EPA Region 3 representatives attended the first Review Committee meeting February 8 to consider revision to Delaware's Air Regulation 25 to reflect the major New Source Review (NSR) reforms published by EPA on Dec. 31, 2002. The new federal NSR rules require Delaware to revise its rule, and to demonstrate by Jan. 2, 2006 that such revisions are equal to or more stringent then the revised federal rules. At this meeting, EPA Region 3 representatives discussed DelawareÆs position on the baseline emission determination. Stakeholders attending the meeting included Dupont Corporation, Daimler Chrysler, the Sierra Club, Mid Atlantic Environmental Law Center, and American Lung Association. At future meetings, Delaware plans to address applicability test, clean unit exclusion, pollution control project exclusion and plant applicability limit.
Draft National Whole Effluent Toxicity Guidance Available for Comment
EPA released its draft National Whole Effluent Toxicity Implementation Guidance for public review and comment for 60 days. The draft guidance document provides recommendations to states and EPA regional offices on implementing whole effluent toxicity (WET) testing in National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. The draft WET Guidance is available on EPA's web site at http://www.epa.gov/npdes/permitbasics. Comments may be submitted through Feb. 28, 2005 in a variety of forms (paper, electronic, etc.) to the EPA Docket Center, Docket ID # OW-2004-0037. For more information on submitting comments, visit www.epa.gov/edocket.
Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule
EPA Headquarters held a public meeting on Jan. 18, in Washington, DC, to discuss recent research related to the proposed Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule. The subjects addressed include disinfection byproduct occurrence and formation, and studies on reproductive and developmental health effects, on cancer, and on toxicity health effects. The Agency believes that the new science continues to support the approach taken in the proposed rule to make incremental regulatory changes aimed at lowering disinfection byproduct levels while providing equitable public health protection. EPA proposed the rule on Aug. 18, 2003, and is currently working on the final rule. For more information, please contact Tom Grubbs at 202-564-5262.
Battery Recycling Reaches New Highs in 2004
The nonprofit Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC) announced reported that it collected more than 4.4 million pounds of rechargeable batteries in the U.S. and Canada, an increase of 7.7 percent from 2003. In addition, RBRCÆs Call2RecycleÖ cell phone and rechargeable battery collection program has collected more than 48,000 cell phones since its launch in April 2004.
Since 2003, RBRC has experienced an increase in participation with national retailers, businesses, communities and licensee recycling programs to set up convenient drop-off facilities for used rechargeable batteries and cell phones. In 2004, community participation increased 19 percent while public agency participation increased an astounding 39 percent, which can be attributed at least in part to RBRC waiving all associated fees for program participation.
Consumer interest also peaked in 2004 with more than 575,000 hits for both Web sites combined, an overall 31 percent increase from last year. In addition to logging on, consumers also inquired via the existing 1-800-BATTERY help line, with calls up 8 percent over last year; in addition the new Call2Recycle (1-877-2-RECYCLE) help line averaged over 1,000 calls per month since its inception.
"We are pleased to see that not only our partnersÆ interest, but also the interest of consumers in general continues to grow in response to an unplugged lifestyle," said Ralph Millard, RRBC Executive Vice President. "The numbers show that everyone is thinking "greener than ever"
State Pollution Prevention Programs Adopt Environmental Management Systems
Participants in state pollution prevention programs are adopting Environmental Management Systems (EMS's). This year's focus continues to be on Green Hospitality, Green Schools, and Hospitals for a Healthy Environment. In Virginia, the familiar red logo for the Virginia is for Lovers program will feature an optional green heart for lodgings that are awarded GreenSeal certification. In Maryland, the state program is participating in compliance assurance training at state facilities as a foundation to build EMS's. Pennsylvania is a leader in addressing EMS's for schools with a manual written and piloted in Southwestern Pa., and the statewide Emergency Management Agency has distributed a color-coded flip chart of hazardous situations to all schools. Delaware, last fall conducted a series of well-attended workshops on EMS's for schools, businesses, and local governments.
NEW ITC Report Sets TSCA Priorities
The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Interagency Testing Committee (ITC) transmitted its Fifty-Fifth Report to the Administrator of EPA on December 8, 2004. In the 55th ITC Report, the ITC is revising the Priority Testing List by adding a category of high production volume (HPV) orphan chemicals and requesting that EPA add these chemicals to the TSCA section 8(a) Preliminary Assessment Information Reporting (PAIR) rule and the TSCA section 8(d) Health and Safety Data Reporting (HaSDR) rule. The ITC is also removing the following chemicals from the Priority Testing List: 3-amino-5-mercapto-1,2,4-triazole; glycoluril; benzenamine, 3-chloro-2,6-dinitro-N,N-dipropyl-4-(trifluoromethyl)-; stannane, dimethylbis[(1-oxoneodecyl)oxy]-; benzene, 1,3,5-tribromo-2-(2-propenyloxy)-; and 1-triazene, 1,3-diphenyl-.].
Since the 55th Report was ITC transmitted to the Administrator and made publicly available on http://www.epa.gov/opptintr/itc/ Five HPV orphan chemicals have been removed from the Priority Testing List because chemical manufacturers committed to prepare robust summaries for these chemicals in response to the HPV Challenge Program. The ITC encourages other manufacturers to make similar commitments so their chemicals can be removed from the Priority Testing List and potentially avoid being added to PAIR and HaSDR rules.
Document on Oxidation of Contaminated Soil Available for Download
This document was developed to outline the technical and regulatory requirements of in situ chemical oxidation (ISCO), a group of technologies involving various combinations of oxidants and delivery techniques. The primary oxidants addressed in this document are hydrogen peroxide, potassium and sodium permanganate, sodium persulfate, and ozone. It is divided into sections consisting of technology overview and applicability, remedial investigations, safety concerns, regulatory concerns, injection design, monitoring, stakeholder concerns, and case studies. From a regulatory perspective, the most important sections of the document are identification of injection restrictions, implementation, and post-closure monitoring. Available at http://www.itrcweb.org/ISCO-2.pdf.
EPA Explains How to Use TRI Data
The first session of the 2005 National Toxic Release (TRI) Inventory Conference held on February 8 in Washington D.C. concentrated on how to use TRI data to prevent and reduce pollution. Noah Borenstein, Region 3 team member, participated as part of a panel on the subject of "Office of Solid Waste Uses of TRI Data." He explained how TRI data is used in the Region 3 Waste Minimization Program to identify facilities which release large amounts of priority chemicals. Participants at the session included representatives from industry, environmental organizations, States, and EPA.
Now is the time to begin working on your facilityÆs Form R, which is due July 1. If you need assistance, Environmental Resource Center can prepare your TRI reports for you. For details, contact Amy Knight at email@example.com or 919-469-1585 x 224.
Chesapeake Bay Watershed Looses 100 Acres of Forest Per Day
A recent review of the U.S. Forest ServiceÆs Forest Inventory and Analysis data shows that the Chesapeake Bay watershed continues to lose approximately 100 acres of forest each day. This trend is based on data collected between 1984 and 2002 and is consistent with a previous analysis conducted in 1994. Forests provide the best use for protecting water quality and their conservation is critical to restoring the Chesapeake Bay. Forest Inventory and Analysis data by state and by county can be accessed through the Map Maker program at: http://www.ncrs2.fs.fed.us/4801/fiadb/fim17/wcfim17.asp.
Bald Eagles on Return
The Chesapeake Bay population of bald eagles grew to 819 nesting pairs in 2004, marking an eight percent increase from the previous year, and a ten-fold increase since baywide data collection began in 1977. In Virginia's portion of the watershed, 408 occupied nests fledged 575 young in 2004, while Maryland hosted 383 nests. The long-term success of the bald eagle in this region will depend on how we manage shoreline habitat. The updated indicator can be viewed at the Chesapeake Bay Program web site.
EPA Proposes Regulatory Options for Maintaining NOx Air Quality Standards
On Feb. 14, 2005, EPA proposed three regulatory options to maintain air quality in areas that meet national air quality standards for nitrogen dioxide (NO2). The Clean Air Act's Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) program for NOx uses "increments" to limit the amount of air quality deterioration that may occur in any given area of the country. For this purpose, ambient concentrations of NO2 are measured in micrograms per cubic meter. New and modified industrial facilities must evaluate the impact of their emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) in a clean air area to demonstrate that they will not cause or contribute to a violation of any national ambient air quality standard or degrade the air beyond the level allowed by PSD increments for NOx. To ensure that air quality does not deteriorate in PSD areas, states and tribes issue Clean Air Act permits requiring proposed new and expanded facilities to install state-of-the-art air pollution controls. While the PSD program is intended to maintain air quality, numerous other Clean Air Act regulations on stationary and mobile sources have reduced and will further reduce NOx emissions in the United States.
EPA is proposing the three following options:
- To retain the existing increments NOx measured as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the ambient air as established in October 1988;
- To allow states that choose to implement an interstate cap and trade program for sources of NOx to rely on the benefits of that program in place of the existing increments to prevent significant deterioration of NO2 air quality; or
- To allow states to adopt their own planning strategies and implement these in lieu of the NO2 increment system if they show that PSD for NOx is satisfied through some combination of state and federal emissions controls that have been or will be adopted.
NOx is a precursor to the formation of ground-level ozone and fine particle pollution. At elevated levels these pollutants can have significant health effects aggravating heart and lung conditions, increasing susceptibility to respiratory illnesses, damaging lungs. Fine particles are also associated with premature death. In additional these pollutants have negative environmental impacts including vegetation damage, acid deposition, and visibility impairment.
Under the current PSD program for NOx and in conjunction with numerous other air pollution control programs and regulations on industries and vehicles NOx emissions in the United States have fallen from 25.1 million tons per year in 1990 to 20.5 million tons in 2003, according to EPA's most recent air emissions trends report: http://www.epa.gov/airtrends/econ-emissions.html
In addition, ozone levels have decreased over the past 10 to 25 years. In 2003, the improved air quality resulted mainly from favorable weather conditions and continuing reductions in emissions, according to EPA's most recent ozone air quality trends report: http://www.epa.gov/airtrends/ozone.html . Several future regulations on industry, power plants and vehicles are expected to further reduce NOx emissions and help prevent the formation of ground-level ozone. Information on these future regulations is available online at: http://www.epa.gov/cleanair2004/ .
EPA will accept comment on this proposal for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register. For further information and a pre-publication copy of the proposed rule, visit: http://www.epa.gov/nsr/actions.html.
DOT Creates New Hazmat Safety Agency
U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta announced the creation of two new agencies at the DOT - one to focus on innovation and research and the other on pipeline and hazardous materials safety - to help the Department more effectively execute its mission of developing and applying innovative technologies to create the transportation system of the 21st century. The new agencies will begin operating Feb. 20.
The Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) were authorized on Nov. 30, 2004 when President Bush signed the Norman Y. Mineta Research and Special Programs Improvement Act.
"These new agencies will help the Department focus on two critical priorities for our nation's transportation system -- innovation and safety," Secretary Mineta said. "RITA reflects how important research and technology are to our core mission, while the creation of PHMSA will continue and strengthen our commitment to safety."
RITA will be dedicated to the advancement of the department's priorities for innovation and research in transportation technologies and concepts. PHMSA will oversee the safety of the more than 800,000 daily shipments of hazardous materials in the United States and the 64 percent of the nation's energy that is transported by pipelines.
RITA will be composed of staff from RSPA's Office of Innovation, Research and Education, and include the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge, MA and the Transportation Safety Institute in Oklahoma City. RITA also will house the Secretary's Office of Intermodalism and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Staff from the former Research and Special Programs Administration's (RSPA) Office of Hazardous Materials Safety and Office of Pipeline Safety will form PHMSA.
Methods for Assessing and Monitoring the Remediation of Contaminated Sediment
This document, prepared by EPA's Office of Research and Development, summarizes chemical, physical, and biological (toxicity and bioassessment) testing methodologies for monitoring and assessing the remediation of contaminated sediment sites. Methods are presented as fact sheets with hypertext links to access reference documents that often include the complete method description. The document primarily focuses on methods from the published literature or other citable sources used at sites to determine the effects of chemical contaminants on aquatic life and human health.