August 31, 2001

G&S Motor Equipment Company, Inc., a recycler of metal from electrical equipment located in Kearny, New Jersey, has settled with EPA on charges it incorrectly stored and failed to properly label drums of waste oil containing polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs. The company will pay a penalty of $19,000 .

According to G&S, it received PCB-contaminated electrical transformers for dismantling and metal recovery that had been drained of most of their fluid, but that still contained some leftover PCB-contaminated oil. G&S removed this oil and stored it in a 500-gallon polyethylene (a type of plastic) tank. PCB-storage regulations require that such tanks be made of steel. The polyethylene tank noted by EPA inspectors was a recent replacement for another polyethylene tank used to store the PCB waste oil, which had melted in a fire. EPA also charged that G&S failed to properly mark six drums of PCB-contaminated waste oil with the date the material was placed in the drums. EPA alleged that these actions violated regulations of the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, which banned new production of PCBs, and, because they still exist in our environment from older machinery and equipment, instituted requirements for dealing with them responsibly, including their proper transport, storage and disposal.

PCBs are synthetic chemicals that were used in hundreds of industrial and commercial applications before it was found that they have serious ecological and human health effects. G&S records and waste shipment manifests indicated that the company was otherwise handling and disposing of PCB-contaminated materials in compliance with PCB requirements.


Clean Air Act

  • September 15: Reformulated gasoline standards detailed under 40 CFR 80.78(a)(1)(v) expire until the following summer.
  • September 21: Existing pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities subject to the national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants for pharmaceuticals must comply with 40 CFR 63, subpart GGG.

Clean Water Act

  • September 21: Existing sources subject to effluent guidelines and standards for the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry under 40 CFR 439 must meet pretreatment standards.


According to OEPA, the following violations were commonly cited in enforcement actions in the state:

  • Failing to properly evaluate waste to find out if it was hazardous
  • Storing hazardous waste without a permit
  • Transporting hazardous waste to an unpermitted storage facility
  • Failing to test and record weekly inspections of the facilityÆs emergency equipment
  • Failing to ensure that employees are familiar with proper hazardous waste handling procedures
  • Failing to keep containers closed

Source: Ohio Notifier, Winter 2001


The US EPA plans to publish a Federal Register notice designed to make several changes in the Biennial Report. According to the Ohio EPA Hazardous Waste Notifier, the following changes are anticipated for the 2001 report:

  • To eliminate confusion on what to report and what is counted in your generator status, you will be asked to report all hazardous waste that you count towards your generator status. This includes wastes generated, accumulated, and managed on- or off-site.

  • Form IC will be replaced with a Site ID form, which is based on the Notification of Regulated Waste Activity. Each time you file a report, you will be renotified of your activities. Your siteÆs information will be placed on the agencyÆs Envirofacts web site so that all you need to do is update the information when necessary.

  • Importers of hazardous waste will be required to submit biennial reports.

  • The following will be eliminated from the report: Point of Measurement, SIC Code (replaced with NAICS code), off-site availability, origin codes, and the form codes will be streamlined.


The Federal Aviation Administration has proposed to assess a $68,750 civil penalty against Sun Country Airlines of Mendota Heights, Minn., for allegedly violating Department of Transportation hazardous materials regulations.

FAA alleged that on Sept. 15, 2000, Sun Country knowingly offered, accepted, and transported hazardous materials aboard a passenger flight from Minneapolis to San Antonio that contained a small explosive device known as a squib used to ignite fire-extinguishing material. The material was transported as company material to another company in San Antonio without proper packaging, classification, labels or descriptions. In addition, Sun Country, failed to provide emergency response information and failed to provide the pilot-in-command, in writing, required information concerning the shipment. Several violations were cited in the enforcement letter.

Sun Country had 30 days from receipt of the enforcement letter to respond.


Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christie Whitman and Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England Office, announced that EPA will provide $4 million in financial assistance to states to clean up contamination from leaking underground storage tanks around the nation.

EPA expects to select up to 40 pilot projects to help states and cities clean up these properties and foster redevelopment by returning them to productive economic and public use.

"These sites have caused problems that, in many cases, have very costly solutions. With this pilot money, recipients will be able to accelerate cleanup and return properties to viable use," said Whitman. "Fostering clean up at these sites not only restores the land but helps protect our water resources from petroleum contamination. The new pilot program is similar to our Brownfields initiatives in that it can help revitalize industrial areas and communities."

While Brownfields has been extremely successful, it has been unable to address abandoned petroleum tanks. These new pilots are building on the successful Brownfields program by bridging that gap.

The pilot project, called UST fields, involves abandoned or under-used industrial and commercial properties with perceived or actual contamination from petroleum that has leaked from underground storage tanks, or USTs.

"On their own, the New England states have already done significant work in removing old underground storage tanks and cleaning up properties contaminated by them," Varney said. "This initiative will strengthen the partnership between EPA and the states for the very important goal of pollution prevention. In particular, this project is a tool for states to remove long-abandoned or orphaned underground storage tanks where no responsible party can be found. This will ultimately allow restored properties to be returned to the community."

EPA is inviting states, territories and federally recognized Indian tribes as well as eligible intertribal consortia to compete for these pilots. Each selected pilot will receive up to $100,000 in Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund monies.

The deadline for submitting proposals for the USTfields Pilots is October 22. The announcement of the selected pilots will take place by the end of the year.

For information on the program and how to apply, visit

For more information about underground storage tanks, visit


Over the past week, the DOT has revised the hazardous materials regulations to designed to clarify and correct earlier rulemakings. Here is a summary of the changes:

HM-189RL: Final Rule; Published 08/28/2001; Effective Date 09/27/2001; 66 FR 45375.

This rule corrects inconsistencies in terminology and makes minor editorial corrections to improve the clarity of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR). The intended effect of this rule is to enhance the accuracy and reduce misunderstandings of the regulations. The amendments contained in this rule are minor editorial changes and do not impose new requirements.

HM-189S: Hazardous Materials Regulations: Editorial Corrections and Clarifications; Final Rule; Published 08/28/2001; Effective Date 10/01/2001; 66 FR 45177.

This rule corrects editorial errors, makes minor regulatory changes, and, in response to requests for clarification, improves the clarity of certain provisions in the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR). The intended effect of this rule is to enhance the accuracy and reduce misunderstandings of the HMR. The amendments contained in this rule are minor editorial changes and do not impose new requirements.

HM-206D: Hazardous Materials: Exceptions From Labeling and Placarding Materials Poisonous by Inhalation (PIH); Final Rule; Published 08/22/2001; Effective Date 10/01/2001; 66 FR 44251.

In an interim final rule published on September 16, 1999, and amended on September 24, 1999, RSPA provided a limited exception, until October 1, 2001, from requirements to place new POISON INHALATION HAZARD or POISON GAS labels on packages of PIH materials to facilitate international transportation. This final rule responds to two comments received on the interim final rule, extends the provisions of the interim final rule, and provides additional exceptions from requirements to place new POISON INHALATION HAZARD or POISON GAS labels and placards on certain packages and transport vehicles in international transportation.

Copies of all three rules are available at


EPA's Chemical Emergency Preparedness and Prevention Office recently issued Chemical Safety Alert: Hazards of Ammonia Refrigeration Facilities (Update)(August 2001).

An update of the popular 1998 Chemical Safety Alert, this document discusses the potential hazards of accidental releases of ammonia and steps that can be taken to prevent releases.

A copy of the updated alert can be found at:


State lawmakers are urging the EPA to resist efforts to weaken or delay standards to clean up diesel trucks and buses and diesel fuel. The National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) has approved a resolution supporting the standards, which have come under fire by segments of the oil industry.

"NCSL strongly supports EPA's engine and fuel standards and opposes efforts to either delay or weaken the fuel sulfur standard or delay or weaken achievement of the engine emission standards," notes the resolution approved by NCSL Aug. 15 at its annual meeting in San Antonio. The resolution was introduced by Delegate James Hubbard (D-MD).

The clean-diesel standards, approved by the Clinton Administration, would significantly reduce pollution from new big diesel trucks and buses starting in 2007. To enable use of advanced pollution controls, the standards would eliminate most of the sulfur from diesel fuel by mid-2006.

The American Petroleum Institute and the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association have sued to block the fuel standards and separately have lobbied EPA to commission an independent study to reconsider them.

In February, EPA Administrator Christie Whitman publicly announced her support for the Clinton Administration standards, but secretly promised the White House that she would commission the "independent" study sought by the oil companies. Whitman publicly disclosed the planned study in a July 30 letter to Senator James Jeffords (I-VT).