Hazardous Material Transport Rules Revised to Adopt International Standards

September 12, 2016

The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration has proposed to amend the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to maintain consistency with international regulations and standards by incorporating various amendments, including changes to proper shipping names, hazard classes, packing groups, special provisions, packaging authorizations, air transport quantity limitations, and vessel stowage requirements. These revisions are necessary to harmonize the HMR with recent changes made to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code, the International Civil Aviation Organization's Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air, and the United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods—Model Regulations.

Proposed changes include:

Provisions for Polymerizing Substances: PHMSA has proposed to revise the hazardous materials table (HMT) consistent with amendments adopted into the UN Model Regulations. Specifically, we propose to include into the HMT four new Division 4.1 entries for polymerizing substances and to add into the HMR defining criteria, authorized packagings, and safety requirements including, but not limited to, stabilization methods and operational controls.

Modification of the Marine Pollutant List: PHMSA has proposed to modify the list of marine pollutants in Appendix B to 49 CFR 172.101. The HMR maintain this list as the basis for regulating substances toxic to the aquatic environment and allow use of the criteria in the IMDG Code if a listed material does not meet the criteria for a marine pollutant. PHMSA periodically updates this list based on changes to the IMDG Code and evaluation of listed materials.

Packaging Requirements for Water-Reactive Materials Transported by Vessel: PHMSA has proposed amendments to packaging requirements for vessel transportation of water-reactive substances consistent with requirements in the IMDG Code. The amendments include changes to the packaging requirements to require certain commodities to have hermetically sealed packaging and to require other commodities—when packed in flexible, fiberboard, or wooden packagings—to have sift-proof and water-resistant packaging or packaging fitted with a sift-proof and water-resistant liner.

Hazard Communication Requirements for Lithium Batteries: PHMSA is proposing to revise hazard communication requirements for shipments of lithium batteries consistent with changes adopted in the 19th Revised Edition of the UN Model Regulations. Specifically, PHMSA has proposed to adopt a new lithium battery label in place of the existing Class 9 label; to amend the existing marking requirements for small lithium battery shipments in 49 CFR 173.185(c) to incorporate a new standard lithium battery mark for use across all modes; to delete the documentation requirement in 49 CFR 173.185(c) for shipments of small lithium cells and batteries; and to require the lithium battery mark be applied to each package containing small lithium cells or batteries contained in equipment when there are more than four lithium cells or two lithium batteries installed in the equipment or where there are more than two packages in the consignment.

Engine, Internal Combustion/Machinery, Internal Combustion: PHMSA is proposing to harmonize the HMT proper shipping names utilized for the transportation of engines and machinery containing engines with those in the UN Model Regulations. The agency is also proposing harmonization with the IMDG Code for domestic vessel shipments of engines, internal combustion, and machinery containing combustion engines. Under the proposals in this NPRM, the existing ”Engine, internal combustion” entries would be assigned their own UN numbers and hazard class based on the type of fuel (e.g., a flammable liquid powered engine is assigned a proper shipping name with a Class 3 designation). Existing requirements and exceptions for the transportation of engines and machinery containing engines transported by road, rail, and aircraft would remain unchanged. PHMSA is, however, proposing to harmonize the transportation requirements for transportation by vessel, which includes varying degrees of hazard communication based on the type of fuel, amount of fuel, and capacity of the fuel tank.

U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) Proposals: PHMSA is proposing several amendments to the HMR resulting from coordination with Canada under the U.S.-Canada RCC. Specifically, we propose provisions for recognition of Transport Canada (TC) cylinders, equivalency certificates (permit for equivalent level of safety), and inspection and repair of cargo tanks. These changes would be made in conjunction with Transport Canada proposing similar regulatory changes that will provide reciprocal recognition of DOT cylinders and DOT special permits.

Send comments on the proposal by 7 November 2016 to Steven Webb, Office of Hazardous Materials Standards or Aaron Wiener, International Standards, tel: 202-366-8553, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, U.S. DOT, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20590-0001.

New Exclusions for Solvent Recycling and Hazardous Secondary Materials

EPA’s new final on the definition of solid waste creates new opportunities for waste recycling outside the scope of the full hazardous waste regulations. This, which went into effect on July 13, 2015, streamlines the regulatory burden for wastes that are legitimately recycled.

The first of the two exclusions is an exclusion from the definition of solid waste for high-value solvents transferred from one manufacturer to another for the purpose of extending the useful life of the original solvent by keeping the materials in commerce to reproduce a commercial grade of the original solvent product.

The second, and more wide-reaching of the two exclusions, is a revision of the existing hazardous secondary material recycling exclusion. This exclusion allows you to recycle, or send off-site for recycling, virtually any hazardous secondary material. Provided you meet the terms of the exclusion, the material will no longer be hazardous waste.

Learn how to take advantage of these exclusions at Environmental Resource Center’s live webcast on October 14 where you will learn:

  • Which of your materials qualify under the new exclusions
  • What qualifies as a hazardous secondary material
  • Which solvents can be remanufactured, and which cannot
  • What is a tolling agreement
  • What is legitimate recycling
  • Generator storage requirements
  • What documentation you must maintain
  • Requirements for off-site shipments
  • Training and emergency planning requirements
  • If it is acceptable for the recycler to be outside the US

Bring your questions to this live webcast. Click here to register online or call 800-537-2372.

Columbus RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Columbus, OH, on September 20–22 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

San Diego Hazardous Waste/DOT Update Training

Register for California Hazardous Waste and DOT Hazardous Materials Update and Refresher Training in San Diego, CA, on September 22 and update your hazardous waste and DOT training in one day. To register for this course, click here or call 800-537-2372.

HAZWOPER Refresher, RCRA/DOT Update, and OSHA Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) 8-Hour Refresher Training in Cary, NC, on September 27 and ensure you are ready to respond. Attend RCRA Hazardous Waste and DOT Hazardous Materials Update and Refresher Training in Cary, NC, on September 28 and update your DOT and RCRA training in one day. Learn how to comply with OSHA General Industry Standards at the OSHA 10-Hour Compliance Course on September 29–30. To register for these courses, click here or call 800-537-2372.

EPA Identifies Initial Recipient of Electronic NPDES Data

EPA recently promulgated the NPDES Electronic Reporting Rule to modernize Clean Water Act reporting for municipalities, industries, and other facilities by converting to an electronic data reporting system. This final rule requires regulated entities and state and Federal regulators to use existing, available information technology to electronically report data required by the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program instead of filing written paper reports.

This regulation will help provide greater clarity on who is and who is not in compliance and enhances transparency by providing a timelier, complete, more accurate, and nationally consistent set of data about the NPDES program. The final rule requires EPA to publish in the Federal Register a listing of the initial recipients for electronic NPDES information from NPDES-regulated facilities by state, tribe, and territory and by NPDES data group. This listing must identify for NPDES-regulated facilities the initial recipient of their NPDES electronic data submissions and the due date for these NPDES electronic data submissions. This Federal Register document provides an overview of the initial recipient's term as well as the listing of the initial recipients by state, tribe, and territory and by NPDES data group and the due date for NPDES electronic data submissions. In accordance with the final rule, EPA will update this listing on its Web site and in the Federal Register if there are any changes.


State elected for EPA to be initial recipient for general permit reports (NPDES Data Group No. 2)

State elected for

EPA to be initial recipient for DMRs (NPDES Data Group No. 3)

State elected for EPA to be initial recipient for program reports (NPDES Data Group Nos. 4 through 10)


Yes (all)


Yes (all)


Yes (all)


Yes (all)

New Jersey



Yes (only for CAFO Annual Report)

North Carolina

Yes (only for Low Erosivity Waivers and No Exposure Certifications)




Yes (all)


Yes (all)

Rhode Island

Yes (all)


Yes (all)

EPA Finalizes Cross State Air Pollution Rule

EPA has finalized updates to the agency's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) that will help protect communities in the eastern U.S. from smog-forming pollution that crosses state lines and will help states meet the 2008 air quality standards for smog, or ozone. The CSAPR Update will continue to reduce summertime emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) from power plants that contribute to downwind ozone problems in the eastern U.S.

“Today’s update builds on the decades of success under the Clean Air Act that has led to significant cuts in nitrogen oxide emissions from upwind states that affect their downwind neighbors,” said Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “The common-sense actions that power plants can take to quickly and affordably reduce this harmful pollution will help protect the health and lives of millions of Americans, restore visibility at our nation’s most treasured parks, and ensure that air quality continues to improve in the eastern United States.”

The CSAPR Update identifies cuts in NOX emissions in 22 states that contribute significantly to downwind ozone air quality problems and can be achieved using already installed, proven and cost-effective control technologies and other readily available approaches at affected sources. The cuts in NOx emissions under the final rule will lead to significant improvements in air quality starting in the 2017 ozone season (May-September).

EPA estimates that in 2017 this rule and other changes already underway in the power sector will help cut ozone season NOx emissions by 80,000 tons—a 20% reduction from 2015 levels. The final rule will provide annual benefits of up to $880 million in 2017, far outweighing the estimated costs of $68 million. For every dollar invested, American families would see up to $13 in health benefits.

The final CSAPR Update also provides improvements to visibility in national and state parks, and increases protection for sensitive ecosystems including Adirondack lakes and Appalachian streams, coastal waters and estuaries, and forests.

NOX emissions can react in the atmosphere to create ground-level ozone pollution, especially during the warm summer months. These pollutants can travel long distances, often crossing state lines and making it difficult for other states to meet and maintain the air quality standards for ozone that EPA establishes to protect public health.

Following the Clean Air Act’s “good neighbor” mandate to limit interstate air pollution, the rule will help states that are struggling to protect air quality from pollution emitted outside their borders, and it uses an approach that can be applied in the future to help areas continue to meet and maintain air quality health standards. Under the "good neighbor" provision, states develop state implementation plans while EPA plays a backstop role by issuing federal implementation plans (FIPs) if a state fails to submit an approvable plan. The recent action provides the FIP, and a partial remedy, for all 22 affected states under EPA's backstop obligation.

CSAPR, which was finalized in 2011, was designed to help states meet the 1997 ozone standards. EPA’s approach in the 2011 rule has now been affirmed by the Supreme Court and EPA is applying this same approach to the 2008 ozone air quality standards to help states address transported ozone pollution under the strengthened standards. The final CSAPR Update reflects stakeholder input and more than 15,000 comments received during the public comment process for the proposal, a public hearing, and a July 2015 Notice of Data Availability (NODA). The rule also responds to the July 2015 decision of the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, addressing the court's concerns regarding ozone season NOx emissions budgets for 11 states.

Southern California Edison Fined $39,127 for Hazardous Waste Violations

The EPA recently announced a settlement with Southern California Edison for improper management of hazardous waste on Catalina Island. The electric utility company has agreed to pay a $39,127 penalty.

Southern California Edison (SCE) is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, providing electrical power to 15 million people across central, coastal and Southern California. EPA conducted an unannounced site inspection at SCE’s Catalina Island facility in Avalon, California, in September 2015 under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

“In a place as biologically unique as Catalina Island, large quantity generators of hazardous waste like SCE have a special responsibility to run a tight ship,” said Kathleen Johnson, EPA’s Enforcement Division Director for the Pacific Southwest. “The key to preventing an unintended hazardous release is vigilance.”

EPA found that the utility was storing hazardous waste for over 90 days and universal waste for over 1 year without the proper permits. In addition, staff members conducting weekly inspections had not been adequately trained and were not checking the date labels on the waste containers. SCE has since corrected all of the identified compliance issues.

Under EPA's RCRA program, hazardous substances must be stored, handled and disposed of using measures that safeguard public health and the environment. EPA routinely conducts RCRA inspections in its state oversight role.

Cities Are at the Frontline of the Energy Transition

Cities dominate energy demand, and by extension are responsible for a significant share of carbon emissions. In 2013, the world’s urban areas accounted for about 64% of global primary energy use and produced 70% of the planet’s carbon dioxide emissions. These shares will rise as cities grow and urban economic activity expands. As the world seeks to make more efficient use of its energy resources, increase energy security and meet global climate targets, it is essential that cities take a leading role in the energy transition.

Thankfully, there are a wide range of solutions for reducing the carbon footprint and improving the energy efficiency of urban areas. For example, according to IEA analysis presented in the special section on urban energy systems in Energy Technology Perspectives 2016 (ETP 2016) the gradual evolution of urban transport systems to encourage walking, cycling and public transit could save $21 trillion by 2050, while at the same time making a significant dent in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. But the longer action is delayed, the greater the chances that inefficient choices will be “locked-in” for decades to come. This focus on urban energy systems in ETP 2016 provides policymakers at both national and local levels the tools and analysis necessary to set realistic targets to encourage immediate action.

Policy at the national level must encourage the deployment of clean energy technologies, and include GHG emission reduction targets (such as those under the Paris Agreement), carbon pricing mechanisms, and investment in energy research, development, and demonstration.

But these targets must then be complemented by action at the local level. To meet their renewable energy targets, cities can provide detailed solar maps giving valuable information on expected energy yields and installation costs for buildings and houses in various neighborhoods, for example. On transportation and fossil fuel emissions, cities can also invest in the long-term development of walking and cycling infrastructure. For energy efficiency, cities can take a leading role in adopting, monitoring, and enforcing building energy codes for new construction.

There are cities that are already taking serious action. Some small towns in the United States are already running entirely on renewable power, including Aspen, Colorado, and Burlington, Vermont. Bigger cities have set ambitious goals, with Copenhagen, Denmark, aiming to be carbon neutral by 2025. San Diego, California, aims to be 100% powered by renewable sources by 2035, and Vancouver, Canada, by 2050.

Even some of the world’s biggest cities are seeing encouraging results. Yokohama is the second-largest city in Japan with a population of 3.7 million and like many other cities in the world, rapid urbanization has increased energy use, caused traffic jams, and led to spikes in air pollution and GHG emissions. In 2010, the city decided to tackle the issue and improve its energy management, doing its part to mitigate climate change. The Yokohama Smart City Project began as a five-year pilot in three districts. It has since been deployed to the entire city, covering about 435 square kilometers. The project uses smart grids to manage the energy needs of households, buildings and local communities. It introduced about 37 megawatts of solar PV generation spread over 265 locations across the city (enough to power more than 9 000 Japanese households) has deployed over 2,000 electric vehicles, and has seen great success in using incentives to limit electricity use.

There is growing momentum behind the role of the city in taking action on climate and sustainability. Ten years ago the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group was established as a global network of cities that are developing and implementing policies to reduce emissions. Today, the C40 network consists of more than 75 cities, representing more than 550 million people. As part of the C40 network, Paris has committed to reducing CO2 emissions in municipal buildings, in part by undertaking deep renovations of 600 public schools to save 65 gigawatt hours of electricity per year. More than 2 000 of such measurable actions have been taken by C40 cities around the globe.

Cities are naturally positioned to make these kinds of changes. The density of human, economic, and intellectual capital in the world’s cities can be a driving force for the acceleration of clean energy development and deployment. As more and more cities take the opportunity to act as innovation hubs and test beds for sustainable urban energy technology, the closer the whole world will be to providing secure, sustainable and affordable energy for all.

Mid Pac Petroleum Fined $200,000 for Clean Air Act Violations

The EPA recently announced a settlement valued at more than $600,000 with Mid Pac Petroleum, LLC, resolving federal Clean Air Act violations at the company’s Kawaihae facility on the Island of Hawaii.

EPA claimed that for more than a decade Mid Pac Petroleum failed to install required vapor pollution controls and comply with a volatile organic compound (VOC) pollution limit at its gasoline storage facility. Failure to limit these emissions led to the illegal discharge of about 20 tons of VOCs into the air each year from its gasoline loading equipment. Mid Pac Petroleum will now spend an estimated $432,000 to bring its facility into compliance with the law, and has agreed to pay a $200,000 civil penalty.

"This is EPA's second settlement in the past year that will improve air quality on the Island of Hawaii,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA's Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. "As with Aloha Petroleum’s facility in Hilo, we are requiring Mid Pac Petroleum to install air pollution controls, cutting health risks to local residents."

Bulk gasoline terminals are large storage tank facilities where gasoline is pumped through a loading rack into tanker trucks for distribution to gasoline service stations. Vapors containing VOCs and hazardous air pollutants, including benzene, a known human carcinogen, can leak from storage tanks, pipes, and tanker trucks as they are loaded.

Developer Admits to Improperly Removing Asbestos from Historic Building

James Powers, 59, of Washington, D.C., plead guilty recently to violating the Clean Air Act for his role in a scheme to improperly remove asbestos from a historic building in the District of Columbia.

The guilty plea, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, was announced by Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden, head of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips of the District of Columbia and Acting Special Agent in Charge Jennifer Lynn of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) criminal enforcement program in the Mid-Atlantic States.

Asbestos, a once-popular fireproofing insulation, is now known to cause lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma in people who inhale the fibers released when asbestos is disturbed. Congress has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos. The Clean Air Act requires that renovation in asbestos-containing properties follow specific protocols designed to safely remove asbestos from the property prior to any renovation or demolition activity, so as not to expose workers to the risk of deadly respiratory diseases.

“Our nation’s Clean Air Act requires strict adherence to the practices that protect the public from exposure to asbestos and includes criminal liability for those who do not comply with the law,” said Assistant Attorney General Cruden. “This prosecution is part of the Justice Department’s continuing commitment to protect the public and workers who are particularly vulnerable to harm from irresponsible, unsafe and illegal practices in the work place.”

“James Powers put a work crew and the public at risk by not taking the proper steps to safely renovate a building containing asbestos,” said U.S. Attorney Phillips. “The Clean Air Act specifically establishes standards for the safe handling of this dangerous material. This prosecution holds this businessman accountable for his recklessness and shows we will enforce laws that protect the health and safety of workers and citizens in the District of Columbia.”

“Exposure to asbestos poses serious risks to public health and our communities, so it’s imperative that it be handled properly and disposed of safely,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Lynn. “This case demonstrates EPA and its law enforcement partners will hold accountable those who put the public at risk through unsafe practices.”

The development project at issue involved renovating the historic Friendship House, located at 619 D Street SE in Washington, D.C., into condominiums, a development known as the Maples. According to a statement of offense submitted as part of the guilty plea, in March 2010, Powers formed a partnership with a local real estate development firm to purchase and renovate the property. An asbestos survey of the property documented asbestos throughout the property, including in floor tiles, wallboard, and pipe insulation.

After the survey, the partnership received bids from licensed professional asbestos abatement and renovation firms in the area. Despite knowing that the building contained asbestos, Powers hired Larry Miller, 58, of Palmetto, Georgia, a general contractor from Atlanta with no training, certification, or experience in asbestos abatement, to conduct interior demolition and renovation of the building. The written contract with Miller specifically excluded removal of asbestos from the property. Powers told Miller that the asbestos would be abated by another contractor after Miller’s work and did not fully inform Miller about the extent of asbestos in the property. Powers represented to his partners that a qualified entity would conduct appropriate asbestos abatement at the property. He emailed them a proposed asbestos abatement contract from a corporation that, unbeknownst to his partners, was simply an alter ego for Powers.

During the period between August 2011 and October 2011, according to the statement of offense, Miller and his crew of workers conducted interior demolition at the Maples, without any asbestos abatement having occurred as required under the Clean Air Act. Powers also contracted with a waste disposal company to haul construction debris from the Maples off-site. Powers failed to inform the waste disposal company that the construction debris contained asbestos and the debris was not taken to a site qualified to receive asbestos waste.

Even after an inspection by local environmental authorities revealed asbestos in the building, Powers had Miller and his crew members proceed with demolition. Over the course of the project, the workers disturbed substantial quantities of asbestos, exposing themselves to a substantial risk of serious illness later in life.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson for the District of Columbia scheduled sentencing for December 16. The charge carries a statutory maximum of five years in prison and potential financial penalties.

Miller pleaded guilty on Nov. 19, 2015, to one count of negligent endangerment under the Clean Air Act. He is awaiting sentencing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The charge carries a maximum sentence of not more than one year of imprisonment, a fine of up to $100,000 and a term of supervised release and/or probation.

After the acts described in the statement of offense, a licensed asbestos abatement firm conducted abatement at the Maples. The District of Columbia Department of the Environment subsequently conducted inspections and found the property to be free of all asbestos-containing materials.

Scientists Recommend Strategies To Reduce Environmental Damage From Dams

Dams around the world provide critical water supplies and hydropower to growing communities and hundreds of new dams are proposed for developing economies. Though viewed as sources of potential green energy, their construction also poses a significant environmental cost.

"Managing rivers to better meet both human and ecosystem needs is a complex societal challenge," says Jack Schmidt, professor in the Department of Watershed Sciences at Utah State University. "People need water and power, but damming rivers causes substantial damage to ecosystem functions and services."

New research conducted at Glen Canyon Dam on the U.S. Colorado River offers insights into ways to temper detrimental effects of dams, including a proposed management technique to mitigate the impacts of a common hydropower practice called "hydropeaking" that affects river food webs.

Schmidt and colleague LeRoy Poff of Colorado State University discuss findings, within the context of global pressure to build new dams, in a "Perspectives" paper published September 8, 2016, in Science.

"Dams change rivers by creating artificial lakes, fragmenting river networks and distorting natural patterns of sediment transport and seasonal variations in water temperature and stream flow," says Schmidt, who served as chief of the U.S. Geological Survey's Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center from 2011 to 2014.

Hydropeaking, he says, is a practice used to increase river flows from hydroelectric dams during periods of peak demand by electricity consumers. "Hydropeaking creates a fluctuating daily pattern of water flows that can severely impair productive shoreline habitats through repeated wetting and drying," Schmidt says. "A conundrum for river scientists and managers is how to counter these negative effects in a cost-effective manner."

Organisms particularly vulnerable to hydropeaking are aquatic insects, vital strands of the river food web, which lay their eggs near shorelines. "Managers have to meet customer demand so total elimination of hydropeaking isn't an option," Schmidt says. "However, we assert that even small adjustments to river flow regimes might help to restore river ecosystems."

He and Poff summarize recent studies that illustrate how some small changes in dam operations can have big effects downstream. For instance, the recent study on the Colorado River downstream from Glen Canyon Dam, conducted by the USFS GCMRC, suggests, "giving aquatic insects the weekend off."

"Eliminating hydropeaking during these two days of the week may allow insects some recovery time," he says. "It might re-establish a more natural food web and thereby benefit fish in the Grand Canyon ecosystem."

Restorative efforts at existing dams can only do so much, however. Schmidt and Poff recommend proposed dam construction in southeast Asia, South America, and Africa be preceded by cautious strategic planning regarding the number of dams, as well as their location, design, and how they will be operated.

"Although hydroelectricity is renewable energy, hydropower is not necessarily 'green' unless dams are located and operated in a carefully considered way," Schmidt says. "In a world of growing demand for water and energy, we face an increasingly uncertain hydrological future," he says. "We have to balance economic gain against environmental degradation."

Ardagh Glass Agrees to Pay $3.5 Million for Multiple Hazardous Waste Violations

Ardagh Glass, Inc. (AGI), a company that manufactures wine bottles, will pay $3.5 million to settle violations of California’s hazardous waste laws. A settlement was filed in Fresno County by the California Attorney Generals Office on behalf of DTSC. AGI has agreed to pay $3.5 million for multiple hazardous waste violations discovered during inspections in 2010 and 2011, while the company was owned by Saint Gobain Containers, Inc. The settlement also requires AGI to follow audit practices to ensure that it remains in compliance with hazardous waste laws.

The violations were based on allegations that dust containing lead, arsenic, cadmium, and selenium that exceeded hazardous waste limits was illegally introduced into the manufacture of new bottles at the facility, which is located at 24441 Avenue 12 in Madera. The contaminated dust was collected from air pollution control equipment used to capture regulated pollutants that are emitted from the glass-making furnace. The pollutants would otherwise be released into the environment.

The complaint also alleges that AGI:

  • Illegally disposed of hazardous waste at various locations throughout the facility
  • Illegally disposed of other hazardous waste to landfills not authorized to accept hazardous waste
  • Failed to have a legally mandated contingency plan to deal with spills or other unplanned releases
  • Inadequately trained staff to handle hazardous waste at the facility

“Compliance with the hazardous waste law is fundamental in protecting the health of workers and community as well as the environment,” said Keith Kihara, Chief of DTSCs enforcement division. “We are encouraged that AGI is working with us to take the necessary steps to comply with California’s hazardous waste laws.”

As a condition of the settlement, AGI agreed to take a number of actions designed to prevent future violations. These include hiring an independent auditor to conduct three hazardous waste audits at 18-month intervals. The auditor will prepare and submit reports to DTSC that evaluate AGI’s ongoing compliance with the hazardous waste laws.

The penalties will be deposited into DTSCs Orphan Site Fund. The account funds cleanup for sites that are not on the National Priorities List, but where hazardous substances still pose an environmental or public health threat and the responsible parties for the contamination are unknown, unwilling, or unable to pay for the cleanup.

EPA Awarded Three GreenGov Presidential Sustainability Awards

The EPA has received three White House Presidential GreenGov sustainability awards, including one for helping Long Island communities develop post-Hurricane Sandy climate resiliency strategies. The White House announced the 2016 GreenGov Presidential Awards winners at a ceremony Wednesday in Washington. The GreenGov Presidential Awards celebrate outstanding achievement in the pursuit of President Obama’s federal sustainability goals.

“At EPA, we are committed to sustainability and to leading by example,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “We are proud that recent efforts by EPA staff to advance climate resiliency, composting, and sustainable demolition practices are being recognized with a GreenGov Presidential award.”

EPA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) were awarded this year’s Resilience Role Model Award for their work with state and local leaders to develop climate resiliency strategies and environmentally sustainable Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts on Long Island. The agencies are jointly developing tools and resources to help other communities facing similar recovery and resiliency challenges in the future.

EPA and the General Services Administration (GSA) received the Green Dream Team Award for their effort to establish a successful compost collection program at the EPA's Washington, D.C. headquarters. GSA is working to expand compost collection services to more than 50 other federal buildings in the National Capital region.

The 2016 Good Neighbor Award recognized EPA for creating a toolkit that helps municipalities make environmentally sound decisions during demolitions of vacant homes. The number of vacant homes across the nation grew by 44% from 2000 to 2010.

Other 2016 GreenGov awardees include NASA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Energy Commission Proposes Energy Savings for Computers and Monitors

The California Energy Commission released an updated staff report on standards for computers and monitors that could save consumers an estimated $373 million annually. This marks the start of the final comment period before the Commission will vote on the standards by the end of the year.

In California, computers and computer monitors use an estimated 5,610 gigawatt-hours of electricity, which equals about 3% of residential electricity use and 7% of commercial use. Energy Commission studies focus on achieving significant efficiency improvements when computers sit idle, wasting energy and money. The Commission’s proposal estimates energy savings from computers and monitors is equivalent to the electricity use of all homes in San Francisco.

“Computers are an everyday appliance for many Californians and waste energy when they often sit idle,” said Commissioner Andrew McAllister, who is the Energy Commission's lead on energy efficiency. “Cutting energy while no one is using a computer can save consumers millions on their utility bills, which reduces the need to generate more electricity. The proposed standards are a win-win made possible by the cooperation of so many who contributed their knowledge throughout the process.”

Working with industry, nonprofit, environmental, and consumer groups and utilities, the Energy Commission’s proposed standards vary by computer type—desktops and thin clients, notebooks, and small-scale servers and workstations—and allow manufacturers the flexibility to choose how to comply.

The core opportunity for energy savings in computers is found in reducing the amount of energy consumed in idle modes. The proposed standards set a baseline energy use target and rely on a calculation to place a computer into categories, based on the additional technology added to the unit. The Energy Commission estimates the standards for desktop computers will add about $14 to the cost of a computer but save consumers more than $40 in electricity bills over five years. For desktop computers, the first-tier standards would take effect January 1, 2019, and the second-tier would take effect July 1, 2021.

The majority of notebook computers are already energy efficient. The proposed standards base for notebooks is 30-kilowatt hours per year and would take effect January 1, 2019. The estimated additional cost is $1 and saves consumers more than double that over four years. For small-scale servers and workstations, the component requirements and power management settings are consistent with the ENERGY STAR® 6.1 voluntary standards. The standards would take effect January 1, 2018. The estimated increase in cost for both small-scale servers and workstations is $13. Over five years, the savings would be nearly $30 for workstations and $20 for small-scale servers.

There are more than 25 million computer monitors installed in homes and businesses in California. The Energy Commission proposes a maximum on-mode requirement—based on screen area and resolution—and maximum power levels for sleep mode and off mode for monitors 17 inches and above. This measure would cost an additional $5, but would save consumers more than $30 over seven years. The monitor standards would kick in July 1, 2019.

The proposed standards for monitors provide additional leeway for specialized, low-sales-volume monitors, such as enhanced performance displays, through energy allowances. These allowances are reduced over a year and a half to drive additional energy savings. A workshop will be held on October 10 and comments on the proposed standards can be made through October 24.

Rutgers Organics Corporation Agrees to $18.75 Million Cleanup

The Department of Justice, EPA, U.S. Department of Interior and the state of Ohio announced that Rutgers Organics Corporation (Rutgers) has agreed to complete the cleanup of the Nease Chemical Superfund Site (site) near Salem, Ohio, estimated to cost $18.75 million. The agreement is memorialized in a consent decree lodged in federal court in Youngstown, Ohio. Under the consent decree, Rutgers also agrees to restore injured natural resources at the site and nearby areas, at a cost of approximately $500,000. Further, Rutgers will reimburse federal and state agencies their past response and assessment costs of about $1 million.

In a complaint filed simultaneously with the lodging of the consent decree, the federal and state agencies allege that, between 1961 and 1973, portions of the site were owned and operated by a chemical manufacturing plant known as the Nease Chemical Company (Nease Chemical). Nease Chemical produced specialty products including pesticides such as Mirex, a probable human carcinogen no longer produced in the United States. Hazardous substances derived from these specialty products were detected in the soil, ground water, sediments, and flood plains/wetlands in the area, as well as in the fish in the nearby main surface water body, the Middle Fork Little Beaver Creek. Rutgers acquired the assets of Nease Chemical, which ceased operations in 1973. Since 1988, Rutgers has cooperated with EPA to investigate and clean up the site.

Under the consent decree, Rutgers will complete EPAs Operable Unit 2 remedy at the site by, among other things, capping soil and treating the ponds and ground water. Rutgers will also complete EPAs Operable Unit 3 remedy at the site, by, among other things, removing contaminated sediment and floodplain soil and replacing with clean material. The total cleanup, including long-term operations and maintenance, is estimated to cost $18.75 million.

The contamination released from the chemical plant over time has injured natural resources in and around the site, including the underlying groundwater aquifers, which have become unusable as a source of potable water. As part of the settlement, Rutgers will remove a low-head dam, known as the Lisbon Dam on the Middle Fork Little Beaver Creek and restore adjacent streamside habitat. Those projects, estimated to cost up to $150,000, are expected to help establish a free-flowing stream with a healthy and diverse fish population.

Rutgers will also fund a $366,000 trust to conserve a variety of lands in the Little Beaver Creek watershed, especially lands that are subject to pressures from new development in the area, to help provide valuable habitat. The trust will also seek to conserve property to protect local drinking water source areas from further contamination.

Further, Rutgers will reimburse the federal and state agencies for their past response and assessment costs, totaling approximately $1 million and agrees to fund all future oversight and assessment costs.

This settlement will help protect the environment and Ohio families, said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. It requires the cleanup of a long-containated site and the restoration and preservation of natural resources.

About 280-acres of habitat were contaminated by hazardous substances injuring surface and ground waters at the former Nease Chemical site, said Ohio EPA Director Craig W. Butler. Healthy streams and waterways are critical to Ohio’s citizens and our economy. This consent decree is a welcome step forward after many years of work to bring the area stream habitats back to healthy, functioning waterways and protecting drinking water resources into the future.

The settlement, lodged with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, is subject to a 30-day public comment period following notification in the Federal Register and final approval by the court. To view the consent decree or to submit a comment, visit the departments website: www.justice.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html.

For more information about the Nease Site: https://cumulis.epa.gov/supercpad/cursites/csitinfo.cfm?id=0504619]

Environmental News Links

California Tightens Climate Change Rules Under Bills Signed by Governor

This Is What the Climate Bill Jerry Brown Signed Means

EPA to Shut Some Oklahoma Wastewater Wells After Quake

Climate Change Increased Chances of Record Rains in Louisiana by at Least 40 Percent

Ranchers Concerned About Hazardous Waste Contamination from Landfill

Semi Carrying Hazardous Material Overturns on Toll Road

Hazardous Material Spill Shuts Down U.S. 250

Fire Crews Evacuate Akron Business After Hazardous Materials Release

EPA Takes Aim at Abandoned Dry Cleaners

Students Screened After Mercury Found in Las Vegas Junior High School

Climate Change isn’t Just Making Us Hot

Trivia Question of the Week

Which type of battery is typically not classified as a Universal Waste, as defined by EPA?

a. Alkaline

b. Lithium

c. Nickel Cadmium

d. They must all be managed as universal waste per the EPA regulations