Free 2004 Environmental & Safety Compliance Calendar Available

September 26, 2003

Environmental Resource Center's 2004 Environmental & Safety Compliance Calendar, is now available as an Internet download as well as in print. Included in this calendar are essential compliance dates for each major environmental and safety law, as well as telephone numbers for state and federal regulatory agencies.

This calendar has been developed by Environmental Resource Center® to provide guidance to companies that must meet compliance deadlines for RCRA, DOT, SARA Title III, OSHA Hazard Communication Standard, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and more. With federal and state regulations changing at a record pace and the penalties for noncompliance climbing, no company can afford to be uninformed about the requirements that impact their activities.

The electronic version of the 2004 Environmental & Safety Compliance Calendar incorporates search features that allow users to quickly locate information, such as the deadlines that affect them or the phone number of their state agency.

A 2004 Environmental & Safety Compliance Calendar is available free. To download an electronic version, visit To request a print version, visit, e-mail, call (919) 469-1585, fax (919) 342-0807, or mail a request to the following address:

2004 Compliance Calendar
Environmental Resource Center
101 Center Pointe Drive
Cary, NC 27513-5706

EPA Proposes $1.3 Million Penalty Against Company for Hazardous Waste Violations

Ultra Scientific Inc., a company that manufacturers chemical standards used by laboratories for quality control testing and instrument calibration, is accused in EPA's complaint of dozens of violations discovered during a two-day inspection last year. The violations took place at its 18,000-square-foot production building and seven large containers outside the building that are used to store hazardous wastes.

"The size and scope of this civil complaint reflects the extremely unsafe manner in which this company was handling and storing hazardous wastes," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England Office. "The situation we encountered last year could have resulted in a number of potentially dangerous scenarios, particularly for company employees who received inadequate training in handling these materials."

Varney said many of the hazardous materials were removed after the inspection, thus reducing the overall potential health threat at the site.

Varney said some of the violations were so serious that EPA inspectors were unable to complete an inventory of hundreds of types of hazardous waste in one of the containers. For example, inspectors observed the co-storage of many incompatible wastes, including a container of waste acids and a container of waste cyanide which can interact to produce acutely toxic hydrogen cyanide gas.

The inspection was done jointly by EPA and R.I. Department of Environmental Management employees on Sept. 18 and 20, 2002. Local fire and building code officials accompanied the environmental inspectors.. The inspection was done at the request of DEM which had done an earlier inspection at the site on Aug. 8, 2002. Ultra Scientific failed to correct the violations after the first DEM inspection.

The EPA inspection found the following violations of state and federal hazardous waste management regulations:

  • failure to minimize the potential for release of hazardous wastes.
  • failure to provide secondary containment for containers holding hazardous waste
  • failure to conduct hazardous waste determinations
  • failure to take precautions to prevent accidental ignitions of ignitable waste
  • failure to separate incompatible waste
  • failure to maintain a contingency plan
  • failure to conduct weekly inspections of hazardous waste storage areas
  • failure to have a device capable of summoning emergency equipment in a hazardous waste storage area
  • failure to maintain a hazardous waste training plan
  • failure to provide training to employees managing hazardous waste
  • failure to maintain adequate aisle space
  • operation of a treatment facility without a permit
  • failure to appropriately label containers holding hazardous waste
  • failure to clearly mark the date of accumulation of each container of hazardous waste
  • failure to keep containers of hazardous waste closed when waste is not being added or removed

North Kingstown fire department and building officials also found several code violations. As a result of the inspection and follow up activities by EPA and local officials, the most serious conditions have been corrected to reduce the immediate risks posed by the facility.

EPA Sues Atlas Tack for $25 Million in Cleanup Costs

EPA announced that it has filed suit against the Atlas Tack Corporation and M. Leonard Lewis, president of Atlas Tack and owner of Atlas Tack's parent company, for cleanup costs at the Atlas Tack Superfund site in Fairhaven, Mass. The complaint, filed in federal district court in Boston, seeks $6.8 million to reimburse EPA for cleanup activities already performed, and seeks an order for payment for future cleanup costs, currently estimated to be $18 million.

"We're working hard to make sure that the cleanup costs at the Atlas Tack site aren't going to be borne by the taxpayers, but by those responsible for the pollution," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA's New England Office.

The Atlas Tack facility was used from 1901 to 1985 to manufacture tacks, steel nails, rivets, eyelets and bolts. Portions of the 20-acre parcel and adjoining areas are contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), heavy metals, pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). In 1990, EPA added the site to the National Priorities List, or Superfund List, of the most-contaminated sites in the country.

In 2000, EPA completed the removal asbestos from three dilapidated buildings on the site to remove immediate public health threats. In 2002, EPA substantially completed design of a long-term cleanup plan for the site, which includes demolishing two contaminated buildings; removing 54,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil, debris and sediments for disposal at a licensed, offsite facility; remediation and restoration of salt marsh soils; and long-term water quality monitoring. EPA New England has requested funding for this future work.

Company Settles EPA Complaint Alleging Hazardous Chemical Reporting Violations

EPA announced that Goldschmidt Industrial Chemical Corp. has settled alleged violations of hazardous chemical reporting regulations at its plant in McDonald, Pa.

In a consent agreement with EPA, the company has agreed to pay a $20,110 penalty for failing to notify emergency response agencies of a hazardous chemical (nitric acid) stored at the plant in 2001. This case involves allegations of reporting violations, and not unlawful releases of toxic or hazardous chemicals.

EPA cited the company for violating the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), which requires companies that use or process more than a threshold amount of listed hazardous chemicals to file an annual emergency and hazardous chemical inventory form with EPA, and state, county, and local emergency response agencies. Companies must annually report the maximum amount of any hazardous chemicals at the facility, the average daily amount of hazardous chemicals, and the general location of the hazardous chemicals at the plant. The forms provide information needed in the event of an incident that requires a response from emergency personnel.

According to EPA, the company failed to file an annual form that included nitric acid used at the facility in January 2001.

The penalty reflects the company's cooperation in the investigation and settlement of this case, and its prompt compliance efforts. In the settlement papers, the company neither admitted nor denied liability for these alleged violations.

EPA Files Complaint Against Wood Treating Company for Dangerous Wastes Violations

The Northwest office of the EPA filed a complaint against the Oeser Company, a Bellingham wood treating plant, for on-going violations of state and federal laws governing the handling and disposal of hazardous chemicals.

In its complaint the EPA notes that the company routinely failed to account for, contain, and dispose of wood preservatives used at its facility.

The site inspections of the facility conducted by EPA, review of records following each inspection, and review of Oeser's response to EPA's information request suggest that the company has routinely mismanaged wood preserving chemicals, particularly pentachlorophenol (or "penta"), (which the EPA has classified as a probable human carcinogen) because it:

  • failed to contain excess wood-treating wastes on "drip-pads";
  • failed to clean-up drippage from treated poles;
  • failed to identify wastes as dangerous;
  • failed to properly dispose of dangerous wastes at an approved facility;
  • failed to properly train personnel on safe handling and disposal procedures for dangerous wastes;
  • failed to have a groundwater monitoring program; and
  • stored dangerous wastes for more than 90 days.

"Although Oeser is a small company, it is one of the major Northwest producers of treated poles," said Rick Albright, EPA's regional director for its Office of Waste and Chemicals Management. "Their management practices contributed to its status as a Superfund site. Those practices have continued and it's our responsibility to ensure that the company stops contaminating the environment and endangering human health."

The EPA did not propose a specific penalty in the complaint, but believes the company has committed significant violations. Under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) penalties of up to $27,500 per day for each violation may be imposed and the violations alleged are such that the agency believes that a substantial penalty is warranted. However, the EPA recognizes that this company's financial ability to pay a penalty may be limited. The Oeser Company, a relatively small company, is also responsible for Superfund cleanup costs at its property. EPA generally will not assess penalties that are clearly beyond the means of the violator. EPA's penalty demand in this case will be made after consideration of any information the company can provide on its inability to pay and the nature of the violations.

In its complaint, the EPA requires the company to immediately cease disposing of dangerous waste at the facility, immediately cease illegal storage of dangerous waste, to monitor the groundwater under the facility and to clean-up various locations where dangerous waste has been disposed. The company is also required to provide proof of financial ability to pay for current and future clean-up at the site, as well as any sudden or unexpected release of dangerous waste at or from the site.

Report on NEPA Task Force Recommendations Released

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Task Force released its final report on September 24, 2003, recommending to the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) ways to improve NEPA implementation through new technology, best practices, and more modern information and management systems. The Task Force, convened last year by CEQ, is an interagency group of experienced career Federal employees, including NEPA experts, who conducted an extensive review of NEPA’s implementation. CEQ and other Federal agencies, in ongoing consultation with local government and other interested parties, will consider the Task Force recommendations for ways to advance the Administration’s commitment to make the NEPA process more collaborative, more efficient, and timelier.

Signed into law by President Richard Nixon on January 1, 1970, NEPA calls upon Federal agencies to evaluate the environmental and other effects of proposed actions to better inform project planning and design, and produce better project decisions. In actions with significant environmental effects, the NEPA process informs and provides an important forum for input from the public, state, local, and tribal governments, as well as Federal agencies. More information about NEPA is available on NEPAnet,

CEQ convened the NEPA Task Force to support Federal agencies’ efforts to modernize their practices to reflect the roles that technology, best practices, and better collaboration with the state, local, and tribal governments, and the public can play in government in the 21st century. The NEPA Task Force formally began its work May 20, 2002, and reviewed current NEPA implementing practices across a range of government activities. Documents pertaining to the work of the Task Force are available at The NEPA Task Force included Federal employees with decades of experience working with NEPA including representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Geological Survey, Federal Aviation Administration, and Department of Energy. The Task Force interviewed Federal agencies; solicited and reviewed public comments, literature, reports, and case studies; and interacted with officials from state, local, and tribal governments, and interest groups. The Task Force received comments from more than 650 respondents representing Federal, State, and tribal government agencies, other organizations and individuals.

The NEPA Task Force final report, Modernizing NEPA Implementation, contains recommendations to improve and modernize the NEPA process. A set of case studies highlighting useful practices will be published separately. The report’s recommendations are not mandatory, legally binding, nor final agency action. The recommendations are a reference and resource for decision makers and interested parties working to bring the NEPA implementation processes in line with 21st Century methods and needs.

The Task Force’s recommendations focused on the following topics:

  • Technology and Information Management and Security
  • Federal and Intergovernmental Collaboration
  • Programmatic Analyses and Tiering
  • Adaptive Management and Monitoring
  • Categorical Exclusions
  • Environmental Assessments

The full report with the complete set of recommendations is published in hardcopy and is available in electronic format at

EPA Fines Costco $16,844 for Failing to Report Hazardous Chemical Inventory

EPA fined Costco Wholesale Corporation $16,844 for failing to report to the appropriate local and state authorities the amount its Tolleson, Ariz, facility was storing of extremely hazardous chemicals for the year 2000.

The company's cold storage warehouse was storing 18,000 pounds of liquid ammonia in a closed circuit refrigeration system, and 134,360 pounds of sulfuric acid and 188,535 pounds of lead both contained in forklift batteries and charging batteries.

The federal emergency planning and community-right-to-know law requires companies to report amounts of ammonia and sulfuric acid if they exceed 500 pounds. The reportable quantity for lead is 10,000 pounds.

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

Sulfuric acid and ammonia are classified by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration as extremely hazardous chemicals. Sulfuric acid is highly reactive with water, while ammonia will react with acids. The substances can be absorbed into the body by inhalation, through the skin and by ingestion, causing irritation and nervous system effects. Lead is a cumulative poison and can be absorbed into the body through the skin and ingestion, causing symptoms such as muscle weakness and in extreme cases coma and death.

The company reported almost a year after the due date.

Federal law requires that the owner or operator of a regulated facility to annually submit by March 1 a complete hazardous chemical inventory to the local and state emergency response commission and to the local fire department when the amount exceeds a specific quantity.