New U.S. EPA, waste handlers agreement to reduce harmful odors in Mecca, Calif. (CA)

(8/10/11) SAN FRANCISCO – Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency signed an agreement with Western Environmental Inc. and Waste Reduction Technologies to eliminate potential noxious odors that could affect surrounding communities. Western Environmental Inc. and Waste Reduction Technologies are waste handling, recycling and composting facilities located on the Cabazon Reservation, near Mecca, Calif.

“Today’s agreement includes binding commitments for the facilities to identify and eliminate the odors that have plagued Mecca,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Our efforts are part of a collaboration with the Cabazon Tribe to ensure that the facilities operate in a way that protects human health. We are also coordinating our actions with the State of California to respond to the concerns of the local residents.”

The agreement supersedes EPA’s initial May 2011 order issued to address the immediate public health concerns. The new order fine tunes the initial order, and adds the threat of financial penalties if the facilities do not comply. Western Environmental Inc. and Waste Reduction Technologies are required to:

· Complete installation of an odor-control misting system

· More thoroughly identify incoming wastes for potential odors

· Measure and record the levels of potential odor-causing substances

· Implement handling measures to control any additional odors if they occur

· Only accept incoming soil and other materials consistent with the approved work plan