This site was referred to EPA by the Utah Department of Environmental Quality's Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste following a series of fires at electronics waste recycling facilities throughout the state operated by Stone Castle Recycling, LLC. The responsible party, Stone Castle Recycling, LLC, was in the business of scrapping used and donated consumer electronics and cathode-ray tube (CRT) television sets and monitors on behalf of non-profit organizations, school districts, and municipalities along the I-15 corridor in UT and selling component parts as raw materials. Operationally, this involved dismantling the electronics, removing the cathode-ray tubes from television sets and computer monitors, and segregating the leaded-glass vacuum tube. This glass could then be crushed and sent to a leaded-glass smelter for use in manufacturing new leaded-glass CRTs.
Following the move from analog to digital broadcasting, and the corresponding shift from CRT televisions to plasma and LCD high-definition televisions, the market for crushed leaded-glass crashed. Stone Castle Recycling was left with large volumes of nearly worthless raw materials without sufficient revenue to pay the employees or facility leases needed to properly dismantle and dispose of their inventory. As a result, a tremendous volume of accumulated televisions and electronic waste, in various states of disassembly, were abandoned at four sites scattered throughout UT. At the Stone Castle Recycling facility in Parowan, UT, the electronic wastes were left on the ground outside a formerly rented warehouse space and a portion of the wastes caught fire and burned on March 2, 2014. An estimated 330 cubic yards of burned debris, 830 cubic yards of mixed hazardous debris, and 640 cubic yards of intact televisions were left at the site. This equates to a total weight of approximately 765 tons of hazardous debris.
EPA first visited the site on August 13, 2014, with representatives from UTDEQ, Parowan City, and the landowners, to assess the potential for conducting an EPA removal action, documenting the condition and location of the waste materials on-site, and understanding the operational, logistical, and legal implications of removing these wastes from the site. EPA gained legal access to the property in October. Since October, EPA has conducted bench-scale treatment studies to determine the most effective solidification and stabilization approach to minimize waste disposal and transportation costs. Based upon the results of the treatment study, EPA has initiated a time-critical removal action at the Stone Castle Recycling - Parowan Facility to sort, process, treat, and properly dispose of the abandoned and burned televisions present at the site, thereby eliminating the threat to area residents and the environment.