January 03, 2022
Environmental Resource Center’s Tip of the Week is a great resource for keeping up to date with the latest requirements that can impact your company. To kick off the new year, we’ll take a look at some new or recently enacted state laws and regulations that you will have to comply with for years to come.
New Incident Reporting Requirement in California
Under the prior regulations, any release or threatened release of a hazardous material, or an actual release of a hazardous substance must be immediately reported by to the local Unified Program Agency (UPA, or CUPA) and the California Office of Emergency Services.
A new law (Assembly Bill 480
), which went into effect on January 1 also requires reports of a release or threatened release of a hazardous material, hazardous waste, or hazardous substance to the UPA and the office immediately upon discovery of the release or threatened release. The new law requires, for unregulated facilities, that reporting to be made upon the discovery of an actual release that results in an emergency response, as defined. The bill requires a handler, or an employee, authorized representative, agent, or their designee, to provide state, city, or county fire or public health or safety personnel and emergency response personnel with access to the handler’s facility if there is a release or threatened release of a hazardous material, hazardous waste, or hazardous substance at the facility.
AB also authorizes, without a declaration of a local health emergency, a UPA, if a release, spill, escape, or entry, as described, of a hazardous material, hazardous waste, or hazardous substance occurs, which the UPA, in consultation with the local health officer, reasonably determines poses an imminent and substantial endangerment to public health due to specified factors, to take specified actions to protect the health and safety of the public, including, among others, issuing an order to the responsible party to immediately suspend or discontinue the activity causing or contributing to the release, spill, escape, or entry of the hazardous material, hazardous waste, or hazardous substance. The bill precludes the UPA from issuing an order if the release, spill, escape, or entry of a hazardous material, hazardous waste, or hazardous substance falls below a reporting threshold established by the office in any regulation. The bill requires that the UPA support its order with written findings, including evidence of local health officer consultation, and that the order be consistent with criteria developed by UPAs to determine whether an imminent and substantial endangerment to public health has occurred. The bill provides a responsible party with an opportunity to appeal the order.
New Rules for Labeling Products as Recyclable in California
Senate Bill 343
, which goes into effect on January 1 2023, with effective dates ending January 1, 2024, requires the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery to provide information to the public to evaluate whether a product or packaging is recyclable in the state and is of a material type and form that routinely become feedstock used in the production of new products and packaging, to update specified regulations to require disposal facility operators, among other operations and facilities, to provide information to the department regarding how material collected or processed by the operations and facilities was collected and what material types and forms are actively recovered, and not considered contaminants, by the operation or facility. The law requires the department to conduct, publish on its internet website, and update as provided, a characterization study of material types and forms that are collected, sorted, sold, or transferred by solid waste facilities identified by the department for inclusion in the study. The law requires that unless exempt, a product or packaging is considered recyclable in the state if, based on the information published by the department, the product or packaging is of a material type and form collected for recycling by recycling programs for jurisdictions that collectively encompass at least 60% of the population of the state, among other statewide recyclability criteria.
New Hazardous Waste Fees in California
Senate Bill 158 (Stats. 2021, ch.73) makes major fee reform changes
and revises the hazardous waste facility, generator, environmental, and disposal fees administered by the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration. Reforms include:
- Changes to all fee rates starting January 1, 2022
- Repeal of the disposal fee, effective June 30, 2022
- Repeal of the generator fee and creation of the generation and handling fee at $49.25 per ton or each fraction of a ton of hazardous waste generated, effective January 1, 2022
- Revisions to the environmental fee to apply to organizations with 100 or more qualifying employees, effective January 1, 2022
- Revisions to the return and/or payment due dates for the generation and handling fee and the facility fee, effective January 1, 2022
- Changing the facility fee reporting period to fiscal year beginning July 1, 2022
- Removing certain exemptions for the facility fee and the generation and handling fee starting July 1, 2022
PFAS Chemicals Banned in California
Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), often called forever chemicals because they don’t break down in the environment, have been linked to serious health hazards and have been found in the bodies of almost every human studied. To further reduce exposure and increase awareness, California has adopted AB 1200
which prohibits disposable food packaging from containing intentionally added PFASs and requires cookware manufacturers to disclose the presence of hazardous chemicals such as PFASs on product labels and online and AB 652
, which bans the use of toxic PFASs in products for children, such as car seats and cribs, beginning July 1, 2023. Also, last year the state year required manufacturers of carpets and rugs to consider less toxic alternatives to PFASs, which pose a particular exposure risk to children when used in carpets and rugs.
Arizona UST Rules Revised for 2022
Arizona has adopted House Bill 2781
, which revises the state’s underground storage tank requirements as follows:
- New UST systems must meet EPA’s 40 CFR 280.21 performance standards, release detection requirements and interstitial monitoring requirements at 40 CFR 280.43(g)
- New piping component that is 50% or more of the total linear footage of all connected piping of the underground storage tank unless all connected piping of the underground storage tank that conveys a regulated substance under pressure is brought into compliance with the secondary containment performance standards for new underground storage tank systems prescribed in 40 CFR 280.20.
Don't Mess with Arizona Water
A new Arizona law
makes it unlawful to intentionally introduce, add or mingle any bodily fluid or foreign object not intended for human consumption with any water, food, drink or other product intended for consumption by another human being. Anyone found to water or other products intended for human consumption is responsible for the cost to clean up the media and damages to those injured.
Illinois Fire and Smoke Damper Inspection Act
Illinois has adopted HB 2408 which requires inspections and testing of HVAC fire dampers and smoke dampers to be conducted by persons that have been certified by the International Certification Board and accredited to comply with specified requirements. The law requires Provides that fire damper and smoke damper inspections and testing be conducted by inspectors certified by the International Certification Board and accredited by specified entities and inspectors must certify that all fire and smoke dampers inspected meet the standards established in the current International Fire Code adopted by the State of Illinois and the authority having jurisdiction.
Heat Illness Training Required for Coaches, Athletes in CT
Connecticut House Bill 6492 requires coaches and students involved in intramural or interscholastic sports to receive exertion heat illness training by July 1, 2022. The law provides for the development of state-approved training programs and educational materials. The training, which will be published on the State Board of Education’s website, is required to cover recognition of the symptoms of exertional heat illness, how to obtain medical treatment, the nature and risk of heat illness, dangers of continuing athletic activity after sustaining heat illness, and methods of allowing students who have sustained exertional heat illness to return to athletic activity.
Delaware to Set PFAS Drinking Water Limits
requires the State Division of Public Health, in collaboration with the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control to establish state-level maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for PFAS chemicals. The law required the agencies to begin the development of regulations by the end of 2021, and hold hearings by mid 2022.
A state-wide survey of PFAS in drinking water was required to be submitted to the Governor by January 1, 2022 and then the agencies must develop a specific plan for addressing any PFAS contamination identified in the survey.
Don’t Leave Your Yard Waste in the Street in Delaware
Delaware Senate Bill 47
has added yard waste to the list of substances that can’t be dumped on streets or highways in the state. In addition to yard waste, no glass bottle, glass, nails, tacks, wire, cans, or any other substance likely to injure any person, animal, or vehicle can be disposed of in quantities over 5 pounds or 1 cubic foot upon or alongside any highway. Penalties for violating the law are up to $1150 and 25 hours of community service.
Florida to Apply for OSHA State-Plan Status
Florida House Bill H0005
requires the Executive office of the Governor to develop a proposal for a state plan to assert state jurisdiction over occupational safety and health issues for both government and private employees. The law requires the Governor to establish a new state agency for the implementation of the state plan. $1 million was appropriated from the state budget for the implementation of the law.
Oklahoma Relaxes Hazardous Waste Reporting Requirements and Fees
Oklahoma Senate Bill 1705
has removed from the authority of the Department of Environmental Quality the ability to require disposal plans from persons generating hazardous waste or shipping hazardous waste within, from, or into Oklahoma. The new law also disallows the department from requiring quarterly reports on the amount of hazardous waste generated, recycled, treated or disposed of. Fees for disposal plans were eliminated and the maximum site monitoring fee was decreased from $10,000 to $2,000 per year.
Perc Banned for Dry-cleaning in Minnesota
Tucked into an appropriation bill,
Minnesota has banned the use of perchloroethylene in dry cleaning. The ban goes into effect on December 31, 2025
Treated Wood Waste Regulation in California
Assembly Bill 332, which is now in effect, establishes standards for treated wood waste that is otherwise exempt from federal regulation as hazardous waste.
Under AB 332, treated wood waste must either be managed in a manner to comply with the hazardous waste control laws or the management standards established in the bill, including standards for the reuse, storage, treatment, transportation, tracking, identification, and disposal of treated wood waste, as provided. The limits those standards to treated wood waste that is hazardous only because of a preservative present in or on the wood, and that is not subject to the existing exemption for certain wood waste or to regulation as a hazardous waste under federal law.
When stored on site, the waste must be labeled “TREATED WOOD WASTE - Do not burn or scavenge,” followed by the wood waste handlers name, address, and accumulation date.
New York Ban on Polystyrene Foam Containers and Loose Fill
The New York DEC enacted a ban on expanded polystyrene foam containers and packing peanuts begins Jan. 1, 2022. Although 65% of New Yorkers live in communities that have previously banned polystyrene, New York's statewide ban on polystyrene foam containers and loose fill packaging is among the first in the nation. DEC and partners continue outreach efforts to advise affected entities about the ban, particularly sellers and distributors of disposable food service containers, such as retail food stores, restaurants, hospitals, and schools.
Expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam is a major contributor to environmental litter, causing negative impacts to wildlife, waterways, and natural resources. EPS foam is lightweight, breaks apart easily, and does not readily biodegrade, rendering it persistent in the environment and susceptible to becoming microplastic pollution. In addition, EPS foam containers and loose fill packaging are not accepted by most recycling programs in New York State because the foam is difficult to recycle, easily contaminates the recycling stream, is often soiled, and has low value.
Starting Jan. 1, New York's ban prohibits any person engaged in the business of selling or distributing prepared food or beverages for on- or off-premises consumption from selling, offering for sale, or distributing disposable food service containers that contain expanded polystyrene foam in the state. In addition, no manufacturer or store will be allowed to sell, offer for sale, or distribute polystyrene loose fill packaging in the state. Disposable food service containers made of expanded polystyrene foam banned under the law include bowls, cartons, hinged "clamshell" containers, cups, lids, plates, trays, or any other product designed or used to temporarily store or transport prepared foods or beverages, including containers generally recognized as designed for single use. Initially, DEC will focus its efforts to achieve compliance with outreach and education to ensure a smooth transition for affected stakeholders, with enforcement to follow as needed.
While the ban began on Jan. 1, DEC will release final regulations to implement the law in the coming months to assist stakeholders with complying with the law. Draft regulations were released earlier this year. Visit the DEC website to learn more
Examples of covered food service providers required to comply with the ban include:
- Food service establishments, caterers, temporary food service establishments, mobile food service establishments, and pushcarts as defined in the New York State Sanitary Code;
- Retail food stores, as defined in Article 28 of the Agriculture and Markets Law, which include any establishment where food and food products are offered to the consumer and intended for off-premises consumption;
- Delis, grocery stores, restaurants, cafeterias, and coffee shops;
- Hospitals, adult care facilities, and nursing homes; and
- Elementary and secondary schools, colleges, and universities.
Under the law, any facility, regardless of income, operated by a not-for-profit corporation or by a federal, state, or local government agency that provides food and meals to food insecure individuals at no or nominal charge may request a financial hardship waiver of the requirements of the law. Examples include community meal programs, food pantries, and places of worship. For more information, visit DEC's website
The EPS foam ban builds on New York's environmental leadership in preventing litter, reducing waste, and supporting recycling through measures such as the ban on plastic carryout bags, the bottle bill, and food scrap recycling and food waste prevention efforts. For more information, go to DEC's website
Massachusetts to Require More Zero Emissions Trucks
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) announced emergency regulations have been filed with the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office to immediately adopt California’s Advanced Clean Trucks regulation, which requires an increasing percentage of ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicle) truck sales starting with Model Year 2025 and ramping up through Model Year 2035, accelerating the market for medium- and heavy-duty ZEVs. The filing of the emergency regulations commences the start of a public comment period and the coordination of a public hearing in February 2022, and will help reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), toxic air contaminants, and greenhouse gases from on-road vehicles.
Massachusetts law requires the Commonwealth to adopt California motor vehicle emissions standards as long as those standards achieve, in the aggregate, greater emissions reductions than federal standards. Massachusetts first adopted the California Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) program regulations in 1991 and has amended it many times to remain identical to the California LEV program. This latest amendment involves emission standards for Model Years 2025 and later medium- and heavy-duty vehicles and engines.
Emergency authorization of the regulation was needed as the federal Clean Air Act (CAA) requires states that adopt the California standards to do so at least two model years before the standards take effect – in this case, January 1, 2022 for vehicles labeled as Model Year 2025, which starts on January 1, 2024. The filing begins a three-month process towards making the emergency regulations permanent, which will include a public hearing on the amendment set for January 21, 2022, and a 30-day public comment period which ends on January 31, 2022. For more information on the public hearing and comment period, click here.
The emergency regulations adopt the latest revisions to the California medium- and heavy-duty vehicle and engine regulations. Those revisions include: the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Phase 2 Standards for Model Year 2025; the Heavy-Duty Omnibus Regulation, which contains a comprehensive set of emission standards and other emission-related requirements for heavy-duty vehicles and engines; and the Advanced Clean Trucks Regulation, resulting in ZEV sales starting in Model Year 2025 and ramping up through Model Year 2035, accelerating the market for medium- and heavy-duty ZEVs. In addition to reducing pollutant emissions, the regulations will lead to reduced fuel consumption and fuel costs and maintenance due to more fuel-efficient engines and vehicles and next-generation zero-emission trucks.
Vehicle emissions regulations are a critical component of the Massachusetts Interim Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2030 under the Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA). Earlier this year, Governor Baker signed “An Act Creating a Next-Generation Roadmap
for Massachusetts Climate Policy” that amended the GWSA to require specified emissions reduction limits for 2030, 2040 and net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. Last year, Massachusetts was one of 15 states and the District of Columbia to set a goal of 100 percent electric truck
and bus sales by 2050. Adopting these rules will accelerate the transition to medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles.
New TRI Reporting Requirements for Ethylene Oxide and Ethylene Glycol
EPA has expanded the scope
of Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) reporting requirements to include certain contract sterilization facilities that are not currently reporting on ethylene oxide (EtO) releases.
Under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA
), the EPA Administrator has the discretionary authority to extend TRI reporting requirements to specific facilities based on a chemical’s toxicity, the facility’s proximity to other facilities that release the chemical or to population centers, any history of releases of the chemical at the facility, or other factors the Administrator deems appropriate.
“For too long, many communities in this country, particularly those with environmental justice concerns, have been at risk of exposure to EtO without even knowing it,” said Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Michal Freedhoff. “This determination will require companies that use the largest amounts of EtO in this industry sector to report to the TRI about their releases of this chemical and shed some light on potential exposures from this use. This will help inform EPA’s future actions and empower communities to act at the local level.”
Exposure to EtO can cause cancer in humans and damage DNA. Other effects of EtO exposure include eye, skin, nose, throat, and lung irritation as well as harm to the brain and nervous system (causing effects such as headaches, memory loss, numbness). Workers in facilities that use EtO and people in communities—including historically underserved communities—located adjacent to these facilities have the highest chance of being exposed to EtO. Additionally, because their bodies are still growing, children are expected to be more susceptible to the toxic effects caused by EtO.
EtO and ethylene glycol have been on the TRI toxic chemical list since its inception in 1987, but not all facilities that use these chemicals have been subject to TRI reporting requirements. In October 2021, EPA sent letters to 31 facilities providing notice that EPA was considering exercising its discretionary authority. After corresponding with many of the facilities, EPA has decided to issue a determination extending TRI reporting requirements to 29 of the 31 facilities for EtO and to 16 of the 31 facilities for ethylene glycol. Ethylene glycol is produced using ethylene oxide; thus, these chemicals may co-occur at facilities. will also directly notify the facilities of this determination.
EPA believes these 29 contract sterilization facilities, which do not currently report to TRI, use the highest amounts of EtO in the contract sterilization sector. The facilities are likely to exceed the 10,000 pounds per year “otherwise used” TRI reporting threshold for EtO. EPA also considered additional factors such as the facilities’ proximity to a population center (e.g., the number of people, including children under the age of five living near the facilities), their history of releases of ethylene oxide and ethylene glycol (e.g., past receipt of TRI reporting forms on ethylene oxide and ethylene glycol from these facilities), and other factors the Administrator deemed appropriate (e.g., proximity of the facilities to nearby schools and communities, especially those with potential environmental justice concerns, and concerns for facility workers).
EPA elected not to extend TRI reporting requirements to two of the 31 facilities initially contacted. One of the facilities conveyed to EPA that they had sold the establishment they previously used for sterilization and no longer perform sterilization work at that facility. Another facility informed EPA that their facility uses EtO in quantities far below the amount that would trigger TRI reporting in a year due to their sterilization technology and scale of operations.
The determination to extend TRI reporting requirements to these 29 facilities is part of an ongoing effort to increase publicly available information on EtO releases and other waste management activities. EPA will continue to monitor additional contract sterilization facilities using EtO and, if appropriate, consider using this discretionary authority to extend TRI reporting requirements to those facilities as well.
Beginning in January 2022, these 29 facilities should start tracking their activities involving EtO (and ethylene glycol, if applicable), releases and other waste management quantities as required by EPCRA, similar to any other facility subject to TRI reporting requirements. If reporting thresholds are met, the facilities must submit TRI data beginning in 2023.
Perfluorononanoic Acid (PFNA) and Its Salts Listed as Reproductive Hazards
Effective December 31, 2021, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) added Perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA
) and its salts to the list of chemicals known to the state to cause reproductive toxicity for purposes of the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65). At a public meeting on December 14, 2021, the Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee (DARTIC) in its official capacity as the state’s qualified experts determined that PFNA and its salts were clearly shown through scientifically valid testing according to generally accepted principles to cause reproductive toxicity, based on the male reproductive endpoint. Regulations for the listing of chemicals by the DARTIC are set out in Title 27, California Code of Regulations, section 25305(b)(1).
Perchloroethylene Air Emission Standards Proposed for Dry Cleaning Facilities
In the December 27 Federal Register
, EPA proposed amendments to the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for dry cleaning facilities using perchloroethylene (PCE) as the cleaning solvent (PCE Dry Cleaning NESHAP). The proposed amendments address the results of the technology review for the PCE Dry Cleaning NESHAP, in accordance with section 112 of the Clean Air Act (CAA). Based on the findings of the technology review, the EPA proposes to add provisions to the rule which will require all dry-to-dry machines at existing major and area sources to have both refrigerated condensers and carbon adsorbers as secondary controls.
EPA Hid Cancer Danger of Chemical It Promotes
The EPA prevented its scientists from acting on data showing that a chemical it promotes carries a significant cancer risk, according to a complaint
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) has filed with EPA’s Office of Inspector General. EPA managers still employed by the agency deleted cancer risk calculations and directed the chemical be classified as “not likely to present risks.”
In 2019, a new chemical was brought to EPA for risk assessment. This new chemical included parachlorobenzotrifluoride (aka PCBTF) as a solvent, which is an existing chemical. PCBTF is used in the synthesis of dyes, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, cleaners, degreasers, and as a solvent, mainly in paint and coating formulations. Between 2012 and 2015, the volume of PCBTF produced was between 10 and 50-million pounds annually.
In 2018, the National Toxicology Program published a cancer bioassay in rats and mice that concluded there was clear evidence of carcinogenic activity from PCBTF. CalEPA added PCBTF to their Prop 65 list of chemicals “known to the state of California to cause cancer” on June 28, 2019 based on these data.
Despite these new hazard data and significant exposures, EPA staff were not allowed to assess PCBTF risks in the new chemical. EPA management relied on a 1985 memo to argue that they lacked the authority to assess the risks of PCBTF – an existing chemical – in a new chemical substance. This convoluted misinterpretation also blatantly ignored EPA’s legal duty to – at least – notify the manufacturer and the general public of the unreasonable risks so that they can take voluntary actions to mitigate risk.
By contrast, EPA actually encourages use of PCBTF along with other “VOC (volatile organic compound) exempt” chemicals for reducing ozone levels, versus other VOCs. This “green” exemption does not take into account the toxicity of the chemical itself to human health.
“The failure to reexamine the toxicity of PCBTF in light of the latest toxicity data published four years ago presents an imminent danger to human health,” stated PEER Science Policy Director Kyla Bennett, a scientist and attorney formerly with EPA. “How EPA handled this one chemical is a microcosm of a broken regulatory program that is managed in an utterly abysmal fashion.”
The problem is that EPA does not regularly assess risks for chemicals that were grandfathered in under the first Toxic Substances Control Act in 1976, or because new data were developed after the chemical was brought to market. In addition, when a new chemical contains existing chemicals, EPA will not, as a matter of practice, allow risk assessors to include newly discovered risks of the existing chemical.
For existing chemicals already on the TSCA Inventory, EPA re-evaluates these existing chemicals at a rate of roughly 20 a year (and it takes three years to complete the evaluation); given that there are 41,953 active chemicals currently on the TSCA Inventory, it will take 7,000 years to do every chemical once.
“The Toxic Substances Control Act does not prohibit EPA from acting on new information, just the opposite,” added Bennett, noting the additional moral obligation to warn about hazards in chemicals the agency promotes. “Given the mandatory duty of EPA to ensure that chemicals do not present an unreasonable risk to human health or the environment, its failure to take any action to address the risks posed by PCBTF in the new chemical substance was contrary to law.”
Settlement Agreement with New Indy to Address Emissions of Hydrogen Sulfide from Catawba, South Carolina Paper Mill
EPA has a proposed consent decree in U.S. District Court in which New Indy Catawba, LLC (New Indy) has agreed to robust injunctive relief designed to prevent hydrogen sulfide (H2S) concentrations above levels that endanger people’s health from the company’s Catawba, South Carolina paper mill. The company will also pay a civil penalty of $1,100,000. The proposed settlement follows an emergency order issued by EPA on May 13, 2021 to the New Indy Catawba mill to prevent imminent and substantial endangerment to surrounding communities.
“EPA took swift action earlier this year by issuing an emergency order to New Indy to monitor and reduce hydrogen sulfide air pollution from their Catawba facility,” said Larry Starfield, Acting Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Today’s proposed settlement ensures that surrounding communities will be protected from unlawful pollution from this facility through mandatory long-term improvements designed to ensure cleaner air, which all Americans deserve.”
"Communities near and far from this facility have been experiencing difficult circumstances that have altered their daily lives. This proposed consent decree addresses levels of hydrogen sulfide that have impacted residents along the North Carolina and South Carolina border, and Catawba Indian Nation," said EPA Region 4 Administrator Daniel Blackman. "This action demonstrates EPA’s continued commitment to take decisive steps to ensure the health and safety of nearby communities.”
Since April 2021, EPA has been aggressively working to identify enforceable measures to minimize facility concentrations that continue to impact communities in North and South Carolina as well as the Catawba Indian Nation. EPA’s Clean Air Act (CAA) Section 303
Emergency Order to New Indy required it to install three H2S monitors at its fence line and prohibited New Indy from emitting H2S above health-based levels from its operations. Working with our state and Tribal partners, EPA is committed to ensuring that the facility operates in a manner that does not jeopardize people’s health and the environment.
Hydrogen sulfide is a flammable, colorless gas that smells like rotten eggs. Exposure to hydrogen sulfide may cause irritation to the eyes, nose, or throat. It may also cause difficulty in breathing for individuals with asthma. Respiratory distress or arrest has been observed in people exposed to very high concentrations of hydrogen sulfide.
The proposed settlement requires New Indy to operate their steam stripper unit to control hazardous air emissions, monitor and treat sulfur-containing fuel condensate sent to the wastewater treatment system, and improve the functioning of the wastewater treatment system. New Indy must install and maintain a carbon filtration system on their post-aeration tank to minimize air emissions, and install and maintain a functioning secondary containment system around the by-product black liquor storage area to prevent uncontrolled black liquor releases from reaching the wastewater treatment system. New Indy must also continue to operate and maintain the H2S fence line monitors and comply with the health-based levels at the fence line. The company must apply for and receive federally enforceable permits incorporating these terms and is not eligible to terminate the consent decree until it has completed all injunctive relief and operated for at least three years without any fence line exceedances.
The lodging of this proposed consent decree represents the next step of EPA’s process to address air concentrations at this facility. The proposed consent decree will be subject to a 30-day comment period. The 30-day comment period will begin on the date a notice of the lodging of the proposed consent decree is published in the Federal Register.
Testing on Human Health Hazards of PFAS
A as a part of the EPA’s efforts to address the human health and ecological risks of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), the Agency announced it was granting a petition from six North Carolina public health and environmental justice organizations to compel companies to conduct testing of certain PFAS.
The action advances the Administration’s commitment to improve understanding of, and to protect people from, the potential risks of PFAS. The petitioners’ request that EPA leverage its authorities to compel development of much needed new information on PFAS underscored the need for robust testing on PFAS, and played a key role in advancing the Agency’s plans for a National PFAS Testing Strategy
, a pillar of the agency’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap
that will lead to improved health protections for all communities.
“Communities in North Carolina and across the country deserve to know the potential risks that exposure to PFAS pose to families and children,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “By taking action on this petition, EPA will have a better understanding of the risks from PFAS pollution so we can do more to protect people. This data will also help us identify the sources of pollution so we can hold those accountable for endangering the public. EPA is fully committed to addressing this longstanding pollution challenge, and today we take another critical step forward to protect the water, air, and land we all depend on.”
EPA plans to require PFAS manufacturers to provide the agency with toxicity data and information on categories of PFAS. EPA expects to exercise its TSCA section 4 order authority to require recipients of test orders to conduct and fund the studies. The information gathered as a result of this testing will help EPA deepen its understanding of the impacts of PFAS, including potential hazards. As the agency learns more about the impacts of PFAS, EPA will continue to take action to protect human health and the environment.
In October 2020, the Center for Environmental Health, Cape Fear River Watch, Clean Cape Fear, Democracy Green, Toxic Free NC, and the NC Black Alliance submitted a petition asking EPA to require health and environmental impact testing on 54 chemical substances that the petition identifies as PFAS manufactured by The Chemours Company in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The previous Administration denied this petition in January 2021, and the petitioners requested that the Agency reconsider its denial in March 2021, which EPA agreed to do in September 2021, in light of the change in administration and in policy priorities concerning PFAS.
In October 2021, EPA announced a National PFAS Testing Strategy which identifies priority substances for the first of several described phases of an iterative testing approach based on grouping of chemicals by chemistry features and available toxicity data. These substances include many of the chemicals identified in the petition, but also additional PFAS which will inform a wider universe of categories of PFAS where key data is lacking. For example, the first phase of testing on 24 PFAS is expected to provide data that can be extrapolated to 2,950 PFAS that belong to the same categories as the 24 individual substances.
EPA has granted the petition and will exercise its TSCA authorities to compel development of information on PFAS. In summary:
- Near-Term Testing Covers 30 of 54 Petition Chemicals – Under the Testing Strategy, EPA’s first test orders for 24 categories of PFAS about which the least is known will provide human health hazard data that cover 30 of the 54 petition chemicals.
- Subsequent Testing May Cover nine of 54 Petition Chemicals – An additional nine PFAS identified in the petition belong to one other category included in the Testing Strategy. EPA is conducting more in-depth analyses of the sufficiency of the existing data, which will inform later phases of testing.
- Remaining 15 of 54 Petition Chemicals – 15 chemicals identified in the petition do not fit the definition of PFAS used in developing the Testing Strategy. EPA has determined that there is robust data on some of them available to the Agency. EPA is conducting more in-depth analyses of the existing data, which will inform later phases of testing.
- Mixtures Studies – EPA will address PFAS mixtures by using the toxicity of the individual substances to predict the toxicity of the mixture, an approach which is consistent with the current state-of-science on PFAS. EPA is proceeding with development and peer review of these methods as specifically applied to PFAS.
- Human Studies – EPA is contributing to and reviewing numerous existing ongoing human studies, including studies on potentially exposed workers and communities in North Carolina, and is evaluating how to further advance and expand on these efforts. These include studies of health outcomes for people in communities impacted by industrial PFAS releases, as well studies that explore the connection between chronic health outcomes and PFAS exposures in North Carolina.
- Analytical Standards – EPA does not believe it is appropriate to require the development or submission of analytical standards with the initial test orders that will be issued under the Testing Strategy and lacks the ability to order the submission of all analytical standards in the manner requested. Nonetheless, EPA has requested comment on whether to require the submission of existing analytical methods for PFAS under a separate rulemaking that the Agency expects to finalize next year.
EPA will also continue to work to address ongoing PFAS contamination through the actions outlined in the PFAS Strategic Roadmap
PFAS and Lithium Added to Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule
On December 27, EPA finalized
a Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) rule that requires certain public water systems (PWSs) to collect national occurrence data for 29 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and lithium. Subject to the availability of appropriations, EPA will include all systems serving 3,300 or more people and a representative sample of 800 systems serving 25 to 3,299 people. If EPA does not receive the appropriations needed for monitoring all of these systems in a given year, EPA will reduce the number of systems serving 25 to 10,000 people that will be asked to perform monitoring. This final rule is a key action to ensure science-based decision-making and prioritize protection of disadvantaged communities in accordance with EPA's PFAS Strategic Roadmap. EPA is also announcing plans for public webinars to discuss implementation of the fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 5). This final rule goes into effect on January 26, 2022.
$90,000 Penalty for Alleged Hazardous Waste Violations
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul announced that his office has obtained a civil judgment against Recycling Compliance Specialists, LLC, dba Midwest Lamp Recycling (Midwest Lamp), requiring it to pay a $90,000 monetary penalty for alleged violations of the State’s hazardous waste laws at a Dane County facility where it previously conducted lamp crushing operations. Midwest Lamp must also retain a consultant to develop and implement a State-approved plan to sample for and address any residual mercury contamination at the facility.
“Hazardous waste endangers human health and the environment,” said Attorney General Kaul. “Facilities that handle hazardous waste must comply with applicable laws in order to protect the public.”
According to the complaint, the lamp crushing operations were cause for various prior enforcement efforts, including action by the City of Madison, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The complaint alleges that Midwest Lamp operated an unlicensed hazardous waste facility, disposed of hazardous waste at an unlicensed landfill, failed to correctly dispose of waste that exceeded restrictions for mercury, and failed to implement and follow sampling protocols for hazardous waste.
Mercury is a persistent, bio-accumulative toxic pollutant that poses a significant risk to human health and the environment. Human health effects associated with mercury include severe neurological disorders in infants and children and kidney damage.
After the violations alleged in the complaint, Midwest Lamp voluntarily decommissioned its lamp crushing operations and transitioned to an electronics broker and transfer facility.
Assistant Attorney Tressie K. Kamp represented the State and worked closely with DNR to obtain this judgment. The Order for Judgment was signed by Dane County Circuit Court Judge Rhonda Lanford on December 17, 2021.
Because this compromise was reached prior to the commencement of a civil action, requirements of 2017 Wisconsin Act 369 do not apply.
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