March 16, 2001

Closure of packages is a hot topic for DOT enforcement officials. How do you know your package is securely tightened and meets all DOT standards? Should you use a torque wrench to properly tighten them? Many of our customers have had questions about the regulations applicable to closure of packages. DOT addresses this issue at 49 CFR 178.2.

Manufacturers of specification packagings are responsible for testing their containers to a certain performance standard and marking that specification on their packages. All container manufacturers or any person redistributing the packagings must provide the following information to each person who receives the package:

  • Type and dimensions of any closures, including gaskets, needed to satisfy performance test requirements
  • Any requirements of 49 CFR 178.2 that were not met

It is mandatory that the container manufacturer provides you with instructions on how to properly prepare the package for shipment. Their guidelines will instruct you on how to securely close the container so that it performs exactly as it did during the performance tests. Retain copies of each of these written notifications provided by the manufacturer for at least one year. And be ready to make these notifications available to any representative of the Department of Transportation if they request them.


Tammy H. Etheridge, former Chief Executive Officer of Central Industries, Inc., Scott County, Miss., was sentenced March 2, for violating the Clean Water Act (CWA). The company previously pleaded guilty to CWA violations and was fined $14 million.

The company operates an animal rendering plant and was charged with discharging levels of polluted wastewater that exceeded permitted levels from its rendering plant into Tallabogue Creek, a tributary of the Pearl River. Etheridge was fined $300,000 and ordered to serve four months home confinement, three years probation and 200 hours to benefit the community.

Discharging higher than permitted levels of organic wastes into surface waters can reduce oxygen in rivers and streams and thereby harm fish and aquatic life. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigations Division, the FBI and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and was jointly prosecuted by the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice and by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Jackson.


On Feb. 22, Donald Hoffman, the owner and operator of a metal plating company, Hoffman Metal Finishing, in Mabscott, W.Va., was sentenced to immediate imprisonment for an additional one-year term for violating the terms of his supervised release.

Hoffman and his company had been convicted of Clean Water Act (CWA) pretreatment violations in July 1999. He served a one year term for that conviction and was released in Aug. 2000 under supervision. A condition of the release was that he publish an apology in a metal plating industry trade journal acknowledging his CWA criminal conviction. Hoffmann falsely asserted to his probation officer that such notice was published. Hoffman also repeatedly failed to undertake a cleanup of abandoned hazardous plating chemical waste at his company's site in Mabscott. EPA will perform the cleanup using Superfund funds at an estimated cost of at least $860,000.

EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI, the U.S. Probation Office, and the West Virginia Division of Environmental Protection investigated Hoffmann's failure to adhere to the terms of his supervised release. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Charleston.


Lenard Leniczek of Mayville, Mich., a former manager at Chrysler headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich., pleaded guilty on Feb.21 to bribery for assisting Hi-Po, Inc., Ypsilanti, Mich., in obtaining an unfair advantage in bidding for contracts with Chrysler.

Hi-Po, an environmental consulting firm, previously pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Water Act and two of Hi-Po's officers, Aaron Smith of Northville, Mich., and Steven Carbeck of Ann Arbor, Mich., previously pleaded guilty to violating the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act in connection with a scheme to obtain environmental work under false pretenses.

In a plea agreement, Leniczek admitted that he received $19,000 from Smith for assisting Hi-Po to obtain a blanket contract to perform services for Chrysler, for obtaining additional work for Hi-Po from Chrysler, for providing Hi-Po with confidential information submitted by Hi-Po's competitors and for otherwise helping Hi-Po in gaining an unfair advantage in bidding for potential jobs at Chrysler. When sentenced, Leniczek faces a maximum sentence of up to seven months in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI and the University of Michigan Department of Public Safety. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit.


On March 13 in Washington, D.C., EPA and the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) signed a new voluntary partnership to reduce emissions of perfluorocompounds, the most potent and persistent of all global warming gases, by ten percent from 1995 levels by the end of 2010.

The SIA is signing this Memorandum of Understanding with EPA on the "PFC Reduction Climate Partnership" on behalf of 21 semiconductor manufacturers. The Partnership will promote global reductions of perfluorocompound gases, including perfluorocarbons, hydrofluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride. Perfluorocompounds have, on average, 10,000 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide over 100 years, plus, they can persist in the atmosphere from 2,000 to 50,000 years. The partnership complements efforts by the World Semiconductor Council and other semiconductor trade associations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Semiconductors manage electronic information in a wide variety of products such as computers and cell phones. Perfluorocompounds are used to clean semiconductor manufacturing equipment and to etch silicon wafers to create circuitry patterns.

The participating companies are:

Advanced Micro Devices, Sunnyvale, Calif.;
Agere Systems, Allentown, Pa;
Conexant Systems, Newport Beach, Calif.;
Dominion Semiconductor, L.L.C., Manassas, Va.;
Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, N.Y.;
Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation, South Portland, Maine;
Hewlett Packard, Palo Alto, Calif.;
Hyundai Semiconductor America, Eugene, Ore.;
IBM Microelectronics Division, Armonk, N.Y.;
Intel Corporation, Santa Clara, Calif.;
Intersil Corporation, Irvine, Calif.;
LSI Logic, Milpitas, Calif.;
Micron Technology, Inc., Boise, Idaho;
Motorola, Schaumberg, Ill.;
National Semiconductor, Santa Clara, Calif.;
NEC Electronics, Inc., Japan;
Philips Semiconductors, Inc., The Netherlands;
Sony Semiconductor company of America, San Antonio, Texas;
ST Microelectronics, Italy; and
Texas Instruments, Dallas, Texas.

For more technical information, contact Sally Rand, EPA Global Programs Division, at 202-564-9739, or e-mail


Be sure to check here first to find out what to add to your to do list for the next few weeks. (While helpful, please note that this list may not be inclusive of all deadlines affecting your facility and should not be relied upon as your only source of information.)

April 1, 2001: Consumer confidence report must be prepared by community drinking water systems that sell water to other community water systems. (40 CFR 141.152(d))

April 16, 2001: Deadline for compliance with NESHAP standards for existing sources in the pulp and paper industry. (40 CFR 63.440(d))

April 22, 2001: 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. (40 CFR 63.175(e)(7)(ii) and 63.175(e)(8))

April 30, 2001: Fossil-fuel fired steam generating units subject to new source performance standards for electric utility steam generating units must submit quarterly reports for sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and opacity emissions. (40 CFR 60.49a(i)-(j) and 60.49b(v))


Administrator Christie Whitman on Thursday told the Speaker of the House and members of the Illinois and Wisconsin Congressional delegations that EPA is very close to reaching a decision that should help reduce costs for blending ethanol into gasoline.

"I am very concerned about the potential for price increases caused by many different factors such as increased demand and pipeline disruptions. And we don't want to see this happen again," said Administrator Christine Whitman. "To help this, I recently directed EPA staff to finalize an upward adjustment to the VOC standard. Based on preliminary data, we believe we will be able to adjust the standard closer to 0.3 pounds per square inch Reid vapor pressure which will provide greater flexibility than the 0.2 pounds that was originally proposed."

The Agency hopes this action will be finalized by the end of the week and will help keep prices under control based on adjustments to the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) standard for ethanol reformulated gasoline. Chicago and Milwaukee saw gasoline prices as high as $2.75 per gallon of gas last summer. Adjusting the rule will make it less expensive to blend ethanol into reformulated gasoline, which should also help boost supply. If the adjustment is made, it will apply only to Chicago and Milwaukee, the areas of the country that use ethanol exclusively in reformulated gasoline.

When added to gasoline, ethanol increases the evaporation rate, causing more VOC emissions, but ethanol reduces carbon monoxide (CO) emissions. Both pollutants play a role in ozone formation. While there will be an increase in VOCs they will be offset by the concurrent CO reductions. Air quality will not be compromised by this change, and the region will receive credit toward their carbon monoxide reductions associated with ethanol reformulated gasoline.

EPA has also been meeting with Midwest refiners over the past two weeks to evaluate problems they experienced last year with swapping fuels in tanks to provide cleaner summer fuel for the ozone (smog) season. "We don't expect any problems this year and we will be monitoring the situation closely." said Whitman. "If individual companies experience unforeseen difficulties, we will provide flexibility to ease the transition to summer blends."