ARA recently participated in a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sponsored event entitled “Vehicle Waste Management and Disposal Workshop”. The Workshop brought together scientists, researchers and engineers from both governmental agencies and the private sector to primarily discuss emergency preparedness and response to chemical, biological and radiation (CBR) incidents and emergencies. As several recent and older hurricanes have demonstrated, an extremely large number of damaged and abandoned vehicles pose a significant threat to effective emergency response.
The event was focused on gathering information on the business landscape that is present and what potential assets could possible be available if government regulators addressed potential restrictions and liabilities that these facilities would face if assisting in a time of a national emergency. ARA CEO Michael E. Wilson was invited to share insights from the professional automotive recycling industry so that attendees could better understand the parameters and limitations that would exist during a CBR incident. This would include the capacity for storing and dismantling cars that need decontamination processing. The scientific attendees appreciated learning from industry members and suggested further discussions and possibly CBR exercises with recyclers. Wilson also emphasized that professional automotive recyclers do not deal with “waste” and are not permitted to address the CBR activity that was discussed during the Workshop.