EPAÆs Definition of ôEmptyö Containers to Change on September 6, 2005

April 04, 2005

Interested in finding out more about this and other changes to the hazardous waste regulations? Learn the latest at one of Environmental Resource CenterÆs top rated training programs: Advanced RCRA or Hazardous Waste Management: the Complete Course.

EPA Revises Methods for Monitoring Contaminated Sites

To disseminate information about current EPA methods and research on contaminated sediments, EPAÆs National Exposure Research Laboratory (NERL) has assembled this compendium of methods. The methods focus primarily on published or otherwise citeable chemical, physical, and biological (toxicity and bioassessment) testing methodologies used by EPA at Superfund sites to determine the effects of chemical contaminants on aquatic life and human health. Although priority is given to those methods that have demonstrated efficacy at Superfund sites, the document also includes methods employed by other EPA and other federal and state programs at non-Superfund contaminated sediment sites.

EPA Publishes Guidelines for Carcinogen Risk Assessment

In an effort to update key scientific risk assessment methodologies, EPA has published revised Guidelines for Carcinogen Risk Assessment - Cancer Guidelines). The Guidelines provide a framework to EPA scientists for assessing possible cancer risks from exposures to pollutants or other agents in the environment. They will also inform Agency decision makers and the public about these recommended procedures. Revisions to the Cancer Guidelines are intended to make greater use of the increasing scientific understanding of processes of cancer development.

Major issues considered in finalizing revisions to the Cancer Guidelines were:

  • beginning with an analysis of available information, and invoking defaults if needed to address uncertainty or the absence of critical information;
  • emphasizing key events and processes, starting with the interaction of an agent with a cell, through functional and anatomical changes, that may result in adverse health consequences ("modes of action");
  • considering that certain subpopulations, and childhood and other lifestages, may be associated with higher susceptibilities to risk; and
  • summarizing the full range of available evidence and describing any conditions associated with conclusions about an agent's hazard potential using a weight-of-evidence narrative and accompanying descriptors.

Cleveland Corp. Agrees to EPA Order to Comply With Sweat Furnace Requirements

EPA Region 5 has issued an administrative consent order to Cleveland Corp. that requires the company to comply by April 24 with EPA regulations related to its voluntary conversion of a furnace that burns clean scrap to a sweat furnace that can burn contaminated scrap at its salvage yard at 42810 N. Greenbay Road, Zion, Ill.

Compliance with the order will resolve EPA allegations that Cleveland failed to meet certification requirements for its furnace. After Cleveland converts from a clean-scrap furnace to a sweat furnace, the company will have to meet additional regulatory requirements to limit hazardous emissions.

Cleveland engages in aluminum recovery at the facility and has used its clean-scrap furnace to extract aluminum from aluminum scrap. When Cleveland begins to use its sweat furnace to extract aluminum from contaminated scrap, the company will use an afterburner to control emissions of hazardous dioxins and furans.

There is evidence that dioxins may cause liver damage and probably cause cancer in humans, and furans may cause cancer in humans.

$209,991 Penalty for Hazardous Waste Violations

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell announced that Curtiss-Wright Corporation of Wood-Ridge, Bergen County will pay $209,991 to settle violations of state hazardous waste disposal laws and groundwater contamination.

Curtiss-Wright treats and cleans groundwater by removing oil and other contaminants. From January 1999 to March 2002, Curtiss-Wright disposed of 33,000 gallons of contaminated oil, which is considered hazardous waste, by sending it to facilities not authorized to handle hazardous waste. Failing to identify waste as hazardous violates state regulations and jeopardizes public health and the environment.

"The enforcement action against Curtiss-Wright demonstrates DEP's resolve to pursue damages from companies that fail to identify and properly dispose of hazardous waste," said Commissioner Campbell. "This includes DEP's commitment to restore damaged natural resources and negate economic benefits derived from noncompliance."

Curtiss-Wright on February 9, 2005 agreed to settle its hazardous waste violations by paying a $109,991 fine. This figure includes an assessment of the $4,991 economic benefit that Curtiss-Wright realized by improperly disposing of the hazardous waste.

In addition, more than 70 underground storage tanks leaked solvents and fuel oil into groundwater at the Curtiss-Wright facility in Wood-Ridge. Curtiss-Wright is conducting a groundwater cleanup at the site and will pay an additional, initial $100,000 in Natural Resource Damages to address the groundwater contamination. Additional Natural Resource Damage claims may be assessed.

Failure to File SARA Reports Results in $55,375 Penalty

EPA recently settled a case with a Yuma, Ariz. produce refrigeration facility that requires the company to pay $55,375 for violations of Clean Air Act and Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know laws.

Semco South Cooling, LLC failed to report within three months of acquiring anhydrous ammonia, as required by law. The company also failed to submit by March 1 its annual report to the State Emergency Response Commission, the Local Emergency Planning Committee and the local fire department documenting that the company was storing 24,000 pounds of the chemical. In addition, Semco also failed to timely submit a risk management plan to the EPA.

"Facilities that store hazardous chemicals have a responsibility to develop and implement a risk management plan to prevent accidental releases, and to provide prompt and accurate information about the chemicals they are storing," said Keith Takata, the EPA's Superfund division director for the Pacific Southwest region. "Without this information, state and local emergency responders cannot be adequately prepared to protect our communities in the event of a chemical release."

A federal risk management program requires companies to prepare and implement written procedures to ensure that the risk posed by a chemical used, stored or produced at the facility are managed safely where quantities exceed a certain amount and there is a risk of off-site impact from a release.

Federal law requires that the owner or operator of a regulated facility annually submit by March 1 a complete hazardous chemical inventory to local and state authorities and to the local fire department when amounts exceed specific quantities. Learn more about your SARA Title III reporting requirements by attending one of Environmental Resource CenterÆs Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know seminars.

Anhydrous ammonia is classified by the EPA as a hazardous chemical, and can cause severe burns from freezing and corrosion. Exposure to anhydrous ammonia may cause eye damage and ulceration on contact with lungs and skin.