EPA to Revise NPDES Stormwater General Permit for Construction Activities

April 18, 2016

All 10 EPA Regions are proposing for public comment a draft 2017 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) general permit for stormwater discharges from construction activities. The draft permit, once finalized, will replace the existing general permit covering stormwater discharges from construction activities that will expire on February 16, 2017. EPA is proposing to issue this permit for 5 years, and to provide permit coverage to eligible operators in all areas of the country where EPA is the NPDES permitting authority, including Idaho, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New Mexico, Indian country lands, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and most U.S. territories and protectorates. EPA is seeking comment on the draft permit and on the accompanying fact sheet, which contains supporting documentation.

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.

Cary 24-Hour HAZWOPER Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response 24-Hour Training in Cary, NC, on May 2–4 and ensure you are ready to respond. To register for this course, click here or call 800-537-2372.

St. Louis RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in St. Louis, MO, on May 10–12 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

Orlando RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Orlando, FL, on May 17–19 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

Immediate Re-Inspection and Retesting of Certain Cargo Tank Motor Vehicles Required

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued safety advisory to provide notice to owners and operators of certain cargo tanks that they have been improperly inspected and tested, and must be re-inspected and retested before being used in Hazardous Materials specification tank service. The tanks in question were tested by H&W Tank Testing, CT#8083, Ohatchee, Alabama, and Christopher Humphries, CT#13131, Jacksonville, Alabama. Cargo tanks that have been inspected and/or tested by either company from April 2011 through March 2016, must be re-inspected and/or retested in accordance with 49 CFR 180.407 immediately by a cargo tank facility registered with FMCSA.

It is a violation of the Federal Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to use these cargo tank motor vehicles for transportation of hazardous materials before they have been properly re-inspected and retested by an FMCSA-registered cargo tank facility.

The following actions must be taken immediately:

You must provide FMCSA with documentation that the required inspections and testing have been performed for all of the affected cargo tank motor vehicles; send to the attention of Paul Bomgardner, Chief, Hazardous Materials Division, by email at: fmcsa.cargotank@dot.gov, or by Fax at 202-366-3621, prior to operating any cargo tank motor vehicle that was tested and/or inspected by Registered Inspectors under either of the above-listed cargo tank registration numbers.

The documentation must consist of:

  • A pressure test by a cargo tank facility that is currently registered with USDOT/FMCSA and has a qualified and trained Registered Inspector
  • Documentation of the bench test, or if required, replacement of the pressure relief devices
  • An external visual inspection and an internal visual inspection in conjunction with the pressure test
  • For those cargo tank motor vehicles that do not have a manway, the Registered Inspector must document that the pressure relief devices and internal valves were removed and inspected. It is recommended, but not required, that the inspector perform a visual inspection of the tank in the area where the pressure relief devices and internal valves were removed for the accumulation of rust or other materials that could diminish their performance. This documentation must include the findings and recommendations of the Registered Inspector
  • A thickness test of all corroded or abraded areas on the cargo tank motor vehicle or a statement by the Registered Inspector that no corroded or abraded areas were identified
  • For all cargo tanks made of quenched and tempered steel (QT) a wet florescent magnetic particle exam immediately prior to and in conjunction with the pressure test that complies with Section V of the ASME Code and CGA Technical Bulletin TB-2 by a trained, qualified Registered Inspector
  • The training certificate of the person conducting the wet florescent magnetic particle exam, dated to within three years of the date the exam is conducted

EPA Denies Petition to Revise RCRA Corrosivity Hazardous Waste Characteristic

EPA responded to a rulemaking petition requesting revision of the RCRA corrosivity hazardous waste characteristic regulation. The petition requested that the Agency make two changes to the current corrosivity characteristic regulation: revise the regulatory value for defining waste as corrosive from the current value of pH 12.5, to pH 11.5; and expand the scope of the RCRA corrosivity definition to include nonaqueous wastes in addition to the aqueous wastes currently regulated. EPA tentatively denied the petition, since the materials submitted in support of the petition failed to demonstrate that the requested regulatory revisions are warranted.

EPA is soliciting public comment on this tentative denial. Comments must be received on or before 10 June 2016. The point of contact is Gregory Helms, Materials Recovery and Waste Management Division, Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery, (5304P), EPA, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20460; 703-308-8855; email: corrosivitypetition@epa.gov.

EPA Proposes Significant New Use Rule for Three Chemicals

EPA is proposing significant new use rules (SNURs) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for three chemical substances which were the subject of premanufacture notices (PMNs). This action would require anyone who intends to manufacture (defined by statute to include import) or process any of the chemical substances for an activity that is designated as a significant new use by this proposed rule to notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing that activity. The required notification would provide EPA with the opportunity to evaluate the intended use and, if necessary, to prohibit or limit the activity before it occurs.

The chemicals subject to the proposed SNURs are: 1) Methylene diisocyanate polymer with diols and triols, 2) Polymer of isophorone diisocyanate and amine-terminated propoxylatedpolyol, and 3) Isocyanate prepolymer.

Change in Public Notice Procedures for EPA Region 5's Proposed Establishment of TMDLs and Proposed Impaired Waters Listings

EPA Region 5 announced a change to its procedures for issuing public notices seeking comment when the Region proposes to list impaired waters after disapproving or partially disapproving a state's list of impaired waters (303(d) list) under Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 303(d), or the Region proposes to establish a total maximum daily load (TMDL) under CWA Section 303(d). For any future proposed action to include waters on a state's 303(d) list or establish a TMDL, EPA Region 5 will provide public notice on the 303(d)/TMDL Program Web page, rather than by publication in the Federal Register.

Final Storm Sewer General Permit Issued for 260 Massachusetts Municipalities

Recently the EPA issued final general permits updating requirements for small “Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems” (MS4) located in Massachusetts. The new permits will update stormwater management efforts across Massachusetts, better protecting rivers, streams, ponds, lakes, and wetlands from pollutants including elevated levels of nutrients, which are causing algae blooms and other problems in many Massachusetts communities. At the same time, the permit maximizes flexibility for individual municipalities to tailor their efforts to individual needs and local conditions.

“Updating these permits is a critical step to ensuring that Massachusetts continues to enjoy clean water and a healthy environment,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Addressing stormwater pollution is a major problem in our communities here in New England. EPA has listened to the input of local experts and we have developed an effective and state-of-the-art permit that allows flexibility for municipal leaders to tailor their efforts to their needs, which will mean better protection for Massachusetts’ lakes, streams and other water bodies.”

The updated permits will require covered municipalities to develop, implement, and enforce a “Stormwater Management Program” to control pollutants to the maximum extent practicable, protect water quality, and satisfy appropriate requirements of the federal Clean Water Act. The final permits maximize flexibility and planning time for municipal officials. For example, the final permit becomes effective July 1, 2017, allowing affected municipalities adequate time to budget and plan for program implementation.

The requirements in the general permits build on the previous general permits issued in 2003. The permits require implementation of six minimum control measures which include the detection and elimination of illicit sewage discharges, public education and outreach, public participation, management of construction site runoff, management of runoff from new development and redevelopment, and good housekeeping in municipal operations.

The updated permits include requirements that address identified water quality problems, including stormwater discharges to waterbodies with approved Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for bacteria, phosphorus and nitrogen, and requirements that address discharges to certain impaired waters without an approved TMDL where stormwater discharges are contributing to the impairment.

Regulated MS4s include traditional cities and towns, state and federally owned facilities such as universities and military bases, and state transportation agencies (except Massachusetts Department of Transportation, which will receive an individual permit).

The general permits will apply to all MS4s located in an urbanized area as defined by the 2010 census. There are 260 municipalities located in an urbanized area as defined in the 2010 census, of which 17 municipalities are potentially eligible for waivers from the permitting requirements. Waiver eligibility is based on the population within the urbanized area (less than 1,000) and the municipality’s potential to contribute pollutants to an interconnected MS4 or an impaired water.

EPA has developed and will continue to provide tools to help municipalities implement the permit, including tools to standardize and streamline required information submittals. For example, EPA has provided a suggested format for the Notice of Intent (NOI) which can be submitted electronically and is due 90 days after the permit effective date. EPA plans to provide templates for the Stormwater Management Program and the Annual Reports required by the general permits. To facilitate budget planning, EPA commissioned an estimate of compliance cost, including spreadsheet tools municipalities can use to estimate their own compliance costs based on their specific circumstances. The cost estimate and associated spreadsheet estimators are available on EPA’s website.

EPA released the draft general permits in September 2014 for public comment. The Agency received over 160 comment letters and responded to all comments as part of finalizing these updated permits. Many comments focused on flexibility of program implementation, and the final permits incorporate additional flexibility and planning time for municipal officials which will help ensure compliance and program effectiveness.

EPA will hold four workshops in May, and will be scheduling other workshops in coming months, to help municipalities become familiar with the updated permits and learn how to utilize EPA tools to assist compliance. The general permit is published in the Federal Register and can be viewed at here.

FAA Proposes $162,500 Civil Penalty Against Airbus Defense and Space for Alleged Hazardous Materials Violations

The Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposes a $162,500 civil penalty against Airbus Defense and Space of Madrid, Spain, for allegedly violating the Hazardous Materials Regulations.

The FAA alleges that on May 25, 2015, Airbus knowingly offered an undeclared hazardous material for shipment on a passenger-carrying aircraft from Seville, Spain, to Miami, Florida. The shipment contained two Protective Breathing Equipment Units, each of which contained a chemical oxygen generator. The chemical is an oxidizer, which can cause or enhance the combustion of other materials. The Hazardous Materials Regulations prohibit transporting these devices as cargo on passenger-carrying aircraft.

After arriving in Miami, the shipment was offered undeclared to Federal Express for overnight shipping by air from Miami to Lenexa, Kansas.

The FAA alleges the shipment was not accompanied by shipping papers indicating the hazardous nature of the contents and was not properly packaged, marked, or labeled. The agency also alleges Airbus failed to provide emergency response information with the shipment.

Airbus has 30 days from receipt of the FAA’s enforcement letter to respond to the agency.

Pennsylvania DEP Announces Settlement to Resolve Violations at York County Farm

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has entered into a consent order and agreement with the Gutman Family cattle businesses located in York and Adams counties, to correct various environmental violations of the Clean Streams Law. As part of the agreement, the Gutmans paid a civil penalty in the amount of $20,000.

The Gutman’s York County facility headquartered on Krafts Mill Road in Codorus and North Codorus Townships, is an agricultural operation that buys dairy heifers for resale domestically and overseas. Responding to complaints, the York County Conservation District (YCCD) conducted multiple inspections between June 2014 and May 2015. During those inspections, the YCCD discovered that the Gutmans had insufficient Erosion and Sediment Control and Manure Management plans.

The YCCD also determined that the Gutmans failed to implement and maintain best management practices to minimize the potential for erosion and sedimentation from animal heavy use areas, and documented a discharge of sediment and manure from the Krafts Mill Road farm to an unnamed tributary to Codorus Creek.

The Gutmans also began construction of a new feed line and manure storage facility without first obtaining a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for stormwater discharges associated with construction activities, and failed to obtain the necessary NPDES permit for the period of time they operated the farm as a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation.

“The violations were extensive and far-reaching in scope,” said Lynn Langer, DEP South-central regional director. “All agricultural operations must be aware of the need to operate within the framework of the specific regulations. Adherence to the regulations helps minimize harmful impacts to the environment, and will protect and improve the local water quality of Codorus Creek and, ultimately, the Chesapeake Bay.”

Within 60 days, the Gutmans are required to file the necessary control plans and begin taking the appropriate actions to bring their facilities into compliance with the regulations.

California Proposes Strategy to Reduce Impact of Powerful Climate Pollutants

The California Air Resources Board recently released a new draft of the state’s Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Strategy to drastically reduce the near-term climate impacts of these potent pollutants. Short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) are chemical agents with an outsized global warming impact up to thousands of times stronger than carbon dioxide.

These agents include methane, black carbon (soot), and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)—chemicals most often used as refrigerants, aerosols, and in insulation. Together, these pollutants represent about 12% of California’s total annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory, but pose an immediate danger to the state and must be dealt with on a highly accelerated timeframe.

“Science tells us that making cuts in emissions of these powerful climate pollutants will reduce the near-term impacts of climate change as we phase down fossil fuel carbon dioxide emissions,” said CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols. “Actions to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants also improve air quality and reduce related health risks, hospitalizations, and medical expenses.”

Short-lived climate pollutants were recognized by scientists early on as major contributors to global warming, but the super pollutants took a back seat as nations first targeted carbon dioxide, the more pervasive and long lived GHG.

Now that broad reaching efforts to address carbon dioxide are underway across the globe, the international community is turning its attention to reducing the potent super pollutants—and California is leading the way.

Governor Edmund G. Brown emphasized the need for addressing super pollutants by making their reduction over the next decade one of the Five Pillars of the State’s 2030 climate program development. Governor Brown is also actively supporting implementation of the draft Strategy by including $215 million in his proposed 2016-2017 budget to support a range of immediate actions.

“The impact of these super pollutants is real and the fight against climate change must include a strategy to aggressively reduce them,” said Governor Brown.

The payoff for investments to cut the super pollutants will be seen in the near term—over the coming 15 years—while the larger efforts to turn the tide on carbon dioxide gain traction and ratchet down emissions over the coming decades. We now know that immediate action on cutting super pollutants in California would reduce damage to forests and crops, lower background ozone and help clean the air in the state’s most polluted regions, including the Central Valley.

This need for focused and immediate attention on super pollutants was recognized by the Legislature in Senate Bill 605 (2014), authored by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens).

This year, Senator Lara introduced the Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Act of 2016 (Senate Bill 1383), which would codify the targets identified in this Proposed Strategy: reducing human-caused black carbon emissions by 50%, and methane and HFCs 40% below current levels by 2030.

This would cut GHG emissions by 94 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e) annually under the approach that measures the impact of these super pollutants over a 20-year span. That is roughly the equivalent of the GHGs associated with all the electricity (both in-state and imported) used in California in 2013.

Short-Lived Climate Pollutants:
These pollutants trap heat at many times the level of carbon dioxide, but also tend to have a shorter lifetime in the atmosphere, ranging from a few days or weeks to about 10 years.

Methane:
Methane is the most abundant of the short-lived climate pollutants in California. Nearly 60% of California’s methane emissions are produced by agricultural activities, primarily at dairy farms. California is the nation’s largest dairy state, home to 20% of U.S. milk production, and milk is the state’s leading agricultural commodity. In 2014, California’s dairy industry generated a record $9.4 billion—as much as the state’s almond, walnut, and pistachio industries combined.

Reducing dairy methane emissions
The Strategy calls for cutting manure methane emissions from dairies by 75% by 2030, which would reduce overall methane emissions from California’s dairy industry (including enteric fermentation emissions from cows) by more than 40%. To meet these goals, following approval of the final Strategy, CARB will open a collaborative rulemaking process to address dairy manure emissions. Working with CDFA, local air and water quality districts, dairy farmers, environmental justice communities, and other stakeholders—the regulatory process will consider available financial incentives and market support and potential economic impacts in order to identify appropriate timelines and requirements for the industry.

“In the San Joaquin Valley, environmental justice communities are at the epicenter of SLCP emissions and their impacts,” said Tom Frantz of the Association of Irritated Residents (AIR) and member of the AB 32 Environmental Justice Advisory Committee (EJAC). “I’m pleased to see one of EJACs priority recommendations included here. We look forward to continuing work with state agencies and the dairy industry to achieve the goals identified in this plan, including bringing economic and health benefits to disadvantaged communities."

In addition, the Proposed Strategy also sets a goal to reduce enteric fermentation emissions from the dairy industry by 25% in 2030. The coordinated approach of incentives and regulation will aim to develop a competitive, low-carbon dairy industry in California, cutting overall methane emissions by more than 26 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2030, a 50% reduction of dairy methane emissions.

Effectively eliminate disposal of organic waste in landfills:
The Strategy also calls for reducing methane emissions by cutting the flow of organic waste into landfills and putting it to beneficial use—through food recovery and rescue programs or by creating compost or renewable energy and fuel. This could reduce emissions from organic disposal, provide access to healthy foods in food insecure communities, and generate investment and new jobs in building and maintaining new or expanded compost and anaerobic digestion facilities. Working together, CalRecycle and CARB will have a regulation in place by 2018 to effectively eliminate disposal of organics in landfills by 2025.

“Landfills are a major source of methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases warming our atmosphere. Composting and anaerobic digestion not only help reduce L.A.'s emissions, they help us move toward our zero waste goals,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “These strategies are an indispensable part of a comprehensive climate policy and my Sustainable City pLAn, and I am excited to partner with the State on this critical effort.”

The Proposed Strategy also calls for effectively implementing regulations currently under development at CARB and the CPUC to cut methane emissions by 45% from oil and gas exploration, extraction, pipeline and storage facilities by 2025.

Black Carbon:
California has already reduced black carbon emissions by more than 90% in the last 50 years, primarily through the state’s stringent diesel regulations. The Proposed Strategy highlights additional state efforts such as working with local air districts to reduce black carbon from home woodstoves to achieve an additional 3 million metric tons of reductions by 2030. In his proposed 2016-2017 budget, Governor Brown included $40 million to incentivize clean woodstoves.

The Strategy also notes the need for further efforts to reduce black carbon from wildfires in the state’s forests, including $140 million for CAL FIRE in the Governor’s budget to support forest health and resiliency programs, approaches to foster increased private investment in forest management, and to convert larger amounts of wood waste into biofuel.

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs):
The Proposed Strategy acknowledges that the most effective way to achieve significant reductions in HFC emissions is a global phase-down of their use under the Montreal Protocol. If a global agreement to do so is not reached, California will consider developing its own phasedown, as Europe has done and other countries are considering.

For short-term, Governor Brown’s proposed budget includes $20 million for incentives to replace high-GWP HFCs with more climate friendly alternatives. CARB will also develop bans on the use of high GWP refrigerants in sectors and applications where lower-GWP alternates are feasible and readily available.

Economic, Health, Environmental Analysis
The report evaluates the economic, public health and environmental justice implications of the proposed new measures along with a detailed environmental analysis. In particular, projects that utilize organic waste or dairy manure to provide transportation fuel can capture significant value from credits under the State’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard and federal Renewable Fuel Standard.

Next Steps:
CARB will host workshops to discuss the Proposed Strategy prior to its May 19 Board hearing when staff will present the Proposed Strategy as an informational item.

A final Reduction Strategy, including comments received on the environmental analysis, will be voted on by the Board in the fall. Any specific proposal generating regulatory action will be subject to its own separate public process with workshops, opportunities for stakeholder discussion, consideration of environmental justice impacts, and legally required analyses of the economic and environmental impacts.

Gateway Parks LLC Fined $10,000 for Asbestos Violation

EPA recently announced that Gateway Parks, LLC, a ski and snowboard park owner and developer based in Boise, Idaho, will pay a $10,000 penalty to settle a claim of a violation of federal asbestos regulations designed to protect public health. EPA alleged that the company violated asbestos rules when it failed to notify the EPA before asbestos-containing buildings were demolished at the former Lazy J Tavern complex in Eagle, Idaho, northwest of Boise. Notification is required to give EPA inspectors an opportunity to check on buildings before demolition to make sure asbestos has been removed and to protect the public from exposure to harmful asbestos dust.

According to Director Ed Kowalski of EPA’s Pacific Northwest Office of Compliance and Enforcement, “EPA’s asbestos rules require building owners and contractors to notify the EPA in advance of demolition projects and to use certified professionals to remove asbestos before demolition. When you fail to follow those procedures, your job site can become contaminated and put public health at risk from asbestos exposure. In a misguided effort to save money, Gateway Parks cut corners and unfortunately turned a $14,000 demolition into a $75,000 mess. In the end, we know it’s far less expensive, and much safer, to do this work the right way the first time.”

In January 2014, Gateway Parks purchased the former Lazy J Tavern property on North Horseshoe Bend Road, to expand its operations next to an existing park in Eagle, Idaho. In May 2014, the company hired a consultant to inspect for asbestos in eight buildings on the site to prepare for demolition. The consultant found asbestos in six of the buildings and submitted a bid for asbestos abatement. Gateway Parks rejected the bid and some of the buildings were later demolished without first notifying the EPA, as required by federal asbestos rules. Because asbestos materials were left in the buildings during demolition, the resulting debris piles were contaminated with an unknown amount of asbestos.

In response to a public complaint in December 2014, EPA investigated the site in coordination with state and local authorities. In April 2015, EPA ordered Gateway Parks to clean up asbestos-contaminated debris from buildings already demolished and to follow required safe work practices for all pending building demolitions. The company hired an asbestos abatement contractor and the site was cleaned up by May 2015. Approximately 27 truckloads containing a total of 945 cubic yards of debris mixed with asbestos-containing materials were hauled to a permitted landfill where it was safely disposed. The cleanup and disposal of the asbestos-containing debris cost Gateway Parks more than $65,000, in addition to the federal penalty.

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that naturally occurs in rock and soil. It was historically used in building materials and in construction for fireproofing and insulation. If inhaled, microscopic asbestos particles can lodge deep in the lungs, increasing risks of developing lung disease or cancer. Asbestos fibers may be released into the air when asbestos-containing materials are disturbed or during demolition work and building or home maintenance, repair or remodeling. To protect public health, federal rules require that only trained and certified asbestos abatement professionals should handle, remove, and safely dispose of asbestos containing materials in licensed landfills or other approved disposal facilities.

Learn more about EPA’s work to reduce health risks from asbestos here.

EPA Signs Memorandum of Understanding with LeMoyne–Owen College

On Thursday April 14, 2016, the EPA entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with LeMoyne-Owen College to enhance research, teaching, outreach, career development, and stewardship in environmental and mathematical sciences. As a part of the MOU, EPA will commit to enhance the college’s environmental policy and science curricula and offer opportunities for students interested in environmental careers.

Carol L. Kemper, Deputy Director, Air, Pesticides & Toxics Management Division, EPA Region 4 and LeMoyne-Owen President Dr. Andrea Lewis Miller participated in the signing held in Dorothy Harris Lounge of the Alma C. Hanson Student Center on the LeMoyne-Owen campus.

Through this MOU, the partners express their intention to establish cooperative working relationships over the next three years, in areas of mutual interest, including participation by the Institutions in the EPA Region 4 Environmental Science Partnership Program. This MOU is also intended to help to address the dwindling participation of students in environmental fields of study, and to help EPA attract a workforce that is as diverse as the public we serve.

Pennsylvania DEP Reaches Penalty Agreement with Brunner Island for January Fish Kill

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection recently announced that Brunner Island LLC has signed a consent assessment of civil penalty, the result of a January fish kill at its coal-fired electric generating station on the Susquehanna River. Brunner Island paid a civil penalty of $25,898.

The generating station releases heated water from the cooling process to a condenser discharge channel. During cold weather, fish are generally attracted to the warmer water. An equipment shutdown on January 30 prevented the warmed water from entering the channel. The water temperature in the channel dropped approximately 13 degrees in one hour, causing the death of more than 1,100 fish.

In response to a February 4 notice of violation, the company supplied the department with a list of correction actions to reduce the likelihood of a similar situation occurring again. New procedures and equipment are in place to allow for a quicker response, and to ensure at least a partial heating of the water being discharged.

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Trivia Question of the Week

Iowa gets what percent of its energy from wind power?

a) 1.3%

b) 13%

c) 31%

d) 0%

Answer