Penske argued that the waste has since been so diluted with other garbage that it no longer meets "hazardous" criteria, but the TCEQ commissioners rejected that rationale in a Sept. 16 hearing and remanded the matter back to Shankle.

Shankle's order does leave one out for Penske – he said the company may test the waste in the bins, locate the smashed tube glass, and extract only that – but that option could be even more expensive than simply carting off the bins in their entirety. In any case, Shankle wants the material removed to a properly certified hazardous waste facility no later than Oct. 27.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Zenith, Penske, Texas Disposal Systems, Glenn Shankle

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