April 06, 2001

The National Safety Council and the International Association of Electronic Recyclers will present a joint electronics recycling conference and summit to promote responsible management of electronics products. The Electronic Products Recovery and Recycling (EPR2) Conference and the Electronic Recycling Summit will be held April 17-19, 2001 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City Hotel in Arlington, Virginia.

The Fourth EPR2 Conference brings together people committed to promoting environmentally and economically responsible management of electronics products throughout their life cycle. Leaders from federal, state and local government, academia, not-for-profit organizations, and electronics manufacturing and recycling companies will present and exchange the latest information on trends, laws, design, technology, and collection and recycling initiatives.

Featured speakers include Alan McMillan, president of the National Safety Council; Mike Shapiro, deputy assistant administrator for solid waste and emergency response, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Pete Muscanelli, president of the International Association of Electronics Recyclers; and Diana Bendz, IBM's corporate director of environmentally conscious products.

The keynote speaker for EPR2 is Dave McCurdy, president of the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA), who will discuss EIA's consumer education initiative and other voluntary end-of-life initiatives.

The Electronics Recycling Summit, continuing a dialog begun at the first summit in May 2000, will be an avenue for stakeholders to build partnerships and a common action plan to increase electronics recovery and recycling. IBM's Diana Bendz will present an overview of the summit. After a report on the actions following Summit 2000, a panel will explore key issues for discussion and potential collaboration. Constituency groups and plenary working sessions will address the needs, challenges and actions on focus issues, followed by workshops and a tour of DMC Recycling Company in Hagerstown, Maryland.

Joining the National Safety Council and the International Association of Electronic Recyclers as sponsors of the event are the United States Environmental Protection Agency, IBM and Micromet.

For additional information about the event, contact Candace Levitt at (202) 293-2270 x 476 or


The Federal Aviation Administration, Southern Region, has proposed to assess a $50,000 civil penalty against DaimlerChrysler of Auburn Hills, Mich., for allegedly violating Department of Transportation hazardous materials regulations.

FAA alleges that DaimlerChrysler improperly offered a fiberboard box containing one 638-gram aerosol container of "ZEP 40 Non-Streaking Cleaner", one 16-ounce aerosol container of "ZEP Stainless Steel Cleaner" and a one quart plastic container of "ZEP Universal GP Cleaner" to UPS for transportation by air. Aerosols are classified as flammable gas and Universal GP Cleaner is classified as a corrosive, therefore they are hazardous materials. Ground handling employees at the UPS sort facility in Louisville, Ky., discovered the shipment leaking.

DaimlerChrysler offered the hazardous materials for transportation when they were not packaged, labeled, marked, classed, described, documented, or in condition for shipment as required by regulations. DaimlerChrysler also failed to ensure employees were trained to properly package and handle hazardous materials, and did not make available at all times the required emergency response information.

DaimlerChrysler has 30 days from receipt of the FAA notice to submit a reply to the agency.


EPA Region 5 settled an administrative complaint with J.H. Routh Packing Co. in Sandusky, Ohio, for violation of federal laws on the reporting of hazardous chemical releases. The company will pay a civil penalty totaling $21,369 and spend $34,210 on an environmental project.

EPA alleged that on October 12, 1999, J.H. Routh's facility at 905 Pierce St., failed to promptly report a 1,600-pound release of anhydrous ammonia from a refrigeration system inside an unmanned building. Federal laws require facilities to immediately notify the National Response Center (NRC), the state emergency response commission, and the local emergency planning committee about any anhydrous ammonia release above 100 pounds.

In addition to the late reporting of this incident, the company failed to submit the Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory form for anhydrous ammonia for this facility to the state and local authorities from 1996 to 1998. Federal laws require reporting of on-site anhydrous ammonia above 500 pounds by March 1 every year.

The civil penalty includes a payment of $18,630 to the U.S. Treasury (for not reporting on-site chemicals and late reporting of the release to the state and local authorities under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act) and $2,738 to EPA's Superfund hazardous waste cleanup program (for late reporting of the release under the Superfund statute). The company will also purchase self-contained breathing apparatus equipment valued at $34,210 for the Margaretta Township Fire Department.

Anhydrous ammonia may be fatal if inhaled for prolonged periods of time, causes burns to the skin and eyes, and may cause irritation to the eyes, nose and throat.


Michael Rosenberg of Avon, Conn., pleaded guilty on March 23 to two counts of violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) by illegally disposing of the hazardous cleaning fluid tetrachloroethylene, which is commonly known as "perc." As part of his plea, the defendant has agreed to pay approximately $200,000 in cleanup costs at two sites and pay up to a total of $20,000 each to two home owners in Farmington and Naugatuck, Conn., whose wells had been polluted by his illegal dumping activities. When sentenced, Rosenberg faces a maximum of up to five years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $250,000 for each of the two RCRA violations in addition to the restitution.

The defendant owned and operated a business named Avenue Cleaners in Naugatuck, Conn. In 1999, he dumped perc in a Farmington wooded area and also dumped it at the business site in Naugatuck.

The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, and the Environmental Crime Unit of the Connecticut Chief State's Attorney's Office with assistance from the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and the Town of Farmington Police Department. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Haven, Conn.


To enhance the performance of its safety mission, the U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) has announced plans to lower the reporting threshold for hazardous liquid pipeline accidents from 50 barrels to 5 gallons, heightening the quantity, quality, and usefulness of reported accident information. A barrel is equal to 42 gallons.

"Strengthening our understanding of the cause and consequences of pipeline failures is an important priority for our agency," said Edward A. Brigham, Acting Deputy Administrator for RSPA, the agency that oversees the Office of Pipeline Safety. "Better safety information will be a cornerstone of a new pipeline integrity management program for transporting hazardous liquids through populated and unusually sensitive environmental areas and waterways."

The proposed rule invites comments on plans to revise the Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Accident Form, improving the cause, consequence, and other detailed information collected on reportable hazardous liquid pipeline accidents. DOT's Office of the Inspector General, the National Transportation Safety Board and Congress have all advised RSPA to act to improve safety data. RSPA announced proposed changes to Natural Gas Transmission Accident and Annual Report forms in August 2000.

RSPA's regulatory authority covers approximately 2 million miles of natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines and over 100 liquefied natural gas facilities. RSPA's pipeline mission is to ensure the safe, reliable, and environmentally sound operation of the nation's pipeline transportation system.

The proposal was published in the March 20, 2001 edition of the Federal Register.


EPA's WAVE program recently expanded partnership eligibility to educational institutions and office buildings. WAVE encourages commercial businesses and institutions to reduce water consumption while increasing efficiency, profitability and competitiveness. Adopting water-efficiency measures can help organizations reduce water and sewer expenses by as much as 30 percent as well as reduce energy, chemical, and maintenance costs.

When the program was initially launched in 1992, it focused on the lodging industry. It now includes such chains as Westin, Hyatt, Sheraton, Outrigger, LaQuinta and Accor Economy Lodging, as well as 40 other hotel partners. Since announcing WAVE's expansion, 35 educational institutions have joined WAVE, representing over 2,300 buildings and a total enrollment of more than 285,000 students. Included in the newest category of membership are Columbia University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Florida at Gainesville, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh, and Colorado Mountain College. Several large school districts are also new partners: Fontana Unified School District and Palmdale School District in California, Rochester Community Schools in Michigan, and the School District of the City of Erie, Pennsylvania.

More information on the WAVE program and other water conservation programs and links is available at, click on "Water Efficiency."


In an effort to provide states with greater flexibility, EPA is phasing in on-board diagnostic (OBD) testing requirements for passenger vehicles. The OBD system is designed to trigger the "check engine" light if the vehicle's pollution control devices are not functioning properly.

OBD systems have been required on all new passenger vehicles, beginning with model year 1996. To ensure that all the components of the vehicle's emission control system are functioning properly, the Clean Air Act requires that all Inspection and Maintenance (I/M) programs include a check of the OBD computer as part of the routine inspection.

EPA is amending the OBD I/M requirements to provide states with a variety of options for phasing in, from 2002 to 2005, the mandatory check of the OBD system. EPA is also allowing states the discretion to replace traditional I/M tests with OBD system checks on model year 1996 and newer vehicles. This gives states time to educate the public and the testing and repair industries about this important new emission control technology. This change also helps states maximize the cost effectiveness and efficiency of their I/M programs, while still achieving the air quality benefits of the program.

The rule will be published in the Federal Register soon and is available electronically via the EPA Internet site at


EPA Region 5 recently filed a complaint and compliance order against Joyner's Die Casting & Plating, Inc. (Brooklyn Park, Minn.), for alleged violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). A $124,157 fine is proposed.

The company failed to determine if solid wastes (cyanide carbonates) used on site were hazardous; obtain a permit for treatment, storage or disposal of hazardous waste; and file a report with EPA and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency that details the transportation of hazardous waste to another site. EPA discovered the violations during a June 8, 2000, inspection.

Under RCRA, passed by Congress in 1976, EPA regulates hazardous wastes from their production to their final disposal.


Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in Peoria, Ill., are coupling two environmentally friendly techniques to reduce or eliminate the use of toxic organic solvents in the processing of agricultural commodities. EPA has called for a reduction in the amount of toxic solvents released into the environment, which has impacted industrial manufacturers.

Solutions called ionic liquids, salt-like fluids at room temperature, are safer to use than organic solvents like hexane in research laboratories, according to ARS biochemist Joseph A. Laszlo at the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria. In the past, researchers had to use solvents to get enzymes to act as a catalyst for chemical reactions. Now, ionic liquids can be used in place of solvents.

Laszlo and ARS chemist David L. Compton made ionic liquids in their laboratory. They are the first researchers to perform enzymatic reactions in ionic liquids in combination with supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2). They tested the liquids as a solvent for the enzyme chymotrypsin with a commonly used laboratory substrate. This enzyme may catalyze reactions needed to manufacture important chemical ingredients in drugs and skin care products.

Laszlo says that combining ionic liquids and supercritical CO2 results in a superior processing method, which is better than either one alone. In the technique, CO2 is heated and compressed to the point that it becomes both liquid and gas, which is the supercritical state.

Laszlo reported these findings at the 221st annual meeting of the American Chemical Society meeting in San Diego, April 1-5, where he participated in a 5- day symposium on the development of ionic liquids.

ARS is the chief scientific research agency for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.