Free COVID-19 Safety Training

December 14, 2020
Employers now have a free and flexible resource to help them comply with rules aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus in the workplace, thanks to an interactive online training course developed by Oregon OSHA.
The multimedia course, “COVID-19 Training Requirements,” is designed to help employers meet certain employee training requirements found in Oregon OSHA’s temporary rule, which addresses the risks of COVID-19 in the workplace.
“This course adds to a growing number of resources we’re producing and providing to employers to help them achieve success in complying with this rule,” said Roy Kroker, consultation and public education manager for Oregon OSHA.
The temporary rule took effect Nov. 16, with certain parts phased in, and is expected to remain in effect until May 4, 2021. The rule requires employers to comply with employee training requirements no later than Dec. 21, 2020. However, certain employers who have been particularly affected by the recent two-week freeze and newly adopted risk levels will have more time to meet the deadlines for the rule’s training and related provisions. A Dec. 7 enforcement memo describes these decisions in more detail.
The multimedia course is available in English and Spanish. It is divided into four interactive modules and takes about an hour to complete. It provides an overview of the training requirements and explains the dangers of COVID-19. It illustrates the signs, symptoms, and spread of the virus and shows how to reduce its hazards through physical distancing, face coverings, sanitation, and proper ventilation. And it concludes by covering several more topics.
Supported by powerful visuals and graphics, the course offers links to additional resources to help employers achieve compliance. The course, which is also available as a PowerPoint for instructors, includes an opportunity to obtain a certificate of completion.
The course is built to provide employers with a solid foundation to understand the hazards of COVID-19 and the solutions that are available to keep workers safe. It is not intended to replace an employer’s COVID-19 training.
Oregon OSHA encourages a careful reading of the temporary rule. Meanwhile, the division continues to roll out new resources to help employers and workers understand the requirements and achieve compliance.
Those new resources include:
These and other resources are available on the division’s COVID-19 resources web page in the green box under “COVID-19-Related Rule Updates.”
Get Your RCRA and DOT Training Online
To help you get the training you need, Environmental Resource Center has added a number of dates to our already popular live webcast training. Stay in compliance and learn the latest regulations from the comfort of your office or home. Webcast attendees receive the same benefits as our seminar attendees including expert instruction, comprehensive course materials, one year of access to our AnswerlineTM service, course certificate, and a personalized user portal on Environmental Resource Center’s website.
Upcoming hazardous waste and DOT hazardous materials webcasts:
EPA Finalized NAAQS for Particulate Matter
Particulate matter, also known as PM, includes fine particles, which are 2.5 micrometers in diameter and smaller. They can be emitted directly from a variety of sources, including vehicles, smokestacks, and fires. They also form when gases emitted by power plants, industrial processes, and gasoline and diesel engines react in the atmosphere. Coarse particles, which have diameters between 2.5 and 10 micrometers, include road dust that is kicked up by traffic, some agricultural operations, construction and demolition operations, industrial processes, and biomass burning.
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the agency’s final decision to retain the existing National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter (PM) set by the Obama-Biden Administration without changes.
“The EPA under the Trump Administration has continued America’s leadership in clear air, lowering our particulate matter levels to well below those of many of our global competitors,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Maintaining these important standards will ensure Americans can continue to breathe some of the cleanest air on the planet.”
“I am very proud to join EPA Administrator Wheeler for this important announcement for our whole country. The fact that the U.S. has the most vibrant economy in the world, and yet our particulate matter is five times lower than the global average, is a testament to the leadership of President Trump, the U.S. EPA, and the entire Trump Administration,” said West Virginia Governor Jim Justice. “In West Virginia, our air is the cleanest it’s been in over 40 years and our economy is on the move. The outside world is learning that West Virginia is the diamond in the rough that they may have missed, and an excellent place to raise a family and grow a business in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. I couldn’t be happier to celebrate this great accomplishment.”
“This is an important announcement for West Virginia. We need to continue to support policies that keep our air clean, while protecting the job producers in our state. This regulation accomplishes those goals,” said West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.
“Today's announcement by the EPA of the finalization of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards rule is a big win for West Virginia. As crafted this rule well balances the need for a cleaner environment with the need for continued economic development. Under the leadership of President Trump, America has cleaner air and is energy independent, with West Virginia serving as the backbone for our nation's energy production,” said Congressman Alex X. Mooney (WV-02).
The U.S. has some of the lowest fine particulate matter levels in the world – approximately five times below the global average, six times below Chinese levels, and 20 percent lower than France, Germany, and Great Britain. Between 2000 and 2019, average PM2.5 concentrations in the U.S. fell by 44 percent and average PM10 concentrations similarly fell by 46 percent.
The decision to retain existing standards set by the Obama-Biden Administration, which applies to the NAAQS for both fine and coarse particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), comes after careful review and consideration of the most recent available scientific evidence and technical information, consultation with the agency’s independent scientific advisors, and consideration of more than 60,000 public comments on the proposal.
EPA has redesignated 57 nonattainment areas to attainment with standards for six key criteria air pollutants: carbon monoxide, ground-level ozone, lead, nitrogen oxides, PM, and sulfur oxides. This includes nine areas for PM2.5 and twelve areas for PM10. These redesignations mean cleaner air, improved health outcomes, and greater economic opportunities for cities and communities across the country.
In October, EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio announced that the State of West Virginia meets all current air quality standards after the approval of the redesignation of Marshall County, West Virginia to attainment for the 2010 federal sulfur dioxide NAAQS. This redesignation marks the first time since 1978 that all the national air quality standards statewide for West Virginia have been attained. In addition, West Virginia is now the only state in the EPA Mid-Atlantic region where the entire state meets all the national standards for air pollutants under the Clean Air Act.
In May 2018, EPA issued a “Back-to-Basics” memo to improve EPA’s process for reviewing the NAAQS. The memo laid out goals to get EPA back on track with Clean Air requirements, statutory deadlines, and the issuance of timely implementation rules, to ensure continued improvements in air quality across the country.
The action follows the principles established in the earliest days of this administration to streamline the NAAQS review process. By implementing these principles, EPA was able to issue the final PM standards earlier than initially anticipated.
Learn How to Ship Vaccines and Other Materials in Dry Ice
When shipped by air, dry ice is classified as a dangerous good and personnel involved with its shipment must comply with stringent requirements for packaging, marking, labeling, and shipping documentation. Anyone involved in the shipment of dangerous goods must be trained on how to prepare and ship these materials by air in accordance with DOT and IATA requirements.
Attend this live interactive session, get your questions answered while you learn how to:
  • Classify and prepare shipments cooled with dry ice
  • Comply with both FAA and IATA regulations
  • Prepare shipments of dangerous goods packed with dry ice
  • Prepare shipping papers
  • Properly select, fill, and seal packages
  • Mark and label packages
  • Load, unload
  • Comply with requirements for ancillary equipment, such as trackers and temperature recorders
  • Implement essential safety and security procedures
Environmental Resource Center’s live webcast training is the best way to get certified. Learn from the experts at any of these upcoming sessions:
  • December 17 – 1:00-3:00 Eastern
  • January 14 – 1:00-3:00 Eastern
  • February 22 – 1:00-3:00 Eastern
Also available is Environmental Resource Center’s online Dry Ice training that you can take anytime at your convenience.
For a complete list of other dangerous goods transportation courses, see this link.
Tis the Season to Recycle: Holiday Recycling Tips from LDEQ
Give your environment a present this holiday season and properly dispose of holiday waste. Every season is the season to recycle. However, like the rest of the nation, Louisiana produces more waste in December than any other month. The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) offers some useful tips on planning and being environmentally friendly during the holidays.
When you prepare for the coming holidays, think green: reduce, reuse and recycle. Wrapping gifts can be a challenge. Be creative! Wrap a gift in a gift -- such as a scarf, bandana, dishtowel or cloth shopping bag.
Out with the old, so you have room for the new. If you have outgrown toys and clothing, consider donating them to charitable organizations. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, check with the charities for hours of donation. Discarded electronics (laptops, old CPUs, copiers, fax machines, printers and flat-screen monitors) may be donated to a local nonprofit agency or the Capital Area Corporate Recycling Council (CACRC). Due to COVID-19 restrictions, please check the CARC website for hours of donation at
Consider reducing environmental impact when decorating your home. An artificial tree doesn’t have to be discarded, and a live tree can be replanted. If you purchase a cut tree, remember that it cannot be flocked or have tinsel or decorations on it if it is to be recycled. Cut trees are usually collected in early January and are ground up into compost or mulch or used in other ways. You can find information about seasonal pickups and recycling through your parish or in East Baton Rouge at the EBR Parish Recycling website,
LED Christmas lights last longer, save energy and money, and can be recycled. Go to for recycling instructions. Cardboard can be put into a recycle bin or taken to a drop off location. Foam peanuts and bubble wrap can be reused. Buy rechargeable batteries for toys, cameras and gadgets. When those batteries no longer hold a charge, call the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation at 800-8-BATTERY (800-228-8379), or go to their website for information on the nearest battery recycling drop off location.
Have a safe holiday season and remember to never burn wrapping paper or Christmas trees in the fireplace. For more recycling ideas, go to
EPA Finalizes Benefit-Cost Analyses Procedures for Future Clean Air Act Rulemakings
On December 9, at a virtual event with the Heritage Foundation, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the finalization of a rule to establish new requirements to revise analyses of benefits and costs for all significant Clean Air Act rules, and considered to the extent allowed by law. According to the Agency, this rule will help ensure that Clean Air Act rules are analyzed consistently, transparently, and appropriately.
“Today’s action ensures that EPA is consistent in evaluating costs and benefits when developing broad-reaching policies that affect the American public,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Thanks to President Trump’s leadership, we are ensuring that future rulemakings under the Clean Air Act are transparent, fair, and consistent with EPA governing statutes, the American public deserves to know the benefits and costs of federal regulations.”
As a part of a larger effort of regulatory reform under the Trump Administration, EPA has taken a close look at how to improve assessments of benefits and costs that accompany regulatory actions. Many EPA statutes, including the Clean Air Act, contain language regarding cost consideration, but there are no regulations that ensure that EPA conducts an analysis of the benefits and costs in a consistent manner. This rule provides more consistent and transparent procedures to provide benefit cost analyses for significant rules promulgated under Clean Air Act.
In 2018, EPA issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to solicit public input on whether and how to change the way it considers benefits and costs in making regulatory decisions.
In response to comment received, in May 2019, Administrator Wheeler sent a memo directing agency leadership to develop rules for notice and comment that outline how benefit-cost considerations will be applied to future rulemakings in a more consistent and transparent manner.
Frank Holleman, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center, issued the following statement regarding the new rule: “This guidance continues the mistake the Trump EPA made when it opposed the Supreme Court’s decision in Maui: this EPA ignores the sole statutory objective of the Clean Water Act, which is the restoration and preservation of the integrity of the nation’s waters. EPA should be taking this opportunity to encourage polluters to eliminate the sources of pollution that flow through groundwater to rivers, streams, oceans, and lakes. This guidance doesn’t say a word about eliminating coal ash or toxic pollution that flows into our waterways every day. Instead, this EPA goes out of its way to minimize the importance of protecting our clean water from pollution that flows through groundwater.”
Emily Davis, senior attorney in the Climate & Clean Energy Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council said, “this is an egregious 11th-hour attempt to handcuff the incoming administration and undercut the benefits of clean air—in the worst days of a global health crisis. Our country is struggling to address racial injustice and a deadly pandemic magnified by pollution, which all heavily impact Black, Latino and low-income people.”
Water Contaminant Could Have Neurotoxic Effects on Children
Manganese isn’t considered a major water contaminant in America, but a new study is taking a closer look at whether it should be.
A naturally occurring metal, manganese can be found in water supplies throughout the world. Over time, excessive ingestion of manganese can produce cognitive disabilities in children and symptoms like those associated with Parkinson’s Disease in adults.
It has long been regulated as a primary contaminant in many Southeast Asian countries where the wet climate and monsoons cause manganese to leach into groundwater.
In the U.S., manganese is regulated as a secondary contaminant — meaning its standards are unenforceable and focus primarily on cosmetic issues — and public water supplies. UC Riverside scientists are asking whether this leaves private wells insufficiently guarded against exposure to manganese.
The researchers have received a $230,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to study whether communities relying on private wells are exposed to manganese-contaminated groundwater and if there are any associated health issues.
Though water treatment in major cities tends to remove manganese, more than 2 million Californians rely exclusively on private, untested, and untreated wells for their water.
“Private wells are shallower than public wells, which makes them more susceptible to manganese contamination,” explained UCR health economist Maithili Ramachandran. “International research suggests that over-exposure to manganese is neurotoxic, so the question we would like to answer is if there is an overlooked public health issue with manganese for communities reliant on domestic wells in California.”
The research team will investigate not only the connection between manganese exposure and community health, but also the socioeconomic factors that mediate a community’s risk of experiencing the health effects.
Specifically, the team will examine whether manganese has an effect on infants and young children by considering, among other factors, birth weight, school test scores, and grades in areas with a more than 50% chance of exposure to manganese.
Geographically, the study will focus on California’s Central Valley and coastal areas, where agricultural practices cause contaminants such as manganese to move from soil into groundwater.
“Manganese can be found in soils all over California, but it’s the way we use the land that can cause too much of it to get into our groundwater,” said UCR soil scientist Samantha Ying.
“Studies have tied high manganese levels in the groundwater of Southeast Asian countries to adverse health outcomes such as memory and attention deficits, but no study has yet quantified how manganese-contaminated water might affect public health in California,” she said.
Ying, who will co-lead the project, studies the movement of contaminants from soil into water systems relied on by people around the world. Most recently, she led a study showing how other soil compounds affect the speed with which manganese and arsenic move into groundwater. Ying’s team used a synchrotron, which is an extremely bright light, at the Canadian Light Source, to examine the chemistry of model aquifers. They found the presence of bicarbonate in soil causes lower manganese but higher arsenic concentrations in ground water. These findings have just been published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
The conditions that cause arsenic and manganese to leach are similar, so they tend to show up in groundwater in tandem. Arsenic has long been regulated as a primary contaminant in the U.S.
“Wells are labeled unsafe if they contain arsenic, but not if they contain manganese,” Ying said. “Thus, the number of wells considered safe may be greatly overestimated.”
The goal of research projects like these is to gather data to understand not only how manganese moves through the environment, but also to show its effects on public health in the U.S.
“We’re excited about the opportunity the NIH has provided us given there are reasons to believe that current federal and state regulations surrounding manganese in our drinking water need to be explored further,” said UCR environmental economist and study co-lead Kurt Schwabe.
Wastewater Solids Could Help Monitor COVID-19 Spread
Scientists have analyzed compounds in wastewater to gauge various aspects of public health, including narcotics usage, antibiotic resistance, and, more recently, the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Now, researchers reporting in ACS’ Environmental Science & Technology have discovered that measuring SARS-CoV-2 in settled solids from sewage treatment plants could be a more sensitive approach than measuring the virus in wastewater flowing into the facilities.
SARS-CoV-2 genes have been detected in the feces of many infected people, but it’s currently unknown whether the virus particles are intact and capable of infecting others. The flushed genes end up in wastewater, which makes its way to a community sewage treatment plant. There, solids are removed in settling tanks before the water is further treated and disinfected. Most previous studies have examined the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 genes in influent, which is the raw wastewater flowing into the plants, but Krista Wiggington, Alexandria Boehm and colleagues wondered if the virus might be easier to detect in the settled solids. If so, measuring SARS-CoV-2 levels in wastewater solids could be an effective way to monitor the spread of COVID-19 in communities.
The researchers collected and analyzed influent and settled solids from two sewage treatment plants in California over several days in March and April 2020. They found that the solids contained 100–1,000 times higher concentrations of SARS-CoV-2 genes than the wastewater influent on a per mass basis, making detection more sensitive and accurate for the solid samples. Then, the team used methods that they had optimized to analyze settled solids collected from one of the plants almost daily for more than 89 days. They found that the concentrations of SARS-CoV-2 genes on different days correlated with the number of new cases reported on those days in the community served by the treatment plant. In combination with COVID-19 testing, the approach could help guide public health responses to the pandemic, the researchers say.
New California Program to Reduce Climate Super Pollutants
The California Air Resources Board approved first-in-the-nation rules to curb the impact of powerful artificial refrigerants that pose a growing danger globally to efforts to contain the worst impacts of climate change.
The refrigerants, known as hydrofluorocarbons or HFCs, are considered to be super pollutants because they trap heat in the atmosphere thousands of times more effectively than carbon dioxide, the most prevalent greenhouse gas. These rules can serve as a national model for super pollutant reduction.
“Chemical refrigerants are fast-acting super pollutants and the fastest growing source of climate gases in the world today,” said CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols. “And as the earth grows warmer, people will need to cool food, medicine and their buildings even more than we do today. We need safer alternatives to be deployed as fast as possible.”
California is required to reduce HFC emissions 40 percent below 2013 levels by 2030 under Senate Bill 1383. The regulations are the most comprehensive of their kind in the world, and will help hit that target.
The new rules affect commercial and industrial, stationary refrigeration units, such as those used by large grocery stores, as well as commercial and residential air conditioning units. This equipment often leaks refrigerants over time. In other cases, emissions are released when the equipment is dismantled and destroyed at the end of its useful life.
These rules will contribute to reversing the growth trend in HFC emissions, a growing threat to the planet, and help the state achieve its goal of carbon neutrality. CARB estimates the regulations will achieve annual reductions by approximately 3.2 million metric tons of GHGs in 2030 and, with a cumulative reduction of more than 62 million metric tons by 2040, the equivalent of taking more than 12 million cars off the road. Potential benefits in avoided climate impacts could save more than $7 billion through 2040.
Prior to 2018, California was the only state that regulated HFCs. Sixteen other states have now passed legislation, based on California’s rules, or are in the process of doing so.
The rules also signal the beginning of the first refrigerant recycling program to put responsibility for compliance with manufacturers. The recycling effort will help develop an even more robust program that can serve as a national model. CARB will now move forward immediately with a new rulemaking limiting purchase or use of new high-global warming potential (GWP) refrigerant, and a partnership with other states and the federal government to design a national program. California will then work towards 100 percent refrigerant recovery and recycling.
Technology exists that makes it possible for new facilities to use refrigerants with very low-GWP today, such as naturally occurring substances like carbon dioxide or ammonia. Additionally, the next generation of synthetic refrigerants with lower GWPs are under rapid development, in part because of requirements like California’s that will likely become national standards. Starting in 2022, new facilities will be required to use refrigerants that can reduce their emissions by up to 90 percent. The intent of the new rules is to eliminate the use of very high-GWP refrigerants in every sector that uses non-residential refrigeration systems. Compliance begins for most home air conditioning equipment in 2025.
New EPA Clearinghouse for Environmental Finance
EPA has launched the Clearinghouse for Environmental Finance (Clearinghouse), an online database of land, air, and water information. This new Clearinghouse catalogues available funding, financing, and instructional resources to aid communities in their efforts to improve environmental conditions. The Office of Policy collaborated with the Office of Water to launch the new Clearinghouse.
“EPA has created a one-stop shop to make it easier for communities to access available funding and other agency resources,” said U.S. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Today’s action builds on my commitment to tear down the silos between programs within the agency so that we can be more effective in addressing the environmental burdens that communities face.”
The Administrator announced his commitment to community-based environmentalism during his speech at the Nixon Library in early September, where he charged the Office of Policy with helping to advance those goals. The Clearinghouse expands on the concept of the original Water Finance Clearinghouse, launched in 2017, that served as the one-stop shop for communities researching ways to fund and finance their water infrastructure needs to assist in local decision-making. The new Clearinghouse includes over 1,800 funding and financing opportunities and information resources from EPA’s air, water and land programs. Communities can use this system to access information on funding and financing opportunities for environmental projects as well as financial research, such as case studies, white papers, and webinars.
The public can access the Clearinghouse for Environmental Finance here:
Study Uncovers Hotspots of Arsenic in Drinking Water
A new national study of public water systems finds that arsenic levels are not uniform across the U.S., even after the implementation of the latest national regulatory standard. In the first study to assess differences in public drinking water arsenic exposures by geographic subgroups, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health researchers uncover inequalities in drinking-water arsenic exposure across certain sociodemographic subgroups and over time. Community water systems reliant on groundwater, serving smaller populations located in the Southwest, and Hispanic communities were more likely to continue exceeding the national maximum containment level, raising environmental justice concerns. Findings appear in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
“This research has important implications for public health efforts aimed at reducing arsenic exposure levels, and for advancing environmental justice,” says Anne Nigra, PhD, postdoctoral research fellow in environmental health sciences, and first author. “Systematic studies of inequalities in public drinking water exposures have been lacking until now. These findings identify communities in immediate need of additional protective public health measures.”
“Our objective was to identify subgroups whose public water arsenic concentrations remained above 10 µg/L after the new maximum arsenic contaminant levels were implemented and, therefore, at disproportionate risk of arsenic-related adverse health outcomes such as cardiovascular disease, related cancers, and adverse birth outcomes,” says Ana Navas-Acien, PhD, professor of environmental health sciences, and senior author.
Arsenic is a highly toxic human carcinogen and water contaminant present in many aquifers in the United States. Earlier research by the Columbia researchers showed that reducing the maximum contaminant level (MCL) from 50 to 10 µg/L prevented an estimated 200-900 cancer cases per year.
The researchers compared community water system arsenic concentrations during 2006-2008 and 2009-2011—the initial monitoring period for compliance with EPA’s 10 µg/L arsenic MCL. They estimated three-year average arsenic concentrations for 36,406 local water systems and 2,740 counties and compared differences in means and quantiles of water arsenic between both three-year periods for U.S. regions and sociodemographic subgroups.
Analyses were based on data from two of the largest EPA databases of public water available. Using arsenic monitoring data from the Third Six Year Review period (2006-2011), the researchers studied approximately 13 million analytical records from 139,000 public water systems serving 290 million people annually. Included were data from 46 states, Washington D.C., the Navajo Nation, and American Indian tribes, representing 95 percent of all public water systems and 92 percent of the total population served by public water systems nationally.
For 2006-2008 to 2009-2011, the average community water system arsenic concentrations declined by 10 percent nationwide, by 11.4 percent for the Southwest, and by 37 percent for New England, respectively. Despite the decline in arsenic concentrations, public drinking water arsenic concentrations remained higher for several sociodemographic subgroups—Hispanic communities, the Southwestern U.S, the Pacific Northwest, and the Central Midwest, in particular. Likewise, communities with smaller populations and reliant on groundwater were more likely to have high arsenic levels.
The percent of community water systems with average arsenic concentrations above the 10 µg/L MCL was 2.3 percent in 2009-2011 vs. 3.2 percent in 2006-2008. Community water systems that were not compliant with the arsenic MCL were more likely in the Southwest (61 percent), served by groundwater (95 percent), serving smaller populations (an average of 1,102 persons), and serving Hispanic communities (38 percent).
Nigra and Navas-Acien say that estimating public drinking water arsenic exposure for sociodemographic and geographic subgroups is critical for evaluating whether inequalities in arsenic exposure and compliance with the maximum contaminant levels persist across the U.S, to inform future national- and state-level arsenic regulatory efforts, and to investigate whether inequalities in exposure by subgroup contribute to disparities in arsenic-related disease. “Our findings will help address environmental justice concerns and inform public health interventions and regulatory action needed to eliminate exposure inequalities,” they write.
“We urge continued state and federal funding for infrastructure and technical assistance support for small public water systems in order to reduce inequalities and further protect numerous communities in the U.S. affected by elevated drinking water arsenic exposure,” says Nigra.
EPA Draft Guidance Clarifying Wastewater Permit Requirements Under Maui Decision
The Clean Water Act Section 402 NPDES permitting program—whether implemented directly by EPA or by a State that is authorized to carry out its own program in lieu of the federal program—regulates the “discharge of a pollutant” from a “point source” to “navigable waters,” terms which are all defined in the Act. Congress prohibited the “discharge of any pollutant” “from any point source” “to navigable waters” unless it is authorized, typically by a permit.
EPA has issued draft guidance that clarifies how the Supreme Court’s County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund decision should be applied under the Clean Water Act National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program. This guidance will help clarify when a NPDES permit is necessary under the Clean Water Act.
“EPA’s guidance will address several questions that the regulated community and others have raised since the Supreme Court issued its decision earlier this year,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water David Ross. “NPDES permits are essential tools that help protect our nation’s water resources. Understanding when such permits are needed is critical to the efficient administration of our Clean Water Act permitting programs.”
In its decision, the Supreme Court held that a NPDES permit is required for a discharge of pollutants from a point source that reaches “waters of the United States” after traveling through groundwater if that discharge is the “functional equivalent of a direct discharge from the point source into navigable waters.” The Maui decision also outlines seven non-exclusive factors that the regulated community and permitting authorities should consider when evaluating such a discharge from a point source, depending on the circumstances.
EPA’s draft guidance places the ‘functional equivalent’ analysis into context within the agency’s NPDES permit program. The draft reiterates the threshold conditions for triggering the requirement for a NPDES permit—an actual discharge of pollutants from a point source to a water of the United States. The guidance also proposes that the design and performance of the system or facility from which the pollutant is released is an additional factor that should be considered. When finalized, this action will provide guidance to assist the regulated community and permit authorities with incorporating the Supreme Court’s direction in Maui into existing Clean Water Act NPDES permit programs and authorized state programs.
This draft guidance will be available for public comment for 30 days following publication in the Federal Register.
Free Amazon HD 10 Tablet with RCRA and DOT Training
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 Training is available via live webcasts. If you plan to also attend DOT Hazardous Materials Training, call 800-537-2372 to find out how you can get your course materials on an Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet at no extra charge.
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Environmental Resource Center has openings for EHS consultants and trainers. If you are looking for a new challenge, send your resume and salary requirements to Brian Karnofsky at
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