Revisions to the DOT hazardous materials regulations adopted in this final rule, which became effective on January 20, include permitting the use of the Pantone colors for hazard warning labels and placards; expanding the use of labels specified in the Compressed Gas Association Pamphlet C-7 on cylinders used to transport Division 2.1, 2.2, or 2.3 gases to all modes of transportation; requiring a NON-ODORIZED marking on certain cylinders, portable tanks, cargo tanks, and tank cars and multi unit tank car tanks containing unodorized liquefied petroleum gas; and allowing a FUMIGANT marking to be removed from a transport vehicle or freight container before the lading is unloaded if the vehicle has undergone sufficient aeration.
According to DOT, the revisions in this final rule will enhance hazard communication for the safe handling of hazardous materials in transportation and the prompt identification of hazardous materials involved in transportation incidents. To learn more about the latest DOT regulations and how they can impact your shipments, attend one of the Environmental Resource Center DOT Hazardous Material Training courses.
EPA Urges Americans to Test for Radon
EPA is issuing an annual reminder for Americans to test for radon gas in their homes. Additionally, the Office of Air and Radiation recently issued a proclamation declaring January as National Radon Action Month. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, with approximately 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year related to radon exposure. It is a radioactive, invisible, odorless gas that comes from the decay of naturally occurring uranium in the earth's soil, and can accumulate in homes at dangerous levels.
Because families spend more time indoors during the winter months, January is considered an opportune time to test for radon. Simple, inexpensive do-it-yourself radon test kits are available at local hardware stores. The EPA recommends that houses with radon levels of four picocuries or higher of radon should and can be fixed to prevent accumulation of radon gas indoors.
To learn more about how to receive a discounted radon home test kit, for more information about radon and to contact your state radon office, visit: http://www.epa.gov/radon/ or call 1-800-SOS-Radon.
Bulkmatic Pleads Guilty to Hazardous Materials Transportation Violations
Bulkmatic Transport Company recently pleaded guilty to felony charges stemming from its failure to comply with federal hazardous materials transportation laws. Headquartered in Griffith, IN, the company specifically failed to train an employee who was seriously injured while unloading hazardous materials at a Chattanooga, TN facility.
The employee was seriously injured when a valve fitting on a railroad tank car ruptured spraying him with sulfuric acid. The employee was unloading the product by himself, despite the fact that he had received no training on the handling of hazardous materials and was not wearing personal protection equipment. As a result of the incident, 1,805 gallons of the product were released.
Under the plea agreement, Bulkmatic has agreed to pay a $400,000 fine imposed by the U.S. Department of Justice and abide by the terms of a three-year probationary period. The company also will implement a comprehensive program to comply fully with all hazardous materials laws and regulations, including taking specific steps to ensure its employees are properly trained, tested, and certified before they handle hazardous materials.
Bulkmatic paid a $27,500 civil penalty to the Federal Railroad Administration for failing to train or directly supervise the employee. The company also paid $44,750 to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for other regulatory violations resulting from the incident.
New Radon Guide from New Jersey DEP Helps Remedial Efforts
NJDEP just released new radon testing guidance that includes a statewide, three-category tier system that will be used to better protect the public from exposure to this harmful naturally occurring gas. Radon mitigation systems can be installed at an average cost of $1,200. DEP provides a list of certified businesses that offer testing and mitigation services. Do it yourself test kits also can be obtained from many hardware stores and local health departments.
All radon test results conducted in New Jersey are reported to DEP by certified companies performing the tests or that manufacture test kits. This data is used to classify municipalities into a three-tier system according to the potential for identifying homes with indoor radon problems. The Department determines the number of homes in which a radon test was performed and the percentage of those homes with a test result that was greater than or equal to the guidance level of four (4) picocuries per liter (pCi/L).
The average indoor radon level in the United States is about 1.3 pCi/L. At the level of 4 pCi/L, DEP recommends a homeowner consider steps to reduce long-term exposure to radon gas.
The tier system classifies municipalities as having high (Tier 1), moderate (Tier 2) or low (Tier 3) potential for indoor radon levels. DEP will provide municipalities whose radon designation was upgraded to Tiers 1 and 2 with materials to develop an outreach program for homeowners. Activities to increase awareness about the need for testing include local proclamations, news flyers and presentations to community groups.
New construction in Tier 1 municipalities must incorporate radon resistant construction techniques as required by the Radon Hazard Subcode, which is administered by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. The techniques, which help prevent radon from entering buildings, are simple and inexpensive ways to reduce radon levels in homes.
The criteria for a Tier 1 municipality designation is at least 25 homes tested with 25 percent or more having radon concentrations greater than or equal to 4 pCi/L. Tier 2 towns have at least 25 homes tested with 5 to 24 percent having radon concentrations greater than or equal to 4 pCi/L. Tier 3 towns have at least 25 homes tested with less than 5 percent having radon concentrations greater than or equal to 4 pCi/L.
Extend Permit Deadline Proposed for Stormwater Discharges
EPA has proposed extending the regulatory deadline requiring stormwater permit coverage for oil and gas construction activities that disturb between one and five acres of land until June 12, 2006. Additional time is required for the agency to consider comments raised by stakeholders, as well as to consider the economic, legal, and procedural implications related to controlling stormwater discharges from these sites.
Public comments on the proposed extension are welcome for 30 days upon publication in the Federal Register. A copy of the proposed extension and information about EPA's stormwater program is available at online.
During the next 15 months, the EPA intends to complete an economic impact analysis and evaluate several regulatory options for addressing these stormwater discharges. Additionally, the agency plans to evaluate practices and methods used to control stormwater discharges from these sites. The EPA also intends to hold at least one public meeting with stakeholders to exchange information on current industry practices and their effectiveness in protecting water quality.
The proposed extension also outlines EPA's intent to develop and propose a regulation that would address stormwater discharges from these oil and gas construction sites. This proposal, to be made by Sept. 12, 2005, will be made available to the public for review and comment.
New Jersey Makes it Easy to Submit Reports Online
Many of the routine reports that most facilities submit to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection can be created and submitted online. On DEPÆs website, you can
- Register to submit Private Well Test Results
- Download and submit DMRs, WCRs and RTRs
- Process Air General Permits
- Download and Submit Air Excess Emission Reports
- Submit Right To Know Chemical Inventory Surveys
- Process Air Permit/Certificate Renewals
- Submit Underground Storage Tank Closures
- Submit Underground Storage Tank Initial Registrations
- Submit Underground Storage Tank Registration Modifications
- Process Underground Storage Tank Renewals
- Submit Release and Pollution Prevention Reports (RPPR)
- Submit Pollution Prevention Plan Summaries (P2)
EPA Proposes to Simplify the Form R
Simplified reporting requirements have been proposed for nearly 23,000 facilities nationwide required to submit annual reports for the EPA Toxics Release Inventory. According to EPA, the proposed changes will reduce the time and resources needed to comply with the TRI reporting requirements.
If the new rules are enacted, facilities would no longer required to report certain location information, such as latitude and longitude. Several minor reporting changes related to waste management activities are also included in the proposal.
EPA noted that the proposed changes would not affect human health or environmental quality. The public would continue to have access to detailed information about chemical releases and waste management in their community. The agency has set a March 11 deadline for submitting comments. Details on the proposed changes are available online. To learn more about how to determine if you need to submit a Form R and how to complete the form, attend any of Environmental Resource CenterÆs SARA Title III training courses.
Ask for Bottled Water When You Fly
According to a second round of EPA testing, 17.2% of 169 randomly selected passenger aircraft carried water contaminated with total coliform bacteria. These latest tests were performed on domestic and international passenger aircraft at airports nationwide in November and December of last year. The results confirm the presence of bacteria at levels warranting continued agency scrutiny.
This information is intended to help the public make informed decisions while traveling on aircraft. Passengers with compromised immune systems or others concerned may want to request canned or bottled beverages and refrain from drinking tea or coffee unless made with bottled water.
Total coliform and E. coli are indicators that other disease-causing organisms (pathogens) may be present in the water and could potentially affect public health. When sampling identified total coliform in the water of a domestic aircraft, that aircraft was disinfected and retested to ensure that the disinfection was effective. In instances where foreign flag aircraft tested positive for total coliform, those airline companies were notified of the positive test results and advised to disinfect and retest the aircraft.
As part of the first round of sampling, EPA randomly tested the water supplies on 158 aircraft nationwide during August and September 2004. Aircraft tank water is used in the galleys and lavatory sinks. Initial testing of onboard water supplies revealed 20 aircraft (12.7%) with positive results for total coliform bacteria, with two of these aircraft also testing positive for E. coli. Following those tests, the agency announced that further testing would take place, and efforts were undertaken to reach agreements with airlines to monitor water quality on planes more closely.
In the second round of EPA water quality sampling, 169 aircraft were tested. The sampling included water from galley water taps as well as lavatory faucets. Testing found that 29 of these aircraft (17.2 percent) were total-coliform-positive. E. coli was not found in the 169 aircraft included in the second round. Adding together the results of the first and second rounds of testing, EPA tested 327 aircraft in 2004, with approximately 15 percent found to be total-coliform-positive.
Following the first round of airline water testing in November 2004, EPA announced that agreements had been signed with the 14 airlines to increase monitoring of water quality testing and disinfecting processes, with two additional airlines negotiating separate agreements.
Collectively, these carriers represent the majority of U.S. flag carrying aircraft transporting the flying public. The agency will continue to work with smaller, regional and charter aircraft carriers to address drinking water quality with agreements similar to those reached with Air Transport Association (ATA) members. These agreements will govern airline drinking water safety until additional regulations are completed.
EPA began a review of existing safe drinking water guidance to airlines in 2002. In response to the aircraft test results, EPA is conducting a priority review of existing regulations and guidance. The agency is placing specific emphasis on preventive measures, adequate monitoring and sound maintenance practices such as flushing and disinfection of aircraft water systems.
For more information on the regulation of water supplies aboard passenger aircraft and to view publicly available testing data, visit http://www.epa.gov/airlinewater/.
Ohio Revises 393 Hazardous Waste Rules
Ohio revised many of its hazardous waste rules to make them equivalent to federal hazardous waste regulations (with the exception of regulations on air emissions from hazardous waste management units). The regulatory changes include: military munitions, boilers and industrial furnaces (BIFs), universal wastes, hazardous lamps (e.g., mercury-containing lamps), post closure permitting, corrective action management units, landfill liners, new hazardous waste listings, expanded public participation, staging piles, extended accumulation period for F006 recycling and low level mixed waste.
Two of the regulatory programs adopted increase the number of facilities subject to hazardous waste permitting under Ohio rules. The facilities impacted are those that burn hazardous waste in a boiler or industrial furnace for the purpose of energy recovery or metal recovery, and facilities where hazardous lamps are reclaimed. In Ohio, burning hazardous wastes in boilers and industrial furnaces has been regulated by U.S. EPA since 1992. Previously, hazardous lamps destined for recycling were excluded from regulation under the hazardous waste rules. Beginning December 7, 2004, these lamps became subject to the universal waste rule. The OEPA Notifier has a good overview of the revised rules.
In other news from Ohio, you can submit your annual hazardous waste report online using free software available from the OEPA.