EPA is about to publish a final rule that includes over 60 revisions and new requirements in the hazardous waste generator regulatory program. According to EPA, the primary intent of these provisions is to foster improved compliance by hazardous waste generators in the identification and management of the hazardous waste they generate and, as a result, improve protection of human health and the environment. Another major objective of this rule is to support the efficient implementation of the hazardous waste generator regulations by the states.
The Agency intends to achieve these objectives in several ways. For example, the most frequent comment the Agency received when it conducted a program evaluation of the hazardous waste generator regulatory program in 2004 was to improve the user-friendliness of the regulations. Prior to this action, the generator regulations were found in several parts of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). This final rule reorganizes and consolidates most of the generator regulatory program into 40 CFR 262, with exceptions for very technical and lengthy regulations, such as the RCRA air emissions standards and the land disposal restriction requirements.
Here are just some of the changes that are being finalized:
- New definitions for Central Accumulation Areas and Very Small Quantity Generators
- New requirements for generators to accurately document which wastes are hazardous wastes
- New labeling requirements for hazardous waste at central accumulation areas and satellites
- Requirements for LQGs to notify EPA or their authorized state when they plan to close their facilities
- Requirements for SQGs to re-notify EPA or the authorized state of their generator status and wastes generated every four years
- Requiring LQGs to submit a biennial report that identifies all of the hazardous wastes generated in the calendar year
- Requiring LQGs to prepare a quick reference guide for their contingency plans to assist responders in an emergency
- Requiring facilities that recycle hazardous waste without storing the waste to prepare and submit a biennial report
- Allowing VSQGs to voluntarily send hazardous waste to LQGs under the control of the same person
- Allowing LQGs to apply for a waiver to accumulate ignitable and reactive wastes within the 50 foot facility boundary
- Allowing VSQGs and SQGs to voluntarily maintain their existing regulatory status if they have an episodic event that generates additional amounts of hazardous waste which would have resulted in them moving into a higher generator category for a short period of time, so long as they comply with certain conditions
- Reorganizing the hazardous waste generator regulations to make them more user-friendly
- Revisions that clarify the mixture rule
The new rule will be effective 6 months from the day it is published in the Federal Register. Some portions of the rule will be effective in all states, some will not be effective until your state adopts the rule; and if your state’s rules are more stringent than the new regulations, the state’s stringent requirements might continue to apply in your state. Learn how to comply with the rule by attending Environmental Resource Center’s Hazardous Waste Management Training or the Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule Webcast.
Orlando RCRA and DOT Training
Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Orlando, FL, on November 15–17 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.
Charlotte RCRA and DOT Training
Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Charlotte, NC, on November 29–December 1 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.
Burbank RCRA and DOT Training
Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Burbank, CA, on December 6–8 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.
EPA's Strategy to Address the Retail Sector Under RCRA
EPA published the Retail Strategy to address hazardous waste management challenges faced by the retail sector under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Hazardous waste management regulations, many of which were developed more than 35 years ago with industrial and manufacturing settings in mind, can pose compliance challenges for the retail sector. The strategy lays out a cohesive and effective plan to address these unique challenges while reducing burden and protecting human health and the environment.
As part of EPA's ongoing outreach efforts associated with implementing the Agency's Retail Strategy, the Agency has scheduled this webinar in order to provide an overview of the strategy and to offer audience members the opportunity to ask questions, make suggestions, share experiences, and exchange information. If you are in the retail sector, you are encouraged to review the retail strategy and accompanying retail flowchart (PDF).
Can You Make Your Own Battery from Scrap Metal?
With residential solar energy ramping up, consumers are looking for ways to store extra energy without breaking the bank. To help solve this problem, a team of scientists has come up with a novel possibility: do-it-yourself, scrap-metal batteries. They report their method in the journal ACS Energy Letters, “From the Junkyard to the Power Grid: Ambient Processing of Scrap Metals into Nanostructured Electrodes for Ultrafast Rechargeable Batteries.”
One of the most obvious choices these days for back-up energy storage is the lithium-ion battery. This option, however, requires a complex, global supply chain and high-end manufacturing facilities. But making batteries hasn’t always been so hi-tech. The world’s first speculated batteries originated during the first century B.C. with a terracotta pot, a copper sheet, and an iron rod, according to Cary L. Pint and colleagues. Going back to this simple predecessor known as the “Baghdad battery,” the scientists decided to pursue a similarly basic device using scrap steel and brass, which respectively make up the most and the third-most abundant kinds of scrap metal waste in the U.S.
Pint and his team developed a simple process that could be carried out at home to prepare steel and brass scraps of varying sizes and shapes, including shavings and screws, to turn them into effective electrodes for batteries. When the electrodes were combined with aqueous potassium hydroxide as the electrolyte, they yielded a battery with a voltage of up to 1.8 volts and an energy density up to 20-watt hours per kilogram, which approaches that of traditional lead-acid and nickel-iron batteries. Testing showed the steel-brass batteries could charge and discharge more than 5,000 times. Because such devices are made of common scrap metal, they would be inexpensive and could help shift some of the energy storage burden from a centralized model to a localized one, the researchers say.
Progress in Reducing Water Pollution from Nonpoint Sources
EPA has released the first-ever national snapshot of the agency’s work to reduce water pollution from nonpoint sources, which affect more than 80% of the country’s assessed rivers, streams, lakes, and reservoirs. Through the strong state, tribal, and territorial partnerships built through EPA’s Clean Water Act Section 319 Nonpoint Source Pollution Management Program, more than 6,000 miles of streams and 164,000 acres of lakes have been removed from EPA’s impaired waters list.
The report found that EPA’s 319 grants are a catalyst toward water quality improvement—of 538 water bodies with documented water quality improvement, states reported a total $1.78 billion of funding was provided for restoration work. Of that amount, $13% ($238 million) is attributed to Section 319 funding. EPA’s Nonpoint Source Program Report highlights other major accomplishments and offers a glimpse of the more than 2,000 nonpoint source projects underway across the country.
EPA Enforcement Actions on Lead-Based Paint Health Hazards
EPA recently announced over 100 federal enforcement actions completed over the last year that require entities like renovation contractors, landlords, and property managers to protect communities and public health from exposure to lead. Lead paint is the main way people are exposed to lead in the United States, and lead exposure can cause a range of health problems, from behavioral disorders and learning disabilities to seizures and death, putting young children and their developing nervous systems at the greatest risk.
“Renovation companies and their contractors must protect children and other vulnerable people from lead-based paint exposure, especially in minority and low-income communities where housing with lead-based paint is more common,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “These enforcement actions show that EPA will hold companies accountable when they put public health at risk, and they promote a level playing field for businesses that follow the rules.”
From October 2015 through September 2016, EPA entered into 123 settlements for alleged violations of one or more of the three lead-based paint rules—the Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule; the Lead Disclosure Rule; and the Lead-based Paint Activities Rule for abatements—and filed six complaints for ongoing actions. Each settlement requires that the alleged violator return to compliance and, in most cases, pay civil penalties. Collectively, the settlements require violators to pay $1,046,655 in penalties.
The three rules are part of the federal Toxic Substances Control Act and the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act and apply to housing built before 1978 and child-occupied facilities. Ensuring compliance with all three rules enables EPA to identify and address a variety of lead exposure risks that occur in communities across the nation. These risks can occur when lead paint deteriorates or is disrupted during home renovation and remodeling activities. A blood lead test is the only way to determine if a child has a high lead level. Parents who think their child has been in contact with lead dust should contact their child's health care provider.
In September 2016, EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice announced a settlement with Sears Home Improvement Products, Inc., that resolves alleged violations of the Lead RRP Rule for work performed by Sears’ contractors during home renovation projects across the country. Under the settlement, Sears will implement a comprehensive, corporate-wide program to ensure that the contractors it hires to perform work minimize lead dust from home renovation activities and pay a $400,000 civil penalty.
In three of the settlements, entities agreed to fund voluntary environmental projects collectively valued at up to $409,429 to address lead risks and poisoning. Every project requires lead-based paint abatement, including post-construction clearance testing to ensure that no hazards remain. The complaints propose penalties of up to $197,743 for alleged violations of the RRP Rule and/or Lead Disclosure Rule.
Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule Enforcement Action
Of the total settlements reported during fiscal year 2016, 116 cited alleged RRP Rule violations involving repair, renovation or painting projects where lead-based paint is disturbed. Approximately 63% of this year’s cases alleged failure to obtain EPA certification and almost half cited non-compliance with requirements to ensure lead-safe work practices.
The following are highlights from settlements involving significant penalties and/or supplemental environmental projects:
- Hammer and Hand, Inc., located in Oregon, paid a $69,398 penalty for alleged RRP Rule work practice and recordkeeping violations.
- Clearview Home Improvements, located in California, paid a $58,450 fine for alleged noncompliance with RRP Rule requirements for certification, pre-renovation education, firm responsibility, and recordkeeping.
- Zidan Management Group, Inc., located in Indiana, agreed to perform an abatement project valued at up to $41,500 and paid a $3,675 fine to settle alleged violation of RRP Rule work practice and certification requirements.
The RRP Rule requires that individuals performing renovations are properly trained and certified, give owners and occupants EPA’s Renovate Right lead hazard information pamphlet before beginning work and follow specific lead-safe work practices during renovations.
Lead Disclosure Rule Enforcement Actions
Five of the settlements reported in fiscal year 2016 alleged Lead Disclosure Rule violations. This rule continues to be an important tool for reducing lead exposures and increasing awareness of lead risks. The rule generally requires lessors and sellers to disclose to prospective tenants and purchasers specific information about lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards.
In one case, a landlord in Illinois, committed to perform a $308,000 lead abatement project and pay a $5,000 cash penalty to settle alleged Lead Disclosure Rule infractions. This case was a joint enforcement action by EPA and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.
In another case, Carrington Real Estate Services, LLC, and Carrington Mortgage Services, LLC, both in California, agreed to spend at least $59,929 to donate blood-lead test equipment to non-profit community health clinics, and pay a $19,976 penalty to settle alleged Lead Disclosure Rule infractions.
Lead-based Paint Activities Rule – Abatement Enforcement Actions
The Lead-based Paint Activities Rule requires that abatement contractors be trained and certified, and follow abatement-specific lead-safe work practices. EPA-authorized states typically implement and enforce the abatement requirements of this rule. However, during fiscal year 2016, EPA took action in two cases. In one case, Lead Me Out Environmental Services, Inc. of New York paid a civil penalty of $20,000 for alleged abatement violations.
Automakers Outperform Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards for 4th Consecutive Year
Passenger vehicles achieved record-high fuel economy while outperforming greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards in model year 2015, according to two reports released recently by the EPA.
The GHG Manufacturer Performance Report for 2015 Model Year finds automakers went beyond the model year (MY) 2015 standards by an average 7 grams of CO2 per mile, equivalent to 0.9 miles per gallon (mpg), even as the fleet-wide standard became more stringent by 13 grams of CO2 per mile. All large manufacturers have met the standards through MY 2015.
According to the 2016 CO2 and Fuel Economy Trends Report, MY 2015 vehicles’ fuel economy increased by 0.5 mpg to a record 24.8 mpg, with improvements across all vehicle types—including passenger cars, SUVs, vans and minivans, and light duty pickup trucks. Since 2011, the year before the national Greenhouse Gas and Fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles took effect, fuel economy has increased by 2.4 mpg, and CO2 emissions per mile traveled have decreased by 10%.
“Car buyers can go to the showroom knowing that no matter what kind of vehicle they buy, it will be better for the climate—and their wallets—than ever before,” said Christopher Grundler, director of EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality. “This report highlights that the industry is providing vehicles that customers want, while reaching new levels of environmental performance.”
The automotive industry has seen six consecutive years of sales increases and a new all-time sales record in 2015, reflecting positive consumer response to vehicles complying with the standards. Automakers have been rapidly adopting fuel-efficient technologies like turbo charging, engine downsizing, more sophisticated transmissions, vehicle weight reduction, aerodynamics and idle stop-start, along with improved accessories and air conditioning systems. More than 100 MY 2016 vehicles on the market today already meet the 2020 standards.
EPA estimates that, through today, the GHG emissions standards have slashed almost 130 million metric tons of CO2—roughly the amount of GHGs emitted from the electricity use in about 20 million homes for one year. The National Program—which set coordinated regulations on fuel economy and GHG emissions between the EPA, the Department of Transportation and the California Air Resources Board—establishes separate footprint-based standards for passenger cars and light trucks. A manufacturer's compliance obligations depend on the mix of vehicles that it produces for sale in each model year. This approach ensures that consumers can continue to choose from the full range of fuel-efficient vehicles on the market, while these vehicles are improving efficiency and reducing emissions.
Tradebe Treatment and Recycling Northeast Fined $90,000 for Failing to Report Shipments of Hazardous Waste and Waste Oil
A Connecticut-based hazardous waste transport company operating in Massachusetts has been assessed a $90,000 penalty by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) for allegedly failing to report shipments of hazardous waste and waste oil and submitting inaccurate hazardous waste reports to the state over a period of six-and-a-half years. The company will also be required to take additional steps to ensure future compliance with environmental laws regulating the transportation of hazardous waste.
"Proper documentation of the movement of hazardous waste is essential to protect the public and the environment," said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. "The rules in this area are clear and need to be followed."
Tradebe Treatment and Recycling Northeast, LLC, is a licensed hazardous waste transporter that picks up hazardous waste and waste oil from customers that generate it and transports it to facilities licensed to accept such waste. The company, which in Massachusetts operates as Tradebe Transportation, failed to submit required monthly hazardous waste transportation reports from January through July 2015.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Tradebe is required to provide training to its employees and conduct audits to ensure that all monthly hazardous waste transportation reports are accurate and complete. Tradebe is also required to correct any errors or omissions discovered during the audits and resubmit corrected reports to MassDEP.
Additional violations by Tradebe identified by MassDEP during its investigation include:
- From January 2009 through December 2013, Tradebe failed to report to MassDEP 146 shipments of hazardous waste. Tradebe also entered incorrect and inconsistent information on hazardous waste manifests and monthly hazardous waste transportation reports on multiple occasions during the same time period.
- From December 2014 through May 2016, Tradebe, on numerous occasions, entered incorrect hazardous waste generator identification numbers on monthly hazardous waste transportation reports submitted to MassDEP.
- From January 2015 to June 2016, Tradebe failed to report to MassDEP more than 400 shipments of hazardous waste.
- Tradebe transported hazardous waste in three vehicles without being in possession of the MassDEP Emergency Response telephone number and, in one vehicle, without possession of a state Department of Transportation Emergency Response Guidebook, all of which are required in case of a release or spill of hazardous waste or waste oil.
Under the terms of the settlement, Tradebe will pay $63,000 of the assessed penalty within 30 days of the final settlement, and the remaining amount, $27,000, will be suspended pending the company's compliance with environmental laws as outlined in the settlement.
Tradebe must also take steps to ensure that the company is submitting accurate and complete information in the monthly operating reports that are required to be submitted to MassDEP. Those steps include ensuring that the company's drivers are collecting waste from facilities that are registered and have a valid hazardous waste generator identification number. Tradebe's employees will be required to supply any facility that does not have an identification number with registration information and a registration form.
In Massachusetts, facilities that generate hazardous waste must first receive an EPA identification number or a valid Massachusetts identification number. Hazardous waste transporters may only accept such waste from facilities that have a valid identification number and must submit monthly operating reports that include detailed information for each shipment of hazardous waste. These requirements are critical to the cradle-to-grave system for tracking the shipment, handling and disposal of hazardous wastes in Massachusetts.
Perma-Fix Northwest Fined $36,400 for Improperly Handling Waste
A Richland company, Perma-Fix Northwest, has agreed to pay a $36,400 penalty for improperly handling mixed dangerous and radioactive waste. The company treats, stores, and disposes of various types of dangerous waste at its north Richland plant. It handles waste from a number of sites, including the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.
Perma-Fix Northwest will pay the penalty to settle violations for failing to properly designate the waste, storing waste in a non-permitted area, and failing to inspect an area that was found to contain dangerous, potentially cancer-causing substances.
During an inspection, the Washington Department of Ecology found dangerous kitty litter-sized granules of waste on the floor and under a grate associated with a waste shredding unit. Analysis confirmed that the waste contained heavy metal cadmium at a concentration that designates it as dangerous waste, as well as radioactive substances including cobalt, cesium and uranium. Records indicate the business changed hands in 2007 and the current operators have not used the waste shredding unit left at the facility by the prior owner.
“Under the terms of their operating permit, they had an obligation to inspect all areas of their operation, and ensure that any dangerous, radioactive or mixed waste was identified and cleaned up,” said Alex Smith, Nuclear Waste Program manager for Ecology. “Had anything happened to disturb this material and make it airborne, it would have posed serious health risks to anyone who inhaled it.”
Ecology assessed a $52,000 penalty, but reduced that by one-third when Perma-Fix Northwest entered into an expedited settlement agreement. The settlement requires the company to waive its right to appeal. Ecology uses this expedited settlement process in an effort to save the state, taxpayers and Perma-Fix the expense of costly litigation.
“Perma-Fix Northwest Richland appreciates the professionalism of Ecology staff and the role they play in ensuring the safe and compliant operation of facilities such as ours,” said Richard Grondin, vice-president and general manager. “We share their goals and objectives and look forward to continuing to work together to maintain the safety of the public and our employees. All of the corrective measures necessary to resolve the described violations were initiated immediately following the inspection and have been completed. At no time were our employees or the public exposed.”
McWane Fined $825,000 for Stormwater Violations
A 2010 enforcement settlement between EPA and McWane resolved more than 400 civil and criminal violations of federal and state environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. In addition to more than $13 million in required compliance costs and an $825,000 federal penalty, McWane will fund several Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) across Alabama, including a stormwater management project that was undertaken in North Birmingham.
As part of the agreement, McWane, a national cast iron pipe manufacturer, converted city-owned land, which once was used as an unauthorized dump littered with old tires, washing machines and other debris, into what now is known as Greenwood Park Storm Water Project. The park features an innovative bioremediation facility that naturally collects and ﬁlters contaminated rainwater before it enters Village Creek.
Greenwood Park, which is located along Village Creek in Birmingham, Alabama, illustrates how a green solution can positively improve stormwater management concerns while enhancing the beauty and economic vitality to the neighborhoods of North Birmingham.
The significant positive benefits of the stormwater management project for the residents of Birmingham and Village Creek include the collection of contaminated storm water from the 135-acre urban and industrial watershed above the park as well as the on-site stormwater. The contaminated stormwater from the upgradient watershed is directed to a detention pond, filtered through the earth, collected in wet wells, and pumped through one of two bioswales for further water quality treatment. That flow is either evaporated or transpired by the bioswale vegetation or makes its way gradually to Village Creek. During high rainfall events, the more heavily polluted stormwater is captured by one of the detention ponds, with the overflows being directed to Village Creek. The captured stormwater subsequently undergoes treatment through the bioswales. The park also features walking trails, multi-use athletic field, basketball courts, a playground, restrooms, other recreational amenities, and two educational signs that describe the environmental features and benefits of the bioswales and constructed wetlands and the value of “green space” in urban areas.
EPA Takes Action to Protect Benner Bay and Mangrove Lagoon from Water Pollution
The EPA has ordered the owner of the Mariendahl Quarry Complex and related industrial areas in Estate Mariendahl, St. Thomas, to address its discharges of stormwater and wastewater. The stormwater and wastewater flows into the Turpentine Run Ghut, which flows into Benner Bay and Mangrove Lagoon. The Mariendahl Quarry Complex, which is owned by Heavy Materials, LLC, has been out of compliance with the Clean Water Act since at least July 2013, when the EPA and the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources inspected the complex. The facility currently has no stormwater management infrastructure in place and is unable to process all of the wastewater generated at the quarry and ready-mixed concrete production areas. Heavy Materials is the largest producer of ready-mixed concrete and masonry blocks in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“The types of wastewater that runs off of these facilities can be caustic and can seriously damage water quality," said Carmen Guerrero P?rez, the Director of the EPA’s Caribbean Environmental Protection Division. “It is imperative that this company comply with the Clean Water Act in order to protect sensitive ecosystems in St. Thomas. The EPA will address the issue of civil penalties.”
The Mariendahl Quarry Complex has a number of industrial activities, including quarry mining, stone crushing and processing, ready-mixed concrete production, and masonry block manufacturing, which involves the use of gravel and sand products also produced at the facilities.
The Clean Water Act prohibits the discharge of process wastewaters without a permit. The law also requires industrial facilities, such as ready-mixed concrete plants, and sand and gravel facilities, to have controls in place to prevent pollution from being carried into nearby waterways during rain events.
Each business must have a stormwater pollution prevention plan that outlines guidelines and the most effective management practices that the company will follow to prevent runoff from being contaminated by pollutants.
Stormwater from ready-mixed concrete plants often has a very high pH and contains oils, greases, and high levels of suspended solids. When these solids settle they can form deposits on the bottom of the water bodies that destroy plants and animals and the spawning grounds of fish.
The EPA has ordered Heavy Materials, LLC, to undertake the following actions to come into compliance with the Clean Water Act:
- Fast track implementation of measures and controls to reduce the amount the unauthorized discharges
- Within 60 days, prepare a Comprehensive Project Implementation Plan that will include topographical surveys and a Hydrology and Hydraulic study that will show where stormwater could enter and be discharged from the complex and its related facilities into the ghut
- Within 60 days, conduct an engineering analysis that will include an evaluation of all potential pollution sources, an evaluation of best management practices in place to address the potential for discharges of pollutants from wastewaters, and an evaluation of storm water discharge outfalls. The engineering analysis will also include applications for the appropriate discharge permits of the complex. The discharge permit procedures will be handled by the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources (VIDPNR), which is the permitting authority in the USVI
- Within 90 days, establish a corporate Environmental Compliance Management Program, that will be used to implement Clean Water Act and permitting requirements at the complex
- Preparation and submittal of monthly progress reports to notify the EPA and VIDPNR of the actions taken and to be taken to comply with the order and the Clean Water Act
Heavy Materials, LLC, has begun complying with several provisions of the order that were either required immediately or within 30 days. The EPA is focusing on bringing the Mariendahl Quarry Complex into compliance with the Clean Water Act.
Mitsuya Boeki USA to Pay $143,300 for Chemical Reporting Violations
EPA reached a settlement with Mitsuya Boeki USA, Inc., of Saddle Brook, New Jersey, involving violations of federal rules that require manufacturers and importers to provide the EPA with information on the production and use of large quantities of chemicals. The company, a subsidiary of Japan’s Mitsuya Boeki LTD, which specializes in the manufacture and distribution of ingredients for pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, failed to report essential information to the EPA about chemicals it imported into the United States. Under the legal settlement, Mitsuya Boeki USA will pay a $143,300 penalty.
"Because of the effects toxic chemicals can have on human health and the environment, it is critical that companies using large quantities of chemicals fully comply with federal reporting requirements," said Judith A. Enck.
The EPA collects information on the types, quantities, and uses of chemical substances produced domestically and imported into the United States. The information is collected every four years from manufacturers and importers of chemicals in commerce, generally when production volumes for the chemical are 25,000 lb or greater for a specific year. The EPA uses the data to assess potential human and environmental risks from these chemicals and makes information that is not declared confidential business information available to the public.
An EPA inspection of Mitsuya Boeki USA’s facility at 250 Pehle Avenue in Saddle Brook, New Jersey revealed that the company had failed to report its importation of 7 chemicals subject to the reporting rule. Information about the imported chemicals covered under this legal settlement is considered confidential business information by Mitsuya Boecki USA. In addition to the penalty, Mitsuya Boecki USA has filed an updated report and will implement management practices to ensure compliance with all provisions of federal toxics laws and regulations in the future.
For more information on the Chemical Data Reporting rule, click here.
EPA Settles with Shoreside Petroleum for Violating Federal Clean Air Rules at Fuel Terminals
Shoreside Petroleum, Inc., based in Anchorage, has paid $89,000 in penalties for violating federal clean air rules designed to prevent toxic air pollution at the company’s fuel terminals in Seward and Cordova, Alaska. Shoreside Petroleum’s terminals receive gasoline from marine barge vessels and transport trucks, store gasoline in large fixed-roof tanks, and load gasoline into tank trucks for delivery to area customers.
In a settlement announced recently, the EPA alleges that Shoreside Petroleum violated multiple Clean Air Act rules at both of the company’s Seward and Cordova terminals. To resolve the violations and return to compliance, the company also spent approximately $402,000 to install and test pollution controls and began checking for leaks and reporting results to EPA. After installing the required controls, EPA estimates that the company’s air pollution emissions were reduced by approximately 30 tons per year in Seward and nine tons per year in Cordova.
According to Ed Kowalski, Director of EPA Region 10's Office of Compliance and Enforcement:
“To protect the health of their workers and the surrounding community, bulk gasoline terminals need to have pollution controls in place to prevent the release of harmful gas vapors, a known source of air toxics. Operating bulk gasoline terminals without the required pollution controls and monitoring for leaks are serious violations that we enforce aggressively.”
Shoreside Petroleum originally self-disclosed its violations to EPA in November 2014. The violations, some dating back to 2005, include: failing to install vapor capture and control systems on the Seward loading rack and on storage tanks at both terminals, failing to limit gas loading to vapor-tight tank trucks, and failing to check for leaks in the gasoline service equipment during loading. Because of its 2014 self-disclosure to EPA, the company qualified for EPA’s Self-Audit program which resulted in a significant penalty reduction. To take advantage of these incentives, facilities must voluntarily discover, promptly disclose to EPA, expeditiously correct, and prevent recurrence of future violations. EPA encourages companies to self-disclose violations discovered during routine environmental compliance audits.
The Clean Air Act requires bulk gasoline terminals to capture and control vapors from tanker truck loading racks and storage tanks. The rules also require that all fuel loading must be limited to vapor-tight gasoline tank trucks. In addition, the vapor collection and processing systems, and loading racks handling gasoline, must be inspected monthly to check for fuel or vapor leaks. Gasoline vapors contain air toxics such as benzene and toluene, which can cause cancer or other serious health effects including respiratory and cardiovascular disease, and reproductive effects or birth defects.
WestRock CP Ordered to Pay $4.6 Million to Reimburse Cleanup Costs
The EPA has settled with WestRock CP, LLC, which will pay $1.6 million in cash plus shares of stock valued at nearly $3 million as partial reimbursement for a hazardous waste cleanup near Prescott, Arizona.
The site is a former wood treating plant located on the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe reservation, and cleaned up by the EPA using its authority under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (the Superfund law). In 2012, EPA discovered significant amounts of arsenic and pentachlorophenol-contaminated material at the abandoned site. The Agency spent $6.1 million removing 4,209 tons of contaminated soil during a two-month-long cleanup.
“This unique settlement was structured to allow the Agency to receive corporate shares instead of a full cash payment,” said Enrique Manzanilla, Director of the Superfund Program for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest Office. “We are pleased to recover the majority of the taxpayer-provided funds spent on the environmental cleanup on tribal lands.”
The shares of stock being transferred to the Agency include 56,064 shares in WestRock CP, LLC’s parent company, WestRock Company, and 9,344 shares of a newly established spin-off company, Ingevity Corporation. The EPA will sell the stock once the settlement is finalized in federal District Court. The combined stock current value is $2,998,406.
Southwest Forest Industries Inc. operated the wood treating plant from 1961-1985, and a successor company, Smurfit-Stone Container Enterprises, Inc. went bankrupt, leaving the cleanup obligations with the current corporate successor, Westrock, CP LLC, a manufacturer of paperboard and paper-based packaging.
Pentachlorophenol, an industrial wood preservative, is extremely toxic and can cause neurological, blood, and liver effects, and eye irritation in the short term and long term impacts on the respiratory tract, blood, kidney, liver, immune system, eyes, nose, and skin. Arsenic, used to formulate a common wood preservative, can cause gastrointestinal effects, anemia, peripheral neuropathy, skin lesions, hyperpigmentation, and liver or kidney damage in humans.
The consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period.
Renew Your Texas Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) Coverage by November 14, 2016
The TCEQ issued the Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (TPDES) MSGP TXR050000 for stormwater discharges from industrial facilities on August 14, 2016.
Currently permitted facilities have 90 days to renew their authorization by submitting an NOI (TCEQ Form 10382) either online through STEERS ePermits program or by paper form, and paying the application fee. The 90-day renewal grace period ends at 5:00 p.m. on November 14, 2016.
Before submitting an NOI to obtain permit coverage, be sure to:
- Obtain and review a copy of the 2016 general permit
- Update or create your Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWP3)
- Implement the SWP3 on site
Facilities with an active No Exposure Certification (NEC) need to also submit the NEC (TCEQ Form 10383) and pay the application fee. This can also be done either online using STEERS or by submitting a paper form.
If you no longer need coverage under the MSGP and have not submitted a Notice of Termination (NOT) (TCEQ Form 10443), your permit authorization will automatically expire on November 14, 2016. Permit authorizations that were not terminated prior to September 1, 2016, will be assessed the $200 annual water quality fee.
To renew electronically you may access STEERS at: https://www3.tceq.texas.gov/steers/. When renewing make sure you use the exact legal name as it is registered with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts and Secretary of State.
If you have questions, please call the Small Business and Local Government Assistance hotline at 1-800-447-2827 or visit the TCEQ website at www.TexasEnviroHelp.org.
North Coast Regional Water Board Reaches $579,700 Settlement for Sonoma County Stream Sediment Discharges
The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board approved a settlement agreement yesterday with a Sonoma County property owner over sediment discharges to a tributary of Salmon Creek, a coastal stream.
Working with the State Water Resources Control Board’s Office of Enforcement, the Regional Water Board reached a settlement agreement with property owner Stephen Kistler that requires the payment of $579,700 in penalties for water code violations and recovery of agency staff costs for enforcement and prosecution of the case.
The settlement requires Kistler to immediately pay $322,498 to the State Water Resources Control Board Cleanup and Abatement Account and allows for the remaining $257,202 in penalties to be suspended pending the successful completion of two Supplemental Environmental Projects.
The projects involve rainwater catchment and gully stabilization on private properties in the Salmon Creek watershed; they return needed instream flows and treat active sediment sources in the Salmon Creek watershed.
The sediment discharges occurred during an April 2013 incident in which Kistler directed an employee to pump highly turbid water from a partially constructed pond into a second onsite pond on Kistler’s property, located at 14701 Bodega Highway in Valley Ford. Approximately 739,910 gallons of that water subsequently overflowed from the second pond into a watercourse that drains to Salmon Creek.
Responding to a California Emergency Management Agency spill report, staff of the Regional Water Board, Department of Fish and Wildlife, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) observed highly turbid water in Salmon Creek, and followed it back up to the ponds on the Kistler Property. Over the course of a five-day period from April 11th to the15th, Regional Water Board staff documented the discharge and its dissipation; the investigation continued until the 29th of April.
Regional Water Board investigators determined that the sediment discharges violated both the California Water Code and the federal Clean Water Act.
The negotiated settlement includes $570,000 for penalties and $10,000 in staff costs. The settlement of this enforcement action will likely promote better land management practices by providing a concrete example of the potential liability associated with federal Clean Water Act and the California Water Code violations.
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Trivia Question of the Week
The carbon footprint of an average person in the Western hemisphere can melt how much Arctic sea ice per year?
a. 10 square meters
b. 30 square meters
c. 50 square meters
d. 100 square meters