March 08, 2021
Potter Electric has recalled addressable single and dual action pull stations because the pull handle on some units can fail to activate the fire alarm system when manually pulled, posing a risk of failure to alert consumers to a fire.
These devices are intended to activate a fire alarm in commercial and other buildings. Recalled models include:
- Potter Electric Addressable Dual Action Pull Station, Model PAD100-PSDA, Part Number 3992720, with a date code Dec 03 2020; and
- Potter Electric Addressable Single Action Pull Station, Model PAD100-PSSA, Part Number 3992721, with date codes Nov 10 2020, Nov 25 2020, Dec 01 2020, and Dec 03 2020.
“Potter” is printed on the front of all devices. The date code is located inside the device.
If you have these pull stations, you should immediately contact Potter Electric or their fire alarm system dealers/installers for a free replacement. All known Potter Electric distributors and dealers/installers have been notified directly by the firm.
To help you get the training you need, Environmental Resource Center has a number of upcoming live webcast training courses. Stay in compliance and learn the latest regulations from the comfort of your office or home. You’ll receive the same benefits as our seminar attendees including expert instruction, comprehensive course materials, one year of access to our AnswerlineTM
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Masks Block More Cough Aerosol Particles than Face Shields
The US Centers for Disease Control recommends wearing face masks
in all public settings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. NIOSH recently tested face masks, neck gaiters, and face shields to see how well they block the small aerosol particles produced by people when they cough. CDC asked lead author William Lindsley, NIOSH biomedical research engineer, to explain the study, published in the journal Aerosol Science and Technolog.
Lindsley indicated that his research “found that a 3-ply cotton face mask blocked 51% of the cough aerosol particles, and a polyester neck gaiter blocked 47% as a single layer and 60% when folded into a double layer. Face shields, however, blocked only 2%. Our preliminary results suggest that bandanas are not as effective as other face coverings, probably because of the loose fit.”
J.H. Baxter & Co. Fined $223,440 for Hazardous Waste and Water Quality Violations
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued a $223,440 penalty
to J.H. Baxter & Co. for hazardous waste and water quality violations at its wood preserving facility in Eugene.
The majority of the penalty – $178,905 – is for the unpermitted treatment of hazardous waste. Baxter improperly treated about 1.7 million gallons of hazardous waste without a DEQ permit over a five-year period, according to the notice of civil penalty assessment and order. DEQ found that Baxter illegally used its retorts to boil off, or evaporate, liquid process waste containing mixtures of water, oil, and the wood-preserving chemicals. Retorts are large chambers where the company pressure treats wood. Baxter is no longer using retorts to evaporate liquid process waste.
DEQ is also fining Baxter $14,735 for allowing untreated stormwater and water removed from boilers to overflow into a storm ditch leading to Amazon Creek during two weather events in spring of 2019, exceeding permitted limits for copper in treated stormwater discharge, as well as fining Baxter or citing the company without fine for other hazardous waste and water quality violations.
The violations posed risks to the environment and public health. Along with the civil penalties, DEQ is ordering Baxter to create three plans for investigation and sampling to better understand and mitigate impacts of the violations to the environment, and to prevent potential future violations. The plans would assess the potential impacts associated with the release of hazardous waste and improve stormwater management at the facility.
Baxter may appeal the alleged violations within 20 calendar days of receiving the penalty notice. The fines are not due to recent findings of high levels of dioxins in neighboring soils, which is the subject of a separate ongoing investigation.
$1 Million Settlement in Plastic-Pellet Spill
Frontier Logistics has agreed to pay $1 million to settle a lawsuit that alleged the company spilled plastic pellets into the Charleston Harbor from its former facility at Union Pier in downtown Charleston.
The settlement, pending court approval, was filed publicly and ends the federal lawsuit from the Charleston Waterkeeper and the Coastal Conservation League. The organizations were represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center.
Frontier, now in a new facility in North Charleston, also agreed to allow an independent auditor, accompanied by a nurdle-pollution expert, to visit its new facility to make recommendations on preventing the plastic pellets from getting into the environment. Frontier has agreed to follow those recommendations.
“The ultimate goals of this lawsuit were to stop plastic pellets from polluting Charleston waterways and to compensate for the harm caused by that kind of plastic pollution,” said Catherine Wannamaker, a senior SELC attorney. “We’re pleased to say that has been accomplished.”
The million-dollar settlement will be paid in four annual installments. The money will be deposited into an account that will fund water-quality improvements in the Charleston Harbor watershed.
“More and more of these nurdle exporters want to set up shop on the coast, but industry growth cannot come at the expense of our waterways,” said Laura Cantral, executive director of the Coastal Conservation League. “We hope the precautions being put in place at Frontier as a result of this lawsuit will serve as an example for the rest of the industry.”
In July, 2019, beachcombers began finding plastic pellets washed ashore in communities and marshes around the Charleston Harbor. After the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control closed its case without assigning responsibility, SELC filed a lawsuit.
At that time, Frontier operated a pellet-packaging facility directly over the water at Union Pier. The settlement was based in part on the work of Charleston Waterkeeper Andrew Wunderley. He and his staff collected tens of thousands of pellets from numerous locations to document the extent of the pollution.
“The Charleston Harbor is an amazing natural resource for all of us, and it shouldn’t be polluted without consequence,” Wunderley said. “We’re pleased Frontier has committed resources to both preventing pollution, and to funding future work that will improve the health of the Charleston Harbor.”
Croda Cited for Air Emissions
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced an agreement with Croda Inc. that requires the company to take actions protective of human health and the environment in addressing recent violations at Croda’s Atlas Point facility near New Castle.
In November 2020, DNREC announced violations at the ethylene oxide (EO) plant, including excess emissions of EO. In January 2021, Croda restarted the facility in order to conduct stack testing. While testing showed that the company was back in compliance with the EO emissions, it revealed violations for nitrogen oxide (NOx) at the ethanol dehydration furnace (EDF). Further violations were detected at the catalytic combustion unit (CCU) for carbon monoxide (CO), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulate matter (PM). Additionally, the agreement with DNREC addresses violations at the Atlas Point facility that Croda disclosed in its July 2020 semiannual report.
According to the settlement agreement between Croda and DNREC, Croda will meet a schedule to complete construction to remove the hotwell as a source of emissions and re-route emissions from the EO scrubber to minimize or eliminate emissions from this source. Croda will apply to increase emissions at the EDF and all increases will be offset with concurrent permitted decreases at a 1:1.3 ratio. Prior to restarting the EO Plant, Croda will replace the catalyst at the CCU to improve operation of this unit and return to compliance. They will install a flue gas analyzer to measure carbon monoxide (CO) to continuously confirm catalyst performance within 30 days of the EO plant restart. Additional stack testing will be conducted within 60 days of restarting the EO plant to set operating conditions and ensure compliance with emissions limits.
In addition, Croda will pay a penalty of $300,000 and install a community alarm system to the north of Interstate-295, expanding the environmental emergency notification range should the facility be responsible for hazardous releases in the future. The agreement between DNREC and Croda can be found on the DNREC website at https://dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/secretarys-orders/enforcement/
How ‘Green’ are Environmentally Friendly Fireworks?
Fireworks are used in celebrations around the world, including Independence Day in the U.S., the Lantern Festival in China and the Diwali Festival in India. However, the popular pyrotechnic displays emit large amounts of pollutants into the atmosphere, sometimes causing severe air pollution. Now, researchers reporting in ACS’ Environmental Science & Technology
have estimated that, although so-called environmentally friendly fireworks emit 15–65% less particulate matter than traditional fireworks, they still significantly deteriorate air quality.
Fireworks displays can cause health problems, such as respiratory ailments, because they release high levels of air pollutants, including particulate matter (PM), sulfur dioxide, heavy metals and perchlorates. As a result, some cities have banned their use. But because the displays are an important aspect of many traditional celebrations, researchers and manufacturers have tried to develop more environmentally friendly pyrotechnics, including those with smokeless charges and sulfur-free propellants. Although research suggests that these fireworks emit less pollutants, their impact on air quality has not been evaluated. Ying Li and colleagues wanted to use data from a large fireworks display held in Shenzhen, China, on Chinese National Day on Oct. 1, 2019, to assess how “green” these fireworks really are.
The researchers estimated emissions of PM2.5, which is PM with a diameter of 2.5 µm and smaller, from the 160,000 environmentally friendly fireworks set off during the display, as well as emissions from traditional fireworks. They used information on the wind direction, wind speed, temperature and chemical composition of the fireworks to simulate the size, trajectory and peak PM2.5 values for the smoke plume resulting from the event. Then, they compared their simulated values with actual data on PM2.5 concentrations measured at 75 monitoring stations throughout the city following the fireworks display. In agreement with the team’s predictions, the data showed that the fireworks smoke plume began as a narrow band that traveled northward before being fully dispersed, with peak PM2.5 levels similar to the predictions. The researchers used their validated simulation to estimate that the use of environmentally friendly fireworks produces a much smaller, shorter-lasting plume, with 15–65% of the PM2.5 emissions of a display using traditional fireworks. However, the peak concentration of PM2.5 still greatly exceeds World Health Organization guidelines. This led the researchers to conclude that the number of “green” fireworks used at one time should be restricted.
BEF Foods Inc. Fined for Worker’s Partial Arm Amputation
While cleaning an auger used to rice potatoes, a 39-year-old production worker found her left arm caught in a running auger. The worker suffered multiple lacerations and the partial amputation of her arm. Co-workers had to cut the auger apart to free her arm.
An OSHA investigation in September 2020 determined that BEF Foods Inc. failed to shut down and isolate energy to the auger during maintenance work, a process known as lockout/tagout
. The company, which operates as Bob Evans Farms, also failed to train employees on the required use of lockout/tagout procedures when conducting maintenance activities.
OSHA has proposed penalties of $136,532 for two repeat violations
of machine safety standards. The agency cited BEF Foods Inc. for similar violations in 2016 at the same facility.
“Machines and equipment must be disabled before workers perform service and maintenance to prevent unexpected startup or release of hazardous energy,” said OSHA Area Director Kimberly Nelson in Toledo, Ohio. “OSHA has specific regulations for implementing required training and safety procedures to protect workers from dangerous machinery.”
Based in Columbus, BEF Foods is also a leading producer and distributor of refrigerated potato, pasta and vegetable-based side dishes, pork sausage, and a variety of refrigerated and frozen convenience food items under the Bob Evans, Owens and Pineland Farms brand names. Owned by Post Holdings Inc., BEF Foods employs more than 1,000 workers nationwide and 350 at the Lima facility.
Northern Tool & Equipment Powerhorse Portable Generators Recalled Due to Shock Hazard
Northern Tool & Equipment Powerhorse 13000ES Portable Generator Model #799215 has been recalled by the manufacturer due to a wiring defect. The gasoline generator, which was made in China and sold nationwide for about $1,850, is blue with white Powerhorse logos, a black frame and two wheels. Powerhorse 13000ES is printed in white on the top front. Serial numbers for the recalled generators are:
- 2016 Units: 205160001 – 211160248
- 2017 Units: 210170001 – 211170248
- 2018 Units: 206180001 – 211180124
- 2019 Units: 208190001 – 211190124
- 2020 Units: 203020001 – 208200124
You should immediately stop using the recalled generators and contact Northern Tool & Equipment to schedule a free repair by an authorized dealer.
Ghosts of Past Pesticide Use Can Haunt Organic Farms for Decades
Although the use of pesticides in agriculture is increasing, some farms have transitioned to organic practices and avoid applying them. But it’s uncertain whether chemicals applied to land decades ago can continue to influence the soil’s health after switching to organic management. Now, researchers reporting in ACS’ Environmental Science & Technology
have identified pesticide residues at 100 Swiss farms, including all the organic fields studied, with beneficial soil microbes’ abundance negatively impacted by their occurrence.
Fungicides, herbicides and insecticides protect crops by repelling or destroying organisms that harm the plants. In contrast, organic agriculture management strategies avoid adding synthetic substances, instead relying on a presumably healthy existing soil ecosystem. However, some organic farms are operating on land treated with pesticides in the past. Yet, it’s unclear whether pesticides have a long-lasting presence in organically managed fields and what the reverberations are to soil life, specifically microbes and beneficial soil fungi, years after their application. So, Judith Riedo, Thomas Bucheli, Florian Walder, Marcel van der Heijden and colleagues wanted to examine pesticide levels and their impact on soil health on farms managed with conventional versus organic practices, as well as on farms converted to organic methods.
The researchers measured surface soil characteristics and the concentrations of 46 regularly used pesticides and their breakdown products in samples taken from 100 fields that were managed with either conventional or organic practices. Surprisingly, the researchers found pesticide residues at all of the sites, including organic farms converted more than 20 years prior. Multiple herbicides and one fungicide remained in the surface soil after the conversion to organic practices; though the total number of synthetic chemicals and their concentrations decreased significantly the longer the fields were in organic management. According to the researchers, some of the pesticides alternatively could have contaminated the organic fields by traveling through the air, water or soil from nearby conventional fields. In addition, the team observed lower microbial abundance and decreased levels of a beneficial microbe when fields had higher numbers of pesticides in the fields, suggesting that the presence of these substances can decrease soil health. The researchers say future work should examine the synergistic effects of pesticide residues and other environmental stressors on soil health.
UCT Fined $44,880 for Hazardous Waste Violations
Chemical manufacturer UCT will pay a $44,880 penalty to settle hazardous waste violations at its Bristol, Pennsylvania, facility, the EPA announced.
UCT manufactures a variety of chemical products at its facility at 2731 Bartram Road in Bristol, PA. These include solid phase extraction products for hospitals, clinical and toxicology labs, food safety testing labs, pharmaceutical and biotech companies, and environmental testing facilities; and silane/silicone products used in the glass and fiber optic industries, medical device, cosmetics, paints and coatings, adhesives and electronics industries.
According to EPA, the company violated RCRA rules including storing hazardous waste for more than 90 days without a permit, failure to properly mark hazardous waste containers, failure to keep hazardous waste containers closed, failure to make waste determinations and failure to provide annual RCRA training
The settlement reflects the company’s compliance efforts, and its cooperation with EPA in the investigation and resolution of this matter. As part of the settlement, the company has certified its compliance with applicable RCRA requirements.
Chemical Distributor Fined for TSCA Violations
EPA announced it has reached a settlement agreement with Brenntag Pacific, Inc. for violations of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA
). Brenntag Pacific, Inc. has corrected the violations and will pay a $128,265 fine.
The violations were discovered following inspections at Brenntag Pacific, Inc. facilities in Fairbanks, Alaska and in Santa Fe Springs, Calif. EPA inspectors found the company failed to submit accurate and timely reports and notification associated with the import and export of nine chemicals.
“It is essential that chemical importers report the quantity of chemicals they are bringing into the U.S., so that EPA can properly evaluate the risks of these chemicals to communities and the environment,” said Amy Miller, EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Director of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Companies that do not comply will face significant Toxic Substance Control Act penalties.”
Between 2012 and 2015, Brenntag Pacific, Inc. failed to properly report the import production volumes and uses of five chemicals as required by the 2016 Chemical Data Reporting Rule. In addition, the company failed to produce first-time export notices for four chemicals between 2016 and 2017. Under the Toxic Substances Control Act, chemical importers and manufacturers are required to submit Chemical Data Reporting information to EPA every four years. EPA uses this data to track the chemicals being imported into the country and to assess the potential human health and environmental effects of these chemicals. In addition, EPA makes the non-confidential business information it receives available to the public.
The quadrennial chemical data reports for 2016 – 2019 were due from industry last month. For information about the Chemical Data Reporting under TSCA, please visit the TSCA Chemical Data Reporting at https://www.epa.gov/chemical-data-reporting
Steel Dynamics, Inc. Cited for Title V Air Permit Violations
EPA announced a settlement requiring Steel Dynamics, Inc. (SDI) to upgrade air pollution control equipment to reduce air emissions at the company’s facilities in Butler, Indiana. The upgrade, which will cost $3 million, will help protect the environment and public health in the surrounding area by reducing particulate matter (PM) emissions. The company has also agreed to pay a $475,000 civil penalty, split evenly between the state of Indiana and United States government. These actions will resolve the alleged violations of the Clean Air Act
EPA alleged that SDI was violating the Clean Air Act by failing to comply with its Title V permit. SDI owns and operates two steel facilities in Butler: Iron Dynamics Division and Flat Roll Division. During an inspection and record review, EPA identified multiple violations at each plant. These violations included a failure to capture all emissions from three ladle metallurgical stations and route them to a baghouse, as required by the company’s Title V operating permit. The failure to control these emissions resulted in excess emissions of PM. PM contains microscopic solids that are so small that they can be inhaled and can cause serious health problems.
EPA’s consent decree with SDI resolves the alleged violations. Specifically, the consent decree requires SDI to upgrade the capture and control of emission from the ladle metallurgical stations by constructing and operating a new or expanded baghouse. This new or expanded baghouse will reduce PM emissions and protect public health.
South Bend Products LLC Cited for Wastewater Discharge Violations at SW Washington Facility
EPA has settled with South Bend Products, LLC, over federal Clean Water Act violations at the company’s South Bend, Washington, seafood processing facility.
South Bend Products, LLC, a seafood preparation and processing facility, specializes in salmon and crab processing, and also periodically processes razor clams, black cod, rockfish and halibut.
EPA inspected the South Bend facility in 2017. After reviewing facility records, EPA identified violations of the South Bend facility’s wastewater discharge permit, including:
- Exceeded discharge limits
- Insufficient monitoring frequency
- Incorrect sampling, and
- Incomplete or inadequate reporting
As part of the settlement, the company agreed to pay a penalty of $101,630. In addition to paying the penalty, the Company has implemented new processes and technologies to address compliance challenges at its South Bend plant.
By improving its effluent treatment South Bend Products has taken steps to reduce the pollutant Total Residual Chlorine in its discharge. The company also established new sampling procedures to adequately monitor for other pollutants such as Total Suspended Solids, Biological Oxygen Demand, and Oil and Grease. Collectively, these measures serve to improve South Bend Products’ discharge to the waters of Willapa River and Bay.
This settlement furthers EPA’s national compliance initiative
to reduce significant noncompliance and improve surface water quality by assuring dischargers comply with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit requirements.
DOT Allows Delay in Renewal of RIN Approvals Due to COVID
In order to inspect, test, certify, repair, or rebuild certain types of cylinders and pressure receptacles, a person must be approved by the DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). Travel restrictions and quarantine requirements imposed by various government agencies during the COVID-19 public health emergency made it difficult for requalification identification number (RIN) holders to obtain an onsite review and the pre-approval inspection report required to be submitted with an application for renewal of their approval, per the Hazardous Materials Regulations. To ensure the continued availability of medical and other critical compressed gases, for an additional 45 days PHMSA announced
that the Agency will continue to waive compliance with 49 CFR 107.805(b) for RIN holders when requesting renewal of their approval if they are unable to obtain an Independent Inspection Agency inspection prior to applying for renewal of their approval.
Semiconductor Manufacturer Cited for Hazardous Waste VOC Emission Violations
EPA has settled an enforcement case with the Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation that resolves alleged violations of hazardous waste regulations at the company's semiconductor manufacturing facility in South Portland, Maine.
Under the settlement, Fairchild has agreed to maintain compliance with federal regulations issued under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to reduce hazardous air pollutants and volatile organic compounds
(VOCs) emissions. Fairchild has certified that the facility has corrected its violations and agreed to pay a penalty of $104,545. The company was cooperative during EPA's enforcement investigation and the case settlement negotiations.
"This settlement results in improved air quality for the people of South Portland,"said EPA New England Acting Regional Administrator Deborah Szaro."It's important that companies that produce hazardous air pollutants during their operations follow the correct procedures to ensure they are properly managed under environmental regulations to mitigate potential risks to human health and the environment."
Fairchild's manufacturing processes generate liquid solvent wastes that can emit hazardous VOCs. The facility was storing solvent hazardous wastes in several tanks but had no RCRA air emissions compliance program in place for the tanks nor did it meet RCRA air requirements for labeling, monitoring, and recordkeeping for the various equipment associated with the tanks.
EPA discovered the violations after conducting a RCRA compliance inspection at Fairchild's facility. After the inspection, the facility dismantled a 5,500-gallon hazardous waste storage tank that was violating RCRA's air emissions regulations and instituted a RCRA air compliance program for its other tanks and equipment subject to these regulations.
This proposed settlement is part of an EPA National Compliance Initiative
that focuses on RCRA air emissions to reduce hazardous air pollutants at hazardous waste-handling facilities. RCRA requires effective monitoring and control of air emissions from hazardous waste storage tanks, pipes, valves, and other equipment since these emissions can cause adverse health and environmental effects and can contribute to ground-level ozone (smog) formation.
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Annual training is required by 40 CFR 262.17(a)(7). Learn how to complete EPA’s new electronic hazardous waste manifest, and the more than 60 changes in EPA’s new Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule. Environmental Resource Center’s Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course
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