Limited Operations Authorized at US Ecology Waste Site Following Explosion

On February 7, 2019, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) authorized US Ecology to restart some operations at a waste facility following a November 2018 explosion that killed one worker and injured eight others.

The following day, US Ecology Idaho received a number of shipments.  According to the company, additional shipments are expected shortly.  In addition, some FUSRAP waste remains in rail cars awaiting disposal, while other waste is currently onsite that meets the disposal criteria, according to US Ecology officials.

US Ecology plans to resume drum processing, waste treatment and other waste management services in the future, although the dates therefore remain unspecified.


The incident originally occurred at US Ecology’s 328-acre hazardous waste disposal operation near the city of Grand View, Idaho on November 17, 2018.  The resultant blast blew holes in the roof of the facility that is used for processing waste barrels.  An equipment operator was killed and eight employees suffered non-life-threatening injuries.  The Idaho landfill, however, was not damaged in the incident.

US Ecology, Idaho DEQ, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) all continue to investigate the cause of the explosion.  According to a press release, US Ecology has made significant progress in understanding the event and is analyzing samples and other data collected in the wake of the explosion.


The Idaho DEQ authorization was issued in response to a request from US Ecology Idaho that was submitted on January 25 2019.  According to an Idaho DEQ press release, the state agency issued the authorization after “certification that the landfill cells are ready to receive waste and a subsequent letter certifying that necessary equipment is in place and can support the safe disposal of waste.”

Specifically, the authorization was issued after a professional engineer certified the state of the landfill cells and US Ecology demonstrated it had support equipment available.  The Idaho DEQ also performed several site visits and inspections, as well as reviewed the company’s temporary authorization request for operations.  The Idaho DEQ then determined that US Ecology could resume limited landfill disposal in a compliant and environmentally protective manner.

The Idaho DEQ approval will enable US Ecology Idaho to begin receiving off-site waste for direct disposal – i.e., the waste may go to the landfill without stopping for storage or treatment.  Idaho DEQ is allowing US Ecology to conduct acceptance and disposal of select bulk wastes, but has not yet authorized the company to resume waste treatment operations.  US Ecology was required to meet several safety requirements before issuance of the authorization.


Boise-based US Ecology operates facilities throughout the United States for disposal and treatment of radioactive and other waste types.  The US Ecology Idaho site is used for disposal and treatment of hazardous and nonhazardous wastes.

US Ecology sites may accept material designated as very low-activity radioactive waste by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and waste from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) cleanup sites.  US Ecology Idaho can also take in naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) and technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material (TENORM).

For additional information, please contact Joe Weismann of US Ecology at (208) 319-1634 or at

US Ecology Announces Purchase of Ecoserv Industrial Disposal

On November 14, 2018, US Ecology announced the acquisition of Ecoserv Industrial Disposal — a wholly owned subsidiary of Ecoserv and a leading provider of non-hazardous industrial wastewater disposal solutions in the Gulf Coast.


The Ecoserv Industrial Disposal facility employs deep-well injection technology and is strategically positioned within reach of key markets such as Houston and Beaumont in Texas and Lake Charles in Louisiana.  The facility serves refinery, petrochemical and environmental services customers.  Total consideration for the business and related property was $87.2 million, subject to a working capital adjustment, and will be funded from cash on hand and US Ecology’s existing credit facility.

“This acquisition adds unique, high volume industrial liquids disposal capabilities, complements other investments we’ve made in the region, and strengthens our comprehensive environmental services offerings,” commented US Ecology Chair, President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Feeler.  “The facility, permitted for a wide variety of non-hazardous industrial waste including solids, sludges, leachate, and ammonia, offers a lower cost alternative to traditional wastewater treatment.”

The transaction closed on November 14, 2018.  It will be reported as part of the Environmental Services segment.  The transaction is expected to be accretive to earnings per share.  US Ecology expects no significant financial impact to 2018 earnings per share or Adjusted EBITDA for the six weeks of ownership in 2018 and reaffirms its previously issued 2018 earnings guidance that was disclosed in the company’s third quarter earnings release on November 1, 2018.  US Ecology expects the acquisition to contribute approximately $9.0 million to $10.0 million of Adjusted EBITDA in 2019. 


US Ecology is a North American provider of environmental services to commercial and government entities.  The company addresses the complex waste management needs of its customers, offering treatment, disposal and recycling of hazardous, non-hazardous and radioactive waste, as well as a wide range of complementary field and industrial services.

“US Ecology’s focus on safety, environmental compliance and best–in-class customer service enables us to effectively meet the needs of our customers and to build long-lasting relationships,” states the company’s press release.  “US Ecology has been protecting the environment since 1952 and has operations in the United States, Canada and Mexico.”

For additional information, please contact Joe Weismann at (208) 331-8400 or at or go to

Washington Releases Annual Environmental Monitoring Report

In the spring of 2017, the Office of Radiation Protection, Environmental Public Health Division, Washington State Department of Health released US Ecology Washington’s Annual Environmental Monitoring Report for Calendar Year 2015.

Each year, US Ecology Washington submits an annual report, which is required by state law and the Washington State Department of Health’s license conditions as per Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 246-250-600.  WAC 246-250-340 also requires environmental monitoring.

US Ecology Washington receives and disposes low-level radioactive waste at the Hanford Site near Richland, Washington.

The report is now available on the agency’s website at  For additional information, please contact Kate Lynch at (360) 236-3259 or at

Northwest Compact Commission Hosts Meeting

On June 8, 2017, the Northwest Interstate Compact on Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management will host a meeting beginning at 9:00 a.m. PDT in Helena, Montana.  The meeting will be held at the Radisson Colonial Hotel, which is located at 2301 Colonial Drive in Helena, Montana.

The following topics, among others, are on the meeting agenda:

  • Welcome and Introductory Remarks (Earl Fordham, Chair)
    • Introductions
  • Compact Business (Kristen Schwab, Executive Director)
    • Approve Minutes of June 21, 2016 Committee Meeting
  • Party States Reports (Committee Members)
  • US Ecology – Activities Overview (Mike Ault, General Manager, US Ecology Inc.)
  • Disposal Volume Summary for 2016 and for 2017 through May
  • 2017 Revenue Requirement
  • MTCA Investigation
  • Other Issues
  • Utah – Activities Overview (Rusty Lundberg, Deputy Director, Utah Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control)
  • Legislation
    • EnergySolutions’ Activities Including Status of EnergySolutions’ Depleted Uranium Performance Assessment
  • Other Issues
  • Break
  • US Ecology MTCA Investigation (Ron Skinnarland, Washington State Department of Ecology)
    • Overview and Update
  • National and Regional Issues (Kristen Scwhab, Executive Director)
    • Import/Export License Applications
    • Texas Compact/Waste Control Specialists
    • Compact Updates
    • Other Issues
  • EnergySolutions – Activities Overview (Dan Shrum, Senior Vice President, Regulatory Affairs, EnergySolutions)
    • 2016 Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Volumes
    • Other Issues
  • Lunch
  • Low-Level Radioactive Waste Forum’s Disused Sources Working Group (Gary Robertson, DSWG Technical Consultant)
    • Disused Sources Background
    • Disused Sources Current Status
    • Disused Sources Program Update
  • Transfer of Northwest Compact Activities (Earl Fordham, Chair)
    • Status Update
  • Update on Legal Issues (Kristen Mitchell, Compact Counsel, Washington State Attorney General’s Office)
    • Status Update
  • Break
  • Committee Business
  • Public Comment
  • Meeting Adjourned

For additional information, please contact Kristen Schwab, Executive Director of the Northwest Interstate Compact on Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management, at (360) 236-3232 or at