PCB Manifest Revised to Match RCRA Hazardous Waste Manifest
The EPA has issued a direct final rule to update and clarify several sections of the Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) regulations associated with the manifesting requirements, which uses the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest, under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
These changes are to match, as much as possible, the manifesting requirements for PCBs under TSCA to the manifesting requirements for hazardous waste under RCRA, of which the regulatory changes to implement the Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest form were promulgated on March 4, 2005.
EPA Releases Proposed Revisions to Stormwater Regulations for Discharges From Logging Roads
EPA is proposing revisions to its Phase I stormwater regulations to clarify that stormwater discharges from logging roads do not constitute stormwater discharges associated with industrial activity and that a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit is not required for these stormwater discharges. Comments must be received on or before October 4, 2012.
Columbus RCRA and DOT Training
Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course (RCRA) and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course, in Columbus, Ohio, from September 25–27 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 1-800-537-2372.
Spartanburg RCRA and DOT Training
Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course (RCRA) and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course, in Spartanburg, South Carolina, from October 2–4 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 1-800-537-2372.
Chicago RCRA and DOT Training
Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course (RCRA) and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course, in Chicago, Illinois, from October 9–11 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 1-800-537-2372.
How to Prepare for OSHA’s Globally Harmonized Hazard Communication Standard (GHS)
OSHA has issued a final rule revising its Hazard Communication Standard, aligning it with the United Nations’ globally harmonized system (GHS) for the classification and labeling of hazardous chemicals. This means that virtually every product label, material safety data sheet (now called “safety data sheet” or SDS), and written hazard communication plan must be revised to meet the new standard. Worker training must be updated so that workers can recognize and understand the symbols and pictograms on the new labels as well as the new hazard statements and precautions on SDSs.
Environmental Resource Center is offering webcast training for you to learn how the new rule differs from current requirements, how to implement the changes, and when the changes must be implemented. Register for the upcoming webcast on How to Prepare for OSHA’s Globally Harmonized Hazard Communication Standard (GHS) offered on October 2.
Upgrade Your Career: Environmental and Safety Consultant/Trainers
Environmental Resource Center has positions open for environmental and safety consultants at our office in Cary, North Carolina. You must have excellent writing and speaking skills. We currently have openings for a top-notch consultant with expertise in:
- RCRA hazardous waste regulations
- DOT/IATA/IMO hazardous material transportation regulations
- Environmental audits
- SARA Title III
- CWA regulations
- CAA regulations
- OSHA general industry standards
- OSHA audits
- Online computer-based training instructional design and implementation
You must have at least 2 years of experience in government or industry environmental and/or compliance and be able to immediately train the subject matter to both novices and experts. Strong consideration will be given to applicants who have experience presenting training on more than three of the topics listed above.
In addition to instructing seminars and on-site training programs, the position also includes maintenance of training materials (books, PowerPoints, computer based training), working on consulting projects, business development, development of future classes, and keeping our customers satisfied.
If you meet our qualifications, are enthusiastic about regulations, have the ability to entertain attendees, and would love working for an energetic, ESH consulting firm in Cary, North Carolina, please submit your resume, salary requirements, and references to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications not including these three items will not be considered.
Environmental Resource Center offers a competitive salary based on experience, a 401(k) retirement plan, medical and dental coverage, and other great benefits.
Executive Order Promotes Industrial Energy Efficiency
President Obama signed an Executive Order to facilitate investments in industrial energy efficiency that is designed to strengthen American manufacturing and help create jobs. These efforts to boost industrial energy efficiency, including combined heat and power (CHP) systems, can save manufacturers as much as $100 billion in energy costs over the next decade, improving their bottom lines and strengthening US manufacturing competitiveness. These types of efficiency measures will reduce energy consumption and reduce harmful emissions.
“Today, we are taking another step to strengthen American manufacturing by boosting energy efficiency for businesses across the nation,” said President Obama. “This action will cut costs, increase efficiency, and help our businesses create strong, middle class jobs. We’ll continue to do everything we can to put more people back to work and build an economy that lasts.”
While manufacturing facilities have become more energy efficient over time, there is an opportunity to accelerate and expand this trend with investments that reduce energy use through more efficient manufacturing technologies and processes, such as the expanded use of efficient, on-site heat and power generation, known as CHP. This Executive Order builds on important steps the Administration has taken to scale up private sector investments in energy efficiency in our homes, buildings, and factories with efforts like the Better Buildings Initiative and investments upgrading homes around the US.
In addition, it directs the Departments of Energy, Commerce, and Agriculture, and the EPA, to coordinate actions at the Federal level while providing policy and technical assistance to states to promote investments in industrial energy efficiency. The Executive Order also directs agencies to foster a national dialogue through ongoing regional workshops to encourage the adoption of best practice policies and investment models that overcome barriers to investment, provide public information on the benefits of unlocking investment in industrial energy efficiency, and use existing Federal authorities that can support these investments.
The Order also establishes a new national goal of 40 gigawatts of new CHP capacity by 2020, a 50% increase from today. Meeting this goal would save energy users $10 billion per year, result in $40 to $80 billion in new capital investment in manufacturing and other facilities that would create American jobs, and would reduce emissions equivalent to 25 million cars.
EPA Extends Temporary Fuel Waiver for Eight States Impacted by Hurricane Isaac
As a result of the disruption in the supply of fuel from Gulf-area refineries following Hurricane Isaac, and at the request of Governors, EPA has exercised its authority under the Clean Air Act (CAA) to temporarily waive certain federal clean gasoline requirements for gasoline sold and distributed in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, and North Carolina. The disruption and delays in production and delivery of gasoline resulted from effects of Hurricane Isaac.
This waiver was granted by EPA in coordination with the Department of Energy (DOE). EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson determined that extreme and unusual supply circumstances exist, which may result in a temporary shortage of gasoline compliant with federal regulations. The federal waiver will help ensure an adequate supply of gasoline in the impacted states until normal supply to the region can be restored.
The waiver applies to the use of low Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) summertime gasoline for the remainder of the high ozone period, which ends on September 15. Due to a number of continuing refinery outages caused by Hurricane Isaac, and the slower-than-expected-pace of restarts of other Gulf-area refineries, EPA determined that there would not be an adequate supply of summertime gasoline for these states through September 15. The waiver allows available supplies of higher RVP wintertime gasoline to be used prior to the end of the high ozone period, in order to prevent a gasoline supply shortfall in these states.
States bordering on this area are projected to have sufficient supplies of compliant summertime fuel through the end of the high ozone period in two weeks, and no shortages are expected to develop. However, EPA will continue to actively monitor fuel supplies in these areas, and will act expeditiously if needed to prevent a shortfall.
EPA Approves Plan that Nogales Meeting National Health Standards for Dust Control on US Side of Border
The EPA has approved a plan which recognizes that Nogales, Arizona, would be meeting national health standards for dust control were it not for dust emanating in Mexico.
The plan was approved late last month by EPA Region 9 Administrator Jared Blumenfeld. It is hoped the decision will lead to more funding for both Nogales, Arizona, and Nogales, Sonora, to make further improvements in air quality by binational institutions like Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC) and the North American Development Bank (NADBank).
“This plan is the result of a successful partnership among the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), EPA, and the Arizona Department of Transportation to develop a comprehensive understanding of where the dust comes from and how weather conditions affect air quality in Nogales, Arizona,” said ADEQ Director Henry Darwin.
The plan approval also coincides with increased attention in Mexico to improve air quality in the border region. Mexico’s federal environmental regulatory authority, SEMARNAT, has committed to improving air quality in Nogales, Sonora, beginning in 2013 as part of the Border 2020 US-Mexico Environmental Program.
ADEQ has been actively involved in work to improve air quality in the two cities such as identifying well-traveled dirt roads in Nogales, Sonora, that were later paved and education campaigns to reduce the amount of trash burned. ADEQ also has overseen the installation of more than 200 diesel emissions reduction devices on school buses in Arizona’s border counties and a number of diesel cargo trucks in Nogales that regularly transport produce across the international boundary.
The Center for Biological Diversity filed a complaint against EPA in April 2010 for failure to take final action on the Nogales Particulate Matter-10 plan. The EPA approved a plan revision based on a section of the federal CAA that attainment would be achieved but for emissions emanating from outside the US.
New Testing Methods for Arsenic and Lead in Soil
Cleaning up arsenic and lead at Superfund sites can be an expensive proposition. Currently, if the levels of contaminants are high, the top layer of soil is removed and transported to a hazardous materials landfill for careful treatment to isolate and remove the toxic metals. The price tag for such remediation activities can reach into the millions of dollars per acre.
Developing rapid, reliable, and inexpensive tools for guiding remediation activities that effectively protect human health could have a big impact on the way Superfund and other contaminated sites are managed. When every acre spared from soil removal and treatment means a million less dollars spent, the savings add up fast.
EPA scientist Karen Bradham, Ph.D., and her research partners are working on just those kinds of tools. She and her collaborators are evaluating new and inexpensive methods for assessing arsenic levels as a means to improve human exposure estimates for soil arsenic and lead.
“Not all toxic metals present in soil are in a form that can harm humans or animals,” Bradham explains. “Certain forms of arsenic and lead are not fully available or absorbed by the human body.”
The amount that is absorbed is referred to as bioavailable, meaning it is in a form that can enter the bloodstream and affect human health.
Bradham, along with EPA scientists Drs. David Thomas, Kirk Scheckel, and Mike Hughes are focusing their efforts on new methods of assessing bioavailability of arsenic and lead in contaminated soils.
One of the new methods they developed uses laboratory analyses that mimic the way the human digestive system absorbs arsenic to illuminate the amount of bioavailable arsenic in a given sample of contaminated soil.
Preliminary results have been encouraging. When researchers evaluated arsenic-contaminated soil samples from a Superfund site using the newly developed bioavailability methods, they found that only about half the arsenic was bioavailable. In this example, approximately 90 acres of soil would need to be removed, as opposed to the 117 acres that would have been slated for removal using cruder, more traditional tests. Those more traditional tests are based on measurements of total arsenic levels instead of that which is truly problematic for human exposure.
Science to Support Superfund Clean Up
Each of EPA’s 10 regional offices has a Superfund Technical Liaison (STL) who assists the regional Superfund staff with formulating cleanup decisions. STLs provide an important link between the on the ground work at the cleanup sites and the expertise of EPA’s researchers by coordinating technical support through EPA’s Technical Support Centers (TSCs). The TSCs are specialized resource centers dedicated to providing high-quality, quick-response technical expertise on hazardous waste issues to the regions.
The potential cost savings of the above example: $9 million.
Elizabeth Southerland, Ph.D., former director of the Assessment and Remediation Division in EPA’s Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation, underscored the importance of this work. “The use of site-specific bioavailability information will lead to more accurate risk assessments and customized cleanup levels,” she said.
With the new methods, EPA can better evaluate human exposure to toxic soil contaminants at a greatly reduced cost. Further, when a new chemical extraction lab method that’s under development is complete, researchers will be able to determine the bioavailability of contaminants without the use of animal studies, greatly reducing testing costs as well.
Roseanne Lorenzana, D.V.M., Ph.D., a scientist in EPA’s Pacific Northwest regional office, notes that results from this bioavailability research have already provided information and protocols for assessing large-area contaminations sites. “This research really shows the impact of EPA science on improving environmental decision-making,” Lorenzana said.
New Report Spotlights Pro Sports’ Sustainability Leaders
Solar panels and recycling bins are becoming as common as hot dog vendors for professional sports teams and their venues, according to a report released by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), in collaboration with the Green Sports Alliance. The new report reveals the collective impact the uniquely influential professional sports industry is having on advancing environmental protection in North America, documenting innovative and cost-effective steps taken across all professional leagues.
“The motivation for sports to engage in greening is simple; the games we love today were born outdoors, and without clean air to breathe, clean water, and a healthy climate, sports would be impossible,” said Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, director of NRDC’s green sports project. “A cultural shift in environmental awareness is needed in order for us to address the serious ecological problems we face, and the sports industry, through its own innovative actions, has chosen to lead the way. Pro sports are showing that smart energy, water, and recycling practices make sense. They save money and prevent waste. That’s as mainstream and non-partisan as it comes.”
The report, Game Changer: How the Sports Industry is Saving the Environment, presents 20 case studies of teams, venues, and league events that have led the green movement in pro sports by adopting sustainable solutions to their energy, water, and waste needs. The findings document the bottom-line benefits of greening and the role of sports as society’s newest advocate for environmentally-sound practices, sentiments shared by Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig, who provided the report’s Preface and jumpstarted pro sports’ greening efforts in 2006.
“In my two decades as Commissioner, I have seen our sport take important strides forward on this essential issue,” wrote Selig, who will be presented the Environmental Leadership Award at the Green Sports Alliance Summit Gala at Safeco Field in Seattle on September 6. “As we strive to fulfill our social responsibilities, the national pastime will continue to protect our natural resources for future generations of baseball fans and to set an example of which they can be proud.”
Of 126 professional sports teams in the five major North American leagues, 38 have shifted to renewable energy for at least some of their operations and 68 have energy efficiency programs. Examples detailed in the report include:
- Solar—STAPLES Center has a 1,727-panel solar array covering 25,000 square feet of the arena’s roof. The 345.6-kilowatt system supplies 5–20% of the building’s energy use (depending on load) and produces 525,000 kilowatt-hours annually, saving an average of $55,000 per year.
- Wind—In 2012, Cleveland’s Progressive Field became the first professional sports facility to install a wind turbine, which generates more than 40,000 kilowatt hours per year.
- Renewable Mix—Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field, home of the National Football League’s (NFL) Philadelphia Eagles, will be the first stadium in the US capable of generating 100% of its energy through a mix of solar panels, a generator that runs on natural gas and biodiesel, and, soon, 14 wind turbines.
- Efficiency—The Seattle Mariners replaced an old incandescent scoreboard with a new LED scoreboard, lowering annual electricity consumption by more than 90% and reducing energy costs by $50,000 a year.
Access to fresh, safe water is an increasingly dire concern across the globe. The report details myriad innovative water conservation techniques that have already been integrated into facilities. These include:
- Irrigation—San Francisco’s AT&T Park uses an irrigation clock that uses up-to-the-minute local data to establish zone watering times, saving 33–50% in irrigation water use. Changes in the composition of the infield surface have reduced field watering by 33%.
- Efficiency—Minnesota Twins’ Target Field installed low-flush, dual flush toilets and aerated faucets, which use 30% less potable water than conventional fixtures. This shift is saving approximately 4.2 million gallons of water annually.
- Water Restoration Credits—For the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals and 2011 Winter Classic, the NHL purchased over 4.5 million gallons in Water Restoration Credits from Bonneville Environmental Foundation to balance the amount of water used during the events. In early 2012, NHL Green introduced Gallons for Goals, committing to restore 1,000 gallons of water to a critically dewatered river in the Northwest for every goal scored during the regular season. The NHL announced in April 2012 that the league replenished more than 6.7 million gallons of water.
Virtually all professional sports teams have developed recycling and composting programs. Meanwhile, all major sports concessionaires have developed environmentally preferable offerings. The increased demand for sustainable products—like compostable serviceware and recyclable paper products—has resulted in competitive pricing and far more waste being recycled and composted rather than sent to landfills. Examples include:
- Recycling—The Cleveland Indians have cut their trash in half from 1,262 tons to 613 tons by implementing an enhanced recycling program. This reduced the number of trash pick-ups by 64%, saving $50,000 annually.
- Composting—The Cardinals’ 4 A Greener Game program, launched in 2008, is credited with recycling more than 1,836 tons of solid waste, more than 575 tons of yard waste, and more than 110 tons of composted organic material.
- Supply chain impact—The Montreal Canadiens implemented a purchasing policy requiring the organization buy only environmentally-friendly cleaning products. 80% of purchases now include products that are locally made and/or composed of reused or recycled content.
The report also features the economic benefits of greener practices. By cutting waste—whether it’s energy waste, water waste, or trash, you reduce costs. Examples include:
The Amway Center, where the Orlando Magic play, installed high-efficiency systems that consumes approximately 25% less energy than a conventional system. This saves nearly $750,000 a year.
From 2008–2011, thanks to their greening efforts, the Portland Trail Blazers recouped $411,000 in energy savings, $165,000 in water savings, and $260,000 in waste diversion savings, with a total savings of $836,000. As of 2012, they’ve saved over $1 million.
Through numerous energy efficiency efforts, the Seattle Mariners saved approximately $1.5 million in utilities costs from 2006–2011 by reducing natural gas use by 60%, electricity use by 30%, and water use by 25%.
In one year, thanks to their energy efficiency measures, the Miami HEAT saved $1.6 million and consumed 53% less energy than the average facility of similar size and use.
“The sports industry is proving that greening is smart business,” says Alice Henly, a principal author of NRDC’s Game Changer report. “From cost savings and brand enhancements to new sponsorship opportunities and strengthening community ties, sports organizations are reaping the tangible economic benefits of greening which is essential to keeping their operations efficient.”
The report also emphasizes the cultural impact of the greening of pro sports. While only 13% of Americans say they follow science, 61% identify themselves as sports fans. It notes the hundreds of millions of people who watch sporting events each year, and the widespread visibility of league championships such as the NFL’s Super Bowl, MLB’s World Series, the Stanley Cup and the NBA Finals.
“The teams and leagues are modeling techniques that we all need to be doing at home and at work,” said Darby Hoover, NRDC senior resource specialist. “If the Cardinals, Eagles, HEAT, and many other teams can do it for tens of thousands of people every game, we should be able to start thinking about greening too. You don’t need to be a pro to do this stuff. Recycling and getting smarter with our energy and water use can benefit our household and business budgets too.”
The report stresses the urgent need to change attitudes about the importance of environmental protection by noting the most recent evidence of climate change. This decade has experienced nine out of 10 of the hottest years on record, with 24,000 heat records broken in the US in just the first six months of 2012. By 2025, about four billion people will live in areas experiencing severe water stress if significant steps are not taken to reduce water consumption.
“As an alliance of over 100 sports teams and facilities, we’ve seen first-hand the impressive work being done to reduce the environmental impact of the sports industry,” said Martin Tull, executive director of the Green Sports Alliance. “With the release of this report the world will learn about this good work. Hopefully this report will encourage and guide other teams and venues to follow suit.”
Venues and teams highlighted in the report include:
- Atlanta’s Philips Arena, home of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks
- Cleveland’s Progressive Field, home to MLB’s Cleveland Indians
- Houston’s Toyota Center, home of the NBA’s Houston Rockets
- Los Angeles’ STAPLES Center, home of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers, the NHL’s Los Angeles KINGS, and the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks
- Miami’s American Airlines Arena, home of the NBA’s Miami Heat
- Minneapolis’ Target Field, home of MLB’s Minnesota Twins
- Montreal’s Bell Centre, home of the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens
- Orlando’s Amway Center, home of the NBA’s Orlando Magic
- Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field, home of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles
- Portland’s Rose Garden Arena, home of the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers
- San Francisco’s AT&T Park, home of MLB’s San Francisco Giants
- Seattle’s CenturyLink Field, home of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks and MLS’s Seattle Sounders
- Seattle’s Safeco Field, home of MLB’s Seattle Mariners
- St. Louis’ Busch Stadium, home of MLB’s St. Louis Cardinals
- Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, home of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and the NBA’s Toronto Raptors
League-level “jewel events” profiled for their environmental initiatives include:
- The MLB All-Star Game
- The US Open, US Tennis Association (USTA)
- The NHL All-Star Game, The Winter Classic and the NHL draft
- The NBA All-Star Game and Green Week
- The NCAA Final Four
Profiles of green building leaders in professional sports include:
- Jeld-Wen Field, Portland, Oregon
- Miller Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- Marlins Park, Miami, Florida
- Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois
- BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, Texas
- Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York
Next Generation of Advanced Climate Models Needed, Says National Research Council
The nation’s collection of climate models should advance substantially to deliver more detailed, smaller scale climate projections, says a new report from the National Research Council (NRC). To meet this need, the report calls for these assorted climate models to take a more integrated path and use a common software infrastructure while adding regional detail, new simulation capabilities, and new approaches for collaborating with their user community.
From farmers deciding which crops to plant next season, to mayors preparing for possible heat waves, to insurance companies assessing future flood risks, an array of stakeholders from the public and private sectors rely on and use climate information. With changes in climate and weather, however, past weather data are no longer adequate predictors of future extremes. Advanced modeling capabilities could potentially provide useful predictions and projections of extreme environments, said the committee that wrote the report. Over the past several decades, enormous advances have been made in developing reliable climate models, but significant progress is still required to deliver climate information at local scales that users desire.
The US climate modeling community is diverse, including several large global efforts and many smaller regional efforts. This diversity allows multiple research groups to tackle complex modeling problems in parallel, enabling rapid progress, but it also leads to some duplication of efforts. The committee said that to make more efficient and rapid progress in climate modeling, different groups should continue to pursue their own methodologies while evolving to work within a common nationally adopted modeling framework that shares software, data standards and tools, and model components.
“Climate models are computationally intensive and among the most sophisticated simulation tools developed, and the ‘what if’ questions they help solve involve a mind-boggling number of connected systems,” said committee chair Chris Bretherton, a professor in the departments of atmospheric science and applied mathematics at the University of Washington, Seattle. “Although progress will likely be gradual, designing the next generation of models will require us to move toward unification and work more closely with the user, academic, and international communities.”
The committee identified a multipart strategy consisting of various efforts over the next two decades to advance the nation’s climate modeling endeavor. One such effort is the climate modeling community working toward a shared software infrastructure for building, configuring, running, and analyzing climate models that could help scientists navigate the imminent transition to more complex supercomputing hardware. This would enable scientists to compare and interchange climate model components, such as land surface or ocean models.
Additional steps include convening an annual forum for national climate modeling groups and users to promote tighter coordination and allow more efficient evaluation of models; nurturing a unified weather-climate modeling effort that better exploits the synergies among weather forecasting, data assimilation, and climate modeling; and developing a training program for climate model interpreters who could serve as an interface between modeling advances and user needs.
In addition, the committee emphasized that the country should enhance ongoing efforts to:
- sustain state-of-the-art computing systems for climate modeling;
- continue contributing to a strong international climate observing system capable of characterizing long-term climate trends and climate variability;
- develop a training and reward system that entices talented computer and climate scientists into climate model development;
- improve the IT infrastructure that supports climate modeling data sharing and distribution; and
- pursue advances in climate science and uncertainty research.
New NIST Reference Material Could Aid Nanomaterial Toxicity Research
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has issued a new nanoscale reference material for use in a wide range of environmental, health, and safety studies of industrial nanomaterials. The new NIST reference material is a sample of commercial titanium dioxide powder commonly known as P25.
NIST Standard Reference Materials® (SRMs) are typically samples of industrially or clinically important materials that have been carefully analyzed by NIST. They are provided with certified values for certain key properties so that they can be used in experiments as a known reference point.
Nanoscale titanium-dioxide powder may well be the most widely manufactured and used nanomaterial in the world, and not coincidentally, it is also one of the most widely studied. In the form of larger particles, titanium dioxide is a common white pigment. As nanoscale particles, the material is widely used as a photocatalyst, a sterilizing agent and an ultraviolet blocker (in sunscreen lotions, for example).
“Titanium dioxide is not considered highly toxic and, in fact, we don’t certify its toxicity,” observes NIST chemist Vincent Hackley. “But it’s a representative industrial nanopowder that you could include in an environmental or toxicity study. It’s important in such research to include measurements that characterize the nanomaterial you’re studying—properties like morphology, surface area and elemental composition. We’re providing a known benchmark.”
The new titanium-dioxide reference material is a mixed phase, nanocrystalline form of the chemical in a dry powder. To assist in its proper use, NIST also has developed protocols* for properly preparing samples for environmental or toxicological studies.
The new SRM also is particularly well suited for use in calibrating and testing analytical instruments that measure specific surface area of nanomaterials by the widely used Brunauer-Emmet-Teller (BET) gas sorption method.
Additional details and purchasing information on NIST Standard Reference Material 1898, Titanium Dioxide Nanomaterial are available at www.nist.gov/srm/index.cfm.
SRMs are among the most widely distributed and used products from NIST. The agency prepares, analyzes, and distributes nearly 1,300 different materials that are used throughout the world to check the accuracy of instruments and test procedures used in manufacturing, clinical chemistry, environmental monitoring, electronics, criminal forensics, and dozens of other fields.
NSF International Expands Test Capabilities for Grease Interceptors
NSF International, an independent global organization that writes standards, and tests and certifies products for the water, food, and consumer goods industries, has expanded its testing capabilities for grease interceptors to include units as large as 100 gallons per minute (gpm).
Used primarily in restaurants and commercial kitchens, grease interceptors (also called grease traps) prevent fats, oils, and greases from entering the water system. This prevents clogged pipes, organic load charges from utility companies and surface and ground water contamination.
The higher-capacity 75-gpm and 100-gpm units operate at higher flow rates and collect more grease before needing to be emptied, which results in fewer workflow interruptions.
“NSF’s expanded ability to test the larger units provides manufacturers a full-service solution for testing and certifying their entire line of grease interceptors,” says Nasrin Kashefi, General Manager of Plumbing Programs at NSF International.
NSF certification is recognized by various regulators including plumbing inspectors, sanitarians, and wastewater authorities. NSF testing and certification satisfies the requirements of all grease interceptor standards and codes including ASME A112.14.3, ASME A112.14.4, PDI G101, CSA B481, the Uniform Plumbing Code, and the International Plumbing Code.
Laboratory testing verifies the performance, construction, grease retention, and efficiency of grease interceptors at their designated flow rates. NSF Certified grease interceptors must have an average efficiency of 90% or higher, an incremental efficiency 80% or higher and the ability to retain 2lb of grease for each gpm of flow rate.
NSF’s Regulatory Affairs Hotline, 877-867-3435, is available to answer any questions about the acceptability of products in the field, including grease interceptors.
NRC Ordering Staff to Conduct Environmental Study on Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage
The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has ordered its staff to develop an environmental impact statement (EIS) and a revised waste confidence rule on the temporary storage of spent nuclear fuel.
The NRC was responding to a landmark decision June 8, following a successful challenge by Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Vermont, and several other states to the NRC’s revised waste confidence rule, which allowed spent nuclear fuel to be stored at reactor sites for up to 60 years after the plants shut down.
The court said the NRC’s December 2010 rule change was a “major federal action necessitating either an environmental impact statement or finding of no significant environmental impact” as required by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969.
The NRC directed its staff Thursday to develop—within the next two years—an environmental impact statement, as well as a revised waste confidence decision and rule on the temporary storage of spent nuclear fuel.
According to the NRC waste confidence is a generic finding that spent nuclear fuel can be safely stored for decades beyond the licensed operating life of a reactor without significant environmental effects. Prior to the December 2010 revision, fuel could be stored on site for up to 30 years after a reactor closed.
The NRC said the rule enables the agency to license reactors or renew their licenses without examining the effects of extended waste storage for each individual site.
In preparing an environmental impact statement, the commission said its staff could draw on previous work as well as environmental assessments, studies, and reports done by other agencies to address the impacts of transportation and consolidated storage of spent fuel. In addition, the commission ordered staff to provide ample opportunity for public comment on the proposed EIS and rule.
Federal Court Upholds Decision Not to Permit Oil and Gas Leases on Sensitive Utah Lands
The 10th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals has rejected a challenge by the energy industry against Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar’s decision not to issue 77 oil and gas leases at the doorstep of some of Utah’s most treasured and iconic landscapes, including Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Dinosaur National Monument. The leases had originally been auctioned off as part of a last minute give away to the oil and gas industry in the waning days of the Bush administration.
The court ruled that the energy industry missed its 90-day window to challenge Secretary Salazar’s decision under the Mineral Leasing Act.
On December 18, 2008, public interest law firm Earthjustice sued the Bush administration in response to the auctioning of the 77 lease parcels. This action was taken on behalf of several conservation groups, including Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, The Wilderness Society, NRDC, Grand Canyon Trust, National Parks Conservation Association, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Sierra Club, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, and Utah Rivers Council. The US District Court for the District of Columbia agreed with the conservation groups and prohibited the Bush administration from issuing the leases.
Following that court order, Sec. Salazar pulled the parcels off the auction block, allowing the US Department of the Interior time to study whether the parcels were appropriate for leasing.
Several companies and Utah counties—including Impact Energy, Peak Production, Questar Exploration, and Uintah, Carbon and Duchesne counties in Utah—filed a lawsuit in the District of Utah in an attempt to overturn the Secretary’s decision.
On September 1, 2010, the Utah court rejected the challenge of the energy companies and counties for missing their deadline to sue over the Secretary’s decision. The companies and counties appealed the decision in January 2012.
Ohio EPA Processing Open Burning Permissions Again
Ohio EPA has lifted its temporary suspension of permission for open burning. Local air agencies and district offices may resume most open burning permissions since drought conditions are not as severe as they were when the suspension was put in place.
There are two situations where permission may not be granted or additional precautions may be required:
- if a local burning ban remains in effect, the burn may not take place until the local ban is lifted; or
- if the request is unusual or includes a significant acreage, the applicant may be asked to have their local fire department present at the site during the burn.
Open burning permission for a limited burn effort can be issued when someone has material to burn that falls within Ohio rules, but is in a jurisdiction where burning is not typically allowed. There are certain materials that are never suitable for open burning. To learn more about open burning rules, visit Ohio EPA’s open burning webpage.
Ohioans have an obligation to notify or get permission from Ohio EPA before burning materials outside depending on materials burned, location, and activity associated with burning. Ohio EPA has developed a notification form to assure compliance with state legal notification requirements and a form for permission to open burn when permission is required by law.
Montana Not Acting to Remedy Toxic Coal Ash Problem at Colstrip
Nearly a decade after sludge ponds holding toxic coal ash waste from the Colstrip power plant were first discovered leaking, and more than four years after nearby ranchers and residents won a $25 million legal settlement over the contamination, groups say the Montana DEQ is doing little to stop water pollution from poisoning nearby communities and ranchers.
In an appeal filed by Earthjustice Tuesday with Montana’s Board of Environmental Review on behalf of the Montana Environmental Information Center, Sierra Club, and National Wildlife Federation, the groups claim that the state is doing little to nothing to address decades of groundwater pollution from Colstrip’s waste tailings ponds.
“Adjacent landowners are sick and tired of the Montana DEQ acting as an agent for the industry it is supposed to be regulating,” said Clint McRae, a Colstrip area rancher. “The impacted adjacent landowners to the leaking ash ponds are stakeholders equal to that of PPL, and they deserve a place at the negotiating table, rather than being shut out of the AOC negotiations that have been taking place for several years.”
The enormous sludge ponds at Colstrip were built in the mid-1970s and mid-1980s, and contamination from the leaking ponds, which cover more than 500 acres, is well-documented. The ponds have been leaking boron and other dangerous chemicals, such as selenium, magnesium, and sulfates into surrounding ground and surface water for decades. In fact, boron has been measured at levels 13 times established safety limits in plumes of contamination radiating from the ponds; overexposure to boron can damage the intestines, liver, kidneys, testes, and the brain.
Despite the ongoing contamination, DEQ officials have not required Colstrip’s owners to take concrete steps to prevent further pollution from the leaking ponds or clean up already poisoned groundwater. Instead, after three decades of problems, DEQ officials signed a final agreement with Pennsylvania-based PPL and the plant’s other owners that would simply require years of further study and negotiation, rather than immediate action.
According to the appeal, DEQ already has years worth of reports documenting the contamination that justify requiring immediate clean-up. DEQ’s agreement with Colstrip owners will allow toxic seepage to continue poisoning groundwater and soil.
“This agreement with polluters doesn’t do anything to fix the problem,” Johnson said. “It would be like a consent for firefighters or police to stand around and watch buildings burn or homes be broken into. And as long as no one notices, there’s no reason to expect the DEQ or PPL to live up to their basic responsibilities.”
Scotts Miracle-Gro Will Pay $12.5 Million in Criminal Fines and Civil Penalties for Violations of Federal Pesticide Laws
The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, a producer of pesticides for commercial and consumer lawn and garden uses, was sentenced to pay a $4 million fine and perform community service for eleven criminal violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which governs the manufacture, distribution, and sale of pesticides. Scotts pleaded guilty in February 2012 to illegally applying insecticides to its wild bird food products that are toxic to birds, falsifying pesticide registration documents, distributing pesticides with misleading and unapproved labels, and distributing unregistered pesticides. This is the largest criminal penalty under FIFRA to date.
In a separate civil agreement with the EPA, Scotts agreed to pay more than $6 million in penalties and spend $2 million on environmental projects to resolves additional civil pesticide violations. The violations include distributing or selling unregistered, canceled, or misbranded pesticides, including products with inadequate warnings or cautions. This is the largest civil settlement under FIFRA to date.
“The misuse or mislabeling of pesticide products can cause serious illness in humans and be toxic to wildlife,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA). “Today’s sentence and unprecedented civil settlement hold Scotts accountable for widespread company noncompliance with pesticide laws, which put products into the hands of consumers without the proper authorization or warning labels.”
“As the world’s largest marketer of residential use pesticides, Scotts has a special obligation to make certain that it observes the laws governing the sale and use of its products. For having failed to do so, Scotts has been sentenced to pay the largest fine in the history of FIFRA enforcement,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice. “The Department of Justice will continue to work with EPA to assure that pesticides applied in homes and on lawns and food are sold and used in compliance with the laws intended to assure their safety.”
In the plea agreement, Scotts admitted that it applied the pesticides Actellic 5E and Storcide II to its bird food products even though EPA had prohibited this use. Scotts had done so to protect its bird foods from insect infestation during storage. Scotts admitted that it used these pesticides contrary to EPA directives and in spite of the warning label appearing on all Storcide II containers stating, “Storcide II is extremely toxic to fish and toxic to birds and other wildlife.” Scotts sold this illegally treated bird food for two years after it began marketing its bird food line and for six months after employees specifically warned Scotts management of the dangers of these pesticides. By the time it voluntarily recalled these products in March 2008, Scotts had sold more than 70 million units of bird food illegally treated with pesticide that is toxic to birds.
Scotts also pleaded guilty to submitting false documents to EPA and to state regulatory agencies in an effort to deceive them into believing that numerous pesticides were registered with EPA when in fact they were not. The company also pleaded guilty to having illegally sold the unregistered pesticides and to marketing pesticides bearing labels containing false and misleading claims not approved by EPA. The falsified documents submitted to EPA and states were attributed to a federal product manager at Scotts.
In addition to the $4 million criminal fine, Scotts will contribute $500,000 to organizations that protect bird habitat, including $100,000 each to the Ohio Audubon’s Important Bird Area Program, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Urban Forestry Program, the Columbus Metro-Parks Bird Habitat Enhancement Program, the Cornell University Ornithology Laboratory, and The Nature Conservancy of Ohio to support the protection of bird populations and habitats through conservation, research, and education.
At the time the criminal violations were discovered, EPA also began a civil investigation that uncovered numerous civil violations spanning five years. Scotts’ FIFRA civil violations included the nationwide distribution or sale of unregistered, canceled, or misbranded pesticides, including products with inadequate warnings or cautions. As a result, EPA issued more than 40 Stop Sale, Use or Removal Orders to Scotts to address more than 100 pesticide products.
In addition to the $6 million civil penalty, Scotts will complete environmental projects, valued at $2 million, to acquire, restore, and protect 300 acres of land to prevent runoff of agricultural chemicals into nearby waterways.
Restoration Effort Moving Forward as Part of $3.7 Million Nyanza Natural Resource Damages Settlement
Massachusetts state and federal environmental officials have announced that 11 projects benefitting the wildlife, people, and landscape of the Sudbury River Watershed will be funded by the $3.7 million settlement reached in 1998 by parties for natural resources harmed by mercury and other contaminants from the Nyanza Chemical Superfund site in Ashland, Massachusetts.
The funds are allocated as part of the final restoration plan and environmental assessment for the Sudbury River Watershed.
The projects will restore migratory and coldwater fish habitat; protect land to conserve wildlife habitat; create public access to the river in Ashland and Sudbury; create a nature preserve in Framingham and Ashland; and control invasive aquatic weeds to improve recreation and wildlife habitats and diversity.
The Nyanza Natural Resource Damages Trustee Council—comprised of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, represented by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), the US Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)—worked with citizen, community and environmental groups, local and regional officials, and state and federal agencies to identify restoration project ideas. The final plan also incorporates public comments on an earlier draft.
Restoration projects will:
- Improve wetlands and river habitat through the control of aquatic weeds in the main-stem of the Sudbury River;
- Restore coldwater fish habitat through riparian channel and stream-bank improvements;
- Assess migratory fish passage in the Concord River that will provide access to habitat in the Concord, Assabet, and Sudbury rivers;
- Promote future river conservation through education and the Sudbury RiverSchools Program;
- Restore riparian grasslands in the Greenways North Field in Wayland;
- Benefit migratory songbirds through the restoration and protection of the Sudbury River habitat and their overwintering habitat in Belize;
- Transform the Stearns and Brackett reservoirs in Ashland and Framingham into a wildlife preserve that will protect and enhance ecological values and create appropriate public access and recreation;
- Conserve habitat by the acquisition of land along the Sudbury River;
- Increase public access to the Sudbury River by the addition of canoe and car-top boat access sites on Aikens Road in Southborough and by having canoes/kayaks for visitor use at the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters in Sudbury; and
- Improve trails and pathways at the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters in Sudbury to increase accessibility for visitors.
The trustees will use a range of administrative mechanisms to implement approved restoration projects, including competitive procurement through Requests for Responses, intergovernmental agreements, directed grants such as Cooperative Agreements, and use of existing statewide or nationwide contracts.
In 1998, the Nyanza Trustee Council recovered approximately $3 million in damages from the Nyanza chemical company as compensation for natural resources injured, destroyed, or lost by the release of hazardous substances and materials at the site. Since that time, interest earned on the settlement funds has increased the total amount of funding available for restoration activities to approximately $3.7 million.
JPMorgan Chase Bank to Reimburse Government $1.28 Million for Cleanup of Superfund Site
In a settlement announced by EPA, JPMorgan Chase Bank has reimbursed the federal government $1.28 million for costs incurred by EPA in cleaning up the Browning Lumber Company Superfund Site in rural Bald Knob, Boone County, West Virginia. Under the Superfund law, past and current owners and operators of a Superfund site are responsible for the cleanup costs.
Cleanup of the Browning Lumber Co., site was completed earlier this year and included extensive cleanup by EPA prior to cleanup work performed by JPMorgan Chase—the corporate successor to a former site owner. The site will be eligible for appropriate re-use as part of West Virginia’s voluntary cleanup program, which encourages voluntary cleanups of contaminated sites as well as redevelopments of abandoned and under-utilized properties.
Starting in 1976, Charleston National Bank, owner of the site as trustee of the Shepard Trust, leased the property to the Browning Lumber Co., which harvested timber and used part of the property for wood-treatment. Charleston National is now merged with JPMorgan Chase.
The site became contaminated after decades-long wood-treating activities using chromated copper arsenate (CCA). CCA contains the hazardous substances chromium, copper, and arsenic. Although the facility ceased operations by 1998, hazardous substances, primarily arsenic in soil, continued to pose a threat to human health and the environment.
Following a fire, EPA first investigated the site in late 2005 and later conducted a cleanup in 2006 and 2007 that included decontamination of the old wood-treatment facility, stabilization of a large area of contaminated soil, and proper disposal of 100 cubic yards of soil contaminated with arsenic and chromium and 43 drums of liquid and solid hazardous wastes.
Recreational Vehicle Manufacturer to Pay $885,000 Penalty to Resolve Violations of the CAA
The EPA announced a settlement with recreational vehicle manufacturer, American Suzuki Motor Corporation and Suzuki Motor Corporation, to pay an $885,000 penalty for allegedly importing and selling 25,458 uncertified all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and off-road motorcycles in the US. ATVs and motorcycles that are not certified may be operating without proper emissions controls and can emit excess hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides that can cause respiratory illnesses, aggravate asthma, and contribute to the formation of ground level ozone, or smog.
The Suzuki ATVs and off-road motorcycles were uncertified because they were manufactured with an undisclosed electronic emission control configuration that would allow the vehicles to be modified for increased horsepower through the installation of an aftermarket part. This type of modification could lead to increased emissions of hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides. Design features that may effect emissions must be disclosed in certificate applications. Vehicles that do not conform to the design specifications in their certificate applications are not covered by a certificate. The violations were identified and self-disclosed by Suzuki.
The CAA prohibits any vehicle or engine from being imported into or sold in the US unless it is covered by a valid, EPA-issued certificate of conformity indicating that the vehicle or engine meets applicable federal emission standards. The certificate of conformity is the primary way EPA ensures that vehicles and engines meet emission standards. This enforcement action is part of an ongoing effort by EPA to ensure that all imported vehicles and engines comply with the CAA’s requirements.
The settlement requires Suzuki to implement three emission mitigation projects to reduce hydrocarbon emissions by 210 tons or more. The projects include replacing older unregulated gas cans with gas cans that meet current evaporative emission requirements, discontinuing the sale of high-permeability fuel line hoses, and installing evaporative emission control devices on certain models of highway motorcycles sold throughout the US.
Suzuki also will modify its warranty policy and owner’s manual for ATVs and off-road motorcycles to increase awareness of modifications to emissions control systems, environmental regulations, prohibited modifications, and acts that could result in loss of warranty coverage.
EPA and Mass National Guard Reach Agreement on 2011 Firing Range Training Violation Allegations
On August 30, 2012, EPA issued a Consent Agreement and Final Order with the Massachusetts National Guard to resolve EPA allegations of violations of operations and maintenance requirements by the Guard in managing three firing ranges at Camp Edwards.
Camp Edwards is located on the northern portion of the Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR) a 22,000-acre property that has been used for military training activities since 1935. The base is located over an aquifer that is the sole source of drinking water for residents of Cape Cod.
Two environmental cleanup programs (one implemented by the Army, the other by the Air Force) are addressing the areas of soil and groundwater contamination that have resulted from activities on site. The US Air Force is addressing contamination from the Otis Air Force Base primarily in the southern portion of MMR under the Federal Superfund Program. The US Army is addressing contamination at Camp Edwards in the northern portion of MMR as required by EPA under the authority of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).
In 1997 and 2000, EPA issued to the Guard a series of administrative orders under SDWA to protect the sole source groundwater aquifer underlying MMR. One of those orders prohibited Guard training with live ammunition to protect the sole source Cape Cod Aquifer. The Guard had since petitioned EPA to resume small arms training with lead ammunition at three firing ranges, known as J, K, and T Ranges. Following the petitions, EPA consented to the training with particular safeguards, including use of bullet capture systems and compliance with Operation, Maintenance, and Monitoring Plans (OMMPs) developed for each of the three ranges.
In 2011, EPA identified that the Guard had not complied with OMMP requirements related to the bullet capture systems at the three firing ranges. Specifically, the Guard failed to pump and dispose of water that was collecting in the bullet capture systems and also failed to notify EPA of issues associated with water collection and disposal.
Following EPA’s identification of the alleged violations, EPA and the Guard conducted pre-enforcement negotiations and settled on a SDWA Consent Agreement and Final Order. The agreement includes a $27,500 cash penalty and the performance of a Supplemental Environmental Project by the Guard that will remove 14 acres of impervious surface at MMR. The estimated value of the project is just over $100,000.
The Supplemental Environmental Project will assist the groundwater underlying MMR, and will enhance protection of state-listed threatened and endangered species.
“EPA’s action will result in the restoration of 14 acres of sandplain grassland habitat, which is critical for rare plants, moths, butterflies, and birds such as the upland sandpiper, grasshopper sparrow, vesper sparrow, and northern harrier,” said Mary Griffin, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game. “We are pleased that the EPA and Massachusetts National Guard have agreed to this important habitat restoration project under the Consent Agreement.”
EPA and the Guard continue to work together on a large number of cleanup actions pursuant to the SDWA on MMR.
Regular public meetings are held on or near the MMR with representatives from the EPA, Massachusetts DEP, and the Army and Air Force cleanup programs.
Clean Harbors Settles with Michigan DEQ after Truck Explosion
The Michigan DEQ has announced settlement with a Chicago company whose truck and chemical cargo exploded in a Sawyer, Michigan, truck stop last year.
The Administrative Consent Order with Clean Harbors Recycling Services of Chicago, LLC, addresses violations associated with the tanker truck explosion at the Travelcenter of America truck stop, located in Chikaming Township.
More than 4,000 gallons of hazardous waste with a pH of 13 was being transported from Chicago to Canada with a stop in Sawyer, Michigan, when the tanker truck exploded and released a portion of its contents into storm drains that empty into Sawyer Creek, a tributary to Lake Michigan. The incident was captured on video and posted at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDbqCwfaFM0
No injuries were reported from the explosion, but the chemical release killed fish in Sawyer Creek, caused temporary closure of the swimming beach at nearby Warren Dunes State Park, and required response from DEQ staff and local emergency responders to monitor site conditions for three days and nights.
Under the terms of the Administrative Consent Order, Clean Harbors Recycling Services will pay a $25,000 civil fine; reimburse the DEQ $38,000 for costs incurred in responding to the explosion; and pay $37,000 in natural resources damages resulting from the fish kill and lost revenue due to closure of the Warren Dunes State Park beach.
Maryland Secures Guilty Plea in Open Burn Case
Maryland has announced the criminal conviction of George E. Rodgers, Sr., of Mitchellville, Maryland, on environmental charges filed against him in Prince George’s County. In a hearing, Rodgers pled guilty to illegally conducting an open fire burn without a permit at the site of his business, Rodgers Brothers Services, Inc., in Capitol Heights, Maryland. He received a $20,000 fine with $10,000 suspended, a 90-day suspended sentence, and five years probation.
On November 29, 2011, inspectors from Prince George’s County and the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) were at the Rodgers Brothers Service, Inc., business site. Rodgers Brothers represents itself as an environmental construction and demolition debris recycling company. George E. Rodgers Sr. is a primary partner/owner of the company. When the inspectors arrived, they saw Rodgers overseeing a burning of debris and advised him that the large piles of debris and the burn sites were illegal and unpermitted. Rodgers said that he understood and that he would extinguish the burning immediately and have all the debris piles cleaned up within 30 days. Thereafter, the MDE inspector returned to the property on several occasions and found Rodgers conducting illegal burns and continuing to maintain large piles of construction debris. No permits had been requested or issued for the burning or the open dump.
Open burning and dumping of materials carries the potential of dangerous chemicals being released into the environment. Burning items can release toxic pollutants and can cause health problems for anyone living or working on site or nearby. Some pollutants may cause or aggravate cancer, asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, and other conditions.
EPA Fines Kettleman City Landfill for Improper Analysis of PCBs Waste
The EPA has fined Chemical Waste Management, Inc., (CWM) $9,375 for a single instance in which it failed to analyze leachate for PCBs before disposal at its Kettleman Hills Facility located in Kings County, California.
On May 9, 2012, CWM voluntarily disclosed to EPA that leachate, or liquid that drains from a landfill, was disposed in a hazardous waste surface impoundment without being sampled or analyzed for PCBs. The leachate remaining in the tank was later tested for PCBs and found to be below the regulatory limit 50 milligrams per liter, allowing it to be placed into the surface impoundment.
In addition to paying the fine, CWM will implement new safety protocols for its leachate collection tanks to ensure that the leachate is properly sampled for PCBs before removal from the tanks—preventing the mismanagement of this liquid in the future. The new protocols consist of additional equipment tagging and a detailed documentation process.
There is no evidence to suggest that the landfill’s violation posed any danger to nearby communities or workers at the facility.
Prior to 1976, PCBs were commonly added to liquids used in electrical transformers, capacitors, circuit breakers, voltage regulators/switches, plasticizers, and other additives in lubricating and cutting oils. EPA regulates PCBs under TSCA. EPA will continue to monitor this facility and other PCB storage and disposal facilities.
Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Becket Penalized $9,057 for Drinking Water System Violations
Mass DEP has issued a $9,057 penalty to Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Inc., owner and operator of the non-community public water system (PWS) in Becket, Massachusetts. The penalty was issued for expansion of its PWS without increased water quality monitoring and without prior approval, in violation of state Drinking Water regulations.
During an inspection in 2007, MassDEP staff reminded the owner that substantial expansion of the seasonal water system may require additional review, potentially a new water source to replace the non-conforming source, additional water quality monitoring and increased oversight by the PWS operator.
In March 2012, MassDEP reviewed system information that indicated the facility had been expanded without notification to MassDEP. Jacob’s Pillow confirmed they had expanded and exceeded thresholds for additional review and monitoring in September 2011.
As part of a settlement agreement with MassDEP, Jacob’s Pillow has agreed to post public notice at its facility, obtain a permit for a new supply well, conduct appropriate water quality monitoring and ensure operator oversight for each month that the facility is in operation. Jacob’s Pillow must pay $1,250 of the assessed penalty, and MassDEP has agreed to suspend the remaining $7,807 contingent upon full compliance with all requirements.
The Performance Operating Company Fined for Violating the CWA
The EPA has fined the Performance Operating Company, LLC, of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, $3,250 for violating federal Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) regulations at two of its oil production facilities.
A June 28, 2012, EPA inspection at the company’s North Kane Tank Battery in Osage County, Oklahoma, found the facility’s SPCC plan had inadequate or no facility diagram, no listing of type of oil and storage capacity layout of containers, and the plan did not discuss nor implement appropriate containment and diversionary structures and equipment. The inspection also revealed the field drainage system, oil traps, and skimmers were not regularly inspected and oil not promptly removed. The fine for the violations at the North Kane Tank Battery was $1,750.
A second EPA inspection on June 28, 2012, found the company’s #4A SWD facility in Osage County had no SPCC plan as required by federal regulations. The fine for the absence of an SPCC plan was $1,500.
As part of an Expedited Settlement Agreement with the EPA, the company has provided certification that all identified deficiencies have been corrected at both facilities.
SPCC regulations require onshore oil production or bulk storage facilities to provide oil spill prevention, preparedness, and countermeasures to prevent oil discharges. The SPCC program helps protect our nation’s water quality since a spill of only one gallon of oil can contaminate one million gallons of water.
Emissions Inspector Ordered to Stop Inspecting Motor Vehicles as a Result of Investigation
A motor vehicle emissions inspector who issued dozens of fraudulent inspection stickers while working in Haverhill, Massachusetts, has had his license revoked and is barred from collecting income from his inspection station for one year.
According to the final judgment, the owner of Winter Street Auto Repair and Service, Rafael Duluc, unlawfully issued at least 47 passing vehicle inspection stickers in violation of the Massachusetts CAA when he conducted fraudulent motor vehicle emissions inspections. Duluc is now barred from deriving any income from his inspection station for one year, at which time he may reapply for his inspection license.
For each of the fraudulent emissions inspections, Duluc did not conduct an on-board diagnostic (OBD) test on the motor vehicle as required, but instead tested a clean vehicle—one that he knew would pass the test—and used the results to issue a passing inspection sticker to the vehicle that came in for the inspection. This illegal practice is known as clean scanning, which not only violates the emissions inspection regulations and the Massachusetts CAA, but also the Massachusetts Regulation of Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act.
By approving motor vehicles that were not inspected, Duluc’s unlawful conduct created an unfair competitive advantage over other inspection stations and inspectors that have been complying with the law in conducting emissions inspections.
Environmental News Links
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Scientists Study Lasting Health Effects of Toxic Spill
Pollution Fines Stack Up
PCB Exposure Increases Asthma Risk in Children
Man Gets Probation for Illegal Hazardous Waste
Couple Violates Hazardous Waste Laws
State Recovers Cost of Hazardous Waste Dumping
Dry-Cleaner Pleads Guilty to Improper Disposal of Cleaning Solvents
Recycling Push Focuses on Discarded Electronics
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Group Cleaning Kentucky Superfund Site Sues Past Users
Feds Clear California Regulators in Civil Rights Complaint
Trivia Question of the Week
Which of the following municipal solid wastes has the greatest generation rate (in tons), based on 2010 data?
a. Yard trimmings
b. Food scraps