PA DEP SEIZES TRACTOR-TRAILER FOR ALLEGEDLY BACKHAULING WHEAT
PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary David
E. Hess announced that DEP seized a tractor-trailer that hauled
asbestos and then allegedly picked up wheat to be processed for
The driver then allegedly attempted to deliver the wheat to a
mill in Martins Creek, PA, which processes it for food for
Inspectors from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation,
the Pennsylvania State Police and DEP discovered the backhauling
Aug. 13 during routine inspections of trucks south of State
College, Centre County, on Route 322. The driver, Thomas Leiter
of Lewistown, PA, had hauled asbestos from Portland, Connecticut,
to L.A.S. Recycling in Youngstown, Ohio. He then allegedly picked
up the wheat at McCullough Grain in Sharpsville, Ohio. Leiter was
driving for Marbec Trucking Inc. in Spring Run, PA.
When stopped, Leiter told inspectors he was en route to ConAgra
in Martins Creek and that the wheat was to be used for animal
feed. Inspectors did not know at the time that the mill processes
wheat only for human consumption.
Upon learning that, DEP investigators worked cooperatively with
ConAgra and waited for Leiter to arrive at the mill on Aug. 14.
The mill's operator rejected Leiter's load after investigators
notified the operator that the wheat was contaminated.
Leiter was issued a summary citation by the Pennsylvania State
Police. He faces a fine of up to $10,000. The incident remains
DEP made arrangements to dispose of the contaminated wheat at
Grand Central Landfill in Pen Argyl, PA.
WOOD CHIPS REMOVE TOXINS FROM ROADWAY RUNOFF
A Rhode Island scientist has found that wood chips can remove the
toxic substances washed off the road by heavy rains, preventing
them from getting into water courses.
According to Thomas Boving, Assistant Professor of Geosciences at
the University of Rhode Island, storm water detention ponds in
Providence, Rhode Island, designed to filter out pollutants from
roads before storm water reaches the local Narragansett Bay, are
made ineffective by large volumes of water.
"Most of the contaminants in roadway run-off are attracted to
suspended organic material and sediments, which then settle to
the bottom of the ponds," said Boving. "But if the flow rate is
too fast, like during a heavy storm, there may not be enough time
for the solids to settle before flowing out and into the bay."
Knowing that contaminants cling to organic material, Boving,
whose hobby is woodworking, decided to investigate the
effectiveness of wood chips on filtering out pollutants.
During laboratory experiments using water containing the
carcinogen pyrene, produced by smokestacks, automobile tailpipes,
chimneys and outdoor barbecues, Boving found that shredded wood
from aspen trees removed 97% of the pollutant. Over time, he
found that the wood chips become less effective, and so may need
to be replaced every 30 to 60 days for optimum performance,
although they could remain effective for up to a year. Boving
points out that although regularly changing the wood chips might
technically be the most efficient option due to the low cost of
the material, this could lower the public acceptability of the
"I was very encouraged by what I found with this first test,"
said Boving. "It fulfils all of the requirements for a successful
technology - it's non-toxic, cheap, available, and public
acceptance of these filters is likely very good since no one is
concerned about putting wood in water."
Boving has calculated that up to 100 pounds of shredded wood
would be needed each month for three storm water detention ponds,
roughly 400 cubic meters in size. The wood chips will be
submerged in the ponds, enclosed in netting. He believes that the
spent wood chips are likely to be incinerated.
Following tests using a range of organic contaminants on pine -
the cheapest wood available - and other types of wood, Boving
intends to carry out field tests next year.
FAA PROPOSES $78,500 FINE AGAINST COMPANY FOR HAZMAT VIOLATIONS
The FAA has proposed a civil penalty of $78,500 against Novel
Tees Wholesale, Salt Lake City, Utah, for hazardous materials
violations on a shipment offered for transportation by air on or
about November 6, 2000.
The shipment, consisting of a single, non-specification
fiberboard box, was flown on a regularly scheduled UPS cargo
flight from the Salt Lake City International Airport to the
Louisville International-Standiford Field (Louisville, Kentucky).
>From Louisville, the shipment was flown to the UPS sort facility
at the Alpena County Regional Airport, Alpena, Michigan.
UPS personnel in Alpena noticed the package had broken open.
Further inspection revealed it contained 12-5 oz. plastic bottles
of Ronsonol lighter fuel; 12-3 oz. metal aerosol cans of Stylist
color hair spray; 12 Dragon Fire Micro Torches, and 9 novelty
lighters. Each item is classified as hazardous materials under
the Federal Aviation Regulations, and should be labeled FLAMMABLE
LIQUID (Ronsonol), or FLAMMABLE GAS (the hair spray, micro
torches and novelty lighters).
Novel Tees Wholesale did not properly class, describe, package,
mark, label these items for transport by air. It offered hazmat
for transportation without properly describing the material on
shipping papers. Emergency response information was not provided,
and the company failed to ensure each of its hazmat employees was
trained in accordance with the Federal Aviation Regulations.
Special packaging and permission, required for the transport of
cigarette lighters, or items containing ignition elements and
containing fuel, was not obtained.
Novel Tees Wholesale will have 30 days from the receipt of the
Civil Penalty Letter to respond to these allegations.
DOT PROPOSES PHYSICAL COPY OF HAZARDOUS WASTE SHIPPING MANIFEST IN ADDITION TO ELECTRONIC VERSION
A new rule proposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation
would require physical copies of a shipping manifest accompany
hazardous waste shipments, even if an electronic manifest had
already been sent. The Research and Special Programs
Administration, a division of DOT, issued the proposal in an
effort to keep hazmat emergency response teams safe, as well as
to make its rules consistent with EPA's.
"A uniform manifest that is prepared and transmitted
electronically, from the generator to the transporter, the
disposal facility and the monitoring governmental agencies, can
provide all the information necessary to track a shipment of
hazardous waste," according to the Federal Register proposal,
"However, an electronic manifest cannot serve the purpose of a
shipping paper to alert emergency responders as to the nature and
hazards of materials in a transport vehicle or freight container,
in the event of an incident during transportation of those
materials, when electronic translators or readers may not be
available. Accordingly, EPA has proposed that a paper copy of the
manifest or other shipping paper must accompany the shipment."
Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, EPA requires
hazardous waste shipments be tracked from their point of origin
(generator) to their destination (disposal). Recently, EPA
proposed new rules that would allow these shipping manifests to
be transmitted electronically. "In order to parallel EPA's
proposal for an electronic manifest, RSPA proposes to modify 49
CFR 172.205 to provide that, when an electronic manifest is used,
the hazardous waste must be accompanied by a physical shipping
paper that can be either (1) a print-out (paper copy) of the
electronic manifest or (2) a separate shipping paper that meets
all of the shipping paper requirements in 49 CFR, subpart C of
part 172. In addition, to prevent confusion by enforcement
officials, if an electronic manifest is being used in the
transportation of a hazardous waste, the shipping paper or copy
of the electronic manifest must indicate on the document that an
electronic manifest is being used."
Comments about the proposed RSPA rule will be accepted until Oct.
4. To submit a comment, go to the Docket Management System Web
site at http://dms.dot.gov. Click on "Help and Information" for
instructions on how to file comments electronically.
Clean Air Act
- September 15: Reformulated gasoline standards detailed under 40 CFR
80.78(a)(1)(v) expire until the following summer.
- September 21: Existing pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities subject to the
national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants for
pharmaceuticals must comply with 40 CFR 63, subpart GGG.
Clean Water Act
- September 21: Existing sources subject to effluent guidelines and standards for
the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry under 40 CFR 439 must
meet pretreatment standards.
EPA TO PROPOSE COMPREHENSIVE AIR POLLUTION REDUCTION STRATEGY
EPA Administrator Christie Whitman announced that EPA will
propose a comprehensive strategy to significantly reduce air
pollution and protect public health that will be released in
September. EPA will incorporate its review of the New Source
Review (NSR) program into this comprehensive strategy, and as a
result, will not release its NSR report this week.
"Our top priority is protecting public health and the
environment, and we are in the final stages of developing a
comprehensive strategy that will allow us to take the next step
forward into a new generation of air pollution controls for the
21st century," Whitman said. "This fall, we will put forward an
ambitious proposal that will reduce air pollution from power
plants significantly more than the existing system. Subsequently,
we will release the NSR report called for by the National Energy
EPA and the White House are working to finalize the details of a
legislative proposal that will set strict limits on utility
emissions of the three major air pollutants that affect public
health - nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and mercury
- through the use of an innovative and effective market-based
approach. In addition, the air pollution reduction strategy will
address concerns about the NSR program's effect on energy
efficiency and capacity.
EPA says its proposal will maintain stringent health-based
standards and establish firm, mandatory caps on levels of
pollution, while providing industry with the flexibility to find
the most cost-effective means of meeting those standards. They
claim this approach would also significantly reduce the
administrative burden on state and federal environmental
agencies, allowing them to devote limited resources to other
As part of the strategy, the Administration's legislative
proposals concerning power plants will benefit from the Clean Air
Act's acid rain "cap and trade" program, which is widely
recognized as the most successful air pollution control program
in the world. With a 100 percent industry rate of compliance and
extraordinarily low administrative costs, this program has
eliminated more air pollution, more cost-effectively, in the last
decade than all other programs combined.
This basic approach to reducing air pollution while
simultaneously reducing regulatory burdens was strongly endorsed
by the nation's governors at last week's meeting of the
bipartisan National Governor's Association in Rhode Island. At
that meeting, the governors unanimously adopted a National Energy
Policy that called upon Congress to establish a flexible,
market-based program, such as emissions-trading credits, to
combat air pollution.
The NGA Policy also called for reform of the New Source Review
program "to achieve improvements that enhance the environment and
increase energy production capacity...."
In accordance with the president's energy plan, EPA and other
federal agencies have been reviewing the NSR program since May to
determine its impact on investment in new electricity generation
and refinery capacity, energy efficiency and environmental
protection. That review will be finalized and released this fall
as an element of a comprehensive strategy to reduce air
The NSR program requires utilities and other industries to
install pollution controls when a new facility is built, or when
an existing facility makes changes that significantly increase
EPA initiated its review of the NSR program in response to a
recommendation from the president's National Energy Policy
Development Group, which also recommended that the Department of
Justice (DOJ) conduct an independent review of existing NSR
enforcement actions to ensure that they are consistent with the
Clean Air Act. Administrator Whitman and Attorney General John
Ashcroft have previously announced that they will continue to
pursue these enforcement actions vigorously during the DOJ
During EPA's review of the NSR program, the Agency met with more
than 100 groups, held four public meetings and received more than
130,000 written comments from the public. Those comments are
being evaluated as part of the process of improving the NSR
program and developing the president's legislative proposal. EPA
also will use the extensive public comments to determine whether
additional improvements to the NSR program are needed.