Ernest U. Fisco of Beachwood, Ohio, Chief Operating Officer of AAA Pipe Cleaning Corp., was charged on Sept.13 with violating the Clean Water Act. He allegedly directed AAA employees to discharge polluted waste through an illegal pipe into Kingsbury Run, a tributary of the Cuyahoga River. Samples of the wastes were analyzed and contained fecal coliform bacteria and industrial zinc and copper waste, which can make surface waters unsafe for drinking and recreational uses and create a potential hazard to the health of fish and wildlife populations.
The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation
Division, the FBI, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, and
the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation. The
case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in
Safe Drinking Water Act
October 10: Unfiltered public water systems must submit summary report to the state for previous year.
Clean Air Act
October 22: Existing sources subject to organic hazardous air pollutant emission controls under 40 CFR 63, subpart H, for equipment leaks from Groups II and IV chemical process units must submit semiannual report to EPA.
FEDERAL CRIMINAL CHARGES FILED IN PIPELINE EXPLOSION IN BELLINGHAM, WASHINGTON
The Olympic Pipeline Company (OPL); the Equilon Pipeline Corporation (EPC), a Shell and Texaco joint venture; Frank Hopf, an EPC official who served as the Vice-President of OPL; Ron Brestson, a control room supervisor at OPL and Kevin Dyvig, a control room operator at OPL were each indicted on various federal charges on Sept. 13 for their alleged roles in a gasoline pipeline explosion that caused three fatalities. The indictment included multiple federal charges, including alleged violations of the Clean Water Act and the Federal Pipeline Safety Act.
The 1999 pipeline rupture occurred in Whatcom Park in Bellingham, Washington, and released approximately 236,000 gallons of gasoline into a creek. The gasoline ignited and caused the burning deaths of two 10 year-old boys and also caused a swath of environmental destruction along Whatcom and Hanah Creeks which feed into Puget Sound. In addition, a man who was fishing was overcome by gasoline fumes and drowned. The restart of the pipeline caused an additional 79,464 gallons of gasoline to be discharged.
If convicted of all charges, the companies could be fined up to $3.5 million dollars as well as additional monetary charges. Hopf could face up to six years in prison, Brentson could face up to sixteen years in prison, and Dyvig could serve up to one year in prison.
The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation
Division and the Department of Transportation's Office of
Inspector General with the assistance of EPA's National
Enforcement Investigations Center. It is being prosecuted by the
U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle. An indictment is merely an
accusation, and all defendants are presumed innocent unless or
until proven guilty in a court of law.
MISSOURI RESTAURANT, THREE INDIVIDUALS CONVICTED OF POLLUTING MISSISSIPPI RIVER
A restaurant company, Venetian Harbor, Inc., of Portage Des Sioux, Mo., together with two of its officials, Warren Spielman of St. Louis, Mo. and Jered Lee Bonbrake of Alton, Ill., and an employee, Rush Templeton of Florissant, Mo., were found guilty on Sept. 20 of conspiring to violate the Clean Water Act and illegally dumping sewage into the Mississippi River. Thea Preston of St. Charles, Mo. previously pleaded guilty to the same crimes.
While operating "The Tavern on the Rand" aboard a converted tow vessel, the defendants discharged raw sewage from the vessel on several occasions into the Mississippi River and its adjacent connecting ditches, rather than pay for the cost of proper sewage disposal.
The corporation faces a maximum fine of $500,000 on each count. The individual defendants each face a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and/or up to $250,000 in fines on the conspiracy charge and a maximum of up to three years in prison and/or up to $250,000 in fines on each count of illegal discharging.
The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation
Division; the St. Charles, Missouri County Sheriff's Department;
the St. Louis, Missouri County Sheriff's Department; the Madison
County, Illinois Sheriff's Department; the Missouri Department of
Natural Resources and the Illinois State Police with the
assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center.
It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in St.
THE INTERNET SIMPLIFIES EH&S MANAGEMENT
A new study by Donley Technology shows that the number of environmental, health and safety (EH&S) management information systems (EMISs) that employ web technologies has doubled in the past three years. The majority (77%) of the most comprehensive, multimedia compliance systems will now run on the Internet and 69% of the developers claim to offer software as a web-based service or ASP (Application Service Provider).
"Over the past decade, software-based management information systems have evolved into powerful solutions for managing complex environmental, health and safety (EH&S) programs at industrial facilities," says Elizabeth Donley, industry analyst and president of Donley Technology. "For many software developers, the Internet has created new ways of thinking about EH&S information management, with web-based data management offering simple solutions to the most complex problems of EMIS implementation. They see a future in which software compatibility problems are a thing of the past; in which data can be shared with anyone, anywhere; with no special software and the most basic hardware. And this vision of the future is more than a dream; it's already happening."
The influence of the Internet is also reflected in the computer languages and databases used for development. The study shows that the Internet-based language, Java, has joined C++ and Visual Basic as one of the most common languages. Oracle continues to be the most frequently used database in EMISs, a reflection of its use among businesses. But the web-friendly SQL Server/SQL is growing in popularity.
For more information or to order a copy of the report on the web,
EPA DISASTER RESPONSE UPDATE NYC MONITORING EFFORTS CONTINUE TO SHOW SAFE DRINKING WATER, AIR
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Christie Whitman announced that the most detailed results to date of ongoing monitoring of drinking water in New York City provide additional reassurance that residents and people who work within the city are not being exposed to contaminants such as asbestos, radiation, mercury and other metals, pesticides, PCBs and bacteria.
"EPA has been very aggressive in monitoring for potential environmental problems in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attack, and I am very pleased by what we've discovered. New Yorkers and New Jersians need not be concerned about environmental issues as they return to their homes and workplaces," Whitman said. "Air quality monitoring data in residential areas has been consistently reassuring. More recently, we've also tested drinking water supplies and found no sign of asbestos bacterial contamination, PCBs or pesticides," she continued.
EPA personnel, working in coordination with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection at and around the World Trade Center disaster site, have taken 13 drinking water samples from water mains in lower Manhattan. In addition to analyzing the samples for asbestos, pesticides and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), EPA has also tested drinking water for metals (including mercury), and radioactivity (both alpha and beta). None of these contaminants exceeded EPA drinking water standards.
"In addition to carefully evaluating drinking water in the New York area, EPA has taken samples at the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, where runoff from lower Manhattan goes for treatment, to identify what sort of materials are leaving the disaster site," Whitman continued. "While we haven't yet gotten results for all possible contaminants, we do know that levels of metals and mercury are below permit discharge limits," she noted. "Following one rainstorm with particularly high runoff, we did have one isolated detection of slightly elevated levels of PCBs," stated Whitman. "We will continue to monitor this very closely."
Other analysis of monitoring data taken at Newtown Creek treatment plant show that total suspended solids and biochemical oxygen demand, common indicators of how well a wastewater treatment plant is operating, indicate that the plant is working within permit limits. EPA will continue to collect water samples at storm water discharge points when it rains and to fully analyze the samples for asbestos, PCBs, metals and total suspended solids.
Whitman elaborated on the repeated monitoring of ambient air both at the World Trade Center disaster site and the surrounding area. To date the Agency has taken 97 air samples from 11 separate fixed monitoring sites in and around the "hot zone" and elsewhere in lower Manhattan, and four fixed monitoring sites located in New Jersey downwind from the blast. Only seven samples taken at or near ground zero have had marginally higher levels of asbestos that exceed EPA's level of concern for long-term exposure. All rescue workers in this restricted-access area are being provided with appropriate safety equipment, and EPA is working closely with the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and local authorities to ensure the safety of crews working on the site. Extensive efforts are being made to educate crews about potential hazards, and to provide them with facilities to clean themselves, their clothes and their vehicles of any potential contaminants.
Ambient air monitoring in the Financial District, where this week people have returned to work, show mostly no detectable levels of asbestos, or in a few isolated instances, levels of asbestos that are below EPA's levels of concern. Four samples taken specifically to identify if mercury is present resulted in non-detectable readings. On Sept. 19, EPA also took readings of outdoor air at numerous locations around ground zero for chemicals including hydrogen sulfide, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide. All readings indicated that levels were normal and posed no public health concern. All air samples taken in New Jersey and Brooklyn have shown no detectable levels of asbestos whatsoever.
EPA has set up eight air monitors at the Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island, where debris from the collapsed World Trade Center towers is being sent for criminal and forensic analysis, and storage while final disposal plans are being developed. Initial results show no detectable levels of asbestos. The Agency will continue to operate these air monitors at the landfill and will test for asbestos and particulate matter.
Whitman detailed dust sampling undertaken thus far at the World Trade Center site, and confirmed that EPA has done a total of 101 dust samples, of which 37 were slightly over the one percent asbestos (the amount above which material is considered asbestos-containing). EPA has continued to use its 10 High Efficiency Particulate Arresting (HEPA) filter vacuum trucks, especially in areas where dust samples show any elevated levels of asbestos. Of the 16 samples taken in the Battery Park City area, a residential community within two blocks of the disaster site, 12 showed slightly elevated levels of asbestos. After using the HEPA Vac trucks to clean streets and surfaces in Battery Park City, repeat sampling in the area showed asbestos levels that fall below concern amounts. EPA will continue to monitor this area. The HEPA Vac trucks were also used to vacuum lobbies of federal buildings near the disaster site prior to having workers return.
Monitoring and cleanup efforts also continue at the Pentagon
crash site. To date, EPA has taken 140 total samples, including
ambient air samples, bulk debris analysis, silica and water
discharge samples. Monitoring samples have been analyzed for
asbestos and other hazardous materials. Available results
continue to show that rescue workers at the disaster site are not
being exposed to hazardous materials.
HAZARDOUS MATERIALS: RETENTION OF SHIPPING PAPERS MAY CHANGE
The Hazardous Materials Transportation Act of 1994 required that hazardous materials shipping papers be retained by the shipper and carrier for a period of one year after transportation was completed. This requirement, however, has not yet found its way into 49 CFR. Now the DOT is planning to add this requirement to 49 CFR with some slight changes in this proposed rulemaking.
Since it is often difficult for the shipper or initial carrier to know when a shipment has reached its final destination, the shipping paper retention period would instead begin when the hazardous material is first offered/accepted for transportation. The retention period would be extended from 365 days to 375 days, which means the shipping paper would actually be retained for a year after transportation is completed for most hazmat shipments (the DOT estimates that 95% of hazmat shipments are in transportation for 10 days or less).
A date would have to appear on the shipping paper to make this rule work (currently the HMR has no requirement for dating the shipping paper). The shipper's copy of the shipping paper would show the date when the initial carrier accepts the shipment (not just when the shipping paper was completed). The carrier's copy of the shipping paper would show the date of that carrier's acceptance of the shipment.
The retention of shipping papers could be done electronically, but you would have to be able to generate a paper copy if requested by an authorized government official.
None of the above proposed rules would supersede the requirements for the EPA hazardous waste manifest which already has a 3-year retention period and separate date and signature requirements. Remember this is just a proposed change to the HMR. The Final Rule may be quite different and will be influenced by public comment. Public comments on this proposed rulemaking must be received by Nov. 13, 2001.
You must address comments to the Dockets Management System, U.S. Department of Transportation, Room PL 401, 400 Seventh Street SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001. You should identify the docket number (RSPA- 01-10568 (HM-207B)) and submit your comments in two copies. If you want to confirm that your comments were received, you should include a self- addressed, stamped postcard. You may submit comments by e-mail by accessing the Dockets Management System website at http://dms.dot.gov. Click on ``Electronic Submission'' to obtain instructions for filing a document electronically. The Dockets Management System is located on the Plaza Level of the Department of Transportation headquarters building (Nassif building) at the above address. You may review public dockets there between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except federal holidays. You may also review comments on-line at the DOT Dockets Management System web site at http://dms.dot.gov.
For further information, contact Deborah Boothe of the Office of
Hazardous Materials Standards, (202) 366-8553, Research and
Special Programs Administration, U.S. Department of
MANY HMR TRANSITION PERIODS ENDING ON OCTOBER 1, 2001
In the 1990's, the US DOT made a lot of changes to the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR). Some of these changes were designed to align the HMR with international regulations and some of the changes just needed to be made to increase safety or for the sake of clarification. Realizing that the transportation industry needed time to adjust to these changes, the DOT granted lengthy transition periodsù all the way up to the far-off date of October 1, 2001, in some cases. And now itÆs time to pay the piper.
As of October 1, 2001, the transition period has run out on these options (listed by 49 CFR paragraph number ):
- 171.14(a) Packages filled prior to October 1,1991, had been
allowed to be transported under the packaging, labeling, and
marking provisions that were in effect September 30, 1991. So
now, no packages in transportation can display, the "Explosive
A," "Explosive B," "Explosive C," "Blasting Agent," "Irritant,"
or old "Flammable Solid" labels.
- 171.14(b) Many of the old DOT placards that were in use on
September 30, 1991, were allowed to continue to be used for
highway shipments. These now-prohibited placards included hazard
placards without the class number in the bottom corner as well as
the "Explosive A," "Explosive B," and "Blasting Agents" placards
for explosives. The "Dangerous" placard can also no longer be
used as a stand-alone placard for division 1.4 or 1.6 (formerly
"Explosive C") explosives.
The old class 4 placards are gone as well. Though there is a substantial difference between the old placards for Spontaneously Combustible and Dangerous When Wet materials and the current placards, the distinction between the old "Flammable Solid" placard and the new "Flammable Solid" placard is harder to notice. The primary difference is that that the text in the old placard appears in a white box whereas in the new placard the text appears right across the stripes.
- 171.14(b) also allowed the old "Poison Gas" and "Poison" placards
to be used by all modes of transportation for materials that were
poisonous by inhalation instead of using the new "Poison Gas" and
"Poison Inhalation Hazard" placards with the black diamond around
the skull and crossbones.
- 172.502(b)(3) "Drive safely" and other safety related messages
can no longer appear in placard form.
- 173.4(a)(10) There is now only one acceptable statement that can
be marked on packages using the small quantities exception.
NC LEGISLATION TO SPEEDUP AND STREAMLINE AIR PERMITTING PROCESS
The North Carolina General Assembly has moved one step closer to adopting legislation to allow construction of new sources and modifications without the requirement that an air quality permit be received prior to the initiation of any work. Senator David Hoyle from Gaston County has introduced SB 1037 that would allow the use of "notices of construction" to allow certain parts of the work to proceed without the permit. The current status of the bill, as well as its text, can be seen at http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/billnumber/billnumber.pl?Session=2001&BillID=s1037.
A committee substitute for the bill received a favorable report from the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources last week and now will go to Senate Finance. The current version of the bill, as adopted by the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources last week, can be found at http://www.ncleg.net/html2001/bills/AllVersions/Senate/S1037v2.html.
Under current law, as recently interpreted by the Attorney General's office, if a facility needs an air permit for a new facility or modification, the permit must be received before any work is performed. Under the bill, the notice of construction has to be submitted to DAQ at least 15 days prior to commencing construction. After the submittal of the notice, the person may construct all components of the facility that are not intended solely for the operation of the air contaminant source or equipment, including those portions of the facility that relate to or support both the air contaminant source or equipment and other functions, such as the foundation, walls, roof, electrical wiring, and vents. The actual permit must be received before the construction or operation of the air contaminant source. DENR must review the notice of construction, but if it is later determined to have been submitted in error, the applicant cannot go back and introduce evidence such as the amounts expended, in order to try to support the notice. The bill appears to have the support of DENR, as well as the business community. It allows businesses to proceed with construction projects on a timely and cost-effective basis while protecting the ability of DENR to fully and fairly consider all aspects of the proposed projects during permitting.
For the last decade, businesses that were constructing facilities which would emit air pollutants were required to obtain an air permit before beginning operations of that facility. No permit was required to begin construction. Recently, the Attorney General's Department of Justice reinterpreted the relevant statutes. As a result, DAQ began requiring businesses to obtain air quality permits before beginning construction.