Search:

10/26/2009

EPA to Issue Strict Rules for U.S. Power Plant Air Toxics

Environmental


The EPA has agreed to adopt rules reducing toxic air pollution from the nation’s coal- and oil-burning power plants, by November 2011, according to a settlement agreement reached in a federal lawsuit brought against the agency by a coalition of public health and environmental groups.

The settlement has been lodged in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Attorneys at Earthjustice, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Clean Air Task Force, Natural Resources Defense Council, Southern Environmental Law Center, and Waterkeeper Alliance filed the lawsuit last December on behalf of their organizations and the American Nurses Association, Conservation Law Foundation, Environment America, Environmental Defense Fund, Izaak Walton League of America, Natural Resources Council of Maine, The Ohio Environmental Council, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and the Sierra Club.

The lawsuit was based on EPA’s failure to meet the Clean Air Act’s deadline for issuing regulations controlling toxic air pollution from power plants.

Under the Clean Air Act (CAA), EPA was required to control power plants’ toxic air emissions by December 2002. Instead the Bush administration asked Congress to eliminate that requirement. Unable to win Congressional support for that request, the Bush EPA tried to declare that the required pollution controls were simply not necessary or appropriate. The federal appeals court in D.C. unanimously rejected that attempt in February 2008, saying that the power industry remained subject to the requirement to control the air toxics it emits, and EPA remains responsible for issuing rules governing those emissions. Following that court victory, the environmental and public health groups above filed a lawsuit to compel EPA to issue its long overdue toxic air regulations. That lawsuit was resolved with the consent decree committing EPA to enforceable schedules for proposing and adopting the required rules.

Coal-burning power plants are the nation’s largest unregulated source of mercury pollution, and also emit enormous quantities of lead, arsenic, and other hazardous chemicals. Some 1,300 coal-fired units at existing power plants spew at least 48 tons of mercury, alone, into the air each year.

Significant human health and adverse effects on wildlife are associated with these emissions. For example, much of the mercury and other metals in power plant plumes fall out within 100 miles of the source, and mercury accumulates up the food chain in fish and in the animals that consume it. Mercury exposure is linked to serious neurological disorders in humans, and reproductive and neurological effects in animals. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, eight percent of American women of childbearing age have mercury in their bodies at levels high enough to put their babies at risk of birth defects, loss of IQ, learning disabilities, and developmental problems.

EPA Changing Federal Register Access

Beginning November 1, 2009, users of EPA’s Federal Register website will be redirected to Regulations.gov (at http://www.regulations.gov/) for all Federal Register information. The Federal Register List Serve will continue for a period after the transition, but will no longer be available after December 31, 2009. List serve subscribers will receive e-mails containing links and bookmarks to Regulations.gov based on one of the twelve topical list services they have subscribed to.

List Serve users will be able to subscribe to an RSS feed to receive notifications on frequently updated content on Regulations.gov, which allows subscribers to receive alerts when changes or additions occur in a docket folder. Users will able to select how frequently they would like to receive emails regarding any updates (i.e., daily, weekly or monthly).

EPA Proposes One-Year Extension for Storm Water Construction General Permit

EPA is seeking public comment on extending the 2008 Storm Water Construction General Permit by one year to June 30, 2011. The permit applies only where EPA is the permitting authority, which includes the states of Alaska, Idaho, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New Mexico; Washington, D.C.; most U.S. territories; and most Indian country lands.

The permit regulates the discharge of storm water from construction sites that disturb one acre or more of land, and from smaller sites that are part of a larger, common plan of development. The permit requires construction site operators to comply with storm water discharge requirements that are intended to prevent sediment loss, soil erosion, and other pollution issues at active construction sites.

The extension of the 2008 permit is needed to allow EPA sufficient time to coordinate a revised permit with a second effort that is underway to establish national clean water standards, known as an effluent limitation guideline, for the construction and development industry by December 1, 2009.

Comments on EPA’s proposal, including the draft permit, must be postmarked by November 18, 2009. See the Federal Register notice published on October 19, for instructions about submitting comments.

EPA Proposes Tightening Standards for Lead-Safe Renovation Practices and Lead Paint Dust

EPA is marking National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week by announcing several actions the agency proposes to take to prevent lead poisoning. Lead poisoning may cause a variety of adverse health effects, including brain and nervous system disorders, high blood pressure, and hypertension. Children six years old and under are most at risk.

EPA has issued a proposed rule to expand the coverage of the 2008 Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule. The new rule proposes to eliminate a provision that exempted some housing from the rule’s requirement that contractors be trained and certified and use lead-safe work practices when renovating, repairing or painting a pre-1978 home.

“This proposed rule will further increase protections for children and their families from lead-based paint hazards associated with home renovation and repair, “ said Steve Owens, assistant administrator for the Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances. “The administration is demonstrating its continued commitment to eliminating childhood lead poisoning and strengthening lead poisoning-prevention efforts with the announcement of these actions during National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week.”

The federal government banned lead-based paint from housing in 1978. However, if a home was built before 1978, it has a higher likelihood of containing lead-based paint. The 2008 rule requires contractors working in pre-1978 housing where children under six or pregnant women reside to take the proper precautions to work lead-safe, including minimizing the dust, containing the work area, and conducting a thorough cleanup to reduce the potential exposure associated with disturbing lead-based paint. This rule would expand such requirements to cover most pre-1978 homes.

EPA also announced that it will propose to modify the regulatory hazard standard for lead in dust so that it is based on the most recent science. The agency also will work with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to propose to modify the regulatory definition of lead-based paint. The National Center for Healthy Housing and several other citizens groups had petitioned the agency on these issues, making the point that current standards are outdated.

EPA expects to finalize the rule by April 2010. More information is available from EPA’s Lead in Paint, Dust, and Soil webpage.

EPA Plans to Develop Interim Preliminary Remediation Goals for Dioxin in Soil

EPA is seeking public comment to develop interim preliminary remediation goals (PRGs) for dioxin in soil at contaminated sites. The plan includes a review of current dioxin cleanup guidance established by EPA, states and other countries, including the latest fully peer-reviewed dioxin toxicity assessments. EPA will release the draft interim PRGs for public comment this December, and anticipates issuing the final interim PRGs in June 2010. EPA is currently undertaking a reassessment of dioxin; results expected to be released by the end of 2010. To comment on the proposed plan for developing interim recommended PRGs for dioxin in soil, send comments to: OSWER_Dioxin_PRGs@epa.gov.

Methane to Markets Partnership Spurs Global GHG Reductions

EPA has released a new report that shows the international Methane to Markets (M2M) Partnership has significantly reduced methane emissions. In 2008, U.S.-supported M2M projects delivered methane emissions reductions of more than 26 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent, roughly the annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from 4.7 million passenger vehicles. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is more than 20 times as potent as CO2.

The M2M Partnership is a public-private partnership that reduces greenhouse gas emissions by promoting the cost-effective, near-term recovery and use of methane, while providing clean energy to markets around the world.

“This Partnership is win-win-win: it protects our environment, strengthens our global economy, and transforms what would be harmful pollution into a profitable source of clean energy,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Methane pollution captures more than 20 times more heat than carbon dioxide, making it a dangerous contributor to climate change. Methane to Markets has provided business and governments with a global, cost-effective approach that is providing real results for our planet.”

The fourth annual “U.S. Government Accomplishments in Support of the Methane to Markets Partnership” report highlights the projects and activities since the partnership began in November 2004. Through 2008, the United States has provided about $39 million to support more than 170 projects and activities worldwide that increase the capture and use of methane from coal mines, landfills, agricultural waste, and oil and gas systems. In addition, U.S. government investment has leveraged more than $277 million in public and private sector contributions.

The report was developed collaboratively by EPA, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.

The M2M Partnership has grown to include 31 partner governments and more than 900 private sector entities, financial institutions, non-governmental agencies and other organizations.

BASF Corporation Agrees to $384,200 Fine and will Take Steps to Protect Stratospheric Ozone

BASF Corporation has agreed, under a Clean Air Act (CAA) settlement filed in federal court in Beaumont, Texas, to reduce the use of refrigerant chemicals that destroy the earth’s stratospheric ozone layer. BASF will spend more than $250,000 to upgrade existing equipment at their site, and BASF will also pay a civil penalty of $384,200 to resolve the alleged CAA violations.

Under the settlement, BASF will replace one industrial refrigeration unit at its facility in Beaumont, and will either retrofit or retire two others at that facility. All of those units currently use hydro-chlorofluorocarbons, known as HCFCs, which destroy stratospheric, or “good” ozone. All replacement units will be able to use only non ozone-depleting refrigerants. BASF has already replaced or retired four other refrigeration units at BASF’s facilities in Livonia, Michigan; Greenville, Ohio; and South Brunswick, New Jersey, at a cost of over $200,000. Combined, the measures that the company is performing will remove approximately 4,760 pounds of harmful HCFCs from their operations.

“Today’s settlement demonstrates this administration’s commitment to achieve the benefits envisioned by the Clean Air Act,” said John C. Cruden, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “We are pleased that after violating important ozone protection requirements, BASF is now committed to a settlement that will bring the company into compliance with the Act’s requirements.”

“Today’s settlement marks an important step in protecting the earth’s stratospheric ozone layer from the harmful effects on HCFCs,” said EPA Acting Regional Administrator Lawrence E. Starfield. “EPA will continue to enforce against companies that violate the rules.”

BASF Corporation, headquartered in Florham, New Jersey, is the U.S. affiliate of BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany. The company makes a wide variety of products, including chemicals, plastics, and agricultural products.

Samsung’s Antimicrobial Claims about Their Keyboards Results in $205,000 Penalty

When it publicized that its keyboards were antimicrobial and inhibited germs and bacteria, Samsung had not registered its products with the EPA, and was found to be in violation of the federal pesticide law. As a result, Samsung has agreed to pay a fine and to stop making the claims. The claims made on the company’s labels and promotional material for netbook and notebook computer laptops would render the products pesticides, requiring registration by EPA.

“Pesticides can be beneficial in killing off harmful bacteria, but they can also be dangerous if they don’t work as claimed,” said George Pavlou, Acting Regional Administrator. “Members of the public think their health is being protected when it actually is not. Making sure that public health claims are true is part of the reason EPA governs the use of pesticides, and it is absolutely essential that those using pesticides register with EPA so that the Agency can ensure the safety of all involved.”

The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) is designed to regulate the sale and use of pesticides in the United States. Before a pesticide can be sold or distributed in the United States, FIFRA requires that registration be obtained from EPA. In making a registration decision, EPA must determine that the pesticide, when used in accordance with labeling directions, will not cause unreasonable adverse effects to human health or the environment. Without a pesticide product in its registration database, EPA cannot, for example, prescribe labeling requirements that set forth effective warnings and specific directions for use.

Samsung will pay a $205,000 fine and provide a certification that it has complied with FIFRA by removing all pesticidal claims made in connection with the sales and distributions of these products. Additionally, Samsung has notified its retailers and distributors to remove any pesticidal claims from labels, promotional brochures, and internet/Web-based content for the subject products.

Penalties Total More than $230,000 for Southeast Facilities Ordered to Comply with CWA

EPA issued Consent Agreements and Final Orders (CA/FOs) against 17 entities throughout the Southeast from July 1, through September 30, 2009, for violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA). As part of the settlements, the responsible parties in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee have agreed to come into compliance and will pay a total of $231,200 in civil penalties.

“By taking these enforcement actions, we are sending a strong message about the importance of protecting rivers, lakes and streams across the Southeast,” said Stan Meiburg, EPA Region 4 Acting Regional Administrator. “To protect our region’s waters, these regulated entities must comply with the Clean Water Act and promptly take the steps needed to resolve the violations noted in our inspections.”

Five entities were cited for alleged storm water related violations of the CWA with the settlements and associated penalties as follows:

  • Savannah Pointe Properties, LLC, for violations at its Savannah Pointe II subdivision in Chelsea, Alabama, $20,000
  • Neopolis Development Group, LLC, for violations at its Flowood Town Center in Flowood, Mississippi, $30,000
  • Lake Harbour Crossing Investments, LLC, for violations at its Harbour Pointe subdivision in Richland, Mississippi, $10,000
  • Lake Glad Commercial, LLC, for violations at its Highland Trails Commercial Center in Creedmoor, North Carolina, $5,000
  • Wendell Falls Development, LLC, for violations at three of its Wendell Falls subdivision in Wendell, North Carolina, $21,000

Nine entities were cited for failing to comply with federal requirements for land disposal of biosolids. Biosolids are primarily organic, accumulated solids separated from wastewater that have undergone treatment and can be beneficially used as an alternative fertilizer. Excessive application of biosolids, however, can result in nitrate contamination of surface or ground water. Improperly managed biosolids can expose people and animals to unsafe levels of pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses, which exist in the biosolids. Settlements were reached with the following entities for the associated penalties:

  • Sheffield Utilities, in Sheffield, Alabama, $900
  • Cooper City, Florida, $3,200
  • City of Miramar, Florida, $3,000
  • City of Pembroke Pines, Florida, $3,300
  • City of Perry, Florida, $1,600
  • St. Lucie County Board of Commissioners, in Fort Pierce, Florida, $3,000
  • City of Cartersville, Georgia, $900
  • City of Sandersville, Georgia, $900
  • Town of Rutherfordton, North Carolina, $900

Six entities were cited for discharging dredged and/or fill material into wetland habitats. Wetlands are important, yet diminishing resources that serve as habitats for critical fish and wildlife and also help control floods, recharge groundwater, capture pollutants and cycle nutrients. The settlements and associated penalties include:

  • Conservancy Partnership, LLC, for impacts to 16.8 acres of forested wetlands and a tidal salt marsh adjacent to the Steinhatchee River in Taylor County, Florida, $65,000
  • Village of Holiday Lake, for impacts to 0.018 acres of the Butterford Canal in Charlotee County, Florida, $12,500
  • James C. Bickett, for impacts to 2.6 acres of forested wetlands in Scuffletown, Kentucky, $40,000
  • Thomas Kennedy, for impacts to 0.39 acres of tidal wetlands adjacent to the Back Bay in Biloxi, Mississippi, $5,000
  • Rhea County, for impacts to approximately 6,500 linear feet of the Roaring Creek, a tributary to the Tennessee River, near Graysville, Tennessee, $2,500
  • East Tennessee Grading, for impacts to approximately 6,500 linear feet of the Roaring Creek, a tributary to the Tennessee River, near Graysville, Tennessee, $2,500

Congress enacted the CWA in 1972 to protect the nation’s rivers, lakes and stream, as well as some of the more fragile and vital wetland habitats. The entities cited violated the CWA by either failing to meet the requirements of their National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, and subsequently causing point source discharges; failing to comply with biosolids requirements; or by filling or dredging wetlands. Pollutants of concern include nutrients, sediment, oil and grease, chemicals, and metals. When left uncontrolled, water pollution can deplete needed oxygen and/or otherwise result in the destruction of aquatic habitats, as well as the fish and wildlife that depend on them. Water pollution can also contaminate food, drinking water supplies and recreational waterways, and thereby pose a threat to public health.

Ohio EPA Fines K.P. McNamara $55,000 for Hazardous Waste Violations

K.P. McNamara Company has agreed to pay Ohio EPA more than $55,000 to settle past hazardous waste violations at its industrial container service in Cleveland. The company has addressed the violations and now operates in compliance with Ohio’s hazardous waste laws.

During an April 2007 facility inspection, Ohio EPA found K.P. McNamara Company had unlawfully transported a trailer containing hazardous waste to a nearby parking lot. The company was cited for establishing an unpermitted hazardous waste storage facility on the lot. The company also had additional violations related to the improper management of hazardous wastes. The violations were corrected by October 2007.

In February 2009, another Ohio EPA facility inspection found new violations. The company corrected all violations by May 2009 with no releases of hazardous waste being observed during any of the inspections.

K.P. McNamara Company operates an industrial container service and sales facility. The company’s tote content removal and cleaning operation generates large quantities of hazardous wastes including waste paint, polyester primer, polyester resin, caustic sludge, and hydrochloric acid.

Hogan Manufacturing Fined for Failing to Submit TRI Reports Under SARA Title III

EPA recently reached a $34,050 settlement with an Escalon, California, company for failing to submit toxic chemical reports for its two manufacturing facilities, a violation of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA or SARA Title III).

Hogan Manufacturing, Inc., a steel products manufacturer, failed to submit timely, complete and correct forms to the EPA and the state for the amounts of chromium and nickel processed at its two manufacturing facilities in 2004, 2005, and 2006. The company voluntarily disclosed the nine violations to the EPA within 21 days and promptly corrected them within 60 days.

“Facilities that use toxic chemicals must provide complete and accurate information about them so that area residents and emergency response personnel are informed of possible chemical hazards in the community,” said Enrique Manzanilla, Communities and Ecosystems director for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region.

Under the EPA’s Audit Policy promoting self-disclosure, the agency may reduce penalties up to 100% for violations that are voluntarily discovered, promptly disclosed to the Agency, and quickly corrected. Based on the company meeting all of the Audit Policy requirements except one, the total civil penalty was reduced by 75% from $136,200 to $34,050.

Hunt Oil Company Fined $7,150 for SPCC Violations

EPA has fined the Hunt Oil Company of Dallas, Texas, $7,150 for violating federal Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) regulations outlined under the CWA. A federal inspection of an oil production facility, Central Tank Battery No. 18, located in Henderson County, Texas, on March 31, 2009, revealed the company failed to provide secondary containment for separation equipment in accordance with written procedures developed for the facility, and had failed to provide documentation of approval of their SPCC plan.

EPA’s Watershed Academy Posts New Online Module on the Effect of Climate Change on Water Resources and Programs

EPA’s Watershed Academy has released a new online module titled “The Effect of Climate Change on Water Resources and Programs.” This module is based on EPA’s National Water Program Strategy: Response to Climate Change posted at http://epa.gov/ow/climatechange/strategy.html. The module provides basic information on climate change, the water-related effects of climate change in the United States, and the implications for EPA’s National Water Program. The module is part of EPA’s Watershed Academy Web that includes more than 50 online modules regarding various aspects of watershed management.

Michigan Finalizes Mercury Emission Rules for Coal-Fired Power Plants

Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality Director, Steven E. Chester, has reported that the state’s new mercury emission rules have been finalized; allowing Michigan to become the 19th state to limit mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants.

“Mercury is a serious health concern, and Michigan is eager to see a major reduction in mercury air emissions,” said Director Chester. “We have worked closely with Michigan’s utilities, the environmental and conservation communities, and other key organizations to develop this critically important regulation, and we will now work to ensure it is properly implemented.”

Under the new rules, starting in 2015, all coal-fired electric-generating units (EGUs) must meet a 90% reduction in mercury emissions. Existing coal-fired EGUs will choose one of three options in order to comply with the emission limits, and any new EGU will be required to meet best available control requirements for mercury.

Mercury is a potent neurotoxin known to have harmful developmental and neurological effects on humans, particularly for children and women of child-bearing age. Utility plants that burn coal to generate electricity are the largest source of mercury air emissions in Michigan and across the nation.

Now It’s Easier to Find out What’s in Your Neighborhood in Minnesota

Finding environmental information about Minnesota communities is just a click away with the updated “What’s in My Neighborhood” (WIMN) Web application from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). With the tools on the website, visitors can search for information about local environmental permits and notifications filed with the MPCA, as well as potentially contaminated sites. Users can search using an interactive map or by a text search.

The MPCA established the original WIMN Web application in 2003, when it contained only limited information about potentially contaminated sites. The MPCA has worked during the past two and a half years to expand the system, adding environmental information such as air and water permits, registrations and notifications.

The new site includes environmental data about businesses and institutions that have permits and registrations, MPCA inspections and how businesses comply with environmental laws and rules. There are 150,000 sites in the database, up from 5,000 on the old Web application.

“We expanded WIMN in response to users who wanted more data,” said Myrna Halbach, director of the MPCA’s Operational Support Division. “The expansion of this Web application is the first phase of what will become an even more complete environmental resource for Minnesotans, eventually including links to actual documents such as permits.”

Ohio to Ease RMP Reporting Requirements

The Division of Air Pollution Control (DAPC) is proposing a change to OAC 3745-104-38 to ease reporting for subject facilities. Facilities will no longer be required to submit an RMP to Ohio EPA DAPC on their five-year anniversary. However, facilities will still be required to submit a copy of the RMP to Ohio EPA DAPC if it is an initial RMP, or if the facility meets the requirement to update their RMP due to a major change in the process or due to an RMP reportable release.

A public hearing on these rule changes will be conducted on Tuesday, December 1, 2009 at 10:00 a.m. in conference room C at Ohio EPA, Lazarus Government Center, 50 W. Town Street, Suite 700, Columbus, Ohio.

Oregon’s DEQ Announces Final Priority Persistent Pollutant List for Surface Waters

After months of public input and technical review, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has announced an official list of persistent, surface water pollutants that pose a potential threat to the state’s environment and residents. The list identifies 118 toxic pollutants that come from a wide variety of sources and have a documented effect on human health, wildlife, or aquatic species.

The final list is available on the DEQ website under “Documents to Download,” in right-hand column. It contains two types of toxic pollutants: substances that either persist in water environments or accumulate in the tissues of people, wildlife, or plants; and chemicals that have been banned or restricted for years but remain in sediment and tissue samples at detectable levels.

Oregon is the first state in the nation to develop such a comprehensive list of toxic pollutants related to surface waters, combined with a data-driven reduction strategy to protect human health and the environment. The list will help the state identify sources of pollutants and develop ways to reduce their amounts in Oregon’s waters. The list also is part of DEQ’s agency-wide toxics reduction strategy, which strives to achieve similar reduction goals across air and land. A draft of DEQ’s overall strategy to identify and reduce toxic pollutants in the environment will be available for public review in spring 2010.

The priority persistent pollutant list includes both well-studied pollutants that people have worked to reduce, such as mercury, PCBs and DDT, and pollutants of emerging concern, such as ingredients in certain personal care products, for which specific data are lacking but where available information indicates their potential to cause harm.

Washington’s Department of Ecology Places New Limits on Storm Water Pollution for Industrial Facilities

Washington State’s Department of Ecology (Ecology) has placed new limits on pollution in storm water runoff from industrial facilities, affecting approximately 1,200 permitted facilities across the state. The new changes under the state’s new industrial storm water permit reduce how much copper and zinc the industries can have in their storm water discharges. Copper and zinc harm salmon and aquatic life. Copper is commonly found in brake pads, paints and many industrial materials. It can cause salmon to lose their ability to sense the presence of predators and spawning grounds. Zinc is pervasive in industrial settings, washing off chain link fences and galvanized roofs. Zinc binds with silt and can harm or suffocate fish.

“We know that meeting these new permit requirements in the real world will be a challenge for some facilities and we will provide technical assistance,” said Kelly Susewind, who manages Ecology’s water quality program. Susewind added, “We believe the new permit is reasonable and protective. It allows businesses the time and flexibility to reduce storm water pollution with the knowledge that they’re complying with the Clean Water Act.”

The permit is one of the state’s key tools to protect water quality throughout the state. Ecology collaborated with both environmental and industrial interests before it wrote the new permit and will hold workshops in January educating people about the new permit requirements. Ecology wrote the new permit in plain language. It minimized technical jargon and simplified wording to help facility managers better understand the new requirements. Ecology will publish new storm water sampling guidance and industry-specific guidance.

“We will use our website and email lists to keep industries informed about the technical assistance we will provide,” Susewind added.

The state’s industrial storm water permit safeguards against pollution carried by rain or snowmelt that leaves industrial sites. The runoff picks up pollution and carries it into downstream waters or storm drains bypassing wastewater treatment facilities. Storm drains are essentially the upper reaches of lakes, rivers, streams, and the Puget Sound.

Approximately 70% of the state’s industrial storm water general permit holders are in the 12 counties that border Puget Sound.

The new permit goes into effect January 1, 2010. Industries will have until mid-May to submit their first quarter 2010 storm water discharge monitoring reports.

Industries will have until July 1 to implement certain newly required practices. Some of these include:

  • Vacuum-sweeping of paved surfaces once every three months
  • Keeping all dumpsters under cover and lid closed when not in use
  • Cleaning catch basins when they are full
  • Inspecting all equipment for leaking fluids and taking leaky machinery out of service until repaired

The industrial storm water general permit covers a wide array of industry sectors including lumber, paper, printing, chemicals, petroleum, leather, stone, metals, ships, landfills, transportation, mills, and food. Approximately 100 facilities apply to Ecology each year for coverage by this permit. Facilities pay a yearly fee to be covered by the permit and their permit fee is based on the size of their business. Ecology uses the fee money to cover its costs to administer the permit.

World Aviation Authorities Tackle Climate Change

Along with counterparts from around the world, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) led the U.S. delegation in recent meetings at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal that resulted in an agreement that will guide the global aviation community as it tackles the challenge of climate change.

“The agreement reached on October 9 at ICAO is a significant milestone for the aviation sector in addressing its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions,” said FAA Acting Administrator for Policy and Environment, Nancy LoBue, who participated in the meetings.

The countries participating in the agreement adopted a program of action to reduce aviation greenhouse gas emissions. In particular, it features an agreement to strive for a 2% annual fuel efficiency improvement between 2012 and 2050, calculated on the basis of volume of fuel used per revenue ton kilometer performed. This commitment represents an improvement of more than 60% over that period.

In addition, ICAO, the United Nations agency that oversees civil aviation, identified a broad range of measures available to all states that can be used to limit and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from international aviation. The group also called for reporting on air transport traffic and fuel consumption by all states, which will allow ICAO to monitor progress toward the global goal. This is the first time any industry sector in the world has made such a commitment on a global level. The high-level meeting also encouraged states to submit to ICAO reports on the measures they are taking to contribute to the global goal.

The meeting of the world’s aviation authorities also agreed to an ambitious program of action beyond these initial steps. In the next year, ICAO will develop recommendations on carbon-neutral growth and long-term emissions reductions for the international aviation sector. States have agreed to develop an international framework for the use of market-based measures in international aviation and ICAO has committed to explore how best to address the special needs of developing countries.

Environmental News Links

National and International Environmental Trends
House Panel Moves Chemical Security Bills

EPA Analysis of Senate Climate Bill

Six Keys to Running an Efficient Green Business

Pew Center on Global Climate Change: Climate Policy Outlook

How the Smart Grid Can be a Force in Addressing Climate Change

Mohawk Fine Papers Resigns from U.S. Chamber of Commerce over Climate Policy

Calculating Emissions Is Problematic

European Union Setting New Goals for Emissions Reductions

EPA Proposes Withdrawal of Bush-Era Air Toxics Assessment

California and Texas: Renewable Energy’s Odd Couple

The Vindication of a Public Scholar

Pollution Pictures from China

Federal Regulatory Activity
EPA Issues Proposed Rule to Approve HFO-1234yf as Acceptable Substitute for CFC-12 in Motor Vehicle Air Conditioning: Comment Period Now Open

Final Rule for Aircraft Public Water Systems

First WaterSense Label for a Commercial Building Product

EPA Seeks Comments on Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards Review

EPA Issues Fine of $15,600 to Behr Process for Selling Unregistered Pesticide

EPA Seeking Nominations for the Environmental Financial Advisory Board

EPA Orders Cleveland Companies to Recover Refrigerants from Appliances to Protect Stratospheric Ozone

EPA Orders Milwaukee Company to Recover Refrigerants

EPA Orders Illinois Scrap Metal Recovery Facility to Recover Refrigerants

EPA Orders Toy’s Scrap and Salvage in Wisconsin to Recover Refrigerants

EPA Requesting Nominations of Experts for the SAB Trichloroethylene (TCE) Review Panel

Ship Operator Pleads Guilty for Concealing Pollution, Will Pay $1.25 Million

EPA Revises Regulations for Lead and Copper in Drinking Water

State and Regional News
Pacific Petroleum Fined $21,000 for Emissions Violations at California Port Operation

Awards for Reducing Energy and Water Use under Massachusetts’ Leading by Example Program

School Bus Company to Implement Anti-Idling Program and Pay $128,000 in Penalties for Clean Air Violations

New Mexico to Harmonize State Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rules with New Federal Requirements

New York Man Indicted for Directing and Hiding Illegal Asbestos Removal

Former Operators and Current Site Owner of Closed TSD that Operated in Dayton, Ohio, will Conduct Clean-up at the Site and Pay Penalty Over $14 Million

Oregon DEQ Fines Sisters Construction Company for Asbestos Violations

Mallard Contracting Inc. Fined $45,000 and will Complete Clean-up Operations for 63,000 Gallon Gasoline Spill in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania DEP Fines Leighow Oil Co. $8,500 for Heating Oil Spill

Chaparral Energy, LLC, of Oklahoma City Fined $10,900 for Oil Spill in March 2009

EPA and Allentown, Pennsylvania Enter Sustainability Pact

Texas TCEQ Approves Fines Totaling $396,490

West Virginia DEP Joins with EPA to Push Green Commitment Higher

Meeting Announcements
EPA’s Watershed Academy Webcast: Working Together to Address the Effects of Climate Change on Water Resources

Lead-Based Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule Workshop, Charleston, South Carolina, October 28

Teleconference: EPA’s Draft Integrated Review Plan for the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone

Meetings to Review EPA’s Integrated Science Assessment for Carbon Monoxide and EPA’s Carbon Monoxide Air Quality Standards

News of Note
EPA Unveils Recovery Through Retrofit Report: Placing EPA’s Energy Star Program in Role to Boost Energy Savings for Middle Class Americans

New Information on Insect Repellents

UN Helps Launch Forest Monitoring System to Tackle Climate Change

EPA’s Burn Wise Campaign Seeks to Reduce Wood Smoke Pollution and Promote Health for Homeowners

Study on Benefits of Electric Cars Shows They Don’t Deserve a Halo Yet

Plug-In Cars Are Almost Here, but Charging Stations Lag

As Hybrid Buses Get Cheaper, Cities Fill Their Fleets

Dura Coat Products, Inc., Joins EPA’s National Partnership for Environmental Priorities

The Dilemma of Aging Nuclear Plants

What’s Your Carbon Footprint?

What’s Your Dog’s Carbon Footprint?

Trivia Question of the Week

Of the 507 million pounds of persistent bioaccumulative toxic (PBT) chemicals reported to EPA on TRI reports for RY 2007, what percentage of the total PBT chemicals was lead and lead compounds?

a. 20%
b. 50%
c. 75%
d. 98%

Answer