April 22, 2019
EPA has proposed three updates to the methods for determining if a waste is ignitable (waste code D001). The first update involves the flash point test methods required for determining if a liquid waste is an ignitable (D001) hazardous waste. Under the proposal, EPA will authorize ASTM standard D 8174-18 as an alternative to the current ASTM standard D 3278-78. The new test method no longer requires a mercury thermometer, uses electronic ignition sources and automated instrumentation for flash point testing.
In the second portion of the update, EPA also plans to codify existing guidance regarding the regulatory exclusion in the ignitable characteristic for aqueous liquids containing alcohols. EPA has proposed to revise the wording of the existing aqueous alcohol exclusion from “other than an aqueous solution containing less than 24 percent alcohol by volume” to “other than a solution containing less than 24 percent of any alcohol or combination of alcohols (except if the alcohol has been used for its solvent properties and is one of the alcohols specified in EPA Hazardous Waste No. F003 or F005) by volume and at least 50 percent water by weight.” This proposed change removes the term “aqueous” from 40 CFR 261.21(a)(1), which is currently undefined in the RCRA hazardous waste regulations, and specifies what percentage of water defines the scope of this exclusion.
In the third portion of the update, EPA has proposed to add a new paragraph to 40 CFR 261.21(a) that clarifies how to properly test multiphase wastes containing multiple liquid(s) with or without solids for ignitability determinations. This added language would codify EPA's long-standing sampling guidance for multiphase wastes, which are wastes that, due to differences in density (e.g., oil/water) or physical form (e.g., solid/liquid), separate into two or more phases. EPA's long-standing sampling guidance states that for multiphase mixtures, a generator and laboratory should separate the sample into all of its different solid and/or liquid phases, to the extent practicable, and analyze each one individually in accordance with 40 CFR 261.21(a) to determine whether that phase exhibits the characteristic of ignitability.
Third, EPA is proposing to codify existing sampling guidance regarding waste mixtures having multiple phases when determining whether a waste exhibits the ignitability characteristic. Fourth, EPA is proposing to update cross references to Department of Transportation regulations and to remove obsolete in
Finally, although unrelated to the ignitibility characteristic, EPA proposed to provide alternatives to the use of mercury thermometers in the air sampling and stack emissions methods in Test Methods for Evaluating Solid Waste: Physical/Chemical Methods (SW-846). Adding the option of using non-mercury thermometers in place of mercury thermometers would provide the regulated community with increased flexibility in their implementation of these required test methods. The use of alternatives to mercury thermometers is consistent with previous Agency actions and helps achieve the Agency's goal of minimizing the use of mercury.
EPA is accepting comments on the proposal until June 6, 2019. You can submit comments at this link
Free Amazon HD 10 Tablet with RCRA and DOT Training
Annual hazardous waste training is required for anyone who generates, accumulates, stores, transports, or treats hazardous waste. Learn how to manage your hazardous waste in accordance with the latest state and federal regulations. Learn how to complete EPA’s new electronic hazardous waste manifest, and the more than 60 changes in EPA’s new Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule. Environmental Resource Center’s Hazardous Waste Training
is available at nationwide locations, and via live webcasts. If you plan to also attend DOT hazardous materials training
, call 800-537-2372 to find out how can get your course materials on a new Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet at no extra charge.
NPDES Permits No Longer Needed for Groundwater Discharges
EPA has issued guidance
clarifying the application of Clean Water Act (CWA or the Act) permitting requirements to groundwater. EPA’s Interpretative Statement concludes that Congress excluded releases of pollutants to groundwater from the Act’s permitting requirements and instead left regulation of those releases to the states and EPA’s other statutory authorities.
According to the Agency, the new guidance recognizes the state’s leadership role in protecting groundwater and provides certainty to states and others who implement and enforce EPA’s federal permitting programs. EPA’s Interpretative Statement
will help inform federal and state regulators with future National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting and enforcement decisions.
EPA will continue fulfilling its role in protecting groundwater and hydrologically connected surface waters as authorized by Congress through the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act.
Regarding EPA’s latest interpretation of the applicability of the Clean Water Act to groundwater discharges, David Henkin, Earthjustice lead attorney on a groundwater discharge case in Hawaii stated, “while unsurprising, it is nevertheless disappointing that Trump’s Environment Protection Agency has reversed the position that every other administration — Republican and Democratic — has consistently taken since the Clean Water Act was enacted. EPA’s new position would allow polluters to dump their waste and toxic discharges into groundwater and would hold no one accountable when that pollution flows into oceans, lakes, and rivers. Two lower courts found that position absurd, and we will do everything in our power to convince the Supreme Court to reach the same conclusion.”
EPA’s Significant New Use Rule for Asbestos
EPA has issued a broad new rule
that strengthens the agency’s ability to rigorously review an expansive list of asbestos products that are no longer on the market before they could be sold again in the United States. This closes a 30-year-old loophole that allowed old asbestos
uses and products to come back to the market without any reviews or restrictions from EPA. The rule gives EPA the authority to prohibit the use of certain products or put in place restrictions to protect public health. EPA did not alter the prohibitions made in a 1989 partial ban
“Prior to this new rule, EPA did not have the ability to prevent or restrict certain asbestos products from being reintroduced into the market,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This new rule, combined with our ongoing risk evaluations, gives us unprecedented authorities to protect public health from domestic and imported asbestos products and gives us the ability to prohibit asbestos products from entering or reentering the market.”
“Today, we are following the laws Congress gave us to close the door on certain asbestos products to prevent them from returning to the marketplace without EPA’s review,” said EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Assistant Administrator Alexandra Dapolito Dunn. “This historic step will add to the protections already in place to prevent the American public from experiencing the adverse health effects of asbestos.”
This’s action means products like asbestos vinyl floor tiles, insulation, and other building materials, as well as some clothing and manufacturing products containing asbestos, cannot be imported, produced, or sold in the United States before EPA reviews them and puts in place any necessary restrictions, including prohibiting such use. A full list of products covered by the rule
is available on the agency’s website. Previously banned asbestos items
This action complements EPA’s ongoing risk evaluation
of a handful of very limited, still ongoing uses in the U.S., which EPA is taking under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Safety Act, which amends the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Addressing limited, ongoing uses of asbestos is one of EPA’s top priorities. The agency is reviewing ongoing uses of asbestos as one of the first 10 chemicals selected for risk evaluation under amended TSCA. The evaluation of the risks associated with ongoing uses of asbestos is required under TSCA section 6. If EPA finds unreasonable risk, the agency will take prompt action to address those risks, which could include restricting or banning other asbestos uses in products. The risk evaluation and subsequent steps will ensure that asbestos uses in products not covered by the 1989 partial ban or the final rule are evaluated. EPA is committed to a transparent and open process to finalize the asbestos risk evaluation using sound science on the timetable established by Congress.
US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) said, “just last week, Administrator Wheeler sat before my committee and committed to an outright ban of ongoing uses of asbestos. Today’s rule is a complete betrayal of that commitment. It does nothing to restrict ongoing uses of asbestos; instead it provides a pathway to market for uses that had previously been phased out, such as in floor tiles and insulation. Exposure to asbestos kills nearly 40,000 Americans every single year. The EPA should be protecting Americans from this toxic substance, not inviting manufacturers to revive its use in our homes. Today’s action is shamefully inadequate, runs counter to the commitment Administrator Wheeler made to me last week, and only strengthens my resolve to pass a legislative solution.”
Michigan DEQ Gets New Name
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) unveiled its new logo in advance of its official reorganization into the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) effective Monday, April 22, 2019.
Director Liesl Clark debuted the new EGLE logo for employees at MDEQ’s main office in Lansing’s Constitution Hall.
“The 1,200 people from MDEQ, the Office of the Great Lakes, and Michigan Agency for Energy stand ready to unite on April 22 around a common purpose of protecting the state and its resources, including Michigan’s most important resource, its people.” Clark said. “EGLE’s shared mission will be built on a common foundation of protecting and conserving Michigan’s treasured resources and contributing to healthy and vibrant communities throughout the state.”
The new EGLE logo is based on the department’s acronym and represents the green and blue of Michigan’s land and water resources separated by a wave that represents the connection between the environment and energy as found in the wind and waves of the Great Lakes, said its creator Lisa Twenter, graphic designer with MDEQ’s Environmental Support Office.
“My goal for the logo was to create something that embodied all of what the new department represents, while being subtle and retaining a professional image,” Twenter said. “I found that the wave served as a simple illustration of the relationship between our land, water, and energy resources. I wanted to create a logo that was fresh and modern, but also functional for a state regulatory agency.”
Gov. Whitmer signed Executive Order 2019-06 on February 20, 2019, creating the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. The Executive Order takes effect on Monday, April 22, 60-days after its submission to the Legislature. Under the Executive Order, MDEQ reorganizes as EGLE and assumes many activities of the Michigan Agency for Energy though the creation of the new Office of Climate and Energy within EGLE. The Office of the Great Lakes also moves from the Department of Natural Resources into EGLE.
Other notable changes under the reorganization include the creation of an Interagency Environmental Justice Response Team, which will assist in developing, implementing, and regularly updating a statewide environmental justice plan. The creation of an Environmental Justice Public Advocate position who will accept and investigate complaints and concerns related to environmental justice in Michigan. An Office of the Clean Water Public Advocate is also created to accept and investigate complaints and concerns relating to drinking water quality.
New York City Takes a Tremendous Leap Forward in the Fight Against Climate Change
The New York City Council passed the Climate Mobilization Act, which includes various pieces of legislation that fight climate change. One of those measures, Int. No. 1253-C
, will require most buildings over 25,000 square feet to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by implementing energy efficiency upgrades and taking other clean energy steps (many beginning in 2024).
Also passed was Int. No. 1252-A
, which will establish a New York City commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program, allowing New York City building owners to access a valuable tool by which they can finance energy efficiency retrofits and other clean energy measures through an assessment placed on their property tax bills.
Both pieces of legislation will play an important role in the city achieving its 40 x ‘30 and 80 x ‘50 greenhouse gas reduction goals.
Defense Contractor and Its CEO Ordered to Pay Over $48 Million for Hazardous Substance Discharges
United States District Judge Joan M. Azrack entered a judgment holding liable Lawrence Aviation Industries, Inc. (LAI), a former defense contractor, and its long-time owner and CEO, Gerald Cohen, for environmental cleanup costs and penalties under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980. As proven at trial, LAI and Cohen, in violation of several environmental laws and regulations, discharged a number of hazardous substances at LAI’s Port Jefferson facility on Long Island that could pose threats to human health and the environment. The Court found that, in addition to contaminating the LAI facility itself, LAI and Cohen were responsible for a mile-long contaminant plume in the groundwater beneath Port Jefferson. The Court’s judgment found LAI and Cohen jointly liable for $48,116,024.31 in costs incurred by the EPA in cleaning up the site, and imposed civil penalties of $750,000 against both LAI and Cohen, individually, for their failure to comply with requests for information issued by EPA.
“This case and the significant monetary penalties imposed by the Court should serve as a warning to would-be polluters, including individuals, that this Office and the EPA will use every tool at their disposal to protect Long Island’s groundwater and to ensure that those responsible for contamination will foot the bill for clean-up costs,” said Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
“EPA is pleased that our collaborative efforts with the United States Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York have resulted in a victory for New Yorkers who have suffered for years with the environmental degradation inflicted by Lawrence Aviation and its owner, Gerald Cohen,” said U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “This judgment provides for the reimbursement of money spent on cleanup work and imposes penalties that act as a deterrent. Our active engagement and work at this site will continue over the long-term, and we are proud that EPA’s Superfund continues to help revitalize this community and communities across the nation.”
In a separate, 37-page Memorandum and Order, the Court detailed the evidence establishing LAI’s and Cohen’s long history of disregard for federal, state and county environmental laws. In the early 1980s, for example, after the Suffolk County Department of Health
Penalties Used to Fund Electric Trucks in NY
NY Attorney General Letitia James unveiled the first-of-its-kind fleet of all-electric, zero-emission, delivery trucks in New York City in advance of Earth Day. With funding from the Attorney General’s Office, six non-profit organizations were provided with some of the world’s first battery-powered delivery trucks to support their operations for two years. The project is funded by a $9.5 million settlement the Attorney General’s Office reached with American Electric Power, the nation’s largest power company, over the company’s violations of the federal Clean Air Act.
“Every day, my office fights to protect the thousands of New Yorkers who are sickened or die prematurely because of unhealthy air,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “The dirty diesel trucks that crowd our streets are a major source of our city’s worst local air pollution and greatly contribute to climate change. Zero-emission, all-electric trucks are the future of New York City’s truck fleet and I am proud to lead the way to provide these clean, efficient, and economical alternatives.”
Traditional diesel delivery trucks are one of the greatest contributors to air pollution in New York City. These trucks are also responsible for over 70 percent of the emissions of deadly fine soot pollution by traffic in the city. According to the City of New York, current levels of fine soot pollution contribute to 2,300 premature deaths and 6,300 emergency room visits and hospitalizations for respiratory and cardiovascular disease in New York City each year. Specifically, fine soot pollution from trucks and buses contribute to 320 of these deaths and 870 of the emergency room visits and hospitalizations.
The vast majority of the health impacts of soot and air pollution exposure are felt in low-income communities and communities of color in New York City. These communities have the highest truck and traffic volume and have industrial facilities, such as waste transfer stations, located in close proximity to residential areas. In fact, the children in many of these areas of the South Bronx, Northern Manhattan, and Central Brooklyn are three times more likely than children in other areas of the city to be diagnosed with asthma.
These all-electric trucks eliminate vehicle emissions of all air pollutants, including soot and those that contribute to climate change. The use of these trucks over traditional diesel-fueled trucks would directly address New York City’s soot problem – one of the largest, most persistent, and deadliest air pollution problems. Additionally, electric trucks are more fuel efficient and cost less to maintain than conventional gas and diesel-fueled trucks.
The six non-profit organizations participating in this project were chosen through a competitive application process. Big Reuse, GrowNYC, Habitat for Humanity New York City, New York Botanical Garden, Sustainable South Bronx, and the Wildlife Conservation Society are all receiving funding from the Attorney General to lease one or two all-electric Mitsubishi Fuso “eCanter” medium-duty delivery trucks and charging infrastructure to support their operations for two years.
During this period, the Attorney General’s Office will study the performance of the electric trucks deployed in the project, and document their utility and performance in New York City. The Attorney General’s Office will then prepare a report on the study’s findings on the trucks’ environmental, efficiency, and economic benefits, as well as addressing validating the business case for the adoption of these vehicles by private fleet operators.
“We are grateful to Attorney General James’ Office for these two electric trucks,” said Karen Haycox, CEO, Habitat for Humanity New York City. “More trucks in our ReStore’s fleet means that we can collect more donations, divert more usable material from landfills and generate more funds for our core mission to build and preserve affordable housing in and around NYC. We are thrilled that our city and our world are made a little cleaner and greener by this extraordinary effort and we look forward to partnering with Attorney General’s Office for years to come.”
Shipping Company to Pay $4 Million for Concealment of Pollution from Vessel
A shipping company based in Italy has admitted discharging oily waste and other pollutants into the sea and then lying about it, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito and Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark announced.
The company, d’Amico Shipping Italia S.p.A., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton in Newark federal court to an information charging it with violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships. Under terms of the plea agreement, d’Amico will pay a $4 million penalty and be placed on probation for four years. During probation, the company will be subject to the terms of an environmental compliance program that requires outside audits by an independent company and oversight by a court-appointed monitor
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, the charge to which d’Amico pleaded guilty related to the deliberate concealment of vessel pollution from an oil tanker – the M/T Cielo di Milano – owned by that company, which visited ports in New Jersey multiple times, as well as ports in Maryland and Florida. The company admitted that the ship’s crew intentionally bypassed required pollution prevention equipment by discharging machinery space bilge water and oily waste from the vessel’s engine room through its sewage system into the sea. The company also admitted that crew members falsified the vessel’s Oil Record Book, a required log regularly inspected by the Coast Guard; made false statements to the Coast Guard during its inspection of the M/T Cielo di Milano in January 2015; and destroyed the vessel’s sounding log after the Coast Guard had boarded the vessel.
The company admitted the following in a detailed joint factual statement filed in Court:
- From August 2014 through January 2015, the M/T Cielo di Milano used two different methods to illegally dispose of oily waste, both of which involved discharging it from the vessel’s sewage holding tank into the sea.
- Some of the discharges took place within the exclusive economic zone, that is, within 200 nautical miles of the United States.
- Two different chief engineers were involved in the illegal discharges and the intentional falsification of the Oil Record Book to cover up those discharges.
- One chief engineer falsified the Oil Record Book to state that bilge water had been processed through the vessel’s pollution control equipment when, in fact, it had not.
- The crew routinely hid equipment used to conduct the discharges when the vessel entered port.
- During a Coast Guard inspection of the vessel in Bayonne, New Jersey, in January 2015, the chief engineer and second engineer lied to inspectors and told lower-level crew members to lie as well.
- After the Coast Guard departed the vessel, the chief engineer destroyed a notebook containing tank soundings by burning the pages in the vessel’s boiler flame in order to conceal the notebook from the Coast Guard.
The proposed $4 million penalty includes $1 million in organizational community service payments to restore the coastal environment of New Jersey. The plea agreement directs funds to environmental projects that will be selected by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to support the cleanup of marine pollution, preservation of aquatic life, and restoration of the shorelines around Newark Bay.
Fiat Fined 6.4 Million for Diesel Emissions Violations
The California Air Resources Board announced a settlement with Fiat Powertrain Technologies Industrial S.p.A for emissions-related violations affecting nearly 2,000 on-road and off-road diesel engines. The settlement includes a mandatory recall of affected vehicles and $6.4 million in penalties.
The enforcement case began after the company informed CARB in 2015 that it had made unapproved repairs and modifications to CARB-certified on-road engines. The repairs, commonly called “field fixes” because they are made after the vehicles have been sold, were intended to address an oil leakage problem in 2011-2014 model-year engines.
Emission-related field fixes must be reviewed and approved by CARB to ensure they don’t increase emissions. Fiat failed to inform CARB about the fixes when they were made and also disclosed that it had certified 2014-2016 model year off-road engines using incorrect emissions data. Fiat fully cooperated with CARB’s investigation.
“It is illegal for manufacturers to perform emission-related repairs and modifications on their engines or vehicles without first submitting the proposed repairs to CARB for approval,” said CARB’s head of enforcement Todd Sax. “These illegal modifications may increase emissions of toxic and smog-forming pollution both on and off our roads and highways. That is a particularly serious concern in California where 12 million people live in areas with the worst air in the nation. “
As part of its settlement with CARB, Fiat must implement a full, mandatory recall of vehicles equipped with the on-road engines in order to correct the oil leakage issues and provide a one-year warranty for the replaced parts. Fiat must also conduct additional in-use and on-board diagnostic testing on several repaired vehicles containing these engines.
The company will pay $2 million of its $6.4 million penalty to a Supplemental Environmental Project to install air filtration systems in facilities with sensitive populations, such as schools, senior centers, and hospitals throughout the Bay Area. That program is administered by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.
The remaining $4.4 million will be paid to the Air Pollution Control Fund to support air pollution research and education.
Diesel exhaust contains a variety of harmful gases and more than 40 other known cancer-causing compounds. In 1998, California identified diesel particulate matter as a toxic air contaminant based on its potential to cause cancer, premature death and other health problems.
Clean Air, Climate Change Expert Selected for State's Top Environmental Health Position
John Putnam, chair and longtime member of the Regional Air Quality Council, will assume the top environmental health role in Colorado, starting May 6. As the Director of Environmental Programs at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Putnam will serve as a senior adviser to Executive Director Jill Hunsaker Ryan. The Environmental Programs Director oversees the federal Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and the mitigation of hazardous materials-- as well as key components of Senate Bill 181 and other state laws and programs.
“After a nationwide search of top environmental professionals, we are so fortunate to have John come on board. With John at the helm of environmental programs, the state will lead on reversing the consequences of climate change, work to get the Front Range swiftly into ozone compliance,” said Ryan. “Governor Polis has asked us to take bold action to ensure that every Coloradan has clean air to breathe and a healthy environment to live in and enjoy, and we intend to do just that.”
Putnam is an environmental attorney with more than 25 years of experience, most recently as managing partner of Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell, LLP. He has represented states, counties, cities, and clean electricity producers on complex environmental, transportation, and energy problems nationwide. His core strengths are the Clean Air Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, transportation impacts and noise, and much more. Putnam’s legal background spans all areas of environmental law and rules.
“Like so many others who want to move Colorado forward, I’m thrilled at the direction Gov. Polis is taking the state and am so grateful to now get to be a part of it,” said Putnam. “We are clear in our mission of always putting the health and well-being of Coloradans first, and in doing so, we will preserve the majestic environment that we all cherish as Colordans. It’s time to build off of the Colorado’s past progress to ensure all Coloradans can enjoy clean and healthy air, water, and lands.”
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment houses four environmental divisions: the Air Pollution Control Division, the Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division, the Water Quality Control Division, and the Environmental Health and Sustainability Division, which ensures consumer protection around food, plus facilitates recycling and other programs.
Owners of Portland Cement Plant to Pay $1.5 Million for Air Pollution Violations
EPA announced that Lehigh Cement Company LLC and Argos USA LLC have settled alleged Clean Air Act violations at a portland cement manufacturing facility in Martinsburg, West Virginia. In an administrative consent agreement, Argos (the plant owner since December 1, 2016) and Lehigh,
the successor to Essroc Cement Corp.
the prior plant owner, have agreed to pay a $1,505,309 penalty related to alleged violations of the plant’s Clean Air Act operating permit and federal restrictions on hazardous air pollutants from portland cement plants.
“This settlement demonstrates that EPA will hold accountable companies that fail to comply with operating permits that set forth requirements for protecting public health and the environment,” said EPA Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. “Communities have a right to be protected from hazardous air pollutants, and EPA continues to ensure those protections.”
The violations occurred from 2013 through 2016, spanning a change in the facility’s corporate ownership. From 2009 until June 30, 2016, the facility was owned and operated by Essroc. On July 1, 2016, Lehigh’s parent corporation HeidelbergCement AG acquired Essroc’s parent corporation Italcementi S.p.A. Argos, the current plant owner, acquired the facility on December 1, 2016. EPA cited the companies for various Clean Air Act violations based on responses to EPA information requests and data collected and reported under the plant’s permit.
The alleged violations include:
- Exceeding annual emission limits for total suspended particulates and fine particulate matter less than 10 micrometers in diameter.
- Non-compliance with opacity testing, monitoring, reporting and recordkeeping requirements and exceeding opacity limits.
- Failing to comply with requirements for operating a kiln that is subject to dioxin/furan emission limits.
- Failing to perform required stack testing on the kiln’s exhaust in a timely manner to determine compliance with emission limits for total suspended particulates, fine particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds.
- Having prohibited visible emissions from manufacturing-related storage structures.
- Failing to install, operate and maintain continuous emission monitoring for hydrochloric acid in a timely manner.
While Lehigh and Argos were cooperative in negotiating the administrative consent agreement, neither party, as part of the settlement, admitted liability for the alleged violations.
14 Companies Fined for Environmental Violations in Oregon
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued 15 penalties totaling $235,261 in March for various environmental violations. A detailed list of violations and resulting penalties is at https://go.usa.gov/xEQJn.
Fines ranged from $1,200 to $112,040. Alleged violations included polluting the Columbia River during demolition of a boathouse, failing to follow erosion control plans at a housing development, and failing to submit an annual gas station air quality report.
DEQ issued civil penalties against the following organizations and individuals:
- ANM, Inc., $2,400, Medford (hazardous waste)
- Auto Truck Transport USA LLC, $15,345, Portland (stormwater)
- Black Rock Fuel, Inc., $1,200, Portland (air quality)
- BNSF Railway Company, $6,512, Portland (stormwater)
- Braxling and Braxling, Inc., $16,853, Tillamook (stormwater)
- Caddock Electronics, Inc., $7,000, Roseburg (hazardous waste)
- City of Coquille, $1,800, Coquille (wastewater)
- Columbia Crossings LLC, $7,800, Portland (water quality and solid waste)
- Eastern Constructors, Inc., $18,303, Boardman (fuel spill)
- KCL, Inc., $112,040, St. Helens (stormwater)
- Knife River Corporation-Northwest, $7,500, Portland (stormwater)
- Munitor Construction, LLC, $10,200, Portland (water quality and solid waste)
- Valentine Welding Services, Inc., $18,303, Boardman (fuel spill)
- Vision International Petroleum LLC, $7,605, Portland (underground fuel storage tank)
- Vision International Petroleum LLC, $2,400, Portland (underground fuel storage tank)
Organizations or individuals must either pay the fines or file an appeal within 20 days of receiving notice of the penalty. They may be able to offset a portion of a penalty by funding a supplemental environmental project that improves Oregon’s environment.
Penalties may also include orders requiring specific tasks to prevent ongoing violations or additional environmental harm.
PPG to Pay $1.2M for Waste Violations
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced a settlement agreement with PPG Industries, Inc. (PPG), including a $1.2 million civil penalty, for violations at its Ford City Disposal Site located in North Buffalo and Cadogan townships, Armstrong County. Under the terms of the Consent Order and Agreement (COA), PPG will have cleanup and treatment obligations for the discharge of leachate into the Allegheny River and its tributary Glade Run.
PPG disposed of wastes associated with its former glass manufacturing plant located in Ford City from the 1920s until 1970. The Ford City Disposal Site property, located in North Buffalo and Cadogan townships, contains two distinct areas known as the Slurry Lagoon Area (SLA) and the Solid Waste Disposal Area (SWDA) and Annex.
The approximately 70-acre SLA contains three lagoons constructed within a former sandstone quarry that were used by PPG to dispose of glass polishing slurry waste generated at its nearby glass manufacturing plant located in Ford City. The approximately 18-acre SWDA and Annex was used by PPG to dispose of glass cullet and other solid wastes generated at the same facility. In 1972, PPG sold the site to Ford City for $1.00 for use as a recreational facility. No such facilities were constructed, and site access has been—and will continue to be—restricted.
While there is evidence that the SLA seeps were having an adverse impact on stream quality and aquatic life in the immediate vicinity of the discharge, samples collected at downstream public water supply intakes were not and are not adversely impacted by PPG’s discharge. Leachate is essentially liquid that has come into contact with waste material. Once permitted, the leachate will be treated and discharged in a manner protective of human health and aquatic life.
DEP published a revised draft National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for the site on September 29, 2018, and intends to issue the final NPDES permit pending the issuance of related federal permit approvals. The COA includes obligations for PPG to conduct monitoring, sampling, and seep reconnaissance to ensure that any discharges adhere to the terms of the NPDES Permit. The permit will ensure the proper leachate treatment and elimination of unauthorized discharges. As part of this settlement, PPG has agreed not to appeal the final NPDES permit for treated wastewater discharges.
PPG’s implementation of an approved Land Recycling Program (Act 2) Cleanup Plan and revised Treatment Plan required by this agreement would restrict future access and development on the site in perpetuity via an environmental covenant.
In the interim years, DEP and its predecessor agency took enforcement actions against PPG and the EPAconducted a site investigation. PPG conducted numerous investigations of its own at the site and implemented various control and remedial strategies to control the leachate discharges. The company constructed an interim collection and treatment system and submitted additional plans, analyses, an NPDES permit application, and reports required under Act 2.
“Reaching this agreement, that addresses legacy contamination, is long overdue, but it is the right thing for the environment and protects future generations,” said DEP Southwest Regional Director Ron Schwartz.
Field Controls, LLC Fined $39,901 for Non-Compliant Fans
Field Controls, LLC (Field Controls) is a Kinston, North Carolina, based company that manufactures whole house fans. Field Controls sold or offered for sale 199 whole house fans in California, from May 2016 to October 2018.
This case was the result of an industry complaint. The Energy Commission’s investigation found that Field Controls was manufacturing and offering for sale whole house fans that were not certified to the Modernized Appliance Efficiency Database System (MAEDbS).
To settle this matter, Field Controls executed a Settlement Agreement
with the Energy Commission on April 9, 2019, for $39,901.00. The fine was deposited into the Appliance Efficiency Enforcement Subaccount established by SB 454 of 2011 (Pavley). Field Controls has also agreed to a compliance plan to properly test and certify all models to MAEDbS before continuing to sell in California.
Arkema, Executive, Indicted for Criminally Injuring Two Deputies During Chemical Incident
Harris County, Texas District Attorney Kim Ogg announced that a grand jury indicted Arkema and one of its executives for the felony offense of causing bodily injury to two sheriff’s deputies by withholding critical information needed by first responders to protect themselves and the community from chemicals released from Arkema's Crosby Plant.
"The facts show Arkema knew of the dangers, withheld vital information, and unleashed harm on first responders and the community," Ogg said. "This felony indictment is a wake-up call to companies that would pollute our air and waterways, ignore best practices in safety, and put our communities at risk."
According to the indictment handed up by the Grand Jury, Arkema and Mike Keough, the company's vice president of logistics, misrepresented the danger faced by the community outside their gates, leading to the injury of two deputies.
Arkema told emergency personnel the company was keeping track of its chemicals with off-site, real-time monitoring and would notify emergency personnel before they would be at risk of exposure to toxic chemicals from its Plant. The evidence shows that while reassuring emergency personnel several of the chemical containers were completely unmonitored.
A toxic cloud was captured on dash-cam video by deputies on the scene, and deputies and EMT personnel exposed to the toxins were ordered to report to San Jacinto Methodist Hospital for decontamination.
The Felony Assault charges carry a punishment of 2-10 years as a third-degree felony.
Environmental News Links
Trivia Question of the Week