EPA Updates Engine Emissions Certification Fees

May 07, 2004

EPA is updating the existing regulations for Motor Vehicle and Engine Compliance Program fees. These regulations, first put into place in 1992, require manufacturers to pay fees for the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) certification and compliance activities related to air pollution control in motor vehicles and engines.

This rulemaking updates the existing fee structure for on-highway cars and trucks to reflect increased costs of implementing EPA's emissions standards. In addition, it creates a new fee structure for nonroad engine and equipment compliance programs established since 1992. The manufacturers are responsible for paying this fee before they apply to EPA to certify their vehicles and engines.

The new fees program is estimated to generate $18 million annually which will recover the government's costs and make EPA's mobile source compliance programs self-sustaining to the fullest extent possible. For further details, visit http://www.epa.gov/otaq/fees.htm.

Hazardous Waste Regulations Revised for Performance Track Members

On April 22, 2004, EPA issued regulations applicable only to members of EPA's National Environmental Performance Track Program. This action included a revision to the RCRA regulations to allow hazardous waste generators who are members of Performance Track up to 180 days, and in certain cases 270 days, to accumulate their hazardous waste without a RCRA permit or interim status; and simplified reporting requirements for facilities that are members of Performance Track and governed by Maximum Available Control Technology (MACT) provisions of the Clean Air Act (CAA).

For more information on the Performance Track program, visit http://www.epa.gov/performancetrack/

Changes to DOT Reportable Incidents

On July 1, 2004, new DOT regulations on reportable incidents will become effective. The changes include revisions on who must report hazardous material incidents, what incidents are reportable, and the written notification form itself, as detailed in 49 CFR 171.15 and 171.16. The rule was published in the December 3, 2003 Federal Register.

Under the new requirements, the person with physical possession of the hazardous material must report incidents occurring during transportation, loading, unloading, and temporary storage. Immediate notice by phone and/or a detailed incident report are required, depending on the incident. Historically, the carrier was responsible for reporting.

The revised 49 CFR 171.15 indicates that incidents requiring immediate notification to the National Response Center (800-424-8802) include those where, as a direct result of the hazardous material, one of the following occurs:

  • Person is killed
  • Injuries require hospitalization
  • Public evacuation of 1 hour or more
  • Transportation artery/facility closed for 1 hour or more
  • Flight pattern is altered by incident
  • Fire, breakage, spillage, or suspected contamination of:
    - Radioactive materials
    - Infectious substances
    - Marine pollutant release in quantity > 450 L or 400 kg
  • The person that reports the incident determines that it should be reported (e.g. continuing danger to life at the scene)

If one of these reportable incidents occurs, the person in possession of the hazardous material must call the National Response Center as soon as practical but no longer than 12 hours after the incident with the required information:

  • Caller’s name
  • Caller’s contact phone number
  • Name and address of the person represented by the caller
  • Date, time and location of the incident
  • Extent of injury, if any
  • Hazardous material classification, proper shipping name and quantity, if available
  • Type of incident and nature of hazardous material involvement
  • If there is continuing danger to life at the scene

The regulations at 49 CFR 171.16 state that a detailed incident report (DOT Form 5800.1, Rev. 01/2004) must be submitted within 30 days, in an electronic or written format. This detailed report is required for:

  • Incidents that require immediate notification (as listed above)
  • Unintentional releases of hazmat or discharges of hazardous waste
  • Structural damage to cargo tank containing hazmat occurs
  • Undeclared hazmat is discovered

The addition of reporting undeclared hazmat is particularly important to the DOT in their effort to minimize the number of undeclared shipments so as to increase safety, particularly with air shipments.

The release reporting requirements do not apply to certain consumer commodities, batteries, paint and paint related material (when shipped in a packaging of five gallons or less), and limited quantities.

A copy of the new DOT Form 5800.1 can be found on page 67761 of the December 3, 2003 Federal Register.

NC WasteTrader Material Exchange Marketplace

NC WasteTrader, North Carolina's material exchange marketplace, continues to offer great opportunities for businesses, industries, government agencies and recyclers of all types to turn trash into treasure. Since its inception two years ago, NC WasteTrader has hosted nearly 300 listings of both materials wanted and available.

A growing number of users are checking http://www.ncwastetrader.org regularly to find great deals on materials and to find cost-effective outlets for their discards. A sample of the materials successfully exchanged on NC WasteTrader include:

  • 28,771 lbs. of polyester
  • 30 office cubicles
  • 15 cubic yards continuous supply of rubber dust
  • One ton (50 lb. bags) of hexamine
  • 300 corrugated drums
  • 8,000 super sacks
  • 100 cubic feet of Styrofoam peanuts
  • Office telephone system

NC WasteTrader can be another vital tool in your organization's ability to manage waste materials. In addition to the opportunity to reach thousands of other users with your material needs and wants, NC WasteTrader gives you access to many other non-regulatory, technical assistance services from the Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance. Check out this easy, cost-free program at http://www.ncwastetrader.org. If you have any questions about NC WasteTrader, please call Tom Rhodes at (919) 715-6516, or Ron Still at (919) 715-6520.

Environmental Resource Center also hosts a waste exchange on our web site. To participate, visit http://www.ercweb.com/forum/toast.asp and click on "Waste Exchange."

Phosphorous Manufacturer Fined $18 million for RCRA Violations

Rhodia, Inc., of Cranbury, N.J., former operating company of an elemental phosphorus manufacturing plant in Silver Bow, Mont., was sentenced on April 29 for its conviction on two felony counts of violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Rhodia will pay a $16.2 million fine and an additional $1.8 million in restitution to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality. The company must also serve five years probation, which could be extended if site clean-up is not completed.

Rhodia manufactured elemental phosphorus at the Silver Bow plant from 1986 until its closure in 1996. In its previous guilty plea, Rhodia admitted that from Jan. 1999 until Aug. 2000, it illegally stored carbon brick and precipitator dust contaminated with elemental phosphorus waste at the closed plant. Rhodia also admitted that following plant closure, it illegally stored elemental phosphorus sludge at the site in a large concrete tank.

Waste elemental phosphorus is highly reactive, can ignite when exposed to air and presents a significant risk to human health and the environment. The case was investigated by the Denver Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center, and with legal and technical assistance provided by EPA Region 8's offices in Denver and Helena, Mont. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Missoula.

1,000 Plants Nationwide Show Progress in Controlling Human Exposure and Groundwater Contamination

A Dow Chemical La Porte, Texas plant on May 4 became the 1000th facility to achieve EPA's environmental progress indicators for controlling both: (1) human exposure to environmental risks from waste, and (2) migration of contaminated groundwater. The indicators measure realistic, achievable cleanup goals that are protective of human health and the environment based on site-specific conditions at a facility. They complement EPA long-term waste cleanups by setting time-specific benchmarks for preventing releases of contaminants at these sites.

To date, 74 percent of 1714 EPA-designated high priority RCRA Corrective Action facilities have met the current goal for human exposure and 63 percent met the current goal for groundwater. EPA has a 2005 goal of controlling human exposure at 95 percent and groundwater at 70 percent of high priority facilities.

The Dow La Porte facility is a chemical manufacturing facility producing plastics, synthetic resins and industrial organic chemicals such as phosgene. It has an operating plan in place to ensure that no off-site human exposures are occurring and on-site exposures are adequately addressed through on-site worker health and safety programs. Dow also has plumes of ground water with contaminants such as chlorobenzene and aniline, but recovery efforts since 1989 have diminished both their size and concentration.

The environmental indicators initiative takes place under the auspices of EPA's Corrective Action program, which holds owners and operators of treatment,storage and disposal facilities responsible for investigating and cleaning up soil, ground water, surface water and air releases from their waste sites, regardless of when the releases occurred. Corrective Action, in turn, is authorized by the Congressional Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which gives EPA authority to control the generation, transportation, treatment, storage and disposal of hazardous waste. RCRA can be an effective tool in preventing future Superfund sites. More information about EPA's Environmental Indicators initiative is available at http://www.epa.gov/correctiveaction/eis.htm.