On October 6, government, industry, and civil society representatives agreed on a new global market-based measure (GMBM) to control CO2 emissions from international aviation. The historic move came as the Plenary Session of the UN aviation agency’s 39th Assembly agreed to recommend adoption of a final Resolution text for the GMBM.
“It has taken a great deal of effort and understanding to reach this stage, and I want to applaud the spirit of consensus and compromise demonstrated by our Member States, industry and civil society,” remarked ICAO Council President Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu. “We now have practical agreement and consensus on this issue backed by a large number of States who will voluntarily participate in the GMBM—and from its outset. This will permit the CORSIA to serve as a positive and sustainable contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions reduction.”
ICAO’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) is designed to complement the basket of mitigation measures the air transport community is already pursuing to reduce CO2 emissions from international aviation. These include technical and operational improvements and advances in the production and use of sustainable alternative fuels for aviation.
Implementation of the CORSIA will begin with a pilot phase from 2021 through 2023, followed by a first phase, from 2024 through 2026. Participation in both of these early stages will be voluntary and the next phase from 2027 to 2035 would see all States on board. Some exemptions were accepted for Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and States with very low levels of international aviation activity.
“I would like to thank all those who have been part of this process”, said Dr. Fang Liu, Secretary General of ICAO. “This Resolution is the reflection of the spirit of cooperation and tremendous efforts. The ICAO GMBM endorsed today is an important addition to the basket of measures aviation is pursuing to address CO2 emissions.”
“The decision to adopt the Global MBM represents a historic step on the part of the 191 Member States of ICAO and has the support of international and U.S. industry,” said John Kerry, US Secretary of State. “This measure addresses a growing source of global emissions; demonstrates the international community’s strong and growing support for climate action in all areas; and helps avoid a patchwork of potentially costly and overlapping regional and national measures.”
Aviation is only one of many areas where nations worldwide are taking concrete and meaningful action to address global climate change this year. This week, the international community will come together in Kigali with the goal of adopting an ambitious amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons and potentially avoid a half degree Celsius of warming by the end of the century.
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.
Raleigh 24-Hour HAZWOPER and DOT/IATA Training
Register for Hazardous Operations and Emergency Response 24-Hour Training in Cary, NC on October 17–19 and ensure you are ready to respond. Learn how to prepare hazardous materials/dangerous goods for shipment by ground and air at DOT/IATA: Transportation of Hazardous Materials by Ground and Air on October 20. To register for these courses, click here or call 800-537-2372.
Knoxville RCRA and DOT Training
Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Knoxville, TN, on October 18–20 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.
Mobile RCRA and DOT Training
Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Mobile, AL, on October 25–27 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.
New Regulations of Shale Drilling Take Effect
New Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regulations on unconventional gas drilling will be published in the October 8, 2016, edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin and become effective upon publication. The new rules regulate unconventional drilling practices and hydraulic fracturing, as well as related activities. DEP has worked extensively with the natural gas industry to prepare for smooth adoption of the new requirements, which will help protect Pennsylvania’s air, water, natural resources as well as the health of residents.
“These regulations are a long time in coming and have undergone one of the most transparent and participatory processes ever overseen by DEP,” said Acting DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “The final result is a set of regulations that increase protection for public resources and water supplies, improve data transparency, enhance access to relevant information for the public, and help provide business certainty to the industry.”
The new rules, which have been under development since 2011, are the first modernization of the Commonwealth’s oil and gas surface regulations since the implementation of new horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques to capture natural gas from Pennsylvania's shale deposits.
Many of the changes to the regulations were made to comply with the 2012 Oil and Gas Act (known as Act 13). Among the changes to the current regulations:
- Improved protections of public resources: DEP can require additional protective measures if drilling would be near school property and playgrounds, parks, forests, and other public resources.
- Strengthened water supply restoration standards: If oil and gas development degrades a water supply, the operator must restore or replace the supply with one that meets Safe Drinking Water Act standards or is as good as pre-drilling conditions if the water supply was better than the Drinking Water Act standards.
- Electronic filing: In order to more efficiently track well development and operations, and to provide better public access to drilling data, operators will be required to submit electronic forms rather than paper.
“DEP heard from thousands of citizens across multiple comment periods and a dozen public hearings, as well numerous meetings with industry representatives, and the regulations have been improved as a result. We are very proud of the regulations we are putting into effect,” said McDonnell. “These regulations codify many of the common industry practices to create some of the most protective regulations in the nation and ensure safe development of this important resource.”
The final regulations can be found in the Pennsylvania Bulletin here: http://www.pabulletin.com/index.asp
Training sessions and information for oil and gas operators on complying with the new regulations has already begun – for more information and to view previous webinars, please click here.
Semiray Fined $65,000 For Hazardous Waste Violations
EPA fined Semiray, an industrial processing facility, $65,000 for violating federal hazardous waste laws Semiray, located on East Washington Street in Phoenix, north of Sky Harbor Airport, services the aerospace, military, electronics, and commercial manufacturing industries, and its activities create metal plating wastes.
Following three Notices of Violation issued by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and the City of Phoenix from 2010 to 2012, the EPA inspected the facility.
During its 2014 inspection, the EPA identified several hazardous waste violations, including:
- Storing hazardous metal plating wastes without a permit
- Failure to properly maintain the facility to minimize the possibility of a release of hazardous waste to air, soil, or surface water
- Failure to train workers, increasing their risk of exposure and the likelihood of improper waste management
Following the EPA’s inspection, Semiray personnel completed hazardous waste training and upgraded portions of the facility’s wastewater treatment plant at which hazardous plating wastes had been improperly stored.
Study Finds Fossil Fuel Methane Emissions Greater than Previously Estimated
Methane emissions from fossil fuel development around the world are up to 60% greater than estimated by previous studies, according to new research led by scientists from NOAA and CIRES. The study found that fossil fuel activities contribute between 132 million and 165 million tons of the 623 million tons of methane emitted by all sources every year. That’s about 20 to 25% of total global methane emissions, and 20 to 60% more than previous studies estimated.
However, the findings also confirm other work by NOAA scientistsoffsite link that conclude fossil fuel facilities are not directly responsible for the increased rate of global atmospheric methane emissions measured in the atmosphere since 2007.
“We recognize the findings might seem counterintuitive—methane emissions from fossil fuel development have been dramatically underestimated—but they’re not directly responsible for the increase in total methane emissions observed since 2007,” said lead author Stefan Schwietzke, a scientist with the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciencesoffsite link (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder, working in NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory.
The upward revision in the estimate of fossil fuel methane emissions comes despite improvements in industry practices that have reduced leaks from oil and gas facilities from about 8% of production to about 2% over the past three decades. Dramatic production increases have canceled out efficiency gains however, keeping the overall contribution from fossil fuel activities constant.
The research, published in the journal Nature, analyzed the largest database of methane measurements ever assembled to determine how much methane is coming from fossil fuel development, natural geologic sources, microbial activity, and biomass burning.
After carbon dioxide, methane is the second largest contributor to global warming. While not as abundant or as long-lived as CO2, methane is 28 times more effective at trapping heat in the Earth’s atmosphere over a 100-year time span. Reducing methane emissions from fossil fuel activities could be a cost-effective strategy to slow the rate of global warming during the next century, the authors said.
“Our study shows that leaks from oil and gas activities around the world are responsible for a lot more methane than we thought,” said co-author Lori Bruhwiler, a NOAA research scientist. “The good news is that fixing leaking oil and gas infrastructure is a very effective short-term way to reduce emissions of this important greenhouse gas.”
Schwietzke and his team, which included scientists from the University of Colorado and other universities, assembled a database roughly 100 times larger than previous ones. That improved the accuracy of their results, he said.
“A key message is that the number and comprehensiveness of measurements matter,” said Schwietzke. “The models used to estimate methane emissions are very sensitive to the data we supply them with. Our method is based very strongly on empirical data to reduce the number of assumptions that influence results.”
Methane emissions have distinct isotopic signatures that distinguish whether a sample came from fossil fuel development and natural geologic sources, microbial activity, or biomass burning.
Though the new estimates of fossil fuel emissions represent a major adjustment of the global methane budget, the study results support other research findings on another methane-related subject: what’s causing the global uptick in atmospheric methane levels observed since 2007.
Isotopic analysis points to natural or human-caused microbial sources as the source of between 364 million to 419 million tons of methane per year, or 58 to 67% of methane released to the atmosphere each year, Schwietzke said. Total methane emissions from all sources increased by about 28 million tons per year between 2007 and 2013.
“We believe methane produced by microbial sources—cows, agriculture, landfills, wetlands, and fresh waters—are responsible for the increase, but we cannot yet pinpoint which are the primary drivers,” he said. “If the methane is mainly coming from cows or ag, then we could potentially do something about it. If it's coming from decaying vegetation in wetlands or fresh waters, then a warming climate could be the culprit, which means that it could be part of a self-reinforcing feedback loop leading to more climate change. Those are big ifs, and we need to figure them out.”
Future research, Schwietzke said, would benefit from enlarging the database to add samples from microbial sources like cows, agriculture, and wetlands. More data would help further reduce uncertainty about contributions from all methane sources, including fossil fuels, and would help better quantify the individual sources at continental scales.
High Plains Motors Fined for Mismanagement of Hazardous Waste
EPA has announced an agreement with High Plains Motors, Inc., resolving alleged hazardous waste violations related to the improper management of used oil, paint solvents, lacquer thinner, and other materials at an automobile dealership and service center at 331 Front Street in Wolf Point, Mont. As part of the settlement, High Plains Motors will pay a penalty of $5,758 and complete a junk vehicle recycling project on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.
“This innovative environmental project is an example of how EPA enforcement actions can directly benefit our communities,” said Suzanne Bohan, EPA Assistant Regional Administrator. “EPA commends High Plains Motors and Tribal leaders for their commitment to work together to safely remove dozens of abandoned vehicles on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.”
Deb Madison, Environmental Program Manager for the Fort Peck Tribes added, “The Office of Environmental Protection is looking forward to working with High Plains Motors and the Fort Peck Housing Authority to address this environmental problem.”
The High Plains Motors automobile dealership and service center is located on privately held land within the exterior boundaries of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. EPA inspections in July 2015 revealed that the company had violated provisions of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) by failing to label used oil containers and respond to releases of used oil at the facility. EPA inspections also found that the company failed to properly manage paint solvent waste, oil/water/antifreeze mixture, and lacquer thinner on site. EPA issued High Plains Motors a compliance order on September 29, 2015 and the company has since taken steps to secure compliance with hazardous waste regulations.
The recent announcement resolves High Plains Motors’ liability for the alleged RCRA violations by securing a penalty and a supplemental environmental project that will recycle approximately 86 abandoned vehicles on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. After seeking input from the Fort Peck Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes and EPA, High Plains Motors agreed to work with a local salvage company, Trader’s Den, to remove abandoned or inoperable vehicles on Tribal housing-owned property in the Wolf Point and Poplar areas of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. These actions will remove potential sources of pollution from the vehicles, including oil, transmission fluid, coolant, brake fluid, gasoline, and batteries. High Plains Motors will properly dispose of or salvage all recovered materials and will deposit vehicles at a local junkyard for crushing and recycling.
EPA has also been working with the Fort Peck Tribes and the communities of Poplar and Wolf Point through the agency’s “Making a Visible Difference in Communities” initiative. One focus of this initiative is achieving environmental results and reducing blight through technical support and grant resources. For example, recent EPA Brownfields funding, provided in partnership with the Great Northern Development Corporation and Tribes’ Brownfields program, is removing contaminants and identifying revitalization opportunities at several abandoned buildings in the area. The removal of junk vehicles through this supplemental environmental project will further the goal of reducing blight and help make these communities cleaner and safer places to live.
Valero Fined for Hazardous Waste Violations at Refinery
The EPA recently announced a settlement with Valero Refining Company—California over improper management of hazardous waste and toxic chemicals at its crude oil refinery in Benicia. Violations included illegally disposing benzene into an unlined stormwater retention pond and not alerting the public about all of its toxic chemical releases.
Valero will pay a $157,800 penalty and modify its piping operations; submitting a work plan by the end of 2016 and completing the project by June 2017. This action will prevent an estimated 5,000 lb of benzene, a known human carcinogen, from being released into the environment over the next 10 years. The company will also correct and resubmit its toxic chemical release reports.
“Valero’s operations can affect both the communities near the refinery and the wildlife habitat of Suisun Bay,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA's Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. "It is critical for Valero to comply with federal laws that protect public health and our natural resources."
Valero Refining Company - California is a subsidiary of Valero Energy Corporation, a global manufacturer and marketer of transportation fuels, petrochemical products and power, based in San Antonio, Texas. EPA conducted an inspection at Valero’s Benicia refinery in May 2014 to assess compliance with the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.
Additional violations uncovered by the inspection included the company’s failure to determine if solid waste generated at the refinery was hazardous; failure to maintain and operate the facility as needed to minimize the possibility of any unplanned release; and failure to maintain complete and accurate records at the facility.
This investigation was part of EPA’s continuing efforts to ensure communities located near complex industrial facilities are informed of the toxic releases from those facilities. This action also reflects EPA’s focus on the largest hazardous waste generators, including petroleum refineries.
The federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act program oversees the safe management and disposal of hazardous waste. Under authority delegated by EPA, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control enforces this hazardous waste management program in the state. EPA routinely conducts RCRA inspections in its state oversight role, to ensure the state effectively implements its program.
The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act was created to help communities plan for chemical emergencies. It also requires industry to report on the storage, use and releases of hazardous substances in a community. To accomplish this, EPA created the Toxics Release Inventory. This publicly available database contains information on toxic chemical releases and other waste management activities reported annually by certain industries and federal facilities.
TIMET Ordered to Improve Chemical Safety, Fined $500,000
EPA has settled with Titanium Metals Corporation (TIMET), one of the world’s largest producers of titanium products, over violations of federal chemical safety and release reporting requirements following a 2012 chlorine release at its Henderson, Nevada, facility. The company has agreed to pay a $500,000 civil penalty and will hire an independent auditor to assess the facility’s emergency preparedness programs and overall chemical safety.
“Chemical accident prevention is of vital importance to the community, plant workers, and first responders,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Our action ensures the TIMET facility, which handles hazardous chemicals, will operate more safely.”
TIMET violated provisions of both the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act by failing to immediately notify authorities of the March 2012 chlorine release that continued unabated for several hours. Residents up to seven miles away complained about the odors. Exposure to chlorine gas can trigger headaches, bronchitis and asthma; acute exposure causes more severe respiratory effects, and can result in fatalities.
During a March 2015 inspection, EPA found that TIMET also violated the Clean Air Act’s Chemical Accident Prevention regulations by:
- Failing to design and maintain a safe facility with respect to an ammonia refrigeration system
- Failing to review and update the facility’s Risk Management Plan
- Failing to conduct periodic compliance self-audits
- Failing to ensure adequate operating procedures related to abnormal operating conditions
The Clean Air Act’s General Duty Clause requires owners and operators of certain stationary sources to design and maintain safe facilities, and minimize the consequences of releases that do occur. Facilities such as TIMET, with significant quantities of toxic substances, must develop and implement a Chemical Accident Prevention, or Risk Management, Program.
TIMET processes titanium from ore at its 108-acre manufacturing facility at the Black Mountain Industrial Complex in Henderson. TIMET, headquartered near Philadelphia, has been supplying nearly one-fifth of the world’s titanium demand since 1950. The company’s Henderson plant, in operation since 1950, is one of the largest industrial facilities in the state. TIMET is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Precision Castparts Corporation, a worldwide manufacturer of complex metal components and products based in Portland, Oregon.
Under both the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, EPA requires the immediate reporting of releases of hazardous substances to the environment above certain threshold levels.
D.C. Rock and Gravel Facility Fined $32,400 for Stormwater Runoff to Anacostia River
The EPA recently announced it has entered into a settlement agreement with Recycled Aggregates, LLC, and John Driggs Company, including a penalty of $32,400, resolving alleged Clean Water Act violations at a rock and gravel processing facility located at 1721 S. Capitol St. SW in Washington, D.C. EPA alleged that these parties discharged stormwater runoff into the municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) and the Anacostia River without a discharge permit as required by the Clean Water Act.
“This settlement underscores the seriousness with which EPA regards unpermitted stormwater discharges to our nation’s waterways,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin.
“Our agency will not hesitate to take vigorous enforcement action to protect and restore urban rivers like the Anacostia.”
Uncontrolled stormwater runoff from industrial sites often contains sediment, oil and grease, chemicals, metals, and other pollutants. Discharges of untreated stormwater runoff into an MS4 can result in chemical and biological impairments to our nation’s waterways. The Clean Water Act requires owners or operators of regulated industrial facilities to obtain permit coverage before commencing industrial activity.
The permit requires the reduction or elimination of pollutants from stormwater runoff by adopting and implementing best management practices including materials storage and containment, runoff reduction measures, and employee training.
As part of the settlement, Recycled Aggregates and John Driggs Co., did not admit liability for the alleged violations, but they have certified that they have obtained permit coverage and are in compliance with the Clean Water Act requirements.
EPA Releases Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data from Large Facilities
EPA recently released its sixth year of Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program data, detailing greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution trends and emissions broken down by industrial sector, geographic region and individual facilities. In 2015, reported emissions from large industrial sources, representing approximately 50% of total U.S. GHG emissions, were 4.9% lower than 2014, and 8.2% lower than 2011.
“Under the President’s Climate Action Plan, EPA is taking steps to ensure a safer future for our children and grandchildren,” said Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “The Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program is supporting this by providing high-quality, long-term data for the largest emitters, and contributing important details on greenhouse gas emissions trends. The program is showing us that the trend is moving in the right direction.”
More than 8,000 large facilities reported their direct GHG emissions from 2015 to EPA. The data from these facilities show that in 2015:
- Power plants remained the largest source of U.S. GHG emissions, with nearly 1,500 facilities emitting approximately 2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, roughly 30% of total U.S. GHG pollution in 2015. Power plant emissions in 2015 declined by 6.2%as compared to 2014, and by 11.3% since 2011.
- Petroleum and natural gas systems were the second largest stationary source of emissions, reporting 231 million metric tons of GHG emissions. Reported emissions for 2015 were 1.6% lower than 2014, but 4.1% higher than 2011.
- Reported emissions from other large sources in the industrial and waste sectors were a combined 852 million metric tons of GHG emissions in 2015, down 1.6% from 2014. Most sectors reported emissions reductions, with large declines in reported emissions from the iron and steel sector and the production of fluorinated chemicals.
Under President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, EPA is taking significant steps to address carbon pollution from the power, transportation, and industrial sectors, while improving energy efficiency in homes, businesses, and factories.
The Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program collects facility-level GHG data from major industrial sources across the United States, including power plants, oil and gas production and refining, iron and steel mills, and landfills. The program also collects data on the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) predominantly used in refrigeration and air conditioning.
The program’s data can be used by businesses and others to track and compare facilities' GHG emissions, identify opportunities to cut pollution, minimize wasted energy, and save money. States, cities, and other communities can use EPA’s GHG data to find high-emitting facilities in their area, compare emissions between similar facilities, and develop common-sense climate policies. Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program data are also used to inform the development of the Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks, which estimates total U.S. GHG emissions from across all sectors of the economy. EPA will publish the 1990-2015 Inventory in April 2017.
New EPA Web Portal Helps Communities Prepare for Climate Change
EPA recently launched a new online portal that will provide local leaders in the nation’s 40,000 communities with information and tools to increase resilience to climate change. Using a self-guided format, the Adaptation Resource Center (ARC-X) provides users with information tailored specifically to their needs, based on where they live and the particular issues of concern to them.
Recent statistics from the Office of Management and Budget show the federal government has incurred more than $357 billion in direct costs due to extreme weather and fire alone over the last 10 years. Climate change is also expected to pose significant financial and infrastructural challenges to communities in coming decades. EPA designed ARC-X to help all local government official address these challenges—from those with extensive experience and expertise dealing with the impacts of climate change, to those working in underserved communities who are just beginning to meet those challenges.
“From floods and droughts to dangerous heat islands and other public health effects, communities are facing the very real impacts of climate change,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “ARC-X is a powerful new tool that can help local governments continue to deliver reliable, cost-effective services even as the climate changes.”
Building on climate adaptation training for local governments EPA launched last year, ARC-X provides another important resource for building climate resiliency. The system guides users through all steps of an adaptation process, providing information on the implications of climate change for particular regions and issues of concern; adaptation strategies that can be implemented to address the risks posed by climate change; case studies that illustrate how other communities with similar concerns have already successfully adapted, along with instructions on how to replicate their efforts; potential EPA tools to help implement the adaptation strategies; and sources of funding and technical assistance from EPA and other federal agencies.
Missouri DNR Orders Pavement Solutions to Immediately Remove Milky-White Contamination from Coldwater Creek
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has identified Pavement Solutions as the responsible party for the recent contamination of Coldwater Creek, and issued an Abatement Order for the immediate removal of the milky-white contamination from Coldwater Creek.
Currently, Pavement Solutions is using vacuum trucks to remove the contaminated water from the creek. The contaminant is a concrete additive product called Modifier A/NA, which has a low toxicity level for human and aquatic life according to the Safety Data Sheet for the product. The department has coordinated with federal and local officials, including the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the St. Louis County Health Department, Metropolitan Sewer District and the Florissant City Public Works, to ensure the proper disposal of the contaminants. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources will continue to ensure appropriate actions are taken to protect human health and the environment in response to the release described in the issued Abatement Order.
The contamination resulted from an accident involving a truck that was transporting the product on McDonnell Boulevard on Friday, September 30. Pavement Solutions contacted the department’s Environmental Emergency Response Spill Line following the September 30 release but indicated the spill had been properly cleaned and disposed.
On Sunday, October 2, the department’s Environmental Emergency Spill Line received complaints of a milky-white substance in Coldwater Creek at approximately 10:40 a.m. The department sent staff to the location to observe the creek and take samples for analysis. The department also began to examine industries and other projects in the area to identify a potential source.
During the investigation, staff received information from several members of the public, including Pavement Solutions, indicating that the contamination was a result of the spill that happened on September 30. This contamination is not related to Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program remediation efforts.
Laboratory analysis is currently underway.
Eco Services Operations Corp Fined for Safety Lapses that Led to Toxic Air Leak
EPA has reached a settlement with Eco Services Operations Corp., located in Carson, California, for violations of federal laws related to a large release of 65,049 lb of sulfur dioxide in 2013. The company will pay a $106,000 civil penalty and has to come into compliance.
“It is crucial for companies to take all necessary steps to maintain safe operations,” said Alexis Strauss, Acting Regional Administrator for EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. “EPA will continue to do whatever it takes to protect workers and residents from accidental releases.”
On November 18, 2013, the facility released 65,049 lb of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere over a five-hour period during start-up operations and did not notify the appropriate officials until eight hours after the release began. Employees at a neighboring business called emergency responders, reporting upper respiratory pain and eye irritation. Eleven of these workers were transported to local hospitals where they were treated and released that same evening.
EPA’s 2014 investigation found that the facility failed to follow proper operating procedures, failed to immediately cease operations when multiple alarms sounded, failed to properly train employees relating to alarm response, and failed to conduct a thorough pre-startup safety routine which resulted in a valve that should have been opened, to remain closed. As a result the facility failed to maintain a safe facility and minimize the consequences of the release. The design and maintenance failures that led to the release violated the Clean Air Act, and the failure to provide immediate notice to officials of the release violated the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act.
In addition to the civil penalty the company has taken the following actions to return into compliance with federal laws and prevent another accidental release including:
- Updating the startup checklist and standard operating procedures
- Conducting training for employees on the updated procedures
- Adding an additional alarm to indicate if the process is not working properly
Eco Services Operations Corp., located at 20720 S. Wilmington Ave. in the City of Carson, produces and regenerates sulfuric acid used by nearby refineries and other industrial facilities. The facility is primarily surrounded by other industrial businesses, and is less than a half-mile from residential communities
The federal Clean Air Act’s General Duty Clause requires owners and operators of facilities producing, processing, handling, or storing hazardous substances to design and maintain a safe facility to prevent releases, and to minimize the consequences of accidental releases when they do occur. Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act requires companies to immediately report unregulated releases that exceed the reportable quantity threshold.
Sulfur dioxide is a toxic gas that can cause death or permanent injury after very short exposure to small quantities. It is also a significant contributor to acid rain, smog and haze.
MISR Petroleum LLC Fined for Underground Storage Tank Violations
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has fined Nagat El-Shinawy and Mohammed S. Mohamed, doing business as MISR Petroleum, LLC, $4,753 for failing to comply with various underground storage tank regulations at their facility at 2424 Highway 101.
The tanks haven't been operated since 2007. DEQ cited the company in 2013 for failing to comply with regulations that require tanks be brought back into use, permanently decommissioned or for the operators to complete soil sampling if they choose to leave the tanks out of use. DEQ later gave the operators until February 2016 to comply with the regulations.
Of the recent penalty, $3,053 represents the economic benefit MISR gained by failing to submit results of a site assessment required to keep the tanks in the ground.
The company has appealed the penalty.
View the enforcement letter: https://www.oregon.gov/deq/nr/100416misrE.pdf
EPA’s Energy Star Launches Campaign to Benefit Communities through Energy Efficiency
The EPA recently launched the seventh annual Energy Star Change the World Tour. This year, more than 20 participating organizations across the country are encouraging Americans to buy Energy Star certified LED bulbs, and with every purchase made, the organizations are giving back to local communities.
“Everyone can join EPA in helping communities and our environment through Energy Star,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Every purchase of an Energy Star certified LED bulb saves you money and makes a difference for the planet, and this month, it can also help your local community.”
With prices dropping across the nation, LED lighting has become a real option for all Americans. The 2016 Tour highlights the energy-saving potential of LED lighting and educates Americans on the importance of looking for the Energy Star. Only products that have earned the Energy Star are independently certified to deliver optimal efficiency and performance from this new technology.
Energy Star certified LED bulbs use up to 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs and last 15 to 25 times longer. A single bulb can save over $55 in electricity costs over its lifetime and last over 12 years with typical use. Even with all the new choices, it’s still simple: look for the Energy Star for energy savings.
If every American replaced just one incandescent light bulb with one that has earned the Energy Star, that replacement would prevent nearly six billion pounds of GHG emissions per year, equivalent to the emissions from 550,000 cars.
Throughout the month of October, when individuals purchase Energy Star certified LED bulbs, 21 participating organizations—including Energy Star partner utilities, manufacturers, and retailers—will be supporting local and regional community service projects. Examples include: meals being delivered to families in need; the rebuilding of local homes; energy-efficient lighting retrofits in schools; and support for families of fallen soldiers. If there is not a participating organization nearby, a national offering, from Maxlite and Amazon, features a different set of Energy Star LED bulbs each week in October, with a percentage of sales going to a national home building charity. See a full list of Change the World Tour projects and participants at http://www.energystar.gov/BrightenALife.
$14 Million Penalty Issued to Detroit Diesel Corp. for Clean Air Act Violations
The EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced a settlement with Detroit Diesel Corp. that resolves alleged violations of the Clean Air Act for selling heavy-duty diesel engines that were not certified by EPA and did not meet applicable emission standards. Under the settlement, Detroit Diesel will spend $14.5 million on projects to reduce nitrogen oxide and other pollutants, including replacing high-polluting diesel school buses and locomotive engines with models that meet current emissions standards. Detroit Diesel will also pay a $14 million civil penalty.
The government’s complaint alleges that Detroit Diesel violated the Clean Air Act by introducing into commerce 7,786 heavy-duty diesel engines for use in trucks and buses in model year 2010 without a valid EPA-issued certificate of conformity demonstrating conformance with Clean Air Act standards to control nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. The complaint also alleges that the engines did not conform to emission standards applicable to model year 2010 engines. The school bus and locomotive replacement projects will reduce ambient air levels of NOx and other pollutants. In addition, the school bus program will improve air quality inside school buses by reducing exposure to diesel exhaust. Diesel exhaust poses a lung cancer hazard for people and can cause respiratory effects such as asthma. Detroit Diesel intends to target areas for the replacement projects that do not meet Clean Air Act standards for certain air pollutants and areas with low-income communities.
“Today’s settlement protects clean air for many communities and vulnerable people across the country, including school children,” said Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “EPA will continue to hold engine manufacturers accountable for meeting emissions standards that protect public health and the air we breathe.”
“This case demonstrates the critical importance of EPA’s vehicle and engine certification program to achieving the goals of the Clean Air Act,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “By not certifying the engines in accordance with the rules, Detroit Diesel Corp. increased pollution and undercut competitors. We will uphold the integrity of that program by holding accountable those that skirt the rules.”
The Clean Air Act requires manufacturers to obtain a certificate of conformity demonstrating compliance with emission standards before introducing an engine into commerce. Certificates of conformity cover only those engines produced within a single model year. A model year for a family of engines ends either when the last such engine is produced, or on December 31 of the calendar year for which the model year is named, whichever date is sooner.
The complaint alleges that Detroit Diesel commenced construction of the heavy-duty diesel engines during model year 2009, but did not complete construction of the engines until calendar year 2010. Because Detroit Diesel completed all manufacturing and assembling processes for the engines in 2010, the complaint alleges that the engines were produced in 2010 and required a certificate of conformity demonstrating compliance with 2010 emission standards. From approximately January 5, 2010 through approximately June 1, 2010, Detroit Diesel sold the engines for on-highway use in heavy duty vehicles. Because the engines were not certified to the more stringent 2010 NOx emission standards, Detroit Diesel’s introduction of these engines resulted in excess emissions. The engines were manufactured in Detroit, Michigan, but were introduced into commerce across the country.
Under the consent decree, Detroit Diesel will be required to implement projects to replace high-polluting school buses with school buses that meet current federal emissions standards and replace or repower high-polluting switch locomotives. Detroit Diesel is also required to post data and information about the clean diesel projects on a public website.
Detroit Diesel Corp., is a Michigan corporation that began as a diesel engine manufacturing division of the General Motors Corporation in 1938. It is currently a wholly-owned subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America. Detroit Diesel manufactures heavy-duty diesel engines, axles and transmissions for the on-highway and vocational truck markets.
The consent decree was lodged in the District Court for the District of Columbia. Notice of the lodging will appear in the Federal Register allowing for a public comment period of not less than 30 days before the consent decree can be entered by the court as final judgement. The $14 million civil penalty is due 30 days after the effective date of the consent decree. To view the consent decree:
EPA Settles with Pace International, LLC, over Clean Air Act Violations on the Yakama Indian Reservation
The EPA has reached a settlement in a case against Pace International LLC, (Pace) of Wapato, WA, for federal Clean Air Act violations that occurred within the Yakama Indian Reservation. According to the Company, Pace manufactures post-harvest fruit coatings such as vegetable waxes like carnauba, animal based waxes like shellac or mineral and synthetic waxes, which are used to protect fruit and vegetables for their farm to table journey. During the process of formulating these coatings, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are released to the atmosphere. VOCs are harmful if inhaled and can contribute to causing ground level ozone, another harmful air pollutant.
The settlement includes a $77,134 penalty. In addition, Pace agreed to invest $78,427.00 in a pollution-reducing facility upgrade. They will replace older, leaky pneumatic pumps and hoses (used to transfer large volumes of VOC-containing liquids around the facility) with new, more efficient equipment which is expected to reduce leaks and vapor emissions.
Violations at the Pace International facility were identified during a routine, unannounced CAA inspection. They included:
- Failing to track, calculate, and record the monthly and 12-month rolling emission inventory for VOCs
- Missing the compliance deadline for conducting the required National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants energy assessments on two of its boilers
- Late submission of Notification of Compliance Status Reports for completing the energy assessments on the two boilers
A second inspection was conducted during which Pace agreed to EPA using its Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) video camera technology to see otherwise invisible air emissions. The FLIR camera video footage helped Pace decide to replace the old leaky pumps with new leak-proof stainless steel pumps and crush resistant hoses, reducing local air pollution.
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Two Massachusetts Companies Assessed $30,000 in Penalties for Waste Site Cleanup Violations
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has issued a $30,000 penalty to 402 Grove Street Realty, LLC, and Altab, Inc., for violating state oil and hazardous materials cleanup regulations at their properties at 400 and 402 Grove Street in Worcester. The site includes a two-story commercial building and a restaurant. MassDEP found that the property owners failed to conduct necessary assessment and indoor air monitoring at the site.
In April of 2013, MassDEP conducted an audit of the remediation work completed to date and found that the companies had failed to conduct assessment and monitoring to ensure groundwater contamination was controlled and vapors were not impacting indoor air in the buildings at the site. They also failed to submit required periodic status reports to MassDEP to verify that a vapor mitigation system was continuing to operate properly.
As part of a consent order, the companies must fully assess measures to control groundwater and indoor air contamination, and must further evaluate cleanup options. They must also pay $5,800 of the assessed penalty, with the remaining amount suspended as long as the companies meet their requirements and do not violate any other regulations for a year.
"A Temporary Solution at a contaminated site requires continued monitoring, particularly where there is potential for actual human health exposure such as through indoor air," said MaryJude Pigsley, director of MassDEP's Central Regional Office in Worcester. "Site owners should also be examining other cleanup technologies for the site to ultimately achieve a Permanent Solution there."
MassDEP Issues $14,375 Penalty to Edgewood North Reading Apartments Investors for Groundwater Discharge Violations
Group Agrees to Evaluate, Correct Ongoing Wastewater Treatment Violations
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) penalized Edgewood North Reading Apartments Investors, LLC, $14,375 for continued violations of its groundwater discharge permit involving effluent, fecal coliform, total nitrogen and total suspended solids. The company owns and operates a 406-unit residence at 100 Lowell Road in North Andover.
MassDEP first took action involving the violations on May 1, 2014, by issuing a notice of noncompliance that required action and a return to compliance by the end of that month. The company's plan to address the violations included cleaning procedures for the disinfection system, increased monitoring and pumping and increased educational outreach to the facility's residents.
During 2015, problems with the wastewater treatment lingered despite attempts to address the continued violations of its groundwater discharge limits, including the failure of two air compressors, the replacement of two bulbs in the ultraviolet disinfection system, and pumping of the pre-treatment system.
"The responsible party has agreed that a full evaluation and plan is necessary with detailed tasks going forward in order to comply fully with its groundwater discharge permit limits," said Eric Worrall, director of MassDEP's Northeast Regional Office in Wilmington.
Edgewood will continue to report monthly any violations and the steps it has taken to mitigate or eliminate the problem. Also, within 75 days, the company will transmit a task report in accordance with the scope of work developed to address the wastewater system's violations, and within 135 days will transmit a second task report. Any major modifications will require a MassDEP permit approval. Edgewood will pay $8,000 of the penalty and the remaining $6,375 will be suspended provided the company fully complies with the order.
Billerica Company Resolves Claims of Illegal Dumping of Construction Waste at Methuen Site
A Billerica-based general contracting and excavating business will pay as much as $152,400 to settle allegations of illegal dumping of construction and demolition waste at an unpermitted site in Methuen, Attorney General Maura Healey announced recently.
According to the complaint, entered along with the consent judgment in Suffolk Superior Court, Mystic Motor Transportation Co., Inc., allegedly violated the state’s solid waste management laws by dumping 185 loads of concrete, bricks and other construction and demolition waste debris between September 2007 and July 2008 at an unlawful dump in Methuen.
“This company is one of several our office has gone after for illegal dumping at this unlawful site in violation of state regulations designed to protect our environment,” said AG Healey. “We are pleased this settlement will help fund much-needed cleanup and continue to hold businesses accountable for breaking our solid waste laws.”
According to the complaint, Thomas Battye, the former owner of the Methuen dump site on Old Ferry Road, never applied for or received the site assignment from the Methuen Board of Health needed to operate a solid waste facility there, and did not receive the necessary solid waste management facility permit from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). Battye passed away in November 2015.
“Illegal dumping is a blight on our communities, so the Commonwealth has protective regulations concerning the proper disposal of solid waste,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “Violations will result in the state pursuing those cases with enforcement and fines. We are pleased that this settlement will direct penalty funds towards environmental restoration.”
Under the terms of the consent judgment, Mystic Motor will pay the Commonwealth as much as $152,400, with up to $5,000 being paid as a civil penalty and $147,400 being paid into a special fund established by the state to help with the cost of site evaluation and cleanup work at the Battye site. If Mystic Motor fully complies with all of the state’s solid waste laws during the three-year period following entry of judgment, and makes the payments required under the judgment during that time, the amount of $50,000 will be waived.
MassDEP inspections in 2008 revealed vast amounts of construction debris containing concrete, asphalt, stone, brick and other waste materials had been dumped at the site. Battye was the subject of a separate action brought by the Commonwealth related to solid waste violations at the Methuen site. In December 2013, Dynamic Waste Systems, Inc., agreed to pay more than $93,000 to settle claims that it illegally dumped multiple loads of construction and demolition waste at the site. Last year, W.L. French Excavating Corp. paid $62,500 and Stockbridge Corp. agreed to pay up to $50,000 to the state to settle similar claims. In February 2016 Mattuchio Construction Co. was responsible for paying $72,000, and in June 2016 NASDI, LLC, and Gigs, LLC, were responsible for paying $275,000 and $25,000 respectively to the state to settle such claims.
Vessel Owners Fined $47,500 for 2015 Port Orchard Oil Spill
Ecology issued the fine to Dean Raught and Kyhra Hessel of Des Moines for failing to keep the 58-year-old former fishing boat Tango in suitable repair to remain afloat. It sank at the Port Orchard Railway Marina on September 2, 2015.
Investigators determined that a power cable came loose from an electrical service box on the dock. As a result, six pumps stopped operating that had been keeping the vessel from sinking. A lock to secure plug-ins at the box had not been properly engaged.
"This was a bad ending to a series of problems with the Tango," said Dale Jensen, Ecology's spills program manager. "This boat nearly sank before, and the owners relied on pumps to keep it afloat. We offered to get the fuel pumped off the boat to prevent a pollution incident, but they declined."
An estimated 751 gallons of oil, primarily diesel fuel with lubricating oil, spilled when the Tango sank. Local crews and volunteers used a nearby Ecology spill equipment trailer to place containment boom and other spill response materials around the vessel.
The U.S. Coast Guard used a federal spill response fund to hire a salvage company to remove any remaining oil. The marina had the vessel patched and re-floated, then towed to a boat yard for demolition.
Most of the spilled fuel was contained within the marina, but a sheen—a surface coating too thin to clean up—extended about a mile into Sinclair Inlet. In the marina, response crews recovered about 618 gallons of the spill, and 30 gallons that was still inside the boat.
Previously, the vessel took on water and nearly sank in March 2014. Responders deployed powerful pumps to avert the sinking. Ecology offered to arrange removal of the Tango’s fuel in June 2015 at no cost, after explaining to Raught and Hessel they could face liability under state law for polluting. The owners declined Ecology’s offer.
Ecology penalties may be appealed to the Washington State Pollution Control Hearings Board.
With the fine, Ecology also is billing Raught and Hessel $1,200 for the state’s costs to respond to the spill and oversee the cleanup. Earlier, the state issued a separate $20,070 assessment for damage the spill caused to the public’s environmental resources, based on the amount spilled and the resources it placed at risk.
Cape Cod Owner Agrees to Restore and Preserve Wetlands to Resolve Clean Water Act Violations
The EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice have reached an agreement with Idlewild Acres, LLC, and Peter M. Wild, its owner and manager, resolving violations of the federal Clean Water Act related to wetlands.
The alleged violations occurred when Idlewild Acres and Mr. Wild dredged and filled about 14.7 acres of wetlands and other waterways on property they own in East Sandwich, Massachusetts, without first obtaining a permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers. The property had historically been operated as a cranberry farm. The wetlands were filled in order to convert the cranberry bogs at the property to a tree and shrub nursery.
The settlement requires Idlewild Acres and Mr. Wild to successfully establish or maintain approximately 12.7 acres of freshwater wetlands and ponds, including about 3.8 acres of ponds that were constructed in the wetlands. The wetlands will be restored by removing fill, or, for those areas that currently appear to function as wetlands, by maintaining wetland hydrology that already exists. The settlement also requires Idlewild Acres and Mr. Wild to place a conservation easement on the entire 14.7 area to permanently prevent uses other than agriculture or nursery operations. Finally, they will pay a civil penalty of $22,000.
Wetlands are vital to protecting the integrity of our rivers and estuaries, and help to protect the health and safety of people and their communities by providing a natural filtration system for pollution before it gets into our rivers, lakes and ponds, and by preventing flooding after storms. Wetlands also provide valuable wildlife habitat, offering breeding and feeding grounds for a broad array of fish, birds and other wildlife.
"Protecting wetlands is important because they are important ecological areas that provide valuable functions such as protecting and improving water quality, and helping to buffer floods and major storm events," said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "When we lose wetlands, our communities lose resources that feed the rivers, lakes and streams we depend on to provide sources of food, transportation, and recreational opportunities."
The Complaint and Consent Decree were filed in federal District Court in Massachusetts on September 30, 2016.
Southern Counties Oil Co. Fined $75,000 for Oil Spill
The EPA recently reached a proposed settlement with Southern Counties Oil Co., known as SC Fuels, for violations of federal oil pollution prevention regulations at its facility in San Jose, California, SC Fuels will pay a $75,000 penalty and has come into compliance with the law.
SC Fuels operates a petroleum bulk storage and distribution plant located 500 feet from Lower Silver Creek, a tributary of Coyote Creek, which flows into San Francisco Bay. A March 2015 inspection by EPA found that the company violated the Clean Water Act's Oil Spill Prevention, Control, and Coun