December 07, 2020
EPA has amended the
Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) regulations by extending the submission deadline for 2020 reports to January 29, 2021. This is the final extension for the 2020 submission period only. The CDR regulations require manufacturers (including importers) of certain chemical substances included on the TSCA Chemical Substance Inventory (TSCA Inventory) to report data on the manufacturing, processing, and use of the chemical substances.
Learn How to Ship Vaccines and Other Materials in Dry Ice
When shipped by air, dry ice is classified as a dangerous good and personnel involved with its shipment must comply with stringent requirements for packaging, marking, labeling, and shipping documentation. Anyone involved in the shipment of dangerous goods must be trained on how to prepare and ship these materials by air in accordance with DOT and IATA requirements.
Attend this live interactive session nadget your questions answered while you learn how to:
- Classify and prepare shipments cooled with dry ice
- Comply with both FAA and IATA regulations
- Prepare shipments of dangerous goods packed with dry ice
- Prepare shipping papers
- Properly select, fill, and seal packages
- Mark and label packages
- Load, unload
- Implement essential safety and security procedures
Environmental Resource Center’s live webcast training
is the best way to get certified. Learn from the experts at any of these upcoming sessions:
- December 17 – 1:00-3:00 Eastern
- January 14 – 1:00-3:00 Eastern
- February 22 – 1:00-3:00 Eastern
Also available is Environmental Resource Center’s online Dry Ice training
that you can take anytime at your convenience.
For a complete list of other dangerous goods transportation courses, see this link
Aerially Sprayed Pesticide Contains PFAS
State efforts to control mosquito-borne illnesses may be creating a new health problem. The insecticide Massachusetts and numerous other states use for mosquito control, both applied aerially and sprayed from trucks along roads, contains per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), according to lab test results
posted by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
Tests commissioned by PEER of a jug of Anvil 10+10, the pesticide used in the aerial spraying programs of Massachusetts, parts of Florida, New York, and many other states, reveals that it contains roughly 250 parts per trillion (ppt) of PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid, a C8 PFAS, manufacture of which has been largely but not completely phased out in the U.S.), and 260 – 500 ppt of HFPO-DA (hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid, a “GenX” replacement for PFOA). When PEER alerted Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MADEP) of its findings, MADEP independently tested nine samples of Anvil 10+10 from five different containers, and found eight different PFAS, including PFOA and PFOS. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a 70 ppt Lifetime Health Advisory for PFOA and PFOS in drinking water; some states, including Massachusetts, have much stricter regulatory limits than the EPA Advisory.
PFAS are called “forever chemicals” since they do not break down in the environment and build up in our blood stream. They are associated with a variety of ailments, including suppressed immune function, thyroid disease, testicular and kidney disease, cancers, and liver damage. While PFAS may be added to pesticides as surfactants, dispersants, anti-foaming agents, and/or other uses, it is unclear whether the PFAS found in Anvil 10+10 is an ingredient added by the manufacturer, contained in one of the ingredients supplied to Anvil’s manufacturer by other companies, or whether it is a contaminant from the manufacturing/storage process.
“In Massachusetts, communities are struggling to remove PFAS from their drinking water supplies, while at the same time, we may be showering them with PFAS from the skies and roads,” stated PEER Science Policy Director Kyla Bennett, a scientist and attorney formerly with EPA, who arranged for the testing. “The frightening thing is that we do not know how many insecticides, herbicides, or even disinfectants contain PFAS.” PEER found patents showing chemical companies using PFAS in these products, and recent articles discuss the variety of pesticides that contain PFAS as either an active or an inert ingredient.
In 2019, Massachusetts aerially sprayed 2.2 million acres of the state with this pesticide and, in 2020, sprayed more than 200,000 acres. PFAS are not listed as active ingredients in Anvil 10+10. PEER found PFAS listed as approved inert ingredients on EPA’s “Inert Finder” database. EPA is not required to disclose many inert ingredients in pesticides, and manufacturers usually withhold information about inert ingredients as “trade secrets” or “proprietary” information.
DEM to Host December 11th Public Workshop on Draft Hydrofluorocarbon Regulation
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) will hold a virtual public workshop December 11 at 10 AM to review the draft Rhode Island "Prohibition of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in Specific End-Uses" regulation. HFCs are potent man-made greenhouse gases that can be hundreds to thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2) in contributing to climate change. In the absence of national policies and federal action, DEM has been working in collaboration with the United States Climate Alliance (USCA) and other states to adopt similar legislation to lead the transition to refrigerants with lower global warming potentials which pose lower overall risk to human health and the environment. A virtual public workshop will be held on Friday, December 11 on the draft rule. The purpose of the workshop is to present an overview of the draft rule and provide an opportunity for stakeholder feedback. DEM expects to initiate the formal rule-making process during the first quarter of 2021. Due to the Covid-19 emergency, which prevents the Department from holding public meetings in-person, the public workshop will be held virtually in accordance with Governor Raimondo's Executive Order 20-05.
Zoom Meeting information will be shared with those who have pre-registered. All participants will be muted upon joining the meeting. Following a presentation on the draft rule, DEM will open the line for feedback with instructions provided to participants.
For questions about the workshop or more information, contact Allison Archambault, Supervising Air Quality Specialist of DEM's Office of Air Resources at Allison.Archambault@dem.ri.gov
Enviroschool Webinar on LDEQ’s Enforcement Process to be Held Dec. 10
The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality is hosting an Enviroschool webinar on Thursday, Dec. 10 at 10:00 a.m. The webinar will provide an overview of LDEQ’s Enforcement process, including how and why the department issues enforcement actions, the difference between the various actions, and how a respondent can successfully conclude the enforcement process.
One of the main goals of LDEQ is to ensure the public health of the citizens of Louisiana by protecting the state’s natural environment. This is accomplished through a program of regular inspection of permitted facilities, prompt investigation of complaints and incidents, and the issuance of timely enforcement actions that clearly document the violations and that outline a path to compliance.
Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
Nevada Climate Initiative State Climate Strategy
Moving to build a healthy, sustainable, climate-resilient future for all Nevadans, under the leadership of Governor Sisolak, the State of Nevada Climate Initiative has released the State Climate Strategy
. The Strategy
is an integrated, economy-wide roadmap for the Silver State to accelerate climate action necessary to achieve Nevada’s climate goals and capture the health and economic benefits of the clean energy and technology revolution.
As a foundation of this effort, Governor Sisolak issued a sweeping Executive Order on Climate Change
in November 2019 directing the executive branch to evaluate, identify and recommend the most effective climate policies and regulatory initiatives in a comprehensive State Climate Strategy. This Strategy serves as a roadmap for state and local policymakers centered on the following goals:
- Provide a framework for reducing Nevada’s greenhouse gas emissions across all economic sectors consistent with the greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets set by the Nevada Legislature in 2019 and commensurate with Nevada’s commitments as a member of the United States Climate Alliance.
- Lay the groundwork for the bold actions necessary to improve Nevada’s resilience to current and future impacts of climate change.
- Establish a Nevada-specific structure for continued, ongoing climate action across the state in-line with achieving Nevada’s climate goals.
“It’s a new era for climate action in Nevada,” said Governor Sisolak. “The effects of climate change can be seen and felt in every corner of Nevada, impacting our collective public health, threatening our natural landscapes and limited water resources, and challenging the vibrancy of our communities and economy. For the first time in Nevada’s history, we are doubling down to address climate change head-on. The Nevada State Climate Strategy serves as the critical framework necessary to elevate climate action and foster a healthy, vibrant, climate-resilient future for all Nevadans – especially our most disadvantaged community members who live in the areas experiencing the greatest climate-related health and economic impacts. As we continue our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, climate action must play a key role in rebuilding a stronger, more climate-friendly and equitable economy for Nevada. Put simply, we must build back stronger.”
The Strategy was developed using the best available science, combined with robust input from thousands of Nevadans through a series of listening sessions on a range of climate topics, a statewide climate survey, discussions with local government leaders, and more.
The Strategy is just the beginning of future climate action in Nevada. As a living document, the Strategy will be adapted and updated as the impacts of climate change evolve and new climate-friendly technologies become available. Continued engagement and collaboration with Nevadans will be essential to informing and shaping future iterations of the Strategy.
“Climate action is truly a collaborative and cooperative effort, and I want to personally thank the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Governor’s Office of Energy, as well as all of our state agencies and interagency working groups, stakeholders, and all Nevadans who shared their input to help guide development of our State Climate Strategy,” said Governor Sisolak.
For more information or to view the State Climate Strategy
, visit ClimateStrategy.nv.gov
. For questions or comments regarding the strategy, please email email@example.com
. Additionally, follow @NevClimate on Facebook and Twitter, and join the conversation using #NevClimateAction.
State Climate Strategy Highlights
- More than 75 percent of climate survey respondents in Nevada indicated they are ‘very concerned’ about climate change, with drought, wildfire, air quality, and extreme heat among the topics of greatest concern.
- The State Climate Strategy applies a robust framework for evaluating 17 climate mitigation policies against four key metrics: GHG emissions-reduction potential, climate justice, economic implications, and implementation feasibility.
- Low-income communities, people of color, and indigenous populations have disproportionately borne the burden of the impacts of climate change. Reconciling and addressing environmental justice concerns is a common thread throughout the State Climate Strategy.
- Climate action and economic development activities in Nevada are intrinsically linked and can be strategically integrated to achieve their respective goals.
- Nevada’s 2019 greenhouse gas emissions inventory shows that, without climate action, the state will fall 4 percent short of the 2025 goal and 19 percent short of the 2030 emissions reductions goal. By meeting the state’s emission reduction targets, Nevada would prevent between $172 and $786 million in economic damages by 2030 and up to $4 billion by 2050.
- Given the complexities of climate change, multiple issues must be considered together to develop a catalog of climate-related policies, programs, and plans that are harmonized within and across different levels of governance and economic sectors. Establishing a robust climate governance structure with clear processes and related authorities to reduce emissions and manage the cascading impacts of climate change will position Nevada to navigate the challenges and opportunities ahead.
Ross Stores, Inc. to Pay $3.335 Million Settlement for Hazardous Waste Violations
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley, along with 38 other California District Attorneys and two City Attorneys, announced that Monterey County Superior Court has ordered Delaware-based retailer Ross Stores, Inc. (Ross) to pay $3.335 million as part of a settlement of a civil environmental prosecution. “It is vital that any company doing business in California abide by our environmental protection laws. My office remains dedicated to prosecuting violations of these laws in our ongoing effort to safeguard our natural resources from irreparable harm due to improper disposal of hazardous waste,” states DA O’Malley. The judgment is the culmination of a civil enforcement action filed on November 20, 2020 in Monterey County and led by the District Attorneys of Alameda, Monterey, San Joaquin, Yolo and Riverside counties, claiming that more than 441 Ross and dd’s Discount Stores throughout the state unlawfully handled and disposed of various hazardous wastes and materials over a seven year period. Those hazardous wastes and materials included electronic waste, cosmetics, batteries, mercury lamps, personal care products, aerosol spray cans and other toxic and ignitable materials.
Oakland, CA - Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley, along with 38 other California District Attorneys and two City Attorneys, announced that Monterey County Superior Court has ordered Delaware-based retailer Ross Stores, Inc. (Ross) to pay $3.335 million as part of a settlement of a civil environmental prosecution.
“It is vital that any company doing business in California abide by our environmental protection laws. My office remains dedicated to prosecuting violations of these laws in our ongoing effort to safeguard our natural resources from irreparable harm due to improper disposal of hazardous waste,” states DA O’Malley.
The judgment is the culmination of a civil enforcement action filed on November 20, 2020 in Monterey County and led by the District Attorneys of Alameda, Monterey, San Joaquin, Yolo and Riverside counties, claiming that more than 441 Ross and dd’s Discount Stores throughout the state unlawfully handled and disposed of various hazardous wastes and materials over a seven year period. Those hazardous wastes and materials included electronic waste, cosmetics, batteries, mercury lamps, personal care products, aerosol spray cans and other toxic and ignitable materials.
From 2014 to 2017, inspectors from the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office Environmental Protection Division, and investigators from the Monterey and San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Offices conducted a series of waste inspections belonging to Ross stores. The inspections revealed that Ross was routinely and systematically sending hazardous wastes to local landfills that were not permitted to receive those wastes.
Ross was cooperative throughout the investigation and, as a result of the investigation, has now adopted and implemented policies and procedures designed to eliminate the disposal of hazardous waste products in California. Stores are required to retain their hazardous waste in segregated, labeled containers to minimize the risk of exposure to employees and customers and to ensure that incompatible wastes do not combine to cause dangerous chemical reactions. Hazardous waste produced by California Ross stores through damage, spills and returns is now being collected by state-registered haulers, taken to proper disposal facilities, and properly documented and accounted for.
The current stipulated judgment requires Ross to pay a total of $3,335,000, which consists of $2,550,000 in civil penalties, $340,000 in supplemental environmental projects, and $445,000 in reimbursement of investigative and enforcement costs. Ross gets a credit of $600,000 against the penalties if it undertakes at least $1,200,000 in environmental enhancement work not required by law. In addition, the settlement includes provisions requiring Ross to employ a California-based compliance employee to oversee its hazardous waste compliance program and to undergo waste audits in at least five percent of their California facilities to ensure hazardous wastes is properly disposed of at all stores. The company must also comply with injunctive requirements regarding hazardous waste management.
There are 19 Ross stores in Alameda County that are subject to the settlement.
Get Your RCRA and DOT Training Online
To help you get the training you need, Environmental Resource Center has added a number of dates to our already popular live webcast training. Stay in compliance and learn the latest regulations from the comfort of your office or home. Webcast attendees receive the same benefits as our seminar attendees including expert instruction, comprehensive course materials, one year of access to our AnswerlineTM
service, course certificate, and a personalized user portal on Environmental Resource Center’s website.
Upcoming hazardous waste and DOT hazardous materials webcasts:
$12 Million Fine for Concealing Illegal Discharges of Oily Water and Garbage
Pacific Carriers Limited (PCL), a Singapore-based company that owns subsidiaries engaged in international shipping, was sentenced in federal court before U.S. District Court Judge Louise Flanagan in New Bern, North Carolina, after pleading guilty to violations of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, obstruction of justice, and for a failure to notify the U.S. Coast Guard of a hazardous condition on the Motor Vessel (M/V) Pac Antares.
PCL pleaded guilty to a total of eight felony offenses across three judicial districts – the Eastern District of North Carolina, the Southern District of Texas, and the Eastern District of Louisiana. PCL was sentenced to pay a fine of $12,000,000.00, placed on probation for a period of four years, and ordered to implement a comprehensive Environmental Compliance Plan as a special condition of probation.
In pleading guilty, PCL admitted that crew members onboard the M/V Pac Antares, a 20,471 gross-ton, 586-foot ocean-going commercial bulk carrier, knowingly failed to record in the vessel’s oil record book the overboard discharge of oily bilge water and oil waste without the use of required pollution-prevention equipment, from approximately April 2019 until the vessel arrived in Morehead City, North Carolina, on Sept. 29, 2019. PCL also admitted that the crew discharged oily garbage and plastic overboard and falsified the garbage record book.
PCL also admitted that a large space along the keel of the vessel, known as the duct keel, was being used to store oily waste which constituted a hazardous condition under the Ports and Waterways Safety Act and it should have been immediately reported to the U.S. Coast Guard Sector North Carolina. The Chief Engineer, Wenguang Ye, pleaded guilty to falsifying the oil record book, and was sentenced to a fine of $5,500 and banned from entering the United States for one year after choosing to cooperate in the investigation. In 2008, the M/V Pac Antares was involved in another prosecution in Wilmington, North Carolina, for concealing the overboard discharge of oily bilge water and assessed a total criminal penalty of $2,100,000.
“This kind of deliberate evasion of our pollution control laws will not be tolerated,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Brightbill of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “The Environmental Crimes Section proudly works hand-in-hand with U.S. Attorneys Offices and law enforcement partners around the country to investigate and prosecute the intentional violation of our laws that protect our oceans by commercial ship owners, operators, and personnel. It’s also essential that we demand the safe operation of ships in our ports.”
“The defendants in this case knowingly, intentionally and illegally discharged oily waste and other garbage into the waters along the North Carolina coast,” said U.S. Attorney Robert J. Higdon Jr. of the Eastern District of North Carolina. “That coastline is among the great natural treasures of this country and we are committed to its protection. To that end we will hold companies and individuals responsible when they fail to follow federal law designed to protect these valuable resources.”
“U.S. Attorneys all over the country work together enforcing federal laws,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick of the Southern District of Texas. “Some laws, like environmental crimes, can impact multiple districts at the same time. Foreign ships, because of corruption, incompetence or parsimony that dump their sewage or oil bilge in our waters will be held accountable. The Houston ship channel is a vital engine to the world’s economy and it requires all vessels to respect our laws if they want access to our port.”
“Safeguarding the environment is one of the highest priorities for the Department of Justice,” said U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser for the Eastern District of Louisiana. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to continue working with its federal partners to investigate and hold entities accountable when they neglect their professional and legal obligations and threaten the environment, which places the public and the ecosystem in Southeastern Louisiana at risk.”
“The Coast Guard remains dedicated to preserving the marine environment and protecting our living marine resources,” said Rear Adm. Laura Dickey, Coast Guard Fifth District Commander. “The results of this case showcase the commitment and meticulous efforts of our marine safety professionals, pollution responders and Coast Guard agents in North Carolina, and the great partnership we share with the Department of Justice.”
According to the plea agreement, PCL is the parent company of two other companies that owned and operated the M/V Pac Antares. On Sept. 29, 2019, the M/V Pac Antares arrived in Morehead City, North Carolina. A crewmember walked off the ship and informed a Customs and Border Protection officer that he had information about illegal discharges that had taken place on the vessel. The U.S. Coast Guard was sent that information and conducted an inspection and examination. Examiners discovered and seized a large trove of evidence that oily waste and garbage had been discharged from the vessel to include a configuration of drums, flexible hoses and flanges to bypass the vessel’s oily water separator.
Examiners also discovered that oily waste had been discharged through a laundry sink which subsequently discharged directly overboard or through the vessel’s sewage system. Examiners discovered the sewage system was contaminated with oil. Crewmembers also admitted that bags filled with oily rags were thrown over the side of the ship. These discharges were knowingly not recorded in the M/V Pac Antares’s oil record book and garbage record book when they were presented to the U.S. Coast Guard during the vessel’s inspection. The examiners also found over 60,000 gallons of oily water being stored in the duct keel which took several days and a third-party contractor to properly clean out.
Cal/OSHA Emergency Regulations to Protect Workers from COVID-19 in Effect
Cal/OSHA’s emergency regulations requiring employers to protect workers from hazards related to COVID-19 are now in effect, following their approval yesterday by the Office of Administrative Law.
“These are strong but achievable standards to protect workers. They also clarify what employers have to do to prevent workplace exposure to COVID-19 and stop outbreaks,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Doug Parker.
The emergency standards
apply to most workers in California not covered by Cal/OSHA’s Aerosol Transmissible Diseases standard
. The regulations require that employers implement a site-specific written COVID-19 prevention program to address COVID-19 health hazards, correct unsafe or unhealthy conditions and provide face coverings. When there are multiple COVID-19 infections or outbreaks at the worksite, employers must provide COVID-19 testing and notify public health departments. The regulations also require accurate recordkeeping and reporting of COVID-19 cases.
As emergency standards, these regulations become effective immediately.
“We understand the need to educate and assist employers as they implement the new provisions of the emergency standards,” Parker noted. “For employers who need time to fully implement the regulations, enforcement investigators will take their good faith efforts to implement the emergency standards into consideration. However, aspects such as eliminating hazards and implementing testing requirements during an outbreak are essential.”
Cal/OSHA will convene a stakeholder meeting in December that will include industry and labor representatives to review the requirements of the emergency regulation and solicit feedback and recommend updates.
Updated Guidance from the Washington Department of Ecology
New and updated dangerous waste management publications from Ecology’s Hazardous Waste and Toxics Reduction Program include:
Conair Corporation to Pay $57,703 for Noncompliant Showerheads
Conair Corporation (Conair) is a Stamford, Connecticut, based company that manufactures plumbing fittings. Conair sold or offered for sale showerheads in California, from July 2015 to June 2020.
This case was the result of an investigation performed by California Energy Commission (CEC) staff. CEC’s investigation process identified that Conair was manufacturing and offering for sale showerheads that were not certified to the Modernized Appliance Efficiency Database System (MAEDbS).
To settle this matter, Conair executed a Settlement Agreement with CEC on November 9, 2020, for $57,703.00. The penalty monies are deposited into the Appliance Efficiency Enforcement Subaccount established by SB 454 of 2011 (Pavley). Conair has also agreed to a compliance plan to remove non-compliant models from the California market and certify all models to MAEDbS that they intend to continue selling in California.
Hilco Redevelopment Cited for Released Dust from Powerplant Demo
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul announced a settlement that resolves his lawsuit against Hilco Redevelopment, LLC, doing business as Hilco Redevelopment Partners (Hilco); HRP Exchange 55, LLC; MCM Management Corp. (MCM); and Controlled Demolition Inc. (CDI). Raoul filed a lawsuit following the release of contaminants during the demolition of the smokestack at the former Crawford Electric Generating Station in Chicago.
Raoul’s office filed a consent order in Cook County Circuit Court that requires the companies to comply with dust mitigation plans for the remainder of the demolition project and provide funding that will support the Little Village community’s long-term health and wellness. Attorney General Raoul filed a lawsuit in May alleging the defendants failed to take adequate steps to protect the community from a cloud of particulate matter that resulted from demolition of the facility’s 378-foot smokestack.
“The settlement today holds the companies accountable for their failure to adequately protect residents from air pollution during demolition at the site. It also represents a step toward environmental justice for residents of the Little Village community,” Raoul said. “In addition to requiring the companies to prevent this from happening again during remaining demolition activities, they will provide funding to improve health outcomes in a community that has experienced decades of pollution during the Crawford Electric Generating Station’s lifetime.”
Raoul’s lawsuit was based on a referral from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.
“Illinois EPA referred this incident to the Attorney General’s office to ensure the responsible parties were held accountable, and the impacts of their actions were addressed appropriately,” said Illinois EPA Director John J. Kim. “The consent order will serve as a deterrent to this unacceptable practice and seeks to recognize the impact upon nearby citizens.”
Like many other coal-fired powerplants, the Crawford Power Generating Station emitted mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter and other pollutants through its smokestack over the course of its decades in operation. As a result of the April 11 demolition, the smokestack crashed to the ground, creating a massive dust cloud of particulate matter that was relatively unaffected by water mitigation efforts. Raoul has alleged the enormous dust cloud blanketed an area of the Little Village neighborhood at a time when Chicago residents were ordered to stay at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a severe respiratory illness.
Particulate matter is comprised of dust, dirt, soot or smoke mixed with liquid droplets found in the air. If inhaled, particulate matter can cause serious health problems, including aggravated asthma, decreased lung function and increased respiratory symptoms. Residents near the site reported experiencing respiratory distress and pain while breathing, as well as heightened fear and anxiety after the smokestack fell. In addition to requiring the companies to comply with dust mitigation plans during remaining demolition activities at the site, Raoul’s settlement also requires the companies to provide grant funding to ACCESS Community Health Network (ACCESS) to go toward improving health outcomes in the Little Village community.
The Crawford Power Generating Station is located in an area designated by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency as an area of environmental justice concern. Communities in Illinois with a percentage of low-income and/or minority residents that is greater than twice the statewide average can be designated as areas of environmental justice concern by the IEPA. Raoul’s settlement requires the defendants to pay $370,000 to help fund ACCESS’ Little Village Community Health and Wellness Program. The program will focus on addressing some of the leading health concerns facing Little Village residents, including asthma, diabetes and hypertension, by educating and empowering people to manage their physical and mental health.
In the days and weeks following the smokestack demolition, the companies hired contractors to perform cleanup of the surrounding neighborhood. The settlement requires the companies to comply with environmental laws when carrying out any remaining demolition at the site.
Supervising Attorney Gerald Karr and Assistant Attorney General Daniel Rottenberg handled the case for Raoul’s Environmental Enforcement Division.
California to Standardize Protocols for Toxicity in Waterways
California’s State Water Resources Control Board approved a comprehensive plan to ensure lab testing and analysis for toxicity in waterways are completed using the same protocols and standards statewide. This will help address toxicity in California’s waterways and significantly improve protections for fish and other aquatic life.
The plan, called the Aquatic Toxicity Provisions, makes important and targeted changes to activities at the State Water Board and nine Regional Water Boards by implementing the following:
- Consistent statewide water quality objectives for acute and chronic aquatic toxicity
- A program to control aquatic toxicity discharges to waterways
- A framework for monitoring waters for aquatic toxicity
- A statewide statistical approach to analyze results
“These important new measures approved today have been a long time coming and should give the public confidence that the State Water Board is committed to protecting aquatic life from potentially toxic waters,” said Board Chair E. Joaquin Esquivel. “As we take a comprehensive approach, it is crucial that we are not only consistent throughout California, but transparent in how we determine the health and safety of our waterways.”
Although the statewide objective is that all waters be maintained free of toxic substances that harm aquatic life, the regional water quality control boards have applied different interpretations in how they, and the dischargers they regulate, go about it. The new Aquatic Toxicity Provisions standardizes the methods statewide for consistent protection of aquatic life.
Aquatic toxicity - the measurement of water quality that determines whether water is safe for aquatic life - is most commonly assessed by having a selection of fish, insects plants or algae live in a targeted sample of water for a period of time and then measuring survival, growth or reproduction rates and comparing that data to a control group of the same organisms living in water predetermined to be safe. These tests are done in a laboratory setting - generally a pair of aquariums - and the water is deemed safe if the organisms in both aquariums perform similarly over the course of monitoring.
This kind of test has been used consistently since the 1980s when testing treated wastewater at wastewater treatment plants, before releasing the water into waterways. It has not, however been consistently applied to test the quality of water already in waterways. Other methods have also been available.
Three Connecticut Companies Fined for TRI Reporting Violations
Three Connecticut companies have reported publicly on their use of certain chemicals, creating a safer environment for the public, as a result of investigations and enforcement actions taken by the EPA.
Companies and facilities are required to report annually on their use of certain chemicals and substances under the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA
). The reports are filed in EPCRA's Toxic Release Inventory
(TRI) database, which is available to the public. Complying with EPCRA and TRI helps ensure that communities are informed about chemical usage that may affect public health and the environment.
"Proper and timely reporting of TRI data ensures that local communities have access to information about the presence of chemicals in their area," said EPA Regional Administrator Dennis Deziel. "Because of EPA's actions, these Connecticut facilities have provided this TRI data in compliance with laws that help protect local communities."
The J.J. Ryan Corporation, a Plantsville-based metal forging company that manufactures motor vehicle parts, agreed to pay a settlement penalty of $33,371 to resolve claims by the EPA that it failed to report its processing and use of chromium, manganese, and ethylene glycol in 2018. J.J. Ryan (also known as Rex Forge) was required to file TRI reports for these substances by July 1, 2019. After being contacted by an EPA inspector, J.J. Ryan submitted the required reports in December 2019.
The Bourdon Forge Co., a metal forging company in Middletown that makes military and parachute hardware, agreed to a settlement penalty of $54,705 to resolve EPA's claims that it failed to file TRI reports in 2019 for its processing of chromium, copper, and nickel in 2018. After being contacted by EPA, Bourdon Forge filed its missing TRI reports in May 2020.
The Electric Motion Company, a metal electric component manufacturer in Winsted, paid a settlement penalty of $36,006 to resolve claims by EPA that it failed to report its use of anhydrous ammonia in 2015 and 2016. Electric Motion filed its missing TRI reports within a week after being contacted by EPA in June 2019. All three companies were cooperative during EPA's case settlement negotiations.
Under federal TRI regulations, companies that use certain listed chemicals must report their chemical usage each year to EPA. This information serves as the basis for the Toxic Release Inventory, a collection of data that can be reviewed by communities, government and industry. Because the information is available to the public, companies have an incentive to reduce harmful chemical use and improve their environmental performance.
New Mexico to Require Employers to Disclose Positive COVID-19 Cases to State
The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) adopted a second emergency amendment to state workplace safety laws that requires employers to report positive COVID-19 cases among employees to NMED within four hours of being notified of the case. This second emergency amendment
is necessary as the original emergency amendment expired before a permanent amendment was put in place.
The second emergency amendment went into effect yesterday and will remain in effect for no more than 120 days unless NMED proposes and the Environmental Improvement Board adopts a permanent rule prior to the end of the 120-day period. In conjunction with the emergency amendment, NMED is engaging in the formal rulemaking process to permanently put in place the reporting requirement.
The Environmental Improvement Board’s virtual public hearing on the proposed permanent amendment will be at 9 a.m. Dec. 18, 2020. The public is encouraged to participate, and details on the meeting are below.
Access code: 133 444 1276
Meeting password: ZjsZPmdT358
Phone access: 1-415-655-0001 Phone access code: 133 444 1276
NMED’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau (OHSB) has been at the forefront of workplace COVID- 19 response, conducting around 9,000 rapid responses and helping thousands of businesses to reopen safely and quickly following positive cases among employees. The 4-hour reporting requirement implemented in August greatly decreased the response time of the OHSB Rapid Response team, allowing them to quickly act to ensure workplace safety by providing immediate guidance and support to employers.
Violations of the reporting requirement may result in NMED enforcement action. The emergency amendment is available here
Revisions to Ohio TRI Regulations
The Ohio EPA has adopted amended, rescinded, and rescinded/replaced as new rules in Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) Chapter 3745-100, "Toxic Release Inventory." The following rules have been amended:
Rule # Title
3745-100-05 Covered facilities for toxic chemical release reporting
3745-100-06 Thresholds for reporting
3745-100-07 Reporting requirements and schedule for reporting
3745-100-09 Notification about toxic chemicals
3745-100-10 Applicable chemicals and chemical categories
3745-100-11 Toxic chemical release reporting form and instructions
3745-100-13 Trade secret claims
3745-100-14 Alternate threshold and certification
3745-100-15 Alternate threshold certification and instruction
3745-100-16 Lower thresholds for chemicals of special concern
3745-100-17 SIC and NAICS codes to which this chapter applies
The OEPA Director's order of adoption was issued on December 2, 2020. These rules will become effective on Saturday December 12, 2020. The amended rule language can be found on Ohio EPA's rules website at: https://www.epa.ohio.gov/dapc/regs/3745_100
The Director's action in this matter is pursuant to the procedural requirements of Ohio Revised Code Chapter 119 and is based upon the record of the public hearing conducted by Ohio EPA on September 28, 2020. No comments were received during the public comment period.
Soil Pollution a Risk to Our Health and Food Security
Each year, the world marks World Soil Day
on 5 December to raise awareness about the growing challenges in soil management and soil biodiversity loss, and encourage governments, communities and individuals around the world to commit to improving soil health.
“We depend, and will continue to depend, on the ecosystem services provided by soils,” explains United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) soil expert Abdelkader Bensada.
While soil pollution traditionally has not received the same attention as issues like tree-planting, global momentum picked up in 2018, when the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) published a ground-breaking study: Soil Pollution: A Hidden Reality
The report found that soil pollution has an adverse impact on food security in two ways –it can reduce crop yields due to toxic levels of contaminants, and crops grown in polluted soils are unsafe for consumption by animals and humans. It urged governments to help reverse the damage and encouraged better soil management practices to limit agricultural pollution.
In follow up to the 2018 study, UNEP, the Global Soils Partnership, the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils, the World Health Organization and the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions Secretariat are working on another report on the extent and future trends of soil pollution, including risks and impacts on health, the environment and food security. Scheduled to be released in February 2021, it builds on another UNEP report - Towards a pollution-free planet.
“Soil pollution can lead to the emergence of new pests and diseases by changing the balance of ecosystems and causing the disappearance of predators or competing species that regulate their biomass. It also contributes to the spreading of antimicrobial resistant bacteria and genes, limiting humanity’s ability to cope with pathogens,” says Bensada.
Pollution can also cause the quality of soil to dwindle over time, making it harder to grow crops. Currently, the degradation of land and soils is affecting at least 3.2 billion people – 40 per cent of the world’s population.
FAO’s Revised World Soil Charter recommends that national governments implement regulations on soil pollution and limit the accumulation of contaminants beyond established levels in order to guarantee human health and wellbeing, a healthy environment and safe food.
Contaminated soil is also a major cause of land degradation – an issue that is at the heart of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030. Led by UNEP, FAO and partners, the initiative is a global call to action to scale up restoration of terrestrial, coastal and marine ecosystems over the next 10 years. This includes promoting sustainable practices to improve soil management.
“Soil has a key role to play in the UN Decade through its ecosystem functions as it affects water regulation, nutrient recycling, food production, climate change and the biodiversity of terrestrial ecosystems,” says Bensada. “Transitioning from soil degradation to practices that restore soil is critical to ensure the food security and wellbeing of generations to come.”
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