The Research and Special Programs Administration recently published a list of the penalties that were assessed in FY 2002. Penalties ranged from under $1,000 to $70,000. Many well known companies are on the list, which can be found here. The agency also published a list of minor violations, and associated penalties, known as tickets. If you'd like to keep your facility off the 2003 list, learn how to comply with the latest hazardous materials regulations at one of Environmental Resource Center's seminars, available as a webcast or in a city near you.
DOT Revises Hazardous Materials Regulations
The DOT Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) were amended on July 31, 2003 to adopt recent changes in the International Maritime Organization’s IMDG Code and the International Civil Air Organization’s Technical Instructions.
The effective date of these amendments is October 1, 2003; however, DOT is authorizing immediate voluntary compliance. Compliance with most of the amendments adopted in the final rule is mandatory October 1, 2004, unless specified otherwise.
Amendments to the HMR in this final rule include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Amendments to the Hazardous Materials Table (HMT) that add, revise, or remove certain proper shipping names, hazard classes, packing groups, special provisions, packaging authorizations, bulk packaging requirements, passenger and cargo aircraft maximum quantity limitations, and vessel stowage provisions
- Amendments to the List of Marine Pollutants
- Revisions and additions of special provisions, including a new special provision setting forth the criteria for classifying aerosols
- Addition of a requirement to enter the subsidiary hazard class or subsidiary division number on shipping papers
- Addition of a requirement to indicate the number and types of packagings on shipping papers
- Addition of an alternative basic description sequence on shipping papers
- Revision of marking requirements for limited quantities
- Addition of an air eligibility marking requirement
- Revision to the requirements at 49 CFR 173.27 for packagings intended for transportation by aircraft, including revision of requirements for use of absorbent material for such packagings
- Revision of the non-liquefied and liquefied compressed gases descriptions, and the addition of high pressure and low pressure liquefied gases categories.
- Revisions and additions to the self-reactive materials table.
- Revisions and additions to the organic peroxide table.
- Revision of the net weight restrictions for explosives in freight containers exceeding 20 ft (6 m) in length.
Learn all about these and other recent changes in the DOT regulations at one of Environmental Resource Center’s Hazardous Materials Seminars. With these extensive changes, both initial and refresher training is more important than ever!
EPA Issues Plain-Language Guide to EPA Regulatory Development Process
In July 2003, EPA's Regulatory Management Staff within the Office of Policy, Economics and Innovation developed a plain-language guide to EPA's regulatory development process. The guide, Regulations: A Vital Tool for Protecting Public Health and the Environment, is available for downloading on the EPA web site at http://www.epa.gov/opei/regulatory/booklet.
Topics in the guide include: origin of regulations (including chronology of major U.S. environmental laws), developing regulations, important considerations that guide decisionmaking (including economic benefits and costs), when regulations are not needed, improving the process, a glossary of terms, and a list of helpful web sites.
For hard copies of the guide, contact Andrew McIntosh at (202) 564-4696 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Should You Take Advantage of EPA's Audit Policy?
EPA's Audit Policy provides significant incentives for environmental audits and subsequent disclosure of violations. The Agency may waive up to 100% of gravity based penalties for organizations that self-disclose violations. To qualify, you must meet all nine of EPA's policy conditions. To learn more about the benefits of self disclosure, see EPA's audit policy web site. One of the essential requirements for the 100% waiver is for the violation to be discovered by a "systematic disclosure" such as via an environmental audit conducted by Environmental Resource Center. Contact Amy Knight if you'd like more information on our auditing services. Or, attend on of our environmental audit seminars.
Universal Waste Recyclers in the Northeast US
The state of Maine has published a list of universal waste recyclers in the Northeast US. See http://www.state.me.us/dep/rwm/hazardouswaste/pdf/universalwastemanagementandrecyclingcompanies_.pdf.
EPA Helps Launch 'World Water Monitoring Day'
EPA is partnering with America's Clean Water Foundation and the International Water Association to urge people around the world to test the quality of their streams, lakes, wetlands, and coastal waters. The first World Water Monitoring Day will be held Oct. 18, 2003.
EPA Assistant Administrator for Water G. Tracy Mehan III, Roberta Savage, President of America's Clean Water Foundation, and Andrew Speers, representing the International Water Association, London, England, held a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. to announce the first World Water Monitoring Day and to talk about the importance of monitoring water quality by collecting and analyzing water samples and using adequate data to protect the world's water resources.
"At this time we do not have sufficient information to provide a national answer to characterize the condition of waters and watersheds in the U.S.," said Mehan. "We risk flying blind if we aren't able to get dramatic improvements in water quality monitoring and data to support wise management decisions."
Roberta Savage, President of America's Clean Water Foundation said, "As the creator of National Water Monitoring Day, America's Clean Water Foundation was delighted by the participation of more than 75,000 Americans in 2002. Now in 2003 we have the opportunity to work with the International Water Association, the US Environmental Protection Agency and other federal partners, state and interstate agencies, watershed organizations and individuals throughout the world to promote personal stewardship and individual responsibility for the integrity of our world water. Our goal is to involve people throughout the world in this annual event and establish a base line for evaluating water quality trends."
Andrew Speers, who represented the International Water Association, said, "World Water Monitoring Day is about raising awareness at the global level of the importance of water to us all and the quality of the environment in the local community. World Water Monitoring Day is a perfect example of thinking globally and acting locally."
Volunteers of all ages will perform four key tests to measure dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity/clarity and temperature. They can then enter their findings on the Web. Test kits may be ordered through America's Clean Water Foundation at http://www.worldwatermonitoringday.org
In 2002, the first National Water Monitoring Day was held to mark the 30th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act. More than 75,000 Americans participated in monitoring events and educational programs throughout the U.S. Additional information is available online at http://www.worldwatermonitoringday.org.
Bad Decision: Disposal Costs too High? Bury it On-Site
Pennsylvania Attorney General Mike Fisher announced that state enforcement agents have charged several individuals with illegally burying hazardous waste. Fisher charged a company owner, his company's general manager and a private contractor with burying nearly 200 fifty-five gallon drums, some of which contained hazardous wastes including lead and silver.
The drums were allegedly buried at the former Reading Industrial Scrap Yard (RISCO) site in Berks County, PA. The charges allege that the illegal pit, dug on the property, also contained asbestos and other solid wastes.
According to the criminal charges, the defendants between June 2001 and August 2002 knowingly and intentionally buried nearly 200 drums that in some cases contained liquid that tested positive for lead and silver.
Frederick Snyder, owner of Group Two Properties, purchased the former RISCO site in September 2001. The charges allege that Snyder hired Mount Carbon Industries, owned by Gary Lee Gerber Jr., to haul the hazardous waste and other materials on the property to several legal waste sites, including the BFI Landfill in Morgantown, Pennsylvania.
Government affidavits show that after accepting waste for 12 days in June and July 2001, BFI denied Group Two Properties access to the waste site, claiming that Snyder was behind on his payments to the landfill.
Gerber told state enforcement agents that after his trucks were turned away from the BFI landfill, he was told by both Snyder and Group Two Properties General Manager Dale Smith that it was too expensive to haul the waste to BFI and that he should bury everything on site. Gerber said he was told by Smith that nothing on the site was hazardous and that he had a state permit to bury the materials as long as they remained on-site.
A tip prompted state officials to investigate and they searched the property between August 21 and 26, 2002. The search "unearthed nearly 200 large, and in some cases leaking drums," Fisher said. "Tests on some of the materials found inside several drums determined the presence of significant levels of lead and silver, which are two known hazardous materials.
"Creating a potential environmental disaster to save money is not the way we do business in Pennsylvania," Fisher said. "Those who chose that route will be arrested and prosecuted." Snyder and Group Two Properties were each charged with two felony counts of illegally disposing and storing hazardous waste and three counts of Unlawful Conduct under Pennsylvania's Solid Waste Management Act. Smith and Gerber were each charged with two felony counts of illegally disposing and storing hazardous waste and two counts of Unlawful Conduct under the Solid Waste Management Act.