New Energy Star Waste Tracking Can Save Money and Protect Environment

August 15, 2016

The EPA recently unveiled a waste and materials tracking feature in its Energy Star Portfolio Manager, which is a free benchmarking and tracking tool for commercial building owners and managers. Reducing waste and reusing materials more productively through sustainable materials management over their entire lifecycles conserves resources, helps communities remain economically competitive and supports a healthy environment.

EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager is already used to measure energy, water and greenhouse gas (GHG) metrics in more than 450,000 U.S. buildings, representing over 40% of U.S. commercial space, as well as in more than 10,000 buildings in Canada. Now owners and managers using Portfolio Manager will be able to benchmark 29 types of waste across four different management metrics alongside their existing sustainability management indicators. Types of waste include building materials, glass, paper, plastics, and trash.

Currently, U.S. commercial buildings and manufacturing activities are responsible for as much as 45% of the 150 million tons of waste in the United States that ends up in incinerators or landfills each year. The transportation, decomposition, and burning of this waste generates GHG emissions and other air pollutants.

The addition of waste tracking is the culmination of a year-long collaboration between EPA’s Energy Star and Sustainable Materials Management programs and members of the industry to identify key performance metrics for waste and materials management.

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.

Richmond RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Richmond, VA, on August 23–25 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

Raleigh Area 40-Hour HAZWOPER Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response 40-Hour Training in Cary, NC, on August 29–September 2 and ensure you are ready to respond. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

Houston RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management in Texas and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Houston, TX, on August 30–September 1 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

Environmental Justice Agreement Resolves a Civil Rights Complaint on Hazardous Waste Permitting Decision

California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control and the California Environmental Protection Agency recently announced a historic agreement with Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice (Greenaction) and El Pueblo/People for Clean Air & Water of Kettleman City (El Pueblo) to resolve Greenaction and El Pueblo’s civil rights complaint over DTSC’s 2014 decision to approve a permit to expand the Kettleman Hills hazardous waste landfill.

The agreement is one of the first examples of a voluntary resolution jointly developed by state agencies and community groups under Title VI of the federal Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin in any programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance.

The agreement contains provisions designed to improve public health and environmental quality for people in Kettleman City. DTSC has agreed to help facilitate Greenaction and El Pueblo’s efforts to conduct a community-based public health assessment, improve third-party and community-based environmental monitoring, and establish an asthma intervention program for residents of Kettleman City.

In addition, the agreement aims to enhance the transparency and rigor of DTSC’s compliance with civil rights laws. The agreement describes factors related to environmental justice that DTSC will consider when reviewing Chemical Waste Management, Inc.’s, pending application to renew its operating permit for the Kettleman Hills landfill and any expansion application if submitted within 3 years. The Department will comply with applicable state and federal civil rights requirements during its permitting process for hazardous waste disposal facilities and during regulatory oversight of facilities under its jurisdiction. The Department will also adopt policies to create a framework for more fully incorporating civil rights considerations, meaningful public participation and language access in its decision-making process.

Matthew Rodriquez, California’s Secretary for Environmental Protection, said: “This agreement helps the people of Kettleman City and aligns with our efforts to prioritize environmental justice in the decision-making processes of all the boards and departments within CalEPA. It provides a framework for supporting improvements in public health and the environment in the state’s most impacted communities, including Kettleman City.”

Barbara Lee, Director of the Department of Toxic Substances Control, said: “Our commitment to engaging communities, furthering environmental justice and civil rights, and enhancing transparency is demonstrated through successfully reaching this agreement. This is an important step towards better partnership with environmental justice communities across the state. We’re looking forward to working with Greenaction and El Pueblo to continue our focus on protecting health and the environment for the most vulnerable and impacted communities.”

Maricela Mares-Alatorre, with El Pueblo/People for Clean Air & Water of Kettleman City, said: “El Pueblo/People for Clean Air & Water of Kettleman City is proud of the work that went into this agreement. Although the settlement doesn’t fix all of the problems, it is good to know that moving forward, everyone can expect to participate in DTSC public processes in a more meaningful and equitable level. It is our hope that Kettleman City’s struggle for environmental justice will be an example for other communities facing similar issues.”

Bradley Angel, Executive Director for Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice, said: “This historic settlement will help protect the health, environment and civil rights of low- income, people of color and non-English speaking residents living in Kettleman City and dozens of other at-risk and polluted communities across the state. By affirming that state hazardous waste permitting processes and regulatory oversight must comply with civil rights laws and by strengthening opportunities for meaningful public participation, this agreement is an important step forward in making environmental justice a reality.”

On May 21, 2014, El Pueblo and Greenaction objected to DTSC’s approval of a permit modification that allowed Chemical Waste Management to expand the hazardous waste landfill at its Kettleman Hills facility, located about three miles from Kettleman City. El Pueblo and Greenaction filed a complaint with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) against CalEPA and DTSC on March 19, 2015.

El Pueblo and Greenaction objected to DTSC’s permit decision on numerous grounds, including that it violated their civil rights. OCR accepted the complaint for investigation by letter on April 17, 2015, and stated that it would contact the parties about entering into alternative dispute resolution to resolve the complaint. The parties agreed to mediation and developed the agreement through facilitated mediation sessions.

NetDMR and the EPA Electronic Reporting Rule – Free Training

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) is sponsoring free training sessions for communities, businesses, and other organizations that will give an understanding of NetDMR and the EPA NPDES Electronic Reporting Rule.

This session will provide an overview of the requirements of the electronic reporting rule and their compliance dates (discharge monitoring reports in December 2016 and notices of intent, notices of termination, and other program reports in December 2020).

An emphasis will be placed on NetDMR, which is the current electronic reporting system for discharge monitoring reports. Please register for one of the sessions below:

  • August 25, 2016, 10 AM–12 Noon, Baton Rouge
    LDEQ HQ-Galvez Bldg, Oliver Pollock Room, 602 North 5th Street, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • September 1, 2016, 10 AM–12 Noon, Lake Charles Area LSU/SU Ag Center, 7101 Gulf Highway, Lake Charles, Louisiana
  • September 8, 2016, 10 AM–12 Noon, Alexandria Area Main Street Community Center, 708 Main Street, Pineville, Louisiana
  • October 19, 2016, 1:30 PM–3:30 PM, Monroe Area Public Safety Center, 1810 MLK Drive, Monroe, Louisiana
  • October 20, 2016, 10 AM–12 Noon, Shreveport Area DEQ Regional Office, 1525 Fairfield Street, Shreveport, Louisiana
  • October 26, 2016, 10 AM–12 Noon, New Orleans Area Jefferson Parish Library, 4747 West Napoleon Street, Metairie, Louisiana

To attend a workshop, register online and indicate which session you will be attending: http://www.deq.louisiana.gov/portal/PROGRAMS/CommunityIndustryRelations/ENVIROSCHOOLOnlineRegistration.aspx.

Ardagh Glass to Pay $3.5 Million for 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, the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) announced recently.

A settlement was filed in Fresno County by the California Attorney General’s 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, and
  • 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 DTSC’s 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 DTSC’s 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.

DOE Fined $50,000 for Dangerous Waste Violations

The Washington State Department of Ecology issued a $50,000 penalty to the U.S. Department of Energy and its contractor CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company (CHPRC) for mishandling dangerous waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in eastern Washington.

Ecology also ordered Energy and its contractor to designate waste, obtain detailed analysis of dangerous waste before storing, and properly maintain records.

“Our inspectors have repeatedly cited Energy and its contractors for the same violations at the T-Plant,” said Alex Smith, Ecology’s Nuclear Waste program manager. “This is the most fundamental purpose of dangerous waste management. For everyone’s safety, dangerous waste at this nuclear facility must be properly managed and stored.”

The T-Plant is an active facility that stores and treats dangerous waste as part of the long-term cleanup work at Hanford. Originally, the T-Plant was built for chemical separation of plutonium from uranium and fission products contained in irradiated fuel elements.

Energy and CHPRC have the right to appeal the order and penalty within 30 days to the Washington State Pollution Control Hearings Board. Contractors working for Energy may not use cleanup funds to pay for penalties.

EPA Approves Cortina Band of Wintun Indians’ Right to Develop Tribal Water Quality Standards

The EPA recently announced the approval of the Cortina Band of Wintun Indians’ application for “Treatment in a similar manner as a State” under the federal Clean Water Act. Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest, presented the signed Certificate of Achievement to Tribal Chairman Charlie Wright in a ceremony at EPA’s offices in San Francisco.

“The Cortina Band is now legally recognized as the government entity charged with protecting its water resources,” said Ms. Strauss. “The streams and springs on their land are integral to the tribe’s health and heritage.”

EPA’s decision promotes tribal self-government, paving the way for the tribe to administer their own program to develop water quality standards and to issue water quality certifications of federal actions in order to protect tribal waters, including Strode Canyon Creek and Strode Spring. The Cortina Band is the fifth tribe in California to gain this authority.

The Cortina Band can now develop water quality standards for waters within their reservation, similar to the process used by states under Sections 303 and 401 of the Clean Water Act. After the tribe develops and EPA approves the standards, the Cortina Band will administer surface water quality standards, building upon existing successful environmental programs run by the Wintun Environmental Protection Agency.

The Cortina Band’s reservation is located in southwestern Colusa County, approximately 70 miles northwest of Sacramento. Their land base consists of 640 acres in the Northern California Coast Range.

For more information on “Treatment in a similar manner as a State,” and for a list of tribes with the same designation, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/wqs-tech/epa-approvals-tribal-water-quality-standards.

EPA Takes Action to Address Lead in Drinking Water in Tarrytown, New York

The EPA has issued a legal order directing the Village of Tarrytown, New York to comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act’s Lead and Copper Rule. A recent investigation by the EPA revealed that Tarrytown had violated numerous provisions of the rule, including failing to properly evaluate the village’s water distribution system before establishing tap sampling locations and failing to meet requirements for properly identifying tap monitoring locations. The EPA has issued a legal order requiring the Village of Tarrytown to deliver consumer notices and conduct public education activities for individuals and organizations using the village’s water supply.

“Providing clean drinking water is one of the most important functions of government,” said Judith A. Enck, EPA Regional Administrator. “It is essential that the Village of Tarrytown fully comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act so the health of residents is protected.”

In April 2016, the EPA conducted an audit at Tarrytown Water Supply’s offices to review Lead and Copper Rule data and also conducted a site visit of treatment facilities used by the village. In June 2016, Tarrytown Water Supply provided additional information in response to a request by the EPA.

Tarrytown was inspected because recent sampling results by the village showed action level exceedances for lead in drinking water. Out of 31 samples, four exceeded the EPA’s action level for lead.

Tarrytown has 15 days from receipt of the EPA order to send results to homeowners whose taps were sampled for lead and copper from 2013 to 2015. These notices must include: sample testing results; an explanation of the health effects of lead; steps consumers can take to reduce lead exposure in drinking water; contact information for the utility; and information on and definitions of the maximum contaminant level goal and the lead action level.

Tarrytown must also submit public education material to the EPA, the New York State Department of Health and the Westchester County Department of Health within 15 days of receipt of the order for these agencies’ approval, and comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act’s public education delivery requirements for these materials within 30 days, including posting the material on the village’s website. Tarrytown must also submit a plan to provide for other public outreach activities within 30 days, including hosting at least one public meeting for village residents.

The EPA is working with the New York State Department of Health and the Westchester County Department of Health to bring Tarrytown into compliance with other provisions of the Lead and Copper Rule, including: requirements that proper sampling protocols be followed; a requirement that all sampling results be reported; and a requirement that the Westchester County Department of Health approve the village’s corrosion control treatment.

The Safe Drinking Water Act’s Lead and Copper Rule requires Public Water Systems to sample drinking water in a representative selection of taps in their distribution system to determine if their water exceeds the EPA’s action level of 15 parts per billion for lead. If water systems exceed this action level, various follow-up actions need to be taken, such as public education, corrosion control treatment and replacement of lead service lines. The failure to take such follow-up actions results in violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Champ Landfill Ordered to Improve Compliance with Clean Air Act

In a settlement announced recently by the EPA, IESI MO Champ Landfill, LLC, has agreed to implement numerous measures at its Maryland Heights Landfill. The measures are designed to minimize odors and air emissions from the landfill and ensure ongoing compliance with regulatory requirements under the Clean Air Act.

An EPA inspection of Champ Landfill, conducted on May 18, 2016, was part of an initiative by EPA to identify noncompliance and reduce air emissions from sources in the greater St. Louis area. The inspection identified deficiencies related to Champ Landfill’s surface emission monitoring and surface integrity monitoring, required by the CAA’s New Source Performance Standards (NSPS). These standards impose controls on emissions of landfill gas, as well as monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements to ensure that landfill gas emissions are minimized.

Landfills use gas collection systems, a network of wells and piping, to collect landfill gas created by the decomposition of solid waste, which consists primarily of methane and carbon dioxide. Under the terms of this settlement, Champ Landfill has agreed to conduct a comprehensive third-party audit of its gas collection system and to implement all of the auditor’s recommended corrective actions in less than one year. Champ will also install 21 additional landfill gas extraction wells. These modifications to the gas collection system are expected to significantly improve its ability to collect gases generated by the landfill, resulting in lower emissions of landfill gas and odors to the surrounding community. Overall, Champ Landfill will spend up to an estimated $1.6 million to implement the improvements at the landfill, including the additional wells, implementing the independent third-party audit recommendations, and other expenditures.

“This agreement shows how constructive negotiations between a company and EPA can produce positive results leading to air quality improvements that benefit communities,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Mark Hague. “The immediate actions taken required by this agreement will improve the landfill’s operations and minimize air emissions and odors. This is an important step in EPA’s efforts to ensure sources of air pollution in the area are in compliance.”

As part of the settlement, Champ Landfill has also agreed to spend nearly $1.3 million to purchase four compressed natural gas (CNG) trash collection trucks to replace existing diesel-fueled vehicles as a voluntary Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP). These CNG trash collection vehicles are expected to result in a significant reduction of particulate matter emissions, compared to conventional diesel-fueled trucks currently being used.

Nine Dust Emission Events Impacted Minnesota Residents

A Keewatin, Minnesota, taconite facility’s newly-mandated air quality control plan is expected to prevent future dust emissions on the Iron Range. The company was required to create this plan after violating state air rules nine times during a 27-month time period.

U.S. Steel Corporation has agreed to pay a $49,500 penalty to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for nine state air quality violations adjacent to its taconite facility near Keewatin. The company is also required to submit an enhanced dust control, mitigation and response plan to the MPCA within 90 days.

The agency determined the Keetac taconite facility began to periodically violate Minnesota’s fugitive, or airborne, dust rule in early December 2012. Nine events occurred between that date and February 4, 2015. The rule requires that facilities take steps to control avoidable amounts of particulate matter (dust emissions) from sources such as mining, roads, ore handling and stockpiles from becoming airborne.

Keetac’s taconite production facility includes a basin where the company deposits tailings from taconite pellet production. During periods of high winds, drought or sometimes freeze/thaw conditions, tailings dust can become airborne and deposited beyond the facility’s property.

The stipulation agreement is one tool that the MPCA uses to achieve compliance with environmental laws. When calculating penalties, the MPCA takes into account how seriously the violation affected the environment, whether it was a first time or repeat violation and how promptly the violation was reported to appropriate authorities. The agency also attempts to recover the calculated economic benefit gained by failure to comply with environmental laws in a timely manner.

AT&T Mobility Fined $45,580 for Failure to Certify the Operation of 45 Emergency Generators

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) penalized the New Cingular Wireless PCS, d/b/a AT&T Mobility, $45,580 for violations of Massachusetts’ Environmental Results Program Certification. AT&T Mobility voluntarily reported on May 15, 2015 it had failed to disclose and certify as required that it had installed and operated 45 emergency engines on or after March 23, 2006.

The initial certification of these engines or turbines is required under state regulations to demonstrate that the unit is capable of meeting air emission limitations for three years. Thereafter, monthly logs are required to verify that the unit is operating and performing in compliance with state air emission standards.

After disclosing its failure to submit initial certification, AT&T Mobility submitted logs to MassDEP about these engines, but four of the 45 units had no monthly log information and another four units had inaccurate log information. AT&T Mobility is also installing software that tracks emergency generator systems. The software is not required, but provides a beneficial enhancement of the company’s internal tracking system on the status and any problems related to the engine’s maintenance and operations.

“AT&T Mobility’s failure to submit certification for 45 engine locations, and the failure to keep accurate and consistent monthly logs on the operations at all these sites is not an acceptable demonstration of compliance, and hinders our ability to meet air quality public health standards and protect the environment,” said Nancy L. Seidman, MassDEP’s assistant commissioner in the Bureau of Air and Waste.

In addition to the $45,580 penalty, the company has agreed to maintain accurate monthly log information in the future.

BWC Origination 10 LLC Fined $18,000 for Violating Wetlands Protection Regulations

BWC Origination 10, LLC of Boston has been assessed an $18,000 penalty by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) for violating wetlands protection regulations at its ground-mounted solar electric generating facility at 363 Quaker Highway in Uxbridge.

MassDEP inspected the facility at the request of the Uxbridge Conservation Commission in April 2015. The order issued by the commission included conditions requiring erosion control, site monitoring, and reporting. MassDEP’s inspection and subsequent investigation found that during construction of the facility these conditions were not followed, resulting in discharges of silt and sediment and the filling of approximately 10,000 square feet of Bordering Vegetated Wetland.

As part of the settlement, BWC Original 10 must pay $14,400, with the remaining penalty amount suspended as long as the company complies with all provisions in the order. Many of the requirements of the order, including stabilization of the site, construction of improved stormwater management and removal of the fill, have already been completed. During the next year, BWC Origination 10 will continue to monitor the restored wetland to ensure that it is successfully established.

“Renewable energy projects such as this solar installation are important for strengthening the clean energy economy in Massachusetts,” said Mary Jude Pigsley, director of MassDEP’s Central Regional Office in Worcester. “However, it is equally important that developers protect our valuable wetlands resources and comply with local permits.”

EPA Enforces Ban on Cesspools on Big Island and Maui

The EPA recently announced separate agreements with the County of Hawaii, the County of Maui, and the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), to close illegal large capacity cesspools on Maui and the Big Island.

The County of Hawaii will pay a $105,000 fine for its two cesspools at the Hilo Drag Strip and one at the Hilo Trap & Skeet Range. The County of Maui will pay a $33,000 fine for one cesspool at the Maui Raceway Track. The DLNR will pay a $50,000 fine for its cesspools at Wainapanapa State Park on Maui and will close or convert smaller cesspools at seven state park and recreational areas on Maui, Oahu, and the Big Island.

“To make Hawaii’s coastal waters safe for both residents and visitors, we must stop the flow of pollutants and pathogens from large capacity cesspools,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Public facilities have the same obligations as private ones to close them.”

EPA found continued use of the illegal cesspools despite a 2005 ban under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act’s Underground Injection Control program. Subsequent to the Agency’s investigations, the Hawaii County has closed the three illegal cesspools at the drag strip and skeet range, with plans to replace them with approved individual wastewater systems at each location. Maui County has closed the illegal cesspool at the raceway. DLNR closed the six illegal cesspools that served the park’s 12 rental cabins at the Waianapanapa State Park near Hana and converted them to approved septic systems.

Cesspools collect and discharge untreated raw sewage into the ground, where disease-causing pathogens and harmful chemicals can contaminate groundwater, streams and the ocean. They are used more widely in Hawaii than any other state. Throughout Hawaii, over 3,000 large capacity cesspools have been closed since the 2005 ban, many through voluntary compliance. The EPA regulations do not apply to single-family homes connected to their own individual cesspools.

EPA Recognizes Texas Army National Guard for Waste Reduction

The EPA has recognized the Texas Army National Guard as a national winner in the Federal Green Challenge, an event that encourages federal facilities to reduce the government’s environmental impact. The guard nearly doubled the amount of waste diverted for recycling at construction projects across Texas, saving over $155,000 in waste disposal fees.

“The Texas Army National Guard shows that reducing environmental impact is a win-win, saving taxpayer money by wasting fewer resources,” said EPA Regional Administrator Ron Curry. “They set a great example for other federal agencies to follow.”

The guard won the national Federal Green Challenge in the waste category by increasing the amount of material from construction projects diverted for recycling instead of disposal. In total, recycled material went from 1,762.8 tons in 2014 to 3,506 tons in 2015 for a 98.8% increase, saving $157,849 in waste disposal fees. Regional Administrator Curry presented the award at the recent Federal Facilities Training Symposium, hosted by EPA to update federal government agencies on environmental regulations and compliance.

Regional award winners for Region 6 were also recognized at the symposium. These included the Veterans Administration Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center in Bonham, Texas; Office of Natural Resources Revenue in Farmers Branch, Texas; General Services Administration Casey Courthouse in Houston, Texas, and Federal Service Center in Fort Worth, Texas; Drug Enforcement Agency El Paso Intelligence Center in El Paso, Texas; and Veterans Affairs Health Care Services in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The Federal Green Challenge is a national effort under EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management Program, challenging EPA and other agencies to lead by example in reducing the federal government’s environmental impact. Federal facilities or offices participate in categories of waste, energy, electronics, water, purchasing and transportation, with awards for national and regional achievement. In 2015, 290 participants saved more than $21 million and reduced GHG emissions equivalent to annual emissions of more than 518,000 million passenger vehicles.

Newsprint Company Fined For Air Quality Violations

Ponderay Newsprint Company was fined $24,000 for illegally operating diesel engines at its Usk, Washington, facility since November 2015.

The Washington Department of Ecology fined the Pend Oreille County company for not obtaining the proper permits to operate the engines and for releasing uncontrolled diesel exhaust into the air.

Air permits are required for protecting human health and the environment. Diesel engine exhaust contains fine particles that can cause health problems for people who are exposed frequently and at high enough levels.

Ecology also fined Ponderay’s contractor, Plummer Forest Products of Post Falls, Idaho, $3,000 for not obtaining a permit. Ponderay contracted with the Post Falls company in 2014 to provide the engines to temporarily power wood chipping and log debarking equipment.

The engines can be operated without a permit for up to 12 months. However, the companies continued to operate engines without a permit beyond the one-year timeframe. After the initial 12 months, Ecology notified both companies that they needed an air quality permit to continue to operate the diesel engines.

Both companies may appeal the fines to the state’s Pollution Control Hearings Board within 30 days.

Environmental News Links

EPA’s Science Advisers Challenge Agency Report on the Safety of Fracking

How Bad Is Your Air-Conditioner for the Planet?

6 Million Americans Drink Water Tainted with Toxic Chemicals

Florida’s Drinking Problem – Unsafe Water

Additional Groundwater Monitoring Well Results Near the Former Coakley Landfill Show Elevated Concentrations of PFCs

CSX Train Carrying Hazardous Materials Derails in Kentucky

Iowan Pleads Guilty to Illegal Storage of Hazardous Waste

Firefighters Investigate Hazardous Material Alarm at Safety-Kleen

EPA Moves to Protect Washington, Missouri, Homes from Harmful Vapors

Flint Water Plant Employees Required to Prove Credentials Legitimate

Arkansas Adopts Solvent-Contaminated Wipes Rule, Makes Other Hazardous Waste Revisions

16-Year-Old South African Invents Wonder Material to Fight Drought

Trivia Question of the Week

Clean Air Act regulations require you to determine the leak rate of appliances that have a capacity of at least how much refrigerant.

a) Any amount

b) 5 pounds

c) 15 pounds

d) 50 pounds

Answer