May 12, 2001

This new site packages together all of EPA New EnglandÆs home-related environmental subjects. The site includes information on where hazardous waste sites are located in specific communities; and pollution related information on such topics as lead, arsenic, asbestos, indoor air quality, pests and pesticides, and radon. The site also contains links to information on energy efficiency and a geographically-based web site called In My Backyard. This site identifies the many home-related environmental issues that New Englanders should be aware of, whether they live in an urban, suburban or rural setting, said Ira Leighton, acting regional administrator at EPAÆs New England Office. IÆm sure it will be of great interest to homeowners and renters alike. The site is available at http://www.epa.gov/region1/homechecklist/index.html


EPA penalized Sharpe and Associates and Palisades Development Company $60,000 today for storm water pollution violations at a development site in Oro Valley, Ariz.

Sharpe and Palasades failed to stabilize disturbed areas and did not take other measures needed to prevent sediment laden runoff during grading and construction of the 50 acre Catalina Shadows Phase Four Development Site. As a result, rain eroded bare soil and carried excessive amounts of sediment into Big Wash in the Canada del Oro watershed, a tributary to the Santa Cruz River.

This penalty could have been avoided if the developer had used effective sediment and erosion controls, said Alexis Strauss, director of the Water Division of the EPAÆs Pacific Southwest office. Land owner, developers, and their contractors have a long-standing legal obligation to maintain management practices that ensure sediment in storm water does not pollute waterways.

For sites five acres or larger, the federal Clean Water Act requires that developers and contractors implement storm water pollution prevention plans that include effective erosion and sediment control measures so that sediment discharges do not increase above what normally occurs prior to grading. Sharpe did not properly carry out its storm water pollution prevention plan.

Sediment from construction sites can clog up city storm drains or end up in streams and rivers, choking plant and animal life. Many pollutants such as oil and grease from various sources also bind to sediments, and are then transported into waterways along with the sediment.


EPA last week fined the University of California $9,350 for failing to register three electrical transformers containing PCBs at its Los Angeles and San Diego campuses.

In addition to paying the fine, the University of California will dispose of the old transformers and install replacements that do not contain PCBs. PCBs are a highly toxic substance, said Enrique Manzanilla, the EPAÆs regional Cross-Media Division director. EPA is aggressively inspecting facilities to ensure compliance with 1998 federal requirements so we know where PCB transformers are located and how they are being handled.

This case was initiated after inspections found that two PCB transformers at UCLA and one PCB transformer at UCSD were not registered with the EPA. The federal Toxic Substances Control Act requires PCB transformer registration in order to track the use and proper disposal of such equipment. Records are required to document the condition of the equipment and warnings are required to ensure workers and the public are aware that a hazardous substance is present.

This is the third of several enforcement actions the EPA is taking to encourage owners of PCB transformers to register and properly handle their equipment. In the past year, the EPA has also taken actions against Pacific Tube of City of Commerce, Calif. and Nevada Cement Company of Fernley, Nev., for similar PCB violations.

Information on the UC case, and previous PCB transformer cases, can be found at http://yosemite.epa.gov/r9/r9press.nsf/news. Visit http://www.epa.gov/pcb/ for information on PCBs, as well as a list of companies that have registered PCB transformers. Or go to http://www.epa.gov/region09/toxic/pcb/ for information on PCB activities in Region 9.


EPA recently settled a complaint against an East Palo Alto-based pharmaceutical and pesticide manufacturer that requires the company to pay $71,673 for alleged federal community right-to-know violations.

The agency alleged that the Catalytica facility at 1990 Bay Road failed to file complete and accurate reports estimating its releases of toxic chemicals to the environment. The chemicals requiring disclosure under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act included methanol, hexane and several other compounds.

Companies that handle hazardous chemicals owe it to their employees and the surrounding community to accurately report how those materials are being used, stored and disposed of, said Enrique Manzanilla, director of the EPAÆs Cross Media Division in San Francisco. We intend on making sure that communities remain aware of chemical use in their neighborhood.

EPA staff discovered the alleged violations during an inspection in June 1998, and issued a complaint to Catalytica in September 1999. The EPA alleged one count of failure to submit a timely Toxic Chemical Release Inventory Form, nine counts of failures to submit complete and accurate forms, and eight counts of failures to maintain complete records supporting forms.

The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act requires annual reports to the EPA and the state from facilities that use or manufacture certain toxic chemicals over a specified amount. The reports provide estimates of the amounts of each toxic chemical released to the environment, treated or recycled on site, or transferred off-site to another facility. Each year the EPA publishes a report entitled the Toxic Release Inventory, which summarized the prior yearÆs submissions and provides detailed trend analysis of toxic chemical releases.

A copy of the TRI Public Data Release can be obtained by calling (800) 535-0202. Environmental databases, including TRI data, can also be accessed via the Internet by visiting U.S. EPA Envirofacts Warehouse Home Page at http://www.epa.gov/enviro.


EPA is postponing the effective date - from May 18, 2001 to June 29, 2001 - of EPAÆs determination that the St. Louis area did not attain the ozone (smog) standard by its deadline. This delay in the effective date of the nonattainment determination enables regulated entities in the St. Louis area to prepare for compliance with the new requirements that would become applicable in the area upon the effective date of the nonattainment determination and reclassification. The postponement also allows EPA to complete its rulemaking on whether the St. Louis area should be granted an extension of its attainment date on grounds that pollution from upwind areas contributes to ozone levels in the St. Louis area. EPA has proposed that if the agency approves an attainment date extension, EPA would withdraw its March 19 determination of nonattainment and notice of reclassification for the St. Louis area. The comment period on our proposal to extend the attainment date ended May 3 and EPA is currently evaluating all comments received. If EPA withdraws the nonattainment determination and grants an extension to the attainment date, the St. Louis area would retain its moderate classification while working to attain the 1-hour ozone standard by November 2004 and serious area requirements would not be triggered in the St. Louis area.

The St. Louis area includes Madison, Monroe, and St. Clair counties in Illinois; and the city of St. Louis and Franklin, Jefferson, St. Charles and St. Louis counties in Missouri. Contacts for this action are Ed Doty, EPA Region 5 - Chicago, IL at (312) 886-6057; or Lynn Slugantz, EPA Region 7 - Kansas City, KS at (913)551-7883.


Gary L. Smith, owner of Warren County Water and Sewer District in Warren County, Mo., was indicted on charges that he violated the Clean Water Act. The charges allege that Smith intentionally allowed raw sewage to be discharged into Incline Village Lake frequently used for recreation. Raw sewage can contain bacteria and pathogenic organisms which can cause infections and its discharge into recreational waters can make them unsafe for swimming and other recreational activities. The case was investigated by EPAÆs Criminal Investigation Division with the assistance of EPAÆs National Enforcement Investigations Center and is being prosecuted by the U.S. AttorneyÆs Office in St. Louis. An indictment is merely an accusation and all defendants are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in a court of law.


On May 2, 14 persons from six states-Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, North Carolina and Texas-were sentenced on federal charges arising from the improper testing of gasoline underground storage tanks in Pennsylvania. Falsifying underground storage tank data can allow leaking tanks to remain undiscovered, and any leakage can contaminate surrounding soil and lead to groundwater contamination. Kevin Moriarty of Boca Raton, Fla. and Gary Ebel, formerly of Silver Springs, Texas each were sentenced to 33 months in prison and two years probation. Steven Becsey of Bradenton, Fla. was sentenced to 13 months in prison and two years probation. Katherine R. Wilson of Sherwood, Ark., Michael Doss of Rossville, Ga., Dana Smith of Maumelle, Ark., Lawrence Finnell of Sherwood, Ark., Joseph Moriarity of Ocean Isle, N.C., and Phillip Gordon of Beckville, Texas were sentenced to five months house arrest as part of two years probation. Bernard Butler of Indianapolis, Ind., and Diane Roth of Pflugerville, Tex. were sentenced to four months house arrest. Mark Smith of Little Rock, Ark., and Joseph Ricotta of Austin, Texas were sentenced to three months house arrest. Milton Barren of Kurten, Texas was fined $500. Testing of underground storage tanks is required by EPA regulations under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and by state law. During the 1990s, all of the defendants were involved with one or more of three underground storage tank testing companies, AST and ASTI in Little Rock, Ark., AUST in Austin, Tex. The companies claimed to use a method to test the tanks that should take about three hours to perform. However, various employees of the three companies either did not stay on site long enough to properly conduct the tests, or did not have the proper equipment to do the tests, or sent in falsified results by mail or by telefax. The case was investigated by EPAÆs Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service with assistance from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. AttorneyÆs Office in Pittsburgh.


On April 26, Robert S. Vukelic of Richmond, Ohio, owner of RSV, Inc. was sentenced to six months in prison, two and one-half years supervised release and a $5,000 fine following conviction on charges of felony corruption. Vukelic illegally paid $171,500 to a public official to obtain Ohio Environmental Protection Agency grants for his Pine Hollow landfill in Steubenville. Members of the Northern Ohio Valley Air Authority, Patsy J. DeLuca, Ronald DeLuca, and Vincent Zumpano, have already been sentenced for their involvement in the unlawful payment scheme. The RSV company was sentenced to pay a $150,000 fine and serve three years probation for violating the Clean Air Act. RSV violated the Clean Air Act by failing to comply with required asbestos removal practices when it demolished the Federal Paperboard site in Steubenville. The improper removal of asbestos can cause workers to inhale airborne asbestos fibers which is a known cause of lung cancer, a lung disease, known as asbestosis, and mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities.


Changing the landscape with new and useful buildings, homes and industrial developments is the crux of the construction industry. But in the forefront of all construction projects should be a constant concern for the environment.

The mid-Atlantic region of the Environmental Protection Agency is trying to spread this message to those in the construction industry by increasing awareness of permit requirements and pollution prevention measures to control storm water runoff.

With development on the rise, itÆs imperative that we protect our waterways from unnecessary runoff from construction sites so that our streams and lakes can continue to support aquatic life and be available for recreation, said Thomas Voltaggio, EPA acting regional administrator.

Under the Clean Water Act, developers/contractors at construction sites of five acres or more must obtain a permit before discharging storm water runoff into surface waters. The permit requires a storm water pollution prevention plan and may contain discharge limits and monitoring requirements.

Neeraj Sharma, an EPA enforcement officer, said the agency is stepping up its efforts to see that the law is followed throughout the mid-Atlantic region, which includes Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

We have spent the last two years reaching out to the regulated community to make them aware of what is required to comply with the law, said Sharma. Despite these efforts, we are still finding widespread non-compliance.

Recently, the EPAÆs mid-Atlantic region took enforcement action in a construction case by ordering Airston Group developers of Centerville, Va. to draft a dredging plan and correct severe erosion and storm water pollution problems at a housing construction site in Fairfax County, Va.

The order alleges that the developers never applied for the proper permits to control runoff from construction activity, which included the drainage of a farm pond on the site. Uncontrolled runoff from construction and work on the pond increased the amount and velocity of water flowing through a tributary on the site. This resulted in the discharge of pollutants and severe bank erosion, allowing mud and silt to flow downstream into small lake, where it accumulated as a small island.

Sharma and other EPA inspectors are working with state environmental agencies to inspect construction sites to ensure developers and contractors comply with storm water requirements. If a site is found in non-compliance, EPA or the appropriate state or local agency may take enforcement action on that could include an appropriate penalty.

If you are interested in obtaining permit coverage, contact your local state environmental agency. For more information about EPAÆs National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Storm Water Program, including state permit contacts for construction activities, go to EPAÆs website at: http://www.epa.gov/owm/sw/construction.

Beginning May 15, 2001, the Water Protection Division in EPAÆs mid-Atlantic office will have sample Storm water Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPPs) and information on environmental impacts from storm water runoff available via its web site under Programs and Initiatives at http://www.epa.gov/reg3wapd/.


On May 9, 2001 EPA met with representatives of the wood-treatment industry, including manufacturers and retailers, and with representatives of environmental and public interest groups, to discuss the current status of EPAÆs reassessment of CCA-treated wood and to evaluate efforts for informing the public about the safe use and handling of pressure-treated wood. Both meetings featured constructive and direct discussion regarding safety information available to consumers about CCA-treated wood. Industry participants committed to submit a proposal to EPA in two weeks for strengthening consumer safety materials. A public meeting will be convened in early June involving EPA and all stakeholders, to further discuss efforts to strengthen consumer safety information related to CCA-treated wood. EPA is currently reviewing all available scientific information to conduct a thorough and comprehensive reassessment of CCA-treated wood. As part of this reassessment, the Agency is expediting a risk assessment, expected to be completed in June, focusing on childrenÆs potential exposure from playground equipment constructed with CCA-treated wood. EPA remains committed to ensuring ample opportunity for public involvement in all aspects of this process.


A new report shows the continued success of an innovative, market-based, emission trading program to control nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions in northeastern states. NOx is a prime ingredient in the formation of the nationÆs most pervasive air pollutant, ground level ozone (smog), which can irritate the respiratory tract, impair breathing ability and cause various other respiratory problems. In participating states, NOx emissions were reduced 11 percent below legal limits, and more than 60 percent below 1990 levels. This program, begun in 1999, represents the first implementation of an air emission cap and trade approach to an issue other than acid rain, where the trading strategy has been used successfully nationwide since 1995 to control sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions from power plants. TodayÆs report was released by the Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) which Congress created under the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments to better coordinate the efforts of northeastern states in reducing NOx emissions. In a unique partnership between federal and state government, the OTC asked EPA to help implement their NOx program. The trading program demonstrates that EPA and state organizations such as OTC can successfully partner to make substantial reductions in NOx emissions using least-cost approaches. The 2000 OTC NOx Budget Program Compliance Report can be found at: http://www.sso.org/otc/ or at: http://www.epa.gov/airmarkets/cmprpt/index.html. For further technical information, contact Kenon Smith at 202-564-9164 (e-mail: smith.kenon@epa.gov).