October 21, 2019
EPA announced new user fees for hazardous waste manifests in order to cover the processing costs. The Agency is required to recalculate the fees ever two years using a formula in 40 CFR 265.1312. Because use of the e-manifest isn’t required, fewer electronic manifests than had been anticipated, resulting in a greater number of paper manifests, which are more costly to submit and process. The former and new fees are shown in the table below:
Manifest Submission Type
FY 2018/19 User Fee
FY 2020/21 User Fee
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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 at nationwide locations, and via live webcasts. If you plan to also attend DOT hazardous materials training
, call 800-537-2372 to find out how can get your course materials on a new Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet at no extra charge.
Major Rule for the Safe Transportation of Liquefied Natural Gas Proposed by DOT
The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), in coordination with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), announced that it will be publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM)
regarding the transportation of liquefied natural gas (LNG). The proposed rule will seek comment on changes to the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to authorize the transportation of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by rail in the DOT-113 specification tank cars.
The NPRM is a result of the President’s April 2019 Executive Order
recognizing the leading role the U.S. plays in producing and supplying LNG and the need to continue to transport this energy resource in a safe and efficient way. Under Secretary Elaine L. Chao’s leadership, the Department has prioritized safety as well as supporting the economic benefits of enhanced transportation options for American energy resources.
“Safety is the number one priority of PHMSA and we understand the importance and will make it a top priority to evaluate all public comments and concerns raised throughout the rulemaking process,” said PHMSA Administrator Skip Elliott. “This major rule will establish a safe, reliable, and durable mode of transportation for LNG, while substantially increasing economic benefits and our nation’s energy competitiveness in the global market.”
“FRA shares regulatory oversight responsibility for the safe transportation of hazardous materials by rail,” said FRA Administrator Ronald L. Batory. “This rulemaking is consistent with our systemic approach to accident prevention, mitigation, and emergency response preparedness.”
Currently, LNG may only be transported via rail in a portable tank with an approval from FRA. However, the HMR does authorize the DOT 113 specification tank car for other flammable cryogenic liquids. It is specifically designed for the transportation of refrigerated liquefied gases. This design specification may be similarly suitable for the transport of refrigerated liquid methane (LNG).
The Executive Order recognized the growth of energy production in the U.S., coupled with a growing domestic and international demand for natural gas. Transportation of LNG by rail is a potentially viable alternative to pipelines, which are not always able to meet the demand of, or reach, certain areas in the U.S. that are accessible by rail. Additionally, there are many potential benefits of transporting LNG by rail, including the safety benefits inherent to rail transport and the use of approved tank cars, fuel efficiency, fuel accessibility to remote regions, increased U.S. energy competitiveness, and fewer emissions.
According to DOT, safety is the Department’s number one priority and during the comment period, the agency will continue to collect and analyze data on rail cars, ensuring that any rulemaking will utilize the latest data in establishing safety standards.
For further information on the proposed rulemaking, see the NPRM as submitted
to the Federal Register.
Mandatory Survey for Manufacturers and Distributors of Aerosol Products
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is conducting the 2018 Aerosol Coating and Aerosol Adhesive Products Survey (2018 Survey
). In the 2018 Survey, CARB staff will gather data about aerosol coating and aerosol adhesive products sold or supplied for use in California during calendar year 2018.
The 2018 Survey represents part of CARB’s ongoing effort to evaluate the feasibility of further reducing volatile organic compound (VOC), toxic air contaminant (TAC), and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from aerosol coating and aerosol adhesive products, and to update the emissions inventory of aerosol coating and aerosol adhesive products. The data gathered in this survey will be used to help California meet its federally mandated commitments for VOC reductions under the Clean Air Act.
Completion of the 2018 Survey is mandatory under California State Law (title 17, California Code of Regulation, sections 94513 and 94524(c)). Each company, firm, or establishment (Responsible Part) listed on the label of an aerosol coating or aerosol adhesive product that was sold or supplied for use in California during calendar year 2018 must complete this survey. This survey will provide useful information about how products were reformulated to meet the new limits that became effective in 2017. The deadline for completing the Survey is March 1, 2020.
Small Business Grants Available for Environmental and Energy Enhancing Projects
Grant funding for energy efficiency and pollution prevention projects for small business owners and farmers is available from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) through the Small Business Advantage Grant program.
“This grant program was created with small businesses and farmers in mind. There are tremendous monetary savings available to Pennsylvania’s small business entrepreneurs by installing energy-efficient equipment, such as LED lighting, and Energy Star rated HVAC and boilers,” said Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Pennsylvania farmers can also benefit from these grants by receiving support for undertaking projects to help them divert sediment and nutrient runoff from our waterways.”
Pennsylvania farmers and other small business owners with 100 or fewer full-time employees are eligible for the grants. Projects must save the business a minimum of $500 and 25% annually in energy consumption, or pollution-related expenses. Natural resource protection projects are exempt from the minimums; however, the projects must be able to quantify sediment and nutrient reductions into nearby waterways.
“Clean water and healthy soil are the keys to sustaining our farms and feeding our communities,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “These grants are an investment in our future, and I encourage Pennsylvania farmers to take advantage of this opportunity.”
Businesses can apply for 50% matching funds for equipment or materials, up to $7,000, when adopting energy-efficient or pollution prevention equipment or processes. Applications are considered on a first-come, first-served basis, and will be accepted until fiscal year 2019-20 funds are exhausted, or April 12, 2020, whichever occurs first.
The complete grant application package, which includes step-by-step instructions for completing the online application as well as all related forms, is available by visiting the DEP Small Business Ombudsman’s Office site
Newly Posted Data Reveals Opportunities to Cut Industry Emissions
The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) has posted excess emissions data reported to the Department on its website. The data will be regularly updated.
“Transparency of self-reported emissions data, in conjunction with our regulatory efforts to curb excess methane emissions in the oil and gas industry, is essential to understanding air quality impacts in communities around the state,” said NMED Cabinet Secretary James Kenney. “Compliance with permits and air quality regulations is not optional – it is expected by the communities in which these facilities operate and by NMED.”
These excess emissions, which can include volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides, make up a large part of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions and are contributing to concerning levels of ozone present in seven New Mexico counties. Posting this data highlights the extent of the problem and allows the public to see for itself the volume of emissions emitted in excess of allowable, permitted limits. While excess emissions are not necessarily violations, they present an opportunity for reductions.
Industrial sources that emit greater than 10 pounds per hour or 25 tons of criteria pollutants annually are required to operate under an NMED air quality permit and comply with such permit conditions. Typical permitted sources include asphalt plants, oil and gas production facilities, and power plants. Facilities that are operating without a permit or operating outside of permit conditions are encouraged to self-disclose violations to NMED as soon as possible.
High levels of ozone can cause respiratory illnesses in humans. Ozone is created by chemical reactions between VOCs and nitrogen oxides in the presence of sunlight. More information on the health impacts of ozone is available here.
Maryland Draft Plan to Achieve Climate Goals
The Maryland Department of the Environment has drafted a comprehensive, economy-wide plan to dramatically reduce emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. The draft plan will set Maryland on an ambitious path and serve as a model for how the nation can respond to climate change while also supporting economic growth.
The Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act – Reauthorization, signed into law by Governor Larry Hogan, expanded on the original law to require that the state achieve at least a 40% reduction in statewide greenhouse gas emissions from 2006 levels by 2030. This requirement is substantially greater than the United States’ commitment to reduce emissions by 26-28% by 2025 under the Paris Agreement.
“Maryland has invested the time and done the hard work needed to propose this aggressive, achievable, science-based climate action plan,” said Maryland Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles. “The Hogan administration is committed to confronting the climate crisis through bold, collaborative, innovative, and bipartisan action.”
The draft plan
incorporates a comprehensive set of more than 100 measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including investments in energy efficiency and clean and renewable energy solutions, widespread adoption of electric vehicles, and improved management of farms and forests. It also supports new industries and technologies by encouraging investment in the energy and transportation sectors. Maryland Department of the Environment estimates as much as $11.54 billion in increased economic output in the state by 2030, and the creation of more than 11,000 jobs as a result of these proposals.
The Maryland Department of the Environment is required by the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act – Reauthorization to develop a statewide greenhouse gas reduction plan. The department developed the draft plan in coordination with other state agencies and stakeholders, including the bipartisan Maryland Commission on Climate Change. The law also requires the department to solicit public comment on the draft plan from interested stakeholders and the public before adopting a final plan.
Key elements of the draft plan include:
- Governor Hogan’s proposed Clean and Renewable Energy Standard (CARES) and its requirement for 100% clean electricity by 2040—one of the most ambitious goals in the nation
- An increased emphasis on clean transportation through the Maryland Clean Cars program, expanded investment in public transit, upgrades of half of the state’s transit buses to clean power, and, potentially, the regional Transportation and Climate Initiative’s “carbon cap-and-invest” program
- Continued participation and leadership in the geographically expanding Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the market-based program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants
- Programs to phase out the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), greenhouse gases that are significantly more potent than carbon dioxide, and to better identify and reduce methane leaks in the energy sector
- Enhanced healthy soil initiatives, through which farmers can make significant contributions to climate change goals by sequestering carbon
- Increasing the energy efficiency of buildings through investments under the EmPOWER Maryland program, along with the implementation of Governor Hogan’s executive order directing state buildings to reduce energy use by an additional 10%
The draft plan will achieve a 44% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, surpassing the 40% reduction goal required by state law. In addition to reducing emissions that contribute to climate change, the draft plan will also promote better air quality by reducing emissions that contribute to ground-level ozone and fine particle pollution. It will also improve water quality through reductions in nitrogen pollution to the state’s waterways, including the Chesapeake Bay.
Input Wanted on Proposed California VOC Rules
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) will be holding its second public workshop to discuss the development of proposed California Consumer Products Regulation (Regulation) amendments. Over the past 30 years, CARB has taken actions to reduce smog-forming volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from over 100 categories of consumer products. Despite this progress, consumer product emissions are projected to increase in the years ahead as California’s population continues to grow.
The 2016 State Strategy for the State Implementation Plan requires CARB to develop measures to reduce consumer product VOC emissions in the South Coast Air Basin by 1-2 tons per day (TPD) and 4-5 TPD by 2023 and 2031, respectively; and by 8-10 TOD by 2031 Statewide. At this workshop, CARB staff will propose to meet these SIP commitments via two amendments to the Regulation. The first, to be developed over the next year and considered by the Board by the end of 2020, would identify strategies to meet CARB’s 2023 emission reduction targets, and make a down payment on the required CARB’s 2031 emission reductions. The second regulatory amendments would propose additional strategies needed for California to meet remaining consumer product 2031 emission reduction targets and would be considered by the Board in late 2021.
At this public workshop, CARB staff will present: 1) this proposed regulatory approach; 2) staff’s initial draft regulatory strategies for the first, 2023-focused rulemaking; 3) potential modifications to the Regulation’s fragrance exemption; and 4) product categories likely to be deferred for consideration at the subsequent, 2031-focused rulemaking.
The workshop will be held at the date and time shown below.
DATE: November 7, 2019
TIME: 9:00 a.m.
LOCATION: California Environmental Protection Agency
California Air Resources Board | Byron Sher Auditorium
1001 I Street Sacramento, California 95814
If you are unable to attend in person, there will be an option to participate by webinar.
$2 Million Penalty for Stormwater Violations
Virginia has reached an agreement with Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC, that will force the company to submit to court-ordered and court-supervised compliance with environmental protections, impose additional layers of independent, third-party monitoring on the project, and require the payment of a significant $2.15 million civil penalty. The agreement will resolve the lawsuit filed in December 2018 by Attorney General Mark R. Herring on behalf of the State Water Control Board and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and includes the following key terms:
Places MVP under court-ordered and court-supervised compliance with the State Water Control Law, Stormwater Management Act, Erosion and Sediment Control Law, the state-issued Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification and all other applicable environmental laws for the duration of construction, adding additional layers of tough oversight and accountability. Any future violations would be a violation of both applicable environmental laws and a court order, which carries much more significant consequences.
In court filings, MVP stated that it planned to challenge the validity of the Section 401 Certification issued by the State Water Control Board. If MVP had succeeded, construction would have continued but all the conditions and environmental protections the Board placed on the project would have been wiped away. This agreement locks MVP into the terms of the certification issued by the Board, and MVP waives any right to contest the previously filed suit.
MVP will have to spend its own money for enhanced monitoring of erosion control measures throughout the project and for new monitoring of fisheries and wildlife in work areas. Independent, third-party auditors, who must be approved by DEQ, will make bi-weekly assessments to ensure that best management practices are being used and that erosion and sediment controls are installed and functioning properly.
MVP must immediately confirm that it is in compliance with all applicable provisions of environmental laws, including remediation of previously identified instances of alleged noncompliance.
MVP must pay a $2,150,000 civil penalty that will support ongoing environmental protection and enforcement activities in Virginia. By comparison, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection recently resolved similar allegations for just $266,000.
If any future violations occur, MVP will have to immediately clean up the damage and restore the site at its own expense, and will be subject to an expedited process for imposing significant financial penalties of a predetermined amount.
Advance notification to DEQ of any land-disturbing activity in or around each waterbody or wetland.
The Commonwealth retains the ability to pursue any necessary remedy to protect public health or the environment during construction, and the Commonwealth can recover its costs for enforcing any provision of the consent decree.
“This is one of the most significant financial penalties ever imposed in Virginia for this kind of case, and more importantly, we have secured significant new monitoring, supervision, and enhanced standards for the duration of the project,” said Attorney General Herring. “This resolution really sets a new standard for resolution of environmental damages cases in Virginia. By utilizing the consent decree approach of the EPA under the Obama Administration, we were able to quickly secure a major civil penalty, force significant concessions, and impose important environmental, health, and safety protections on the project that may not have been attainable if this had gone to trial.”
“This consent decree significantly strengthens our ability to ensure MVP is meeting its environmental responsibilities,” said DEQ Director David Paylor. “The decree stipulates that MVP will be automatically fined for any violations of the terms of this agreement with the Commonwealth of Virginia, while also imposing a significant fine for past noncompliance.”
In December 2018, Attorney General Herring, DEQ, and the State Water Control Board filed suit against MVP, LLC alleging environmental violations in Craig, Franklin, Giles, Montgomery, and Roanoke Counties, particularly violations that occurred during significant rain events. The suit alleged that MVP violated the Commonwealth’s environmental laws and regulations as well as MVP’s Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification by failing to control sediment and stormwater runoff resulting in impacts to waterways and roads. The matter was referred to the Office of Attorney General by the director of DEQ after numerous inspections identified violations at multiple construction sites.
In accordance with state law and State Water Control Board regulations, the settlement has been approved by Gov. Ralph Northam, Attorney General Herring, and DEQ Director Paylor and will now be subject to 30 days of public comment before being submitted to the Circuit Court of Henrico County, the circuit in which the suit was filed.
California Resources Corporation Fined for Hazardous Waste Violations
District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley announced that the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Environmental Protection Unit, under the leadership of DDA Chris Dalbey, in conjunction with the District Attorney’s Offices of Kern, Los Angeles, and Ventura Counties, have obtained a $464,000 stipulated final judgment against California Resources Corporation (CRC). CRC, based in Los Angeles and a 2014 spinoff of Occidental Petroleum Corporation, acquired all of Occidental’s active and discontinued California oil and gas exploration and production, including certain wells located in Kern, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties (CRC’s California E&P Operations).
The settlement resolves allegations that prior to the 2014 acquisition, CRC’s California E&P Operations generated hazardous wastes and caused them to be unlawfully transported and disposed of at the Anterra Energy facility in Oxnard, California, which is not authorized to receive hazardous waste.
Under the terms of the judgment, CRC must comply with a permanent injunction that requires it to follow California laws and regulations covering the safe management of hazardous waste. In addition, CRC was ordered to pay $400,000 in civil penalties of which $250,000 are to be paid to the lead agency, Ventura County District Attorney’s Office, and $50,000 each to the District Attorney’s Offices of Kern, Los Angeles, and Santa Barbara Counties.
District Attorney Dudley said, “The allegations of unlawful conduct against CRC were serious and potentially endangered the public and the environment. We are grateful that CRC agreed to resolve this case, and to do so in a comprehensive manner with four different county jurisdictions.”
Auto Dealer Fined for Hazardous Waste Violations
Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley announced the resolution of a civil lawsuit against Jim Vreeland Motors, Inc., d/b/a Jim Vreeland Ford.
The defendant and the District Attorney stipulated to the entry of final judgment, without admission of liability, in this case filed on September 4, 2019, in the Superior Court for Santa Barbara County.
The Santa Barbara County Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA)—a division of Santa Barbara County Environmental Health Services—referred the case to the District Attorney after discovering violations of three environmental-protection statutes. The Complaint alleged that the defendant violated the Hazardous Waste Control Law by, among other things, not properly labelling hazardous-waste containers and not training personnel in the proper management of hazardous waste. The Complaint further alleged the lack of a Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures Plan, in violation of the Aboveground Petroleum Storage Act. Finally, the Complaint alleged the failure to establish and implement a Hazardous Materials Business Plan—a document necessary for first responders and the public to know what hazardous materials are present and how to safely deal with emergencies.
The defendant cooperated with the District Attorney’s Office to come into compliance and negotiate a resolution to the lawsuit. The Final Judgment includes the following provisions:
- $94,600 in civil penalties
- $2,500 to the state General Fund, Toxic Substances Control Account
- $13,750 to the District Attorney’s Office
- $13,750 to the CUPA
- $64,600 to the County of Santa Barbara
- $5,400 to the CUPA for investigation and enforcement cost.
- $10,000 as a supplemental environmental project to the Craig Thompson Environmental Protection Prosecution Fund
District Attorney Dudley said, “These statutes exist to protect the public, first responders and the environment. We are grateful that Jim Vreeland Ford took this matter seriously and has come into compliance with the law.”
Shipping Companies Pay $1.8 Million for Failing to Notify Coast Guard of Hazardous Vessel Condition and Concealing Vessel Oil Pollution
Two shipping companies incorporated in Liberia pled guilty in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, to failing to notify the U.S. Coast Guard of a hazardous condition on one if its vessels and to violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) by presenting false documents to the Coast Guard that covered up vessel oil pollution.
Jeffrey Bossert Clark, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and David C. Weiss, U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware announced the plea agreement. The agreement includes a $1.8 million-dollar criminal penalty.
Defendants Nederland Shipping Company and Chartworld Shipping Company are the owner and operator of the 13,049 gross ton, ocean-going, refrigerated cargo/container vessel called the M/V NEDERLAND REEFER. Large ships like the M/V NEDERLAND REEFER generate oil-contaminated bilge waste when water mixes in the bottom or bilges of the ship with oil that has leaked from the ship’s engines and other areas. This waste must be processed to separate the water from the oil and other wastes by using pollution prevention equipment, including an Oily Water Separator (OWS), before being discharged into the sea. APPS requires that the disposal of the ship’s bilge waste be recorded in the ship’s Oil Record Book (ORB).
The investigation began on Feb. 21, 2019, when the Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Detachment out of Lewes, Delaware, conducted a Port State Control Examination of the M/V NEDERLAND REEFER. During the course of the inspection, the Coast Guard determined that the vessel’s Chief Engineer, Vasileios Mazarakis, had been repeatedly tricking the oil content monitoring device on the vessel’s OWS with fresh water thereby discharging untreated oily bilge water overboard at sea. Mazarakis then falsified the vessel’s ORB to conceal these illegal discharges from the Coast Guard.
On Oct. 2, 2019, Chief Engineer Vasileios Mazarakis pled guilty to a violation of the APPS for his falsification of the ORB. As part of his guilty plea, Mazarakis also admitted that he took various actions to obstruct the Coast Guard’s investigation, including destruction of evidence and witness tampering.
The Coast Guard’s investigation also determined that on Dec. 30, 2018, seawater began entering the vessel below the waterline through a hole in the vessel’s Bilge Holding Tank. This compromise of the hull’s integrity and the temporary repairs thereto, constituted a hazardous condition that Defendants failed to report to the Coast Guard.
Under the plea agreement, the companies will be placed on a four-year term of probation that includes a comprehensive environmental compliance plan to ensure, among other things, that ships operated by Chartworld entering the United States fully comply with all applicable national and international marine environmental protection laws. The compliance plan will be implemented by an independent auditing company and supervised by a court-appointed monitor.
Refinery Explosions Highlight Lack of Emission Reporting
A massive refinery explosion that this week paralyzed much of the San Francisco Bay Area raised uncertainties about the contents of the massive chemical plume coating neighboring communities. A new regulation requiring that regulators, responders, and communities be informed about chemicals released by industrial accidents, won through a lawsuit by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), has yet to take effect.
Tuesday’s tank explosion and fire at the NuStar refinery in Crockett forced nearby residents to shelter in place and closed the interstate for hours. First responders fought blazes that covered surrounding hills and threatened to engulf even more of the massive fuel tanks.
Since 1990, the Clean Air Act has required the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB), which is charged with investigating chemical fires and other accidents, to determine and disclose air pollutants accidentally emitted by any industry within its jurisdiction. But the CSB never implemented this mandate until PEER and community groups obtained a court order earlier this year directing the adoption of this regulation by February 4, 2020.
“This latest accident underlines the importance of the right to know what chemicals are being discharged into the midst of communities,” stated PEER Pacific Director Jeff Ruch. “First responders should also know the nature of the chemical fires they are tasked to contain.”
The PEER suit was filed in 2017 shortly after the Arkema chemical plant in Houston experienced chemical fires and explosions amid flooding from Hurricane Harvey. First responders to the stricken plant did not know the dangerous properties of chemicals released. As a result, first responders and residents experienced adverse reactions and were hospitalized.
This is only one of more than 1,000 such industrial chemical accidents estimated to occur each year. Refineries remain especially vulnerable, as nearly 95% of the 148 U.S refineries were built before 1985 with aging pipes prone to corrosive leaks leading to ignition.
Despite a February 4th court-ordered deadline for final adoption, the CSB has yet to release a draft. The Board itself has been riven with conflict and Trump has three times recommended its de-funding, which Congress has repeatedly rejected. This year, Trump nominated his first appointee to assume the vacant chair of the CSB and she awaits Senate confirmation.
“We are concerned that there is still no sign that the CSB has taken the first step toward adopting a regulation that is supposed to be finalized within the next four months,” remarked PEER General Counsel Paula Dinerstein, noting that this regulation does not require White House approval and that PEER is preparing its own recommended version. “We had to go to court to enforce this mandate and will not hesitate to go back if needed.”
Commercial Landlord, Tenants Cited for Illegal Hazardous Waste Disposal
California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control has announced a $124,100 settlement
with a property management company and its auto body and repair tenants for the mishandling of hazardous waste materials at more than a dozen properties in Sacramento County.
“Our enforcement team is determined to identify and prosecute any and all businesses that improperly handle hazardous waste, blatantly ignore hazardous waste laws, and put vulnerable communities at risk,” said DTSC Acting Director Meredith Williams.
DTSC’s Office of Criminal Investigations discovered that the tenants, who conducted auto repair and auto painting operations on at least 13 properties, had illegally stored, transported, and disposed of approximately 30,500 pounds of hazardous waste. The waste required special handling in accordance with California’s Hazardous Waste Control Law.
DTSC discovered that Meinco Properties’ tenants sidestepped lawful disposal practices, potentially endangering the surrounding communities identified by CalEnviroScreen as disproportionately burdened by multiple sources of pollution.
In one instance, DTSC intercepted more than 5,200 pounds of waste that was picked up from one of the properties by a contracted disposal company not authorized to handle or transport hazardous waste. DTSC determined the load contained hazardous waste and was illegally disposed.
Waste produced by Meinco Properties’ tenants included hazardous and universal waste in the form of hybrid battery cells, non-empty aerosol cans, solvents, paint waste, used oil, electronic waste, and automotive fluids.
As part of the settlement, tenants must maintain secured waste receptacles, and Meinco Properties must provide educational material on proper hazardous waste generation management, drop-off locations, and business plan FAQs to its tenants. The tenants also agreed to future hazardous waste inspections by any government agency with jurisdiction, including DTSC or any California Unified Program Agency (CUPA).
Meinco Properties is also ordered to consult with an environmental compliance specialist to verify that its tenants are compliant with hazardous waste laws and the applicable County of Sacramento ordinances.
The District Attorney’s Office filed the settlement in Sacramento County Superior Court Aug. 12. The settlement included $15,000 in Health and Safety Code civil penalties, $15,000 in Business and Professions Code civil penalties, and $90,100 toward partial recovery of the cost of DTSC’s investigation, which led to full cooperation and swift prosecution of Meinco Properties.
Oregon DEQ Issues 17 Penalties for Environmental Violations
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued 17 penalties
totaling $344,690 in September for various environmental violations.
Fines ranged from $1,600 to $127,776. Alleged violations included failing to hire a licensed asbestos abatement contractor to safely remove asbestos during a home renovation, discharging untreated sewage to Oregon creeks, and violating requirements for maintaining underground gas storage tanks.
DEQ issued civil penalties to the following organizations and individuals:
- American Tokyo Kasei, Inc., dba TCI America, $15,000, Portland (hazardous waste)
- Boyer, John Francis, $15,002, Monroe (air quality)
- City of Fossil, $3,900, Fossil (wastewater)
- City of Hood River, $7,600, Hood River (wastewater)
- City of Pendleton, $86,977, Pendleton (stormwater)
- City of Weston, $1,650, Weston (wastewater)
- DoneRite Plumbing LLC, $12,800, Salem (asbestos)
- DS Albany, LLC, $2,063, Albany (underground fuel storage tanks)
- HSW RR, Inc., $5,484, Silverton (asbestos)
- KW Real Estate Construction & Investment, Inc. $16,060, Portland (asbestos)
- La Franchi, Ronald dba Ron's Oil Company, $6,987, Reedsport (underground fuel storage tanks)
- Northside Rock Products LLC, $127,776, North Plains (stormwater)
- Oregon Pool Plastering, LLC, $3,300, Beaverton (water quality)
- Singh, Daljit, dba Keizer Food Market LLC, $1,600, Keizer (underground fuel storage tanks)
- StarLink Logistics Inc., $9,600, Portland (underground fuel storage tanks)
- Wear, Britt Milton, $22,891, Scappoose (water quality)
- Zenith Realty, LLC, $6,000, Salem (asbestos)
Organizations or individuals must either pay the fines or file an appeal within 20 days of receiving notice of the penalty. They may be able to offset a portion of a penalty by funding a supplemental environmental project that improves Oregon’s environment.
Penalties may also include orders requiring specific tasks to prevent ongoing violations or additional environmental harm.
Vons Supermarket Chain Cited for Chemical Safety Violations
EPA settled with the Vons Companies, Inc., (Vons) over violations of federal chemical-release prevention and reporting requirements at its dairy processing facility located in Commerce, California. The company will pay a $168,043 civil penalty.
In 2017, EPA inspectors found violations of the Clean Air Act’s Risk Management Plan
regulations at Vons’ facility, Jerseymaid Milk Products. The violations included deficiencies in the facility’s process safety requirements, mechanical integrity program, documentation of personnel training, and follow-up on compliance audit findings. The facility also lacked necessary signs and labels; lacked auditory or visual alarms to alert employees of an ammonia release; and had inadequate emergency response measures, including ammonia detectors and emergency ventilation override switches.
“Our action ensures that Vons’ facility will handle hazardous chemicals more safely,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. “We’re pleased to resolve these safety issues and will continue to work with facilities to improve risk-management practices and ensure the safety of nearby communities.”
Thousands of facilities nationwide, many of which are in disproportionately affected communities, make, use and store extremely hazardous substances. Catastrophic accidents at these facilities—historically about 150 each year—result in fatalities and serious injuries, evacuations, and other harm to human health and the environment.
This case is part of EPA’s National Compliance Initiative
to reduce risks of accidental releases at anhydrous ammonia refrigeration facilities. Jerseymaid Milk Products’ industrial refrigeration system uses large quantities of anhydrous ammonia, a toxic chemical highly corrosive to skin, eyes, and lungs.
The Clean Air Act’s Risk Management Program requires facilities with regulated hazardous substances to document hazard assessments detailing the potential effects of an accidental release and a prevention program that includes safety precautions and maintenance, monitoring, and employee training measures. When properly implemented, risk management plans help prevent chemical accidents and minimize their impact should they occur.
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