EPA to Revise NPDES Regulations

May 23, 2016

EPA is proposing several regulatory revisions and updates to the Clean Water Act’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. After consulting with EPA regional and state permitting experts and stakeholders from regulated and environmental communities, EPA is proposing several key fixes, including: clarifying NPDES definitions and application requirements; improving permit decision documentation in fact sheets; permitting authorities to issue public notice of certain permit actions online rather than in a newspaper; and ensuring issuance of environmentally significant permits in a timelier manner. These proposed regulatory changes cover 15 topics in the following major categories: permit applications; the water quality-based permitting process; permit objection, documentation, and process efficiencies; the vessels exclusion; and the CWA section 401 certification process.

Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule

In the first major modification to the hazardous waste regulations in over 10 years, EPA plans to modify and reorganize the hazardous waste generator rule. When adopted, the rule will provide greater flexibility in how hazardous waste is managed and close important gaps in the regulations.

Attend Environmental Resource Center’s live, online session on April 18 to learn:

  • New requirements for documenting hazardous waste determinations
  • Revised requirements for when and how to submit the Notification of Generator Status form to EPA
  • How to take advantage of the episodic generation exclusion to avoid reclassification to a larger generator status
  • Definitions of important new terms – “Very Small Quantity Generator” and “Central Accumulation Area”
  • How to mark containers, tanks, and containment buildings with new information required at central accumulation areas and satellites
  • New conditions under which containers can be left open at satellite accumulation areas
  • Updated time and volume limits for satellite accumulation areas
  • New documentation requirements for contingency plans and biennial reports
  • New requirements for shipping hazardous waste from a VSQG to another facility owned by the same organization

Click here to register online or call 800-537-2372.

New Exclusions for Solvent Recycling and Hazardous Secondary Materials

EPA’s new final rule on the definition of solid waste creates new opportunities for waste recycling outside the scope of the full hazardous waste regulations. This rule, which went into effect on July 13, 2015, streamlines the regulatory burden for wastes that are legitimately recycled.

The first of the two exclusions is an exclusion from the definition of solid waste for high-value solvents transferred from one manufacturer to another for the purpose of extending the useful life of the original solvent by keeping the materials in commerce to reproduce a commercial grade of the original solvent product.

The second, and more wide-reaching of the two exclusions, is a revision of the existing hazardous secondary material recycling exclusion. This exclusion allows you to recycle, or send off-site for recycling, virtually any hazardous secondary material. Provided you meet the terms of the exclusion, the material will no longer be hazardous waste.

Learn how to take advantage of these exclusions at Environmental Resource Center’s live webcast on July 8 where you will learn:

  • Which of your materials qualify under the new exclusions
  • What qualifies as a hazardous secondary material
  • Which solvents can be remanufactured, and which cannot
  • What is a tolling agreement
  • What is legitimate recycling
  • Generator storage requirements
  • What documentation you must maintain
  • Requirements for off-site shipments
  • Training and emergency planning requirements
  • If it is acceptable for the recycler to be outside the US

Bring your questions to this live webcast. Click here to register online or call 800-537-2372.

Baltimore RCRA, DOT, and IATA Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Baltimore, MD, on June 7–9 and save $100. Ensure you have the training you need to ship dangerous goods by air at Transportation of Dangerous Goods: Compliance with IATA Regulations on June 10. To register for these courses click here or call 800-537-2372.

Baton Rouge RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Baton Rouge, LA, on June 7–9 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

Chattanooga RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Chattanooga, TN, on June 14–16 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

EPA Issues Drinking Water Advisory on Perfluorinated Compounds

EPA recently announced it has lowered the health advisory levels for certain perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) in drinking water to 70 parts per trillion. The EPA health advisory provides guidance to federal, state and local officials about substances that are not otherwise regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act.

PFCs are human-made chemicals that do not occur naturally in the environment. They have been used for decades in products such as firefighting foams, food wrappings, surface protection products for carpets and clothing, and other common commercial products.

EPA lowered its advisory level primarily due to concerns regarding low birth weight. There is limited scientific information about the human health effects of PFCs. Some studies suggest a link between PFCs and low birth weight, as well as a possible link with kidney and testicular cancers. The state health department analyzed historical data in the areas where PFCs have been detected and found no significant difference regarding low birth weight as compared to the rest of El Paso County. The department will continue to review health data in the area.

Because PFCs are not regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act, water providers are not required to routinely sample for or remove PFCs from drinking water. Periodically, the EPA requires water districts with 10,000 or more customers to sample for contaminants of emerging concern.

EPA Proposes Increase in Renewable Fuel Levels

The EPA recently proposed increases in renewable fuel volume requirements across all types of biofuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. The proposed increases would boost renewable fuel production and provide for ambitious yet achievable growth.

“The Renewable Fuel Standards program is a success story that has driven biofuel production and use in the U.S. to levels higher than any other nation,” said Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “This administration is committed to keeping the RFS program on track, spurring continued growth in biofuel production and use, and achieving the climate and energy independence benefits that Congress envisioned from this program.”

The proposed volumes would represent growth over historic levels:

  • Total renewable fuel volumes would grow by nearly 700 million gallons between 2016 and 2017.
  • Advanced renewable fuel—which requires 50% lifecycle carbon emissions reductions—would grow by nearly 400 million gallons between 2016 and 2017.
  • The non-advanced or conventional fuels portion of total renewable fuels—which requires a minimum of 20% lifecycle carbon emissions reductions—would increase by 300 million gallons between 2016 and 2017 and achieve 99% of the Congressional target of 15 billion gallons.
  • Biomass-based biodiesel—which must achieve at least 50% lifecycle emissions reductions—would grow by 100 million gallons between 2017 and 2018.
  • Cellulosic biofuel—which requires 60% lifecycle carbon emissions reductions—would grow by 82 million gallons, or 35%, between 2016 and 2017.

The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set annual RFS volume requirements for four categories of biofuels. By displacing fossil fuels, biofuels help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and help strengthen energy security. EPA is proposing to use the tools provided by Congress to adjust the standards below the statutory targets, but the steadily increasing volumes in the proposal continue to support Congress’s intent to grow the volumes of these important fuels that are part of the nation’s overall strategy to enhance energy security and address climate change. EPA implements the program in consultation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Energy.

EPA will hold a public hearing on this proposal on June 9, 2016, in Kansas City, Missouri. The period for public input and comment will open until July 11.

States Ask Congress to Re-Think Proposed TSCA Limitations

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos joined state environmental commissioners from Connecticut, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Washington in calling on Congress to reconsider the language in a proposed bill to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976.

Through Governor Andrew Cuomo's leadership, New York State is aggressively working to protect the health of New Yorkers and the environment from toxic chemical contamination. Many of the State's regulations are more stringent than those of the EPA. The version of the reform bill currently under consideration contains broad preemption language that would effectively prevent states from banning chemicals and passing laws or updating regulations to address toxic chemicals affecting their people and environment.

"The latest version of Toxic Substances Chemical Act (TSCA) reform that has surfaced following House-Senate negotiations is deeply troubling, as the draft legislation will restrict New York State's ability to protect our citizens from toxic chemicals," Acting Commissioner Seggos said. "We applaud the leadership of Congressman Paul Tonko and others who are working toward an agreement that creates a strong national program to properly regulate toxic chemicals while preserving the rights of states to ban and regulate harmful substances where public health is at risk, and to allow for less restrictive waivers as necessary. New York State strongly urges all members of Congress to ensure the final TSCA legislation establishes a comprehensive national program that does not undermine the ability of states to regulate hazardous chemicals."

The officials issued the following statement:

As state environmental officials, we are greatly concerned about pending TSCA reform legislation in the Congress that will restrict states' abilities to protect their citizens from toxic chemicals.

Unfortunately, the most recent agreement goes too far in preempting our states' abilities to continue to protect our residents. To be clear, there are good elements in the legislation. However, state authorities are excessively and unnecessarily preempted, in exchange for the promise of federal protection that is too meager.

As state environmental officials, our mission is to protect people and the environment from these chemicals. Our states have been leading the way with innovative policies and state-level standards that have made great progress in this area. Our laws and regulations have in turn accelerated action by the private sector, and the federal government, to improve chemical safety.

Far from leading to a patchwork quilt of competing regulations, state leadership on toxics has a demonstrated track record of spurring national agreements with manufacturers, or paving the way for federal legislation.

We have long advocated for strong TSCA reform. We need a national system that works to protect all Americans. Our states have provided input to both chambers of Congress in an attempt to help craft effective reform legislation that includes a well-functioning state-federal partnership.

We urge those working on the bill to improve the provisions dealing with state preemption. This could include making waivers more accessible to states, preserving state abilities to ban chemicals (as currently exists under TSCA), and removing or reforming the proposed regulatory "pause" that blocks a state from regulating a chemical that the EPA is only examining. We appreciate the

hard work that some members have already devoted to protecting state authorities, and urge final TSCA reform legislation to maintain states' abilities to protect our citizens.

Significant New Use Rule for 55 Chemicals

EPA is promulgating significant new use rules (SNURs) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for 55 chemical substances which were the subject of premanufacture notices (PMNs). Ten of these chemical substances are subject to TSCA section 5(e) consent orders issued by EPA. This action requires those who intend to manufacture (defined by statute to include import) or process any of these 55 chemical substances for an activity that is designated as a significant new use by this rule to notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing that activity. The required notification will provide EPA with the opportunity to evaluate the intended use and, if necessary, to prohibit or limit that activity before it occurs.

This rule is effective on July 15, 2016.

New Harmful Algal Blooms Reporting Rules in Ohio

Ohio is leading the nation in protecting public health and drinking water with new rules to ensure that public water systems in the state detect and treat any harmful occurrences of cyanobacteria and harmful algal blooms (HABs) in surface water sources.

Effective June 1, all public water systems that use surface water as a source will be required to monitor and report to Ohio EPA the occurrence of HABs in those sources. The new rules also establish action levels in drinking water based on federal health advisory levels. Public water systems will evaluate the effectiveness of their current HABs treatment of any surface water sources and have tools and resources on hand to keep drinking water free of cyanobacteria.

Ohio continues to see occurrences of HABs growing in lakes, reservoirs and rivers that are used as sources of public drinking water, especially when significant rainfall causes phosphorus to enter waterways. Monitoring and reporting programs for public water systems previously were voluntary. These new administrative rules will assist Ohio EPA in better understanding the extent to which HABs are occurring across the state, and ensure greater protection for customers of all public water systems that use surface water as their source. The issues addressed in the new rules include:

  • Establishing microcystin action levels in drinking water based on U.S. EPA’s health advisory levels
  • Setting HAB screening, microcystin monitoring, and reporting requirements for public water systems that use surface water as their source
  • Requiring public notification in cases of monitoring violations and exceedances of action levels in drinking water
  • Establishing requirements for laboratory certification, analytical techniques and reporting deadlines
  • Requiring public water systems to submit plans to optimize treatment if microcystins are detected in raw or finished drinking water. Additionally, some public water systems may be required to submit a plan evaluating options to address HABs including alternative sources, reservoir management, and in-plant treatment technologies

In 2015, the Agency provided educational webinars and received comments from public drinking water systems on a draft version of the rules. Based on that feedback, Ohio EPA modified the draft rules while maintaining the requirement of ongoing HAB testing data from public water systems that use surface water as a source. In early 2016, the Agency officially proposed the rules and held a public comment period. A public hearing was held on February 24.

Maine Laboratory Fined for Hazardous Waste Violations

A state-run laboratory in Maine has agreed to pay a fine of $27,000 and spend $73,000 to buy equipment for emergency responders in surrounding communities to settle claims by the EPA that it violated state and federal hazardous waste laws at its facility in Augusta.

The Maine Health & Environmental Testing Laboratory will buy emergency preparedness and response equipment for emergency responders at the Augusta and Waterville fire departments and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. The new equipment includes: more than $25,000 for 24 individual self-contained breathing apparatus bottles, used to protect emergency responders from dangerous air emissions; $15,000 for propane heating systems, used to provide hot air and hot water inside decontamination tents; and $9,000 to buy and install storage for bulky equipment needed on an emergency response vehicle.

EPA alleged that the Maine state lab violated the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and state hazardous waste laws by, among other things, failing to properly identify hazardous wastes and failing to segregate incompatible hazardous wastes, so that they are not stored next to one another creating a potential for fire or explosions. The laboratory also failed to follow its own procedures for the treatment of certain corrosive laboratory wastes. In response to EPA's complaint, the laboratory thoroughly reviewed its practices and procedures and came into compliance after the alleged violations were identified.

"Laboratories that generate or manage a wide-variety of hazardous wastes must comply with environmental requirements to prevent releases to the environment and potential harm to workers and communities," said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA's New England office.

In addition to paying the fine and completing the environmental project, the state laboratory agreed to make sure it remains in compliance with federal and state hazardous waste management regulations.

The Maine Health & Environmental Testing Laboratory performs analyses on a variety of substances, including food, water, wastewater, biological, and hazardous waste. The laboratory generates various hazardous wastes including wastes containing sulfuric acid, nitric acid, hydrochloric acid, phosphoric acid, mercury, acetone, methylene chloride and hexane. Hazardous and non-hazardous wastes are received, stored and or consolidated and then shipped off site for treatment or disposal. Hazardous wastes that are hazardous solely due to being corrosive are neutralized and disposed of with public sewage at the local treatment center.

EPA Provides Narrative Templates and FAQs for Wetland Water Quality Standards

EPA is providing templates for states, territories, and tribes developing narrative water quality standards for wetlands. These templates will further unify wetland-related efforts across offices within EPA, providing the user with an interface for developing water quality standards customized to the wetlands and needs of the state. The FAQ document provides project background, a how-to manual for using the tool, next steps, and a list of resources. This EPA product was developed with support of the EPA-led Water Quality Standards Forum made up of state groups, states, and EPA offices.

Applied Engineering and Geology to Pay $200,000 for Alleged Abuses of Underground Storage Tank Fund

California’s State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) has reached a settlement agreement with Applied Engineering and Geology (AEG) of Placer County, CA over allegations of overbilling and other abuses against the Underground Storage Tank Cleanup Fund. The Lincoln-based company will pay an administrative civil liability of $200,000 and will cease all work on projects funded by the Cleanup Fund and the Cleanup and Abatement Account.

This settlement between the State Water Board and AEG is the first action taken under Senate Bill 445, which took effect September 25, 2014. The bill addresses underground storage tank issues related to hazardous substances, petroleum, groundwater and surface water contamination, and provides the State Water Board authority to investigate fraud in the Cleanup Fund and issue enforcement actions.

“This settlement is the first administrative action taken under the new authority afforded to the State Water Board under Senate Bill 445,” said Cris Carrigan, director of the Office of Enforcement. “In addition to expediting the enforcement process significantly compared to civil and criminal enforcements, Senate Bill 445 provides the State Water Board with administrative authority to issue penalties of up to $500,000 for each misrepresentation knowingly made to the Cleanup Fund, and to impose those penalties directly on consultants.”

AEG provides environmental consulting services for cleanup of petroleum releases from underground storage tanks in Northern California, including Placer, Sutter, Yuba, and other counties. Inconsistencies were identified in AEG costs submitted to the Cleanup Fund for reimbursement. Allegations included billing for remediation equipment not used and ineligible markup on subcontractor invoices.

As part of the settlement, AEG and its owner, Earl Stephens, agreed that certain costs that have yet to be paid by the State Water Board are not reasonable and necessary and therefore will not be reimbursed.

EPA, Gasconade and Warren Counties Reach Settlement on Clean Water Act Violations

EPA Region 7 has reached a proposed administrative settlement of Section 404 violations of the Clean Water Act by Gasconade and Warren counties in Missouri, which requires each county to pay a cash penalty of $3,000.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers investigations found the counties had violated the Clean Water Act by failing to obtain Section 404 permits from the Corps in association with gravel mining operations conducted in waters of the U.S. The unpermitted violations impacted approximately 2,376 linear feet of Third Creek and Crider Creek in Gasconade County, and 2,595 linear feet of Massie Creek in Warren County.

The Clean Water Act seeks to protect streams and wetlands that form the foundation of the nation’s water resources. Protecting streams and wetlands is also part of adapting to climate change impacts like drought, stronger storms, and warmer temperatures. Gravel work in streams may cause habitat destruction; decreased water quality due to greater amounts of sediment in streams; and downstream impacts such as bank erosion and flooding, as a result of increases in stream velocity.

The settlement is subject to a 40-day public comment period before it becomes final. Information on how to submit comments is available online.

MPCA Moves to Shut Down Minneapolis Shredder

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is taking legal steps to stop operations at Northern Metal Recycling. The unusual legal steps are underway because MPCA officials say Northern Metals provided misleading information in the process of getting its air quality permit in 2012, and as a result is polluting the air in north Minneapolis.

The facility, which operates a metal shredder at the site, is believed to be a primary source of particulate emissions that have repeatedly violated state air quality standards near the site since 2014, when the MPCA began operating air monitors near the facility.

In another legal step the MPCA filed a motion for temporary injunction in Ramsey County District Court to immediately stop the activities at the site that are believed to be contributing to the violations. If the court grants the injunction the company must cease shredding operations at the site, located at 2800 Pacific St., Minneapolis.

“Based on our investigations and discussions with the company over the last year, we believe either the company did not truthfully disclose its emissions from this facility when it was last permitted, or that it has added or changed emission sources since the permit was issued without informing us, or both,” said MPCA Assistant Commissioner David Thornton.

“Either of these conditions is a serious violation of state and federal air quality laws and cause for permit revocation,” Thornton said. “The revocation process takes some time to play out, so while that’s underway we are also asking the court to enjoin Northern Metals from further operations. The violations of air quality standards that have been occurring in this area must be stopped.”

“We use many strategies in our efforts to make permitted facilities comply with the environmental protections we’re charged to enforce,” Thornton said. “Moving to close a facility and revoke their permit is a very rare step for the MPCA.”

Thornton said if the permit is revoked, the company would be free to reapply for another one but that a new permit would have to properly account for and control emissions.

The MPCA began monitoring air quality near Northern Metals after the permit was issued in 2012. The monitors began detecting elevated particulates almost immediately, at levels that have frequently exceeded state standards. Analysis of a year’s worth of data the MPCA recently completed also found that levels of airborne heavy metals near the site are near or above health benchmarks.

Thornton said the MPCA has tried to negotiate with the company and has been in and out of court with them for more than a year, but the company has been uncooperative in addressing the problems.

Draft Clean Water Permit for Pilgrim Nuclear Plant Outlines Practices During Plant Shutdown and Beyond

EPA has released a draft water discharge permit for the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The draft permit proposes conditions to regulate the intake of cooling water and the discharge of heat and other water pollutants prior to the plant shutdown as well as after the shutdown, during the plant decommissioning process. EPA is accepting public comments on the draft permit for 62 days.

The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station’s existing National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit was issued in 1991 and regulates the facility’s withdrawal of water from Cape Cod Bay for cooling purposes, as well as the discharge of pollutants to Cape Cod Bay through a variety of wastewater streams. Wastewater regulated by the permit consists of condenser non-contact cooling water, thermal backwash water for bio-fouling control, intake screen wash water, plant service cooling water, neutralizing sump waste, demineralizer reject water, and station heating water. Additionally, there are five stormwater outfalls, which discharge stormwater runoff as well as stormwater that has accumulated in various electrical vaults around the property.

The draft permit contains effluent limitations and conditions for each of the outfalls as well as conditions regarding the water withdrawal from Cape Cod Bay by the facility’s Cooling Water Intake Structure (CWIS). The intake requirements are consistent with a 2014 EPA Rule which regulates CWISs under the Clean Water Act at existing facilities such as Pilgrim. To satisfy the Act, the location, design, construction, and capacity of the facility’s CWIS must “reflect the best technology available for minimizing adverse environmental impact.” The operation of CWISs can cause or contribute to a variety of adverse environmental effects, such as killing or injuring fish larvae and eggs entrained in the water withdrawn from a water body and sent through the facility’s cooling system, or by killing or injuring fish and other organisms by impinging them against the intake structure’s screens. In addition, the permit contains thermal discharge limits which are designed to assure the protection and propagation of a balanced, indigenous population of shellfish, fish, and wildlife in and on the water.

The permittee, Entergy Nuclear Generation Company (Entergy), owns and operates the 670 megawatt electricity-generating power plant adjacent to Cape Cod Bay. The facility occupies approximately 140 acres and is located on the western shore of Cape Cod Bay, occupying one mile of continuous shoreline frontage. Commercial operation of the station began in December 1972, when the facility was owned by Boston Edison Company. In 1999, Entergy assumed ownership of the facility.

On October 13, 2015, Entergy announced plans to cease electricity generation operations at the plant no later than June 1, 2019. Entergy has advised EPA that some discharges and water withdrawals, though significantly reduced, will continue after the termination of electricity generation. Therefore, the draft permit has established permit limits that reflect post-shutdown operations and discharges as appropriate.

The draft permit is available for public review and comment. Any comments or other information for the formal public record must be submitted by July 18, 2016.

Groundwater Near Merrimack Town Landfill Contain Elevated Concentrations of PFOA

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) recently announced that it has received draft results for groundwater samples collected at the former Merrimack Town Landfill that showed elevated concentrations of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). In response to a request from NHDES, the U.S. EPA collected and analyzed water samples from 10 monitoring wells adjacent to the landfill. These wells were previously installed to monitor the potential impact of the landfill on groundwater. The draft test results, which are being reviewed by U.S. EPA for quality assurance, showed that the groundwater samples contained PFOA at concentrations ranging from none detected to 2,200 parts per trillion (ppt); eight of the samples showed concentrations over 100 ppt. To further evaluate the extent of the impact, NHDES will begin sampling private residential water supply wells in the vicinity of the landfill.

The former Merrimack Town Landfill property consists of two unlined landfills, totaling 25 acres, near the current Merrimack transfer station. The landfills were operated from the early 1970's to 2003, and received solid waste from households and businesses in Merrimack. The landfills were capped with an impermeable membrane in 2004. Groundwater monitoring began in 1987 and continues under a Groundwater Management Permit issued by NHDES.

EPA Begins Effort to Reduce Children's Exposure to Lead Paint in Maine

EPA is beginning an effort to improve compliance with laws that protect children from lead paint poisoning by sending certified letters this month to about 400 home renovation and painting contractors, property management companies and landlords in and around Lewiston/Auburn, Maine.

Under the initiative, EPA will provide educational materials on lead paint rules to affected companies. EPA will also outline steps the Agency is taking to increase compliance on the part of these entities with the federal lead-based paint Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule under the Toxic Substances Control Act. EPA's RRP Rule became effective in April 2010.

"Children's exposure to lead continues to be a significant health concern here in New England," said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "This is especially true for kids who live in underprivileged areas and other places where there is a large amount of older housing stock that hasn’t been renovated and lead paint has not been removed. Our initiative in Lewiston/Auburn is designed such that EPA will work closely with our local, state and federal partners to address a serious public health problem affecting children."

EPA continues to prioritize resources at both the national and regional level to educate companies and inform the public about federal lead paint rules. EPA's RRP Rule is designed to prevent children's exposure to lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards resulting from renovation, repair, and painting projects in pre-1978 residences, schools, and other buildings where children are present. If lead painted surfaces are to be disturbed at a job site, the Rule requires individual renovators to complete an initial 8-hour accredited training course and the company or firm that they work for to be certified by EPA. These baseline requirements are critical to ensuring that companies take responsibility for their employees following proper lead safe work practices by containing and managing lead dust and chips created during such projects. Further, the Rule requires that specific records be created and maintained in order to document compliance with the law.

Infants and children are especially vulnerable to lead paint exposure, which can cause lifelong impacts including developmental impairment, learning disabilities, impaired hearing, reduced attention span, hyperactivity, and behavioral problems. Because New England has a lot of older housing stock, lead paint is still frequently present in buildings that were built before 1978, when lead paint was banned. According to the most recent data available from the Maine Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, Lewiston/Auburn has the highest number of incidences in the state of children under the age of six with elevated blood lead levels.

Following outreach efforts in May, over the course of several weeks in June, EPA will conduct inspections of renovation, painting and property management companies in the area to assess compliance with the RRP Rule. EPA may also assess compliance with the Real Estate Notification and Disclosure Rule, which requires landlords, property management companies, real estate agencies, and sellers to inform potential lessees and purchasers of the presence of lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards in pre-1978 housing. This rule ensures that potential tenants and home buyers are receiving the information necessary to protect themselves and their families from lead-based paint hazards prior to being obligated to rent or purchase pre-1978 housing. The inspections may be followed up with enforcement which may include the issuance of fines.

Enforcing lead paint notification and worksite standards helps to level the playing field for companies complying with the law, as well as helps to provide a safer and healthier environment for children. EPA is coordinating with many state and local agencies, including several municipal departments in both cities, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, and several non-governmental organizations such as Healthy Androscoggin.

EPA engaged in similar efforts in the New Haven, Connecticut, area in 2014 and in the Nashua, New Hampshire. area in 2015. As a result of these efforts, EPA has educated thousands of individuals either engaged in this type of work or impacted by it, settled numerous formal and informal enforcement actions, and levied fines against the most serious violators. Importantly, because of the compliance assistance provided, many renovation firms have stepped forward to become newly certified and have sent their workers to be trained.

Although lead paint has been identified as the primary source of childhood lead poisoning, drinking water, soil, air, and consumer products are other potential sources of lead. Please visit this EPA website to help protect your family from exposures to lead.

To report a violations or file a complaint:

Please visit these websites for additional state and local drinking water information:

Realty Trust Penalized for Wetlands Violations

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has penalized Lot G Middle Road Realty Trust $31,260 for numerous wetlands violations, and required full restoration work for the area. Thomas Anderson is trustee for the Realty Trust, which owns the land located at 37 and 41 Middle Road in Amesbury.

MassDEP approved a Wetlands Protection Act Superseding Order of Conditions, in April 2009, allowing for the construction of a roadway, six single-family homes and stormwater management structures.

A Superior Court decision one month later remanded an appeal under the local wetlands by-law back to the Amesbury Conservation Commission, which would also approve the project. The development includes the replacement of an undersized culvert that will fill 1,269 cubic feet of bordering land subject to flooding, and will created 2,239 cubic feet of compensatory flood storage area on the site.

On October 23, 2015, the Amesbury conservation agent contacted MassDEP to note discrepancies in the actual work being done by the developer with what both Amesbury and MassDEP had approved. The Amesbury agent and MassDEP jointly investigated the project and found the work that was being performed was not in compliance with the superseding order of conditions and the local wetland by-law approval, which resulted in filling of a wetland resource area.

“Among the most notable violations was the unauthorized filling of 1,330 square feet of Bordering Vegetated Wetlands (BVW) that occurred due to unauthorized reconfiguration and placement of a new detention basin,” said Eric Worrall, director of MassDEP’s Northeast Regional Office in Wilmington. “In addition, erosion controls were not maintained nor replaced as necessary, which was a condition attached to the project’s approvals.”

The Trust has agreed to pay $8,000 of the penalty within 30 days, submit a current as-built plan that depicts the extent of the wetland alteration, and the wetland restored, as well as a narrative and schedule for the complete restoration of wetland resource area located within this site.

The Trust will also submit plans depicting all stormwater management structures, and complete the BVW restoration by June 30, 2016 and thereafter monitor the viability of the restoration for five years of continuous growing seasons. MassDEP has agreed to suspend the remaining $23,260 provided there are no additional violations.

Four Receive California’s Premier Air Quality Award

The California Air Resources Board recently honored recipients of the 2015 Haagen-Smit Clean Air Awards, California’s premier award recognizing individuals who have made outstanding contributions to improving air quality. The contributions of this year’s award winners will have lasting impacts not only for air quality and climate goals in California, but on an international scale.

“These four individuals have championed public health with extraordinary contributions to air pollution research, science and technology throughout their long and distinguished careers,” said CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols. “The Haagen-Smit Award is our way of honoring these individuals, whose transformative work on emissions control strategies and atmospheric chemistry will have scientific impacts for years to come.”

Considered the “Nobel Prize” in air quality achievement, the Haagen-Smit Clean Air Awards are given annually to individuals who have made significant lifetime contributions toward improving air quality and climate change science, technology and policy, furthering the protection of public health.

The 2015 Award Recipients:

  • Dr. Jiming Hao, professor and dean, School of Environment, Tsinghua University, Beijing China – Dr. Jiming Hao is being recognized for his notable work on a suite of emission control strategies to mitigate severe air pollution in China over the past 40 years. His leadership in development and implementation of emission controls for coal power plants, industrial boilers, vehicles, fuels, and even traffic management will be long-standing legacies at both national as well as international levels.
  • Dr. Kimberly Prather, professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, San Diego – Dr. Kimberly Prather is being recognized for her pioneering work that has transformed our understanding of atmospheric aerosols and their impacts on atmospheric chemistry, climate, and the hydrologic cycle. Her innovations in aerosol measurement techniques, contributions to aerosol science, and her commitment to training the next generation of researchers will have scientific impacts for years to come.
  • Dr. Michael Prather, professor, Earth System Science Department, University of California, Irvine – Dr. Michael Prather is being recognized for his sustained and innovative contributions to atmospheric chemistry, and the linkages between air quality and climate change in particular. His work has transformed scientific understanding of air pollutants, GHGs, and interactions among them, and has resulted in better policies for controlling GHGs and ozone depletion. These contributions will be regarded for years to come not only for California air quality and climate goals but on an international scale.
  • The late Dr. Donald Stedman, professor, University of Denver – Dr. Donald Stedman is being recognized for his contributions to motor vehicle emissions research and measurement techniques. Dr. Stedman’s invention of an on-road remote sensor for measuring in-use motor vehicle emissions and of a heavy-duty on-road emissions monitoring system have transformed our understanding of vehicle fleet emissions and the role that high-emitting vehicles play in determining urban air quality. The impact of those measurements on mobile source emission inventories will be a long-standing legacy.

In light of the global connection between air quality and climate change, the scope of the Haagen-Smit Clean Air Awards program is now international, with an added focus on climate change science and mitigation.

California’s premier air quality award is named for the late Dr. Arie Haagen-Smit—known as the "father" of air pollution science and control. The award recognizes those who continue his legacy through perseverance, leadership and innovation in the areas of research, environmental policy, science and technology, public education and community service. Dr. Haagen-Smit’s breakthrough research, which became the foundation upon which today's air pollution standards are based, concluded that most of California's smog is the result of photochemistry—the reaction of sunlight with industrial and motor vehicle exhaust to create ozone. The selection committee is comprised of past award winners.

Environmental News Links

California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard Compliance Rate is 98 Percent

New Tools Empower New Hampshire Communities and Help Private Well Owners Test and Treat Well Water for Arsenic and Other Contaminants

Stormwater Permit Revisions Due for Western Washington

Youth Win Climate Case Against Massachusetts in State's High Court

Studies of Water Quality in Yellow Medicine River Watershed Released; Open for Public Comment

Wayne Haz-Mat Team Responds to Leaking Nitrogen Tank on Route 23

Hazardous Materials Spill Closes Highway 99

Trivia Question of the Week

Which part of the dishwasher cycle uses the most energy?

a) Heating the water

b) Washing

c) Drying

d) Allowing your dog to lick the plate

Answer