N.C. Bill Would Addresss Safety Issues of Hazardous Waste Storage

RALEIGH -- A bill backed by the Easley administration would tighten regulations for transfer, storage and disposal of hazardous wastes in response to the explosive fire at the EQ Industrial Services warehouse that forced thousands to evacuate Apex last year.

The bill, filed this week, proposes requirements for facilities to provide around-the-clock security, either with an electronic system or trained personnel; provide insurance to pay for cleanup and off-site testing for contamination if there is an accident; and base the frequency of site inspections partly on the number of people living nearby.

It also would require the facilities to notify property owners within a quarter-mile about emergency response plans and types of waste.

North Carolina has 10 commercial hazardous waste warehouses that receive truckloads of spent chemicals from manufacturers and laboratories, consolidate them and ship them to incinerators, landfills and recyclers in other states.