ASTSWMO News Summer 2016


CERCLA and Brownfields

The CERCLA & Brownfields Subcommittee organized the 2016 ASTSWMO Brownfields and Superfund Symposium August 3-5, 2016, in Detroit, MI. Presentations and recordings are up on our website.

Federal Facilities

The Department of Defense, U.S. Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the FUDS Forum Working Group hosted the National FUDS Forum Meeting on August 16-18, 2016, in San Antonio, Texas. The meeting provided general and breakout sessions on several FUDS topics and policies, including the military munitions response program, State involvement in prioritization, rights of entry, PRP, and interim risk management. Bonnie Buthker (OH), ASTSWMO President, provided a States perspective on the FUDS program.

Materials from the meeting will be available on the FUDS Forum Portal.

Hazardous Waste

The Hazardous Waste Subcommittee is updating the ASTSWMO 2007 State RCRA Subtitle C Core Hazardous Waste Program Implementation Costs report, known as the Core Report, and is in the process of gathering additional State and Territorial (State) input. If your State hazardous waste program has not yet responded and would like more information, please contact Kerry Callahan at The original Core Report was undertaken to determine the nature and costs to the States of implementing the RCRA Subtitle C program, and evaluated the major RCRA C Program areas of (1) permitting, (2) remediation – closure and corrective action, (3) compliance, (4) enforcement, and (5) program development activities. The 2007 report was based on a representative 10-State pilot study; the update is seeking FY 2015 information from all States.

Materials Management

The Sustainable Materials Management Task Force is developing a food waste webpage that will provide resources about food recovery activities by States, the Federal Government, and other organizations. Please stay tuned!


The ASTSWMO Board of Directors approved a new position paper on UST open bermed containment systems. ASTSWMO has taken the position that these containment systems are less protective of public safety and health and the environment than spill buckets and do not meet the requirements of 40 CFR 280.20(c), and recommends that these systems be replaced to comply with 40 CFR 280.20(c) by the testing deadline of October 13, 2018.

The 2015 Annual State Fund Survey results are now available on the ASTSWMO website. Many thanks to Lynda Provencher, Vermont DEC, for leading the effort and to the State programs that participated.

U.S. EPA OUST released a new report in July, Investigation of Corrosion-Influencing Factors in Underground Storage Tanks With Diesel Service (EPA 510-R-16-001). In addition, EPA developed a notice about corrosion risks in USTs storing diesel fuel. We encourage States to share the notice with UST owners and operators. These documents and related resources are available on the U.S. EPA OUST website.

Upcoming Meetings

RCRA Summit and ASTSWMO Annual Meeting, in Washington, DC, October 26-28, 2016.

Registration closes September 30th, 2016.

ASTSWMO Mid-Year Meeting, Renaissance Hotel in Cleveland, OH, April 26-27, 2017.

Registration not open.

ASTSWMO UST Workshop, May 23-25, 2017, Louisville, KY.

Registration is not open.

ASTSWMO Joint Hazardous Waste and Materials Management Training, Summer 2017.

More information to come!

Brownfields Bike Tour Photos

The Brownfields Bike tour, organized by Carrie Geyer of the Brownfields Focus Group and Michigan DEQ, was hugely successful! This took place during the ASTSWMO Brownfields and Superfund Symposium in Detroit. On the tour, participants were able to enjoy the beautiful sunshine while visiting several redevelopment sites.

Thank you to everyone who participated!

ASTSWMO Gives Back

ASTSWMO's most recent charity recipient was The Greening of Detroit, a non-profit specializing in urban gardening and community education. The donation of $400.00 was presented at the 2016 ASTSWMO Brownfields and Superfund Symposium in August.

ASTSWMO Achievements

Q&A with ASTSWMO member Sean Smith, WA Department of Ecology, regarding his experience as a published writer of thrillers featuring our Nation's National Parks.

Q: How long have you been writing?

A: I've been writing most of my life. As a small child, I used to weave complicated stories and envision how I would make movies and stories I'd read better. However, I got serious about writing roughly 4 years ago after I hired a life coach (David Robinson). He asked me pointblank what I wanted to do with my life. I said I wanted to write a book. Since then I've published two novels, a third is due out this Christmas, and I have a premise for a fourth.

Q: Can you walk us through the premise of your stories (genre, setting, etc.)?

A: My novels are political thrillers set in national parks like Yellowstone, Gettysburg, and Mount Rainier. Park Ranger, Grayson Cole, is the central character. My first novel, Unleashing Colter's Hell, is about a terrorists plot to ignite the Yellowstone super volcano and destroy the United States. The second is called Lost Cause and is a race across America to find a relic owned by Robert E. Lee which could give the finder the power to start the second Civil War. The third novel is called Need to Know and takes place at Mount Rainer. High on its volcanic slopes is an object that if revealed could shake the effort for world peace to its foundation. The fourth novel will be set in Glacier and concerns an arson caused fire that destroys the cure for cancer. “Who would want to destroy a cure that could help millions?” is the central question of this next novel.

Q: Where do you draw inspiration for your stories?

A: In my previous life I was a National Park Ranger. I worked at some of America's most iconic parks and monuments like Yellowstone, Glacier, the North Cascades, and Mount St. Helens. While working at Yellowstone, I saw a James Bond movie in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. During the film, it occurred to me that I had done many of the things that Bond had done. I've piloted aircrafts, rappelled off high cliffs, shot guns and rifles, and raced fast cars. I have even done a few things Bond hasn't, like confront Grizzly Bears and fight wildfires. About the only thing I hadn't done was chase down terrorists. While watching the movie, I asked myself why isn't there a James Bond equivalent about the iconic American hero, the park ranger. I never found what I was searching for, so I decided to write the thrillers myself.

Q: What have you found most easy/ difficult about your writing process?

A: Finding time to write is probably the most difficult aspect of the process. Currently, I write about 30 minutes a day during my lunch break. While I'd appreciate more time to write, carving out this half hour has allowed me to churn out a book about every two years. The easiest part of the writing process is coming up with new ideas. I'm continually thinking about scenarios or “what if” situations in which to place my protagonist. In fact, I've probably got more ideas than I'll ever have time to write about.

Q: How does your work in the environmental field influence you and your writing?

A: The environmental field and the people who dedicate their lives to protecting our environment are central to my writing. In my civil service career I've been struck by the level of dedication and passion that my colleagues have for protecting our citizens, environment, and economy. I don't believe the public truly appreciates the long hours and hard work that goes into keeping our waters, air, and land clean. As such, my books center on a small part of this effort and hopefully give my readers insight into the working conditions and challenges that these people face every day.

Q: The book that inspired the blockbuster film “The Revenant” was written part time by a government employee. Are you hoping to see your characters on the silver screen. If so, what celebrity would you most want to portray your main character?

A: I'd love to see my novels made into a movie. (Hollywood producers feel free to give me a call!) I think every author harbors that wish. However, until Hollywood knocks on my door I'll continue to sharpen my writing skills, remain on the lookout for the next story premise, and continue to market my current books. As to who should play Grayson on the silver screen, I get this question a lot. My readers have told me they imagine in their mind's eye someone like George Clooney, Jake Gyllenhaal, or even Matt Damon in the role. These are all great actors. For me, it would need to be someone who can play a character who loves being a park ranger and the idea of national parks. Grayson is a more subtle character than Bond. He doesn't necessarily burst into a room guns blazing. Grayson also doesn't take himself too seriously, but he is deeply committed to the idea of the national park. While Grayson is a good looking guy, he doesn't rely on his looks to achieve his goals. Rather, he uses his understanding of the natural world, his park ranger training, and the help of others to outwit the bad guys. So to answer the question directly, I've been impressed with Leonardo Dicaprio's work in the Revenant and the Aviator. He would be great as Grayson. Yet, I've also really enjoyed Matthew McConaughey in films like Interstellar and the Dallas Buyers Club. He too would make an outstanding Grayson Cole.

As you can guess Smith is pretty passionate about national parks, he recently gave a Tedx Talk on "Why we should protect these special places? Why protect national parks?"

Readers who want to pick up a copy of Smith's books can find them here:

To learn more about Smith's novels and his love of national parks, please visit his blog at National Park Blog!


Sam Puffenbarger

Sam Puffenbarger, former CERCLA and Brownfields Subcommittee Program Manager, left ASTSWMO over a year ago to pursue a career in brewing. He has since risen to prominence in the brewing community. The Brightest Young Thing, a DC based online news website, featured him in an article about brewing.

Jill Williams-Hall has tendered her resignation as the ASTSWMO Tanks Subcommittee Vice-Chair and the Tanks State Funds/Financial Responsibility Task Force Chair. Effective September 19, 2016, she will start a one year appointment with EPA OUST Headquarters in Washington, DC. She looks forward to seeing our members at the ASTSWMO Annual Meeting in October!

Are you close to retirement? Do you know retired State managers who used to be active in ASTSWMO? ASTSWMO staff would like the personal contact information for retired or soon-to-retire waste managers. Staff continues to work on a plan to create a mentoring network for young professionals who work in RCRA C and D, Tanks, CERCLA, Brownfields, and Federal Facilities. Send your contact information to Dania Rodriguez: 202-640-1061 or

Election for Officers

ASTSWMO is now accepting candidates who are interested in running for Vice-President and Secretary-Treasurer. Please contact ASTSWMO Past-President Mike Forbeck ( for more info! The contact deadline is Friday, September 9th, 2016.

Members in Action

Are you interested in volunteering on an ASTSWMO Task Force or Focus Group? Fill out the New Member Interest Form and email it to one of our Staff! The 2016 Members in Action Rotation has created many new openings. Check out the Subcommittee Rosters!

ASTSWMO Webinars

The CERCLA & Brownfields Subcommittee’s Remedial Action Focus Group is preparing a Superfund State Contract Webinar later in September. If you are interested in joining the webinar, please contact Scott Lauher ( .

Please stay tuned as ASTSWMO Subcommittees produce future webinars.

ASTSWMO Strategic Plan

Know anyone in your staff that has been with your agency for 5 years or less? Tell them about ASTSWMO! Succession planning has been a big topic for discussion for ASTSWMO members! Help the next generation learn about ASTSWMO and our network!

ITRC Upcoming News

ITRC will hold two-day training courses on Petroleum Vapor Intrusion (PVI) designed to provide attendees with a comprehensive methodology for screening, investigating, and managing potential PVI sites. The classes are intended to promote the efficient use of resources and increase confidence in decision making when evaluating the potential for vapor intrusion at petroleum-contaminated sites. Classes will be held September 26-27, 2016 in Somerset, NJ and on November 9-10, 2016 in Framingham, MA. To learn more about these courses and others that ITRC offers, click here.

Note: A limited number of scholarships to waive the registration fee are available for State and local government agencies to participate in ITRC PVI classroom training, and continuing education credits have been approved by many States for these two classes.

ITRC also offers free internet-based training courses on a range of remediation topics, including DNAPL Characterization, ISM, groundwater statistics, contaminated sediments, and more. To view the 2016 internet training schedule and to learn more about upcoming courses, click on the link above. For more information on ITRC training or to discuss a future training class in your State, please contact Patricia Reyes, ITRC Director, at

Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials, 1101 17th Street NW, Suite 707, Washington, DC, 20036 T: (202) 640-1060 F: (202) 331-3254
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