EPA Proposes Reporting of New Uses of Glymes
EPA is proposing a requirement for companies to report new uses of chemicals known as glymes in consumer products. EPA’s proposed action is based in part on concerns that additional uses of 14 glymes in consumer products could lead to harmful reproductive and developmental health effects. Glymes are chemicals used in a wide array of applications including printing ink, paints and coatings, adhesives, household batteries and motor vehicle brake systems. This proposed action is part of Administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s effort to strengthen the agency’s chemical management program and ensure the safety of chemicals.
“This proposed rule would enable EPA to evaluate the use of these chemicals before Americans are subject to additional exposure to them in numerous consumer products” said Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “We need to take a closer look at the potential health effects that additional exposure to these chemicals could have.”
The proposed regulatory procedure is known as a significant new use rule (SNUR) under the Toxic Substances Control Act. The SNUR would ensure that, prior to the manufacture, import, or processing of these chemicals for a significant new use, EPA will have 90 days to evaluate potential risks, and prohibit or limit the activity if warranted.
Comments on the proposal must be received on or before September 9, 2011. The proposal and supporting information can be found in docket number EPA–HQ–OPPT–2009–0767 on the Federal eRulemaking Portal, http://www.regulations.gov.
For more information on the EPA’s existing chemical programs: http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/.
Macon, Georgia, RCRA, DOT, and IATA/IMO Training
Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course (RCRA) and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course, in Macon, Georgia, from July 26–28 and save $100. Transportation of Dangerous Goods: Compliance with IATA and IMO Regulations will be offered in Macon on July 29. To take advantage of the discount offer for the Macon RCRA and DOT combination, or to register for any of the Macon training courses, click here or call 1-800-537-2372.
Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course (RCRA) and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course, in Greensboro, North Carolina, from August 9–11 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 1-800-537-2372.
Advertising Opportunities Available
Environmental Resource Center is making a limited number of advertising positions available in the Environmental Tip of the Week™, the Safety Tip of the Week™, and the Reg of the Day™. If you have a product or service that would be of interest to over 25,000 weekly readers, contact Amy Knight at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-469-1585 for details.
Mandatory Energy Efficiency for International Shipping Adopted by IMO
Mandatory measures to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from international shipping were adopted by Parties to MARPOL Annex VI represented in the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), when it met for its 62nd session from 11 to 15 July 2011, at IMO Headquarters in London, representing the first ever mandatory GHG reduction regime for an international industry sector.
The amendments to MARPOL Annex VI Regulations for the prevention of air pollution from ships, add a new chapter 4 to Annex VI on Regulations on energy efficiency for ships to make mandatory the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI), for new ships, and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP) for all ships. Other amendments to Annex VI add new definitions and the requirements for survey and certification, including the format for the International Energy Efficiency Certificate.
The regulations apply to all ships of 400 gross tonnage and above and are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2013.
However, under regulation 19, the Administration may waive the requirement for new ships of 400 gross tonnage and above from complying with the EEDI requirements. This waiver may not be applied to ships above 400 gross tonnage for which the building contract is placed four years after the entry into force date of chapter 4; the keel of which is laid or which is at a similar stage of construction four years and six months after the entry into force; the delivery of which is after six years and six months after the entry into force; or in cases of the major conversion of a new or existing ship, four years after the entry into force date.
The EEDI is a non-prescriptive, performance-based mechanism that leaves the choice of technologies to use in a specific ship design to the industry. As long as the required energy-efficiency level is attained, ship designers and builders would be free to use the most cost-efficient solutions for the ship to comply with the regulations.
The SEEMP establishes a mechanism for operators to improve the energy efficiency of ships.
The new chapter includes a regulation on Promotion of technical co-operation and transfer of technology relating to the improvement of energy efficiency of ships, which requires Administrations, in co-operation with IMO and other international bodies, to promote and provide, as appropriate, support directly or through IMO to States, especially developing States, that request technical assistance.
It also requires the Administration of a Party to co-operate actively with other Parties, subject to its national laws, regulations and policies, to promote the development and transfer of technology and exchange of information to States, which request technical assistance, particularly developing States, in respect of the implementation of measures to fulfill the requirements of Chapter 4.
The MEPC agreed a work plan to continue the work on energy efficiency measures for ships, to include the development of the EEDI framework for ship types and sizes, and propulsion systems, not covered by the current EEDI requirements and the development of EEDI and SEEMP-related guidelines.
Commenting at the close of the session, on the outcome of MEPC, IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos expressed satisfaction at the many and various significant achievements with which the session should be credited. “Although not by consensus—which of course would be the ideal outcome—the Committee has now adopted amendments to MARPOL Annex VI introducing mandatory technical and operational measures for the energy efficiency of ships. Let us hope that the work to follow on these issues will enable all Members to build the consensus that evaded the Committee this time,” he said.
Stormwater Permit for Construction Extended in Most EPA Regions
EPA Regions 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 are modifying the 2008 NPDES general permits for stormwater discharges associated with construction activity in order to extend until February 15, 2012, the expiration date of the permit. The 2008 CGP will now expire on midnight, February 15, 2012, instead of June 30, 2011. The extension was published in the July 8, 2011, Federal Register.
California Revises Mandatory Recycling Regulations
CalRecycle staff is presenting the changes made to the proposed AB32 Mandatory Commercial Recycling draft regulation since the January Workshop. The proposed mandatory commercial recycling regulation will reduce GHGs by focusing waste reduction within the commercial sector and requiring businesses and multifamily units of 5 units or more that produce more than four cubic yards of solid waste per week to recycle. Recycled materials can include, but are not limited to paper, plastics, glass, metals, cardboard, organics, food waste, and construction and demolition materials. The GHG emissions reductions goal for this measure is estimated to be 5 MMTCO2E.
The workshop will be held on Tuesday, July 19, 2011, from 1:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. in the Byron Sher Auditorium located at CalEPA, 1001 I Street, Sacramento, CA 95814.
The Draft Proposed Regulation, the Summary of the Proposed Regulation, and the workshop presentation have been posted. See the Public Notice to download these documents. The formal rulemaking process for the Mandatory Commercial Recycling Regulation will begin in early September 2011.
For questions regarding this workshop, contact Teri Wion at email@example.com or call 916-341-6374.
DEQ and EPA Sign Agreement on Toxic Release Inventory Submissions
The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality has announced their membership in the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) Data Exchange, which allows facilities to meet the federal requirement for making annual TRI submissions to state agencies upon submitting the data to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Facilities in Louisiana that are required to submit a copy of their annual Toxic Release Inventory to DEQ will automatically do so when they submit their data to the Environmental Protection Agency via the EPA’s TRI-ME web system. This eliminates the need for facilities to submit their TRI annual reports to both EPA and DEQ separately. However, facilities choosing to submit via paper copy or via CD copy still must report to both EPA and DEQ separately.
“By joining the data exchange, DEQ is helping business to reduce the cost of compliance without affecting data availability to the public,” said DEQ Secretary Peggy Hatch. ”This new development will streamline the reporting mandate for both DEQ and EPA while also benefitting business.”
Section 313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) requires that EPA establish a Toxics Release Inventory of toxic chemical emissions from certain manufacturing facilities nationwide. Under Federal law, facilities are also required to provide copies of their inventory to appropriate state agencies. The TRI database is publicly available and contains information on toxic chemical releases and other waste management activities that are reported annually by certain industry groups and federal facilities. EPA has established a number of resources on its Web site designed to assist facilities with reporting their emissions, as well as providing query tools to assist in community-based decision making.
Louisiana DEQ Changes Permit Transfer of Ownership Process
The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality has announced an update to their Notice of Ownership change form that must be filled out in the event a permit holder undergoes a name change or transfers ownership to another entity.
When a company buys out another company or changes names, they must complete a Notice of Ownership Change form, known as a NOC-1 form, to request that DEQ transfer the permit. In addition, an Addendum to Permit Applications form and a Permit Transfer of Liability form between the two companies also had to be completed, which added to the overall processing time. Now, under the change, those three forms have been incorporated into the updated NOC-1 form. The new form will take effect on August 1, 2011.
“This change will reduce the amount of deficiency requests we have to submit, while enabling DEQ to transfer these permits quicker,” said Sam Phillips, Assistant Secretary of DEQ’s Office of Environmental Services.
For more information, the updated Notice of Ownership Change form is currently posted on the DEQ Web site.
Illinois to Streamline Environmental Permitting Process
Governor Pat Quinn has signed legislation that will make it easier to open and expand a business in Illinois. House Bill 1297 will help employers create more jobs by streamlining the environmental permitting process in Illinois, establish a plan for long-term funding, and make the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) more efficient.
“Simplifying and speeding up the review process for environmental permits will help Illinois companies begin hiring, investing and producing more quickly,” said Governor Quinn. “This law is a great example of my administration’s commitment to reducing the burden on Illinois’ businesses – both large and small – so they can grow and create more jobs.”
House Bill 1297 requires the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) to speed up and streamline the permitting process. Under the new law, IEPA will begin to use more efficient techniques such as online permitting, processing and tracking to make the permitting process easier to navigate for businesses. The new law also allows for expedited permitting, general permitting and permitting by rule for certain classes of facilities.
“These changes will improve the agency’s operations and make it more efficient, while ensuring that environmental standards are never compromised,” said IEPA Interim Director Lisa Bonnett.
“For too long, Illinois’ environmental regulatory process has hindered economic development and made it more difficult for businesses to compete,” said Greg Baise, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. “We applaud Governor Quinn’s support of this new law that modernizes and streamlines the process, allowing businesses to save time and money. It balances environmental and economic interests.”
In addition to making the permitting process easier for businesses, the new law also creates an online portal to assist with the permitting process. As a result, companies can begin production and other projects more quickly. The new law also allows the IEPA to create a new, logical funding source based on revenue from products used to lower emissions. By establishing a Registration of Smaller Sources (ROSS) program for smaller entities, a significant number of low-polluting small businesses will be able to register with the agency instead of obtaining a more extensive air permit. This will reduce the burden on small businesses by lowering the fee for emissions, eliminating the need to hire permit consultants and speeding up the approval process.
EPA Opens Public Comment on Secondary Air Standards for Nitrogen and Sulfur Oxides
In a proposal that builds on EPA’s efforts already underway to reduce NOx and SOx emissions, the Agency is proposing secondary air quality standards to protect the environment from nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur oxides (SOx).
EPA has made significant progress in developing a multi-pollutant standard that would protect vulnerable ecosystems, including streams and lakes. To ensure any updated standard is effective, EPA is planning to conduct a field pilot program to collect and analyze additional data and information.
In the meantime, EPA is proposing to set an additional secondary standard for each pollutant. The new standards would be identical to the public health standards that the agency strengthened last year. These standards reduce the amount of NOx and SOx in the air and the harmful effects that the pollutants have on sensitive lakes and streams. EPA is also proposing to retain the existing secondary standards for each pollutant.
EPA is already taking a number of steps to reduce NOx and SOx emissions, including the recently announced Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. This new rule will cut millions of tons of these pollutants from power plants each year.
Nitrogen oxides are emitted from an array of sources, including vehicles, power plants, off-road equipment, and agricultural sources. Sulfur oxides are emitted from fossil fuel combustion by power plants, large industries, and mobile sources, and from some industrial processes.
EPA will accept comments for 60 days after the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register and will issue a final rule by March 2012.
Trash to Treasure: Turning Steel Mill Waste into Bricks
Scientists are reporting development and successful testing of a promising new way of using a troublesome byproduct of the global steel industry as raw materials for bricks that can be used in construction projects. Their study appears in ACS’ Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research.
In the report, Ana Andr?s and colleagues note that steel mills around the world produce vast quantities of waste dust each year—8 million–12 million tons in the United States, for instance, and 700,000 tons in the European Union countries. The dust often is converted into a rock-like material known as Waelz slag, which is usually disposed of in landfills. The slag contains iron, calcium, silicon oxide, and other minor oxides such as manganese, lead, or zinc oxide. Scientists have been searching for practical and safe uses for Waelz slag. In earlier research, scientists showed that Waelz slag had potential as an ingredient in bricks, roof tiles and other ceramic products. The new research moves large-scale recycling of Waelz slag closer to reality, establishing at two real-world brick factories that the material can successfully be incorporated into commercial-size bricks.
It showed existing commercial equipment could be used to make bricks with Waelz slag, and eased concerns about large amounts of potentially toxic metals leaching out of such bricks. A small amount of potentially toxic material came out of the slag-made bricks over time, not in excess of European Union regulations. “Overall, it may be summarized that Waelz slag containing bricks meet the highest quality standards set for construction ceramic materials,” the researchers say.
New Energy Star Initiative Recognizes Products with Highest Energy Efficiency
EPA and DOE are identifying, for the first time, products recognized as the most energy-efficient in their categories among those that have earned the Energy Star label. This pilot program is part of Energy Star’s overall commitment to protect people’s health and the environment by encouraging energy efficiency. The Most Efficient initiative also continues Energy Star’s work to provide consumers with the best efficiency information so they can make investments that will lower their energy bills and environmental impact. The new designation of Most Efficient aims to provide all manufacturers with an incentive for greater product energy efficiency while providing consumers new information about the products that comprise the top tier in the categories.
"This new designation will help Americans save money and cut pollution by quickly pointing them to the best Energy Star products have to offer. Highlighting Energy Star's Most Efficient products is a great way to encourage the strides in innovation that bring even more energy and money saving choices to our stores," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "We know American consumers are eager to make purchases that save them money on their utility bills and reduce the pollution in the air we breathe, and these labels will help them identify the best ways to find those purchases."
"Over the last two decades, the Energy Star program has consistently offered consumers energy choices that have helped families save billions of dollars on their energy bills,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. "The new Most Efficient designation is the next step towards encouraging new, more energy-efficient products to enter the market, so that consumers will have even more choices when it comes to high performance, high efficiency products that will save them energy and money.”
Products that receive the Most Efficient designation demonstrate exceptional and cutting-edge efficiency performance that environmentally minded consumers and early adopters value. The Most Efficient recognition will represent approximately the top five percent of models on the market in the following categories: clothes washers, heating and cooling equipment, televisions, and refrigerator-freezers. The following Energy Star partners’ products are among the first to be recognized as Most Efficient: Electrolux Major Appliances, Sears’ Kenmore, LG, Samsung, Best Buy’s Insignia Brand, Panasonic, Nordyne, and Rheem. Later this year, EPA will initiate a process to consider additional product categories for potential inclusion in 2012.
Consumers will be able to identify Most Efficient products on the Energy Star website and in stores by looking for the Most Efficient designation. In addition to meeting established performance requirements, products must also be Energy Star qualified and certified by an EPA-recognized certification body. Manufacturers are encouraged to submit products that meet the requirements to EPA for recognition.
Energy Star is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy to help Americans save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices. The Energy Star label can be found on more than 60 different kinds of products as well as new homes and commercial and industrial buildings that meet strict energy efficiency specifications set by the EPA. Last year alone, Americans, with the help of Energy Star, saved $18 billion on their energy bills while preventing GHG emissions equivalent to annual emissions of 33 million vehicles.
EPA Proposes Criteria to Waive Federal Requirements for Capturing Gasoline Vapors When Refueling Vehicles
EPA is issuing a proposal under the CAA that would waive requirements for systems used at gas station pumps to capture potentially harmful gasoline vapors while refueling cars. The proposal is part of the Obama Administration’s initiative to review outdated and redundant rules.
Beginning in 2013, states that meet the new criteria would have the option to do away with vapor recovery systems at the pump since an estimated 70 percent of all vehicles will be equipped by then with on-board systems that capture these vapors. The result of the proposal would be the continued protection of air quality and public health while potentially saving affected gas stations more than $3,000 annually.
Since 1994, gas stations in certain areas have been required to use gasoline vapor recovery systems. The systems capture fumes that escape from gasoline tanks during refueling. However, as required by the CAA, automobile manufacturers began installing onboard refueling vapor recovery (ORVR) technologies in 1998, making gas stations’ systems redundant. Since 2006, all new automobiles and light trucks (pickups, vans, and SUVs) are equipped with ORVR.
Vapor emissions from refueling, if allowed to escape, can contribute significantly to ground-level ozone, sometimes called smog, as well as to other types of harmful air pollution. Ground-level ozone can cause acute respiratory problems, aggravated asthma, temporary decreases in lung capacity in healthy adults, and inflammation of lung tissue. Children and the elderly are most at risk. Gasoline vapors also contain toxic air pollutants associated with a variety of health threats.
The CAA allows EPA to establish criteria for waiving federal requirements for vapor recovery systems on gasoline pumps when ORVR systems are widely available in the vehicle fleet. EPA is proposing to establish June 30, 2013, as the date by which a sufficient portion of the vehicle fleet will be equipped with such technology. By that date, EPA projects that more than 70 percent of vehicles on the road will have ORVR technology.
EPA will accept comment on the proposal for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.
Texas Companies Agree to Federal Air Permits
On July 12, EPA announced that all ‘flexible permit’ companies in Texas have agreed to apply for approved air permits, helping to achieve clean air in the state and providing for regulatory certainty.
In September 2010, EPA notified all of the 136 ‘flexible permit’ companies that they needed to seek CAA compliant permits from the state.
“I appreciate the on-going work by Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in processing new permits for these Texas businesses,” said Regional Administrator Al Armendariz.
EPA recognized several companies for being far ahead of schedule or reaching an important milestone toward obtaining new permits that satisfies conditions set forth by the agency in 2010. Working closely with EPA, each has chosen an appropriate transition process and established an enforceable commitment and schedule to obtain an approvable permit. They are:
- Alon USA, Big Spring;
- BP Product North America, Texas City;
- Conoco Phillips Company, Borger;
- Exxon Mobil Corporation, Baytown;
- Flint Hills Resources, Corpus Christi;
- INEOS Americas LLC, Port Arthur;
- INEOS Polyethylene North America, La Porte;
- INEOS Polymers, La Porte;
- INEOS USA, Chocolate Bayou; and
- Marathon Petroleum Company LP, Texas City.
“From the beginning we knew this was going to take hard work and time,” said Regional Administrator Al Armendariz. “We asked companies to do the right thing and if they did so we would assist them complete the process.”
“Our goal was to provide the citizens of Texas with the same healthy-air protections that are provided for citizens in all other states under the Clean Air Act,” added Armendariz.
Forgoing a one-size fits all approach, EPA welcomed input from state regulators, environmental organizations, community and business leaders in developing a variety of pathways to transition their air permits and eliminate regulatory uncertainty. A primary goal has been to identify clear emission limits, operating requirements, and monitoring, reporting and recordkeeping requirements in air permits.
“It’s great that Texas businesses would meet the challenge so quickly,” said Armendariz. “Here we are¾one year from beginning to work with the largest 40 permit holders¾and we have significant progress with no disruptions, no job losses, and numerous commitments from companies to obtain Clean Air Act compliant permits through a transparent process. Several companies have reached the first milestones ahead of schedule. People living in cities and towns across Texas will benefit from the hard work of EPA staff and these companies.”
By following a transparent transition process, these companies will achieve our shared goal of regulatory certainty.
The CCA ensures that businesses across the country operate efficiently and cleanly to safeguard public health from harmful levels of air pollution. Under the Act, all states must develop State Implementation Plans for meeting federal requirements to protect public health. EPA approved Texas’ State Implementation Plan in 1992 and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has been implementing that plan to the over 1500 major air permitted facilities in the state of Texas.
The TCEQ is the authorized Clean Air Act permitting authority in Texas. Since 1992, TCEQ continues to operate the largest air permitting program for major and minor sources in the U.S. Of the over 1500 major air permit holders in Texas, less than 150 companies applied for and received non-approved flexible permits creating uncertainty about their compliance status with the CCA. In 2007, EPA wrote to all flexible permit holders telling them of their need to ensure compliance with federal requirements.
MassDEP Penalizes Boston University for Asbestos Violations at Three School Properties
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has penalized the Trustees of Boston University (BU) $74,250 for asbestos violations that occurred in the spring of 2010 at three of its Boston properties. The violations were found at Robinson Medical Building at 15 Stoughton Street, the Student Union at 775 Commonwealth Avenue, and a residence hall at 273 Babcock Street.
"The failure to submit a demolition notification in this instance resulted in asbestos-containing materials being removed without adequate controls in place, and the resultant release of asbestos fibers clearly represented an unacceptable health threat to anyone exposed in the impacted area," said Richard Chalpin, director of MassDEP's Northeast Regional Office located in Wilmington.
Initially, MassDEP responded to a complaint at the Robinson Building and found demolition and asbestos abatement had commenced in two areas of the building, without the required notification. A failure to submit the proper notification prior to commencing demolition work resulted in asbestos-containing materials being removed from this work area without the required protection¾such as wetting down the material to curtail emissions¾and without the use of a sealed work area to prevent outside areas becoming contaminated. In addition, there were no air cleaning devices, and the asbestos-containing materials were improperly packaged.
MassDEP inspected another BU building, the Student Union site, on June 2, 2010, along with the City of Boston's Office of Environmental Affairs. MassDEP observed additional demolition and renovation work, and asbestos abatement had also commenced there. This work, which had also been initiated without the proper notification, resulted in the improper removal of asbestos-containing flooring materials without first sealing the work area and installing the required air-cleaning devices, and with the material being improperly packaged.
MassDEP responded to a third BU location, the Babcock Street site, on June 3, 2010. During that inspection, MassDEP determined that work had also commenced on demolition activity at the site without notification. Samples taken from the work area indicated that asbestos-containing materials had been removed during that demolition as well.
In each of these locations, BU was ordered to cease further activities¾other than to immediately secure the site¾and then submit a testing and decontamination plan to MassDEP for approval. MassDEP subsequently approved and oversaw the cleanup of these properties, all of which were done in compliance with state and federal regulations.
As a result of the violations observed by MassDEP at these three sites, however, BU has been penalized $74,250. MassDEP has agreed to suspend $30,750 of the total penalty provided there are no additional violations over the next one-year period.
Safety-Kleen Systems Branch Facility in St. Charles, Missouri, to Pay $26,782 Penalty for Community Right-to-Know Violations
Safety-Kleen Systems, Inc., a manufacturer and seller of industrial cleaning products and equipment, has agreed to pay a $26,782 civil penalty to the United States to settle three violations of environmental regulations related to the public reporting of toxic chemicals at its branch facility in St. Charles, Missouri.
According to an administrative consent agreement filed by EPA Region 7 in Kansas City, Kansas, in December 2010 the Agency conducted an inspection of Safety-Kleen Systems’ facility at 4526 Towne Court in St. Charles, and found the company had failed to submit reports to EPA and the State of Missouri concerning quantities of certain toxic chemicals that were manufactured, processed or otherwise used at the facility during 2008. Those chemicals were ethylene glycol, lead, and polycyclic aromatic compounds.
Information about potential health concerns and environmental effects associated with releases of and exposures to ethylene glycol, lead, and polycyclic aromatic compounds is available online at www.atsdr.cdc.gov/substances/index.asp.
Submission of the annual toxic chemical reports is a requirement of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). Under EPCRA regulations, companies of certain size are required to submit annual reports to EPA and state authorities listing the amounts of regulated chemicals that their facilities release into the environment through routine activities or as a result of accidents. The reports provide an important source of information to emergency planners and responders, and residents of surrounding communities.
Consolidated Industries Fined for EPCRA Reporting Violations
Consolidated Industries, a manufacturer of metal parts for the aerospace industry faces a fine of up to $175,739 for charges by EPA that it violated federal clean air and right-to-know laws.
According to an EPA complaint filed last week, Consolidated Industries of Cheshire, Connecticut, violated the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) by failing to file chemical reporting forms for chromium and nickel in 2007 and 2008. These forms are required for the federal Toxics Release Inventory.
According to the complaint, filed July 6, Consolidated also failed to put in place a required Risk Management Plan for hydrofluoric acid stored at the facility, a violation of the federal Clean Air Act (CAA). According to the information gathered, the facility processed or stored hydrofluoric acid in amounts above the threshold required for reporting in 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2010. The complaint stems from an April 2010 inspection of the facility as well as follow-up letters seeking information.
Failure of a facility to file chemical inventory forms deprives the community of its right to know about potential releases and the presence of chemicals in the neighborhood that could affect the public’s health and the environment. In addition, the forms help ensure the validity of health studies based on the TRI database and contribute to adequate comprehensive planning by federal, state, and local authorities in cleaning up industrial pollution.
Risk Management Plans required under the CAA help prevent accidental releases of substances that can cause serious harm to the public and the environment and can reduce the severity of releases that do occur. Risk Management Plans document a company’s compliance with several important accident prevention and response regulations, including requirements to assess risks posed by the chemical, develop safe operating procedures, train employees in how to manage dangerous chemicals, design and operate a safe facility, and develop a sound emergency response plan. A company that fails to comply with RMP requirements can leave the public and environment at risk from accidental releases.
The complaint proposes a penalty of $91,700 for the four violations of the community right-to-know law and $84,039 for failing to have a risk management plan in place in violation of the CAA.
The company has since filed the required forms and certified that the facility is in compliance with all other reporting requirements. The facility also has stopped using hydrofluoric acid in concentrations that make it subject to the Risk Management Plan requirement.
Maine Settles With Chevron For $900,000 For Decades-Long Hampden Oil Leak
Maine Governor Paul LePage announced that the State has secured a $900,000 enforcement settlement from Chevron for that company’s decades-long discharge of more than 140,000 gallons of oil at their terminal in Hampden.
The penalty, announced at Hamlin’s Marina on the Penobscot River waterfront by Governor LePage who was joined by Maine Attorney General William Schneider and Maine Department of Environmental Protection Acting Commissioner Pattie Aho, is the largest to be paid to the state for an environmental violation in two decades.
The monetary penalty, negotiated with Chevron by the Governor’s Office, the State Attorney General’s Office, and the Maine DEP, is in addition to a multi-million dollar remediation effort led by Chevron and being overseen by the environmental department.
A separate Natural Resource Damages assessment and related negotiations remain ongoing between the State and Chevron to determine an additional settlement to cover the cost of projects to restore injured natural resources.
The consent decree, which outlines the details of Chevron’s discharge on the shores of the river and their failure to remove the oil to the satisfaction of the State, was signed this week by Chevron and DEP. By law, settlements of Clean Water Act (CWA) violations are subject to a 30-day opportunity for public comment, which in this case will occur after the proposed consent decree is filed with the Kennebec County Superior Court next week.
“We’ve spent months negotiating this penalty, which is tough but fair and most importantly, will help restore this river and the ecosystems and economies supported by its waters,” said Governor LePage. “This settlement shows that my administration is committed to enforcing environmental laws and will hold individuals and businesses both big and small accountable when they break them.”
Chevron USA Inc., and Texaco Inc., owned and operated two marine oil terminals at 799 and 809 Main Road North in Hampden from the early 1900s through the mid-1980s, during which period, records and recent investigation by the DEP revealed that more than 140,000 gallons of oil was spilled on the property where it has continued to discharge into the river. Through acquisition and investment, Chevron has retained liability for oil discharges at both terminals.
Maine DEP began uncovering the extent of the environmental violations in 2007 after they issued Chevron a Notice of Violation in 2007 for the purpose of investigation and necessary remediation of potential threats to public and environmental health posed by contamination. The department’s subsequent study of the site and its records led to its decision to pursue enforcement action.
Since 2008, Chevron has met its responsibilities through implementation of a remediation plan overseen by the department. To date, 2,800 tons of oil-contaminated sediment has been removed from the shoreline and nearly 10,000 gallons of oil has been recovered from the subsurface at the site.
Oil continues to be collected from the subsurface, however the volume recovered on a monthly basis is decreasing. There will not be a recovery of all oil spilled as a substantial portion has/will volatilize into the air, dissolve into water and/or stick to rock and soil.
The $900,000 settlement will be used to further environmental protection throughout Maine and support a major economic development and conservation project in the community where the contamination occurred.
The Town of Hampden’s council will vote Monday night on whether to accept $520,000 of the penalty for a Supplemental Environmental Project that will preserve in perpetuity a riverside public park and boat launch that will feature environmental education signage throughout.
If the council agrees, Turtle Head Cove Municipal Park will comprise a total of 12.3 acres and provide outdoor recreational and environmental awareness opportunities for the community, a key component of Hampden’s Comprehensive Plan.
The investment is expected to lead to job creation and business development, as the expanded waterfront access will attract additional visitors down to the water, which current tenants Hamlin’s Marina and McLaughlin’s Seafood say will result in them expanding their facilities and workforce to meet the increased traffic.
The remaining $380,000 of the penalty will go to the Maine Inland and Coastal Surface Oil Clean-Up Fund, used to support the cleanup of oil spills on Maine’s surface waters and to maintain equipment and train personnel for the purpose of responding to the nearly 3,000 oil and hazardous waste spills that occur in the State each year.
“Our department is committed to firm and fair enforcement and on behalf of all of our staff who worked diligently to bring this to resolution, this penalty sends a strong message that our State will not allow infractions of the laws that have made Maine’s environment so pristine and precious,” said Maine DEP Acting Commissioner Aho. “This settlement acknowledges the seriousness of the past violations, but offers a way for the company, the community, and the entire state to meaningfully move forward in a way that betters the environment and our passion for protecting it.”
Developer Jailed for Habitual Environmental Abuses
In February 2009, New Hampshire DES was asked to assist the Concord Police Department in an investigation of alleged improper storage and disposal of solid wastes at two properties owned by local developer Kevin Guay. One of the properties, 30 Villanova Drive, is located near Penacook Lake, the drinking water supply for the city of Concord. It was also alleged that an illegal septic system discharge was occurring on the second property at 180 Clinton Street.
DES’s Spill Response and Complaint Investigation Section and several DES Water Division programs assisted the Concord Police with interviews relative to the allegations. After consultation with the Attorney General’s Office, criminal search warrants were executed at each property in March 2009. The spill response staff, with the assistance of DES contractor ENPRO Services, excavated and documented solid waste at both locations that included white goods, scrap metal, broken furniture, mattresses, empty paint cans, building demolition debris and household trash. The unlawful sewage discharge was documented and sampled by Subsurface staff. The solid wastes found were alleged to have come from a property cleanup and disposal business run by Guay.
In October 2010, after a jury trial held in Merrimack County Superior Court, Guay was convicted on misdemeanor charges for the improper storage and disposal of solid waste under RSA 149-M. DES staff involved in the investigation testified at the trial. On May 16, 2011, Guay was given suspended sentences, but was also committed to jail for one year and ordered to pay a $21,500 restitution to DES and the Concord Police for costs incurred during the investigation. A $2,000 fine was imposed for the illegal septic system discharge and a fine of $52,000 was assessed and suspended pending good behavior. The Attorney General’s Office argued as reasons to impose a full year jail sentence Guay’s prior lengthy history of non-compliance with DES regulations concerning siltation and wetlands issues, as well as his disregard for the bail conditions.
Foam Manufacturer Agrees to Reduce Air Emissions and Pay A $127,500 Penalty to Settle Clean Air Violations
A Northbridge, Massachusetts, company that produces hard foam products has agreed to strictly limit air pollution emissions from its manufacturing facility and pay a $127,500 penalty in order to settle claims by the EPA and the US Department of Justice that it violated federal Clean Air laws.
In a settlement filed this week in federal district court, Polyfoam, Inc., agreed to install a new air pollution control system for volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions at its facility in Northbridge. At this facility, Polyfoam uses expandable polystyrene beads, which emit VOCs, in order to manufacture shape-molded foam products such as insulated food-shipping containers and protective foam packaging for electronic appliances.
The United States’ case complaint asserts that Polyfoam miscalculated and underreported its VOC emissions from at least 2002 to the present. Polyfoam’s actual VOC emissions exceeded 50 tons per year in each of these years, in violation of the company’s state air permits. Polyfoam also triggered CCA requirements for state-of-the-art pollution limits that the company failed to meet.
Under the settlement, which requires court approval, Polyfoam will meet a strict new VOC emission limit by installing a pollution control system that will incinerate VOC emissions with a regenerative thermal oxidizer. The new system will reduce VOC emissions from Polyfoam’s manufacturing processes by about 85%. Polyfoam will also obtain new federally enforceable air permits reflecting its new VOC control requirements.
VOC pollution, a main cause of ground-level ozone and smog, is of special concern in Massachusetts. Ground-level ozone can aggravate asthma and damage lung cells, and may cause permanent lung damage. Massachusetts does not meet EPA’s national ozone standards and Polyfoam’s excess VOC emissions have contributed to Massachusetts’ failure to attain these standards.
This is the second CAA enforcement case involving hard foam manufacturers that EPA New England has settled in the last two month¾on June 7, 2011, EPA announced the lodging of a judicial consent decree with Polar Industries from central Connecticut involving similar CAA violations.
Pesticide Company Fined $54,000 for Using Outdated Labels
EPA reached a $54,080 settlement with Orcal, Inc., for numerous violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The settlement follows an Oregon Department of Agriculture inspection of Orcal’s Harrisburg, Oregon facility on February 4, 2009. EPA’s subsequent investigation found that Orcal was using outdated labeling on at least two products they produced. The outdated labeling included directions for use that did not match EPA accepted statements. On at least 52 separate occasions in 2008-2009, Orcal sold, and distributed Orcal Slug & Snail Bait and Southern Ag Snail & Slug Bait with incorrect labeling.
On September 29, 2009, EPA immediately issued a Stop-Sale Order on the products and helped bring the company into compliance.
According to Scott Downey, manager of EPA's pesticide unit in the Seattle office, pesticides must be properly labeled to ensure protection of human health and the environment.
“EPA is very concerned with ensuring that labeling in the marketplace matches language accepted by EPA in their label review process,” said EPA’s Downey. “When registrants do not keep their labels up-to-date it undermines the efforts EPA takes to ensure public safety.”
Orcal, Inc., is a manufacturer of slug and snail bait, lime sulfur, and liquid fertilizers that service the agricultural community.
Dyno Nobel Fined for Risk Management Violations
Australia-based Dyno Nobel, Inc., has agreed to settle a series of alleged violations of the CAA at the company’s Cheyenne plant for $110,900.
EPA conducted a compliance inspection at Dyno Nobel’s plant on Otto Road in November of 2010 to assess the facility’s compliance with federal risk management program regulations. The settlement requires Dyno Nobel to improve maintenance and internal auditing of equipment used to store and process hazardous chemicals. The company will also improve documentation of training for employees working with these chemicals.
“Companies that use chemicals and substances which pose a potential danger are responsible for having a robust risk management program in place,” said Mike Gaydosh, director of EPA’s enforcement program in Denver. “Failure to do so places the environment, employees, and the nearby community at risk.”
Under the CAA, facilities that handle large quantities of hazardous materials must develop a risk management program and submit a risk management plan to assist with emergency preparedness, chemical release prevention, and minimization of releases that occur. EPA inspectors found that the facility had not adequately implemented those regulations.
Dyno Nobel, a global supplier of industrial explosives, has multiple operations in the U.S. and internationally. The company stores large quantities of hazardous substances at its Cheyenne plant, including ammonia and chlorine. Failure to establish adequate programs and keep plans updated can increase the risk of workplace accidents and reduce preparedness for emergencies.
If You’re an Avid Reader of Environmental Tip of the Week for the Past Year, You Might Qualify for This Job
Position Announcement: Associate Director, Global Safety and Environmental (Alcon, Inc.–Fort Worth, Texas)
Accountable for implementing company Global Safety and Environmental Vision and developing a business specific roadmap for achieving this vision. Responsible for the development and roll-out of global policies/programs and enhancing management systems and auditing programs to ensure manufacturing facilities and affiliates are in compliance with local, state, federal and country regulatory mandates. Proactively analyzes the direction of global safety and environmental regulatory requirements to maintain compliance and ensure the viability of each facility to support the business direction. Works to ensure that the company is viewed as a positive community citizen, while providing a safe work environment for employees and developing a sustainable safety business plan.
Minimum Education Requirements:
BS or BA in Engineering, Safety or Environmental Sciences, Chemistry, or related science with knowledge in engineering, science principles and regulations. Preferred: Masters in related science and safety/environmental compliance background.
Minimum Experience Requirements:
15 plus years within industry, preferably in multi-site manufacturing operations with primary responsibility for safety and/or environmental compliance. Regulatory agency experience in combination with industry work may also be accepted. Five years in management.
The opening is located at the Alcon Division Health, Safety, and Environment Department at Alcon’s global Headquarters based in Fort Worth, Texas. For more information contact David Smat at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Trivia Question of the Week
A layer of ozone around the Earth protects life from dangerous levels UV radiation. A hole in the ozone layer was discovered in 1985 by British scientists. Where is the ozone hole?a. In the upper troposphere over Australia
b. In the stratosphere over Antarctica
c. In the mesosphere over the North Pole
d. The ozone hole no longer exists due to the phase-out of CFCs agreed to under the Montreal Protocol