EPA Approves Innovative Emissions Swap by International Paper

May 05, 2005


EPA Region 3 Administrator Donald S. Welsh approved an innovation project for the International Paper (IP) mill in Franklin, Va. IP plans to collect unregulated hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions from the mill's black liquor oxidation system in lieu of collecting high volume low concentration emissions from some regulated sources. The emission swap is expected to result in an additional 75 tons per year of HAP emission reductions. Environmental benefits of the projects include: reducing ground water use by over 200 million gallons per year, reducing solid waste generation by 3.8 million pounds per year, and reducing chemical oxygen demand and biochemical oxygen demand.

Ten Final, Seven Proposed Superfund Sites Announced


A battery recycling plant, a sheet-metal manufacturer, a zinc smelter, and a gold mine are among 10 new sites just added to the National Priorities List (NPL) of Superfund sites. The sites were selected because of their degree of risk to human health and to sensitive environments. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also proposed that an additional seven sites be added to the list. Contaminants found include cadmium, tetrachloroethylene, carbon tetrachloride, mercury, dioxins, zinc, lead and arsenic, among others.

The just-added "final" sites bring the total to 1,245 on the NPL. Altogether, there are 1,309 final and proposed sites on the list. Sixty-four sites have been proposed and are awaiting final agency action: 58 in the general Superfund section and 6 in the federal facilities section.

Once a site is suggested for inclusion on the NPL, EPA conducts a preliminary assessment to distinguish, based on readily available information, between sites that pose little or no threat to human health and the environment and sites that may require further investigation. The assessment also identifies sites requiring possible emergency action.

When the preliminary assessment is complete, if further investigation is necessary, EPA conducts a site inspection to determine what hazardous substances are present, whether those substances are being released to the environment, and if they have reached nearby targets.

Sites may be placed on the NPL through various mechanisms:

  • Numeric ranking established by EPA's Hazard Ranking System

  • Designation by states or territories of one top-priority site regardless of score

  • Meeting all three following requirements

  • The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry of the U.S. Public Health Service has issued a health advisory that recommends removing people from the site

  • EPA determines the site poses a significant threat to public health

  • EPA anticipates it will be more cost-effective to use its remedial authority (available only at NPL sites) than to use its emergency removal authority to respond to the site

EPA tries to identify and locate the parties potentially responsible for such contamination. Such parties agree, on average, to initiate or pay for 70 percent of cleanups. When no parties can be located, EPA conducts in-depth inspections to determine the full extent of the contamination before starting significant construction at the site. These inspections may take several years due to the nature of sampling and testing.

For Federal Register notices and supporting documents for these final and proposed sites, go to: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/current.htm . A complete list of the newly added sites is at: http://punix1.sradev.com/oerrpage/web/superfund/news/npl_042705.htm.

Young Environmentalists Honored at White House


On April 21, President George W. Bush and Steve Johnson, EPA Acting Administrator, welcomed students from across on the nation to the White House to honor their achievements in environmental protection. The 2004 President's Environmental Youth Awards (PEYA) were presented to 30 students at a ceremony in the East Room at the White House.

The winners come from Middletown, R.I.; Staten Island, N.Y.; Saint Paul, Va.; Cairo, Ga.; Chesterland, Ohio; Del City, Okla.; Lincoln, Neb.; Hyrum, Utah; Chino Hills, Calif.; and Salem, Ore.

"I am impressed by the environmental commitment these young people have shown," stated Acting Administrator Johnson. "Their projects demonstrate the enthusiasm for improving our environment that I see in youth across the country."

PEYA has been presented annually since 1971 to honor students in kindergarten through twelfth grade who develop projects that help protect local environments and promote local environmental awareness in their communities. Each student receiving an award developed an innovative project that promotes awareness and encourages people of all ages to protect their environment through community involvement.

Examples of projects getting awards include: building nesting boxes on Staten Island; monitoring water quality in a local stream and educating the community to protect it; studying groundwater and organizing community events to teach others about its importance; and restoring habitat for the endangered Fenders Blue Butterfly.

Winners were selected from among applicants to EPA's 10 regional offices. Regional EPA panels judge projects on environmental need, accomplishment of goals, long-term environmental benefits and positive impact on local communities. The panels also consider project design, coordination, implementation, innovation and soundness of approach.

More information on the PEYA Program, as well as a listing of the 2004 award winners and their project descriptions, is available at: http://www.epa.gov/enviroed/peya2004.html#top.

Ford Successfully Delists F019 Wastewater Treatment Sludge


Wastewater treatment plant sludge from conversion coating on aluminum generated by the Ford Motor Company Dearborn Truck Assembly Plant in Dearborn, Michigan was "delisted" from the list of hazardous wastes.

EPA conditionally excluded the waste from the requirements of hazardous waste regulations under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) when disposed of in a lined subtitle D landfill which is permitted, licensed, or registered by a State to manage industrial solid waste. The exclusion was proposed on March 7, 2002 as part of an expedited process to evaluate this waste under a pilot project developed with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). The rule also imposes testing conditions for waste generated in the future to ensure that this waste continues to qualify for delisting.

EPA Launches New Lawn Care and Landscaping Campaign


EPA Region 3 launched its new "Healthy Yards, Healthy Lawns, Healthy Environment" (H3) lawn care campaign at Temple University's "EarthFest 2005" to raise awareness on the issue and provide information and resources to educate the public. The campaign is designed to educate homeowners in responsible lawn care and landscaping practices. Lawn care products may contain large amounts of nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorous, and pesticides that can wash into lakes and streams and cause blooms to smother aquatic life. For more information on beneficial landscaping: http://www.epa.gov/greenkit/landscap.htm

Truck Idling Enforcement Announced


EPA Region 3 Administrator Donald S. Welsh joined representatives of the Philadelphia Parking Authority and the Philadelphia health department at a press conference April 20 at Philadelphia City Hall to announce that the parking authority will begin ticketing trucks and buses that leave their engines idling for more than three minutes. Welsh described federal efforts to reduce diesel emissions and congratulated the city for launching this enforcement effort, the first of its kind in the United States. The parking authority says they will begin to issue $100 fines to offending idlers on May 2.

U.S. Greenhouse Gas 2003 Inventory Submitted to U.N.


EPA has submitted the "Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2003" to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The major finding in this year's report is that overall emissions increased by 0.6 percent from 2002 to 2003, though emission levels in 2003 still remained below 2000 emission levels. This increase was due primarily to moderate economic growth in 2003, which increased demand for electricity and fossil fuels. The price of natural gas escalated dramatically in 2003, causing some electric power producers to switch to coal, which led to a higher carbon intensity in the fuels used to produce electricity. Colder winter conditions brought on more demand for heating fuels, primarily in the residential sector. Overall, emissions have grown by 13 percent from 1990 to 2003, while the U.S. economy has grown by 46 percent over the same period.

Total emissions of the six main greenhouse gases were 6,900 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2003. These gases include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride. Fossil fuel combustion was the largest source of emissions, accounting for 80 percent of the total.

The "Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2003" is prepared annually by the EPA, in collaboration with experts from a dozen other federal agencies, and is one of the most comprehensive analyses of greenhouse gas emissions in the world.

EPA's Animal Feeding Operations Agreement


On Wednesday, April 27, representatives from the EPA were in Fayetteville, Ark., to visit with local farmers and discuss the Air Quality Compliance Agreement for Animal Feeding Operations. The meeting was held at the Pauline Whitaker Animal Science Center. There is a July 1 deadline for farmers to sign up to participate in the agreement.

There have been widespread misunderstandings about the reasons for the emissions monitoring study and the benefits from it. Recently, groups have alleged that emissions from animal feeding operations have violated provisions of the Clean Air Act, as well as other acts not previously considered applicable to the farming community. In addition, a 2002 report by the National Academy of Sciences called on EPA to improve its method for estimating emissions from animal feeding operations.

EPA does not have enough information to know if air emissions from animal feeding operations need to be regulated under the Clean Air Act. This industry-funded emissions monitoring program will provide EPA and the farming community with the background needed to determine if there are any federal air compliance requirements.

A voluntary compliance agreement makes this monitoring study possible. Participants in the study agree to pay a small fee based on the size and number of farms in the operation, and contribute to a fund that will cover the cost of the two-year study. About 28 farms will be selected for the program. They will agree to allow monitoring at their barns, lagoons, and waste or manure storage piles. Participation in the study implies no admission of EPA air quality breaches. Farms will not be sued for past violations, provided there is no imminent danger to human health.

More information is available at http://www.epa.gov/agriculture/animals.html and http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/agreements/caa/cafo-agr-0501.html.

Georgia-Pacific Cited for Clean-Air Violations


EPA recently cited Georgia-Pacific Corp. for alleged clean-air violations at the company's hardboard manufacturing plant at Duluth, Minn. The agency alleges Georgia-Pacific modified a boiler to burn more wood waste and less natural gas, causing an increase in emissions of particulates (smoke, dust, ash) without meeting federal and state notification, testing, monitoring and emission control requirements.

These are preliminary findings of violations. To resolve them, EPA may issue a compliance order, assess an administrative penalty or bring suit against the company. Georgia-Pacific has 30 days from receipt of the notice to meet with EPA to discuss resolving the allegations.

"EPA's mission is to protect public health and the environment," said Acting Regional Administrator Bharat Mathur. "We will take whatever steps are needed to ensure compliance with the Clean Air Act."

Inhaling high concentrations of particulates can affect children, the elderly, and people with heart and lung diseases the most.

U.S. Air Force, Johnson & Johnson Top EPA Green Power List


The top 25 green power purchasers are buying enough energy to run more than 150,000 homes a year, according to EPA. The top-25 list includes a diverse set of companies and organizations that have voluntarily bought the most renewable energy and are part of EPA's Green Power Partnership. Together, the top 25 are purchasing more than 1.6 million MWh (megawatt hours) of green power annually.

Green power is electricity from environmentally-preferable renewable resources such as solar, wind, or geothermal power. Green power currently accounts for about two percent of America's electricity supply, but voluntary purchasing of renewable energy is accelerating renewable energy development.

The U.S. Air Force leads the green power list, purchasing more than 321,000 MWh annually for Air Force bases across the country. Second on the list, Johnson & Johnson, bought more than 241,000 MWh of renewable energy in 2004.

The complete list of Top 25 EPA Green Power Partners is as follows, listed in order of purchase size:

1. U.S. Air Force
2. Johnson & Johnson
3. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
4. The World Bank
5. U.S. General Services Administration / Region 2
6. Whole Foods Market
7. City of San Diego, Calif.
8. New Jersey Consolidated Energy Savings Program
9. WhiteWave Foods
10. Austin (Texas) Independent School District
11. Staples
12. University of Pennsylvania
13. Montgomery County, Md.
14. Advanced Micro Devices / Austin, Texas Facilities
15. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
16. FedEx Kinko's
17. East Bay Municipal Utility District/Main Wastewater Plant
18. BMW Manufacturing Co. / Greer, S.C. Facilities
19. City of Santa Monica, Calif.
20. U.S. Navy / Region South
21. Harvard University
22. Round Rock (Texas) Independent School District
23. City of Portland, Ore.
24. Pennsylvania State University
25. U.S. Department of Energy/Forrestal & Germantown Facilities

The Green Power Partnership is an EPA voluntary program working to standardize green power procurement as part of best practice environmental management. Partners in the program pledge to switch to green power for a portion of their electricity needs in return for EPA technical assistance and recognition. The Green Power Partnership currently includes more than 550 Partners, including Fortune 500 companies, states, federal agencies, trade associations and universities.

EPA updates the list of green power purchasers quarterly. For more information on green power, visit: http://www.epa.gov/greenpower. For more information on EPA's top-25 list, visit: http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/partners/top25.htm.

Inventory Update Rule: Free EPA Workshop to Help You Comply


EPA will be holding a public workshop in Phoenix, Arizona to provide training for affected parties responsible for reporting during the 2006 Inventory Update Rule (IUR) information collection. This workshop will focus on the 2006 instructions for reporting. The instructions for reporting were revised in response to amendments to 40 CFR 710 promulgated on January 7, 2003 (68 FR 847).

The workshop will be held on May 16, 2005 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Wyndham Phoenix Hotel, 50 East Adams Street, Phoenix, Arizona 85004; (602) 333-0000.

EPAÆs IUR website at http://www.epa.gov/oppt/iur/ website contains workshop information, as well as IUR background information, draft documents, and a link to the workshop registration site. All workshop materials can be downloaded from the IUR website or the EPA electronic docket at http://www.epa.gov/edocket/ (docket identification (ID) number: OPPT-2005-0008).

You may be subject to the Inventory Update Rule if you manufacture chemical substances currently subject to reporting under the IUR as amended on January 7, 2003 (68 FR 847) and codified as 40 CFR 710.

Facilities that process chemical substances but do not manufacture or import chemical substances are not required to comply with the requirements of 40 CFR 710. Potentially affected entities may include, but are not limited to chemical manufacturers and importers currently subject to IUR reporting (NAICS 325, 32411), e.g., manufacturers and importers of inorganic chemical substances. Other types of entities not listed in this unit could also be affected. To determine whether you or your business may be affected by this action, you should review the applicability provisions at 40 CFR 710.48.

Child-Resistant Packaging for Pesticides


To protect children from poisonings around the home, the law requires that certain household pesticides be in child-resistant packaging (Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) section 25 (c)(3), (PDF, 743KB, 106 pages, About PDF)). EPA's pesticide regulations for Child-Resistant Packaging (CRP) are located at 40 CFR 157 subpart B.

If a pesticide product triggers the CRP toxicity criteria and is used in a residential setting, then it is subject to CRP. A pesticide product triggers the CRP toxicity criteria when, based upon testing with an appropriate test species, it meets any one of the following:

  • Acute oral LD50 of 1.5 g/kg or less

  • Acute dermal LD50 of 2000 mg/kg or less

  • Acute inhalation LC50 of 2 mg/ liter or less

  • Is corrosive to the eye (causes irreversible destruction of ocular tissue) or causes corneal involvement or irritation persisting for 21 days or more

  • Is corrosive to the skin (causes tissue destruction into the dermis and/or scarring) or causes severe skin irritation (severe erythema or edema) at 72 hours

  • The pesticide or device has such characteristics that, based upon human toxicological data, use history, accident data or such other evidence as is available, the Agency determines there is serious hazard of accidental injury or illness which child-resistant packaging could reduce