The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) recently proposed a $47,600 fine against the Center for Domestic Preparedness COBRA hazardous material training facility at Fort McClellan, in Anniston, Alabama. The CDP facility allegedly mismanaged waste materials, by storing 7,500 gallons of decontamination wastewater at the facility in 2014 without a permit.
According to the CDP, the agency was unable to dispose of materials in a timely fashion due to the 2013 government shut down. Multiple federal agencies ceased operation for some time in 2013 because Congress was unable to approve a budget by the deadline.
The CDP is also being called out on other violations, including sending ash-containing cadmium to a disposal site not permitted to receive such materials. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, long-term exposure to cadmium can cause kidney disease and an increased risk of lung cancer.
Lisa Hunter, director of external affairs at the center, responded to the allegations, saying, "The CDP routinely incinerates materials used during training. Routine inspection of the incinerator ash content analysis showed that cadmium content typically did not exceed the standard, but it did on these two isolated occasions." She also stated that the wastewater did not contain detectable biological material or agents from chemical weapons, and that disposal procedures were changed to ensure full compliance with regulations as soon as the government shutdown was lifted.
Notably, the CDP reported each of these violations of its own accord to the ADEM. Kent Davis, acting superintendent for the CDP, stated that the CDP was openly committed to safety at the Anniston facility. He remarked on the agency's good relationship with the ADEM and added that the CDP was grateful for the opportunity to improve their business.
Partnering with environmental consultants is a good way to ensure that a company can conduct regular operations while following all federal and state rules for waste management.