New Rule on Reverse Logistics of Hazardous Materials

March 28, 2016

The DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is amending the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) by adopting streamlined requirements for the safe return (reverse logistics) of certain hazardous materials from a retail outlet back to a distribution or reclamation facility by highway transportation. The rule specifically excludes hazardous waste and shipments that are subject to special permits.

This final rule defines reverse logistics as “the process of offering for transport or transporting by motor vehicle goods from a retail store for return to its manufacturer, supplier, or distribution facility for the purpose of capturing value (e.g., to receive manufacturer’s credit), recall, replacement, recycling, or similar reason” and provides provisions for the safe shipment of hazardous materials within the scope of this definition. The rule streamlines the requirements shipments of limited quantities of most hazardous materials from retail stores back to suppliers.  When shipped by non-private carriers, they must be marked as  limited quantities, or when shipped by private carriers, they muse be marked with either the words“REVERSE LOGISTICS – HIGHWAY TRANSPORT ONLY – UNDER 49 CFR 173.157” or as limited quantities.

This rule also expands a previously existing exception for return shipments of lead acid batteries from single to multiple shippers on a single transport vehicle for the purpose of recycling.

Employees must either be trained or given clear instructions on preparing the reverse logistics shipments. The instructions must include information on how to properly classify, package, mark, offer, and transport reverse logistics shipments. The instructions must be provided by the supplier, manufacturer, or distributor to ensure that each shipment is correctly prepared for transportation, or through hazardous material training. If instructions are provided outside the scope of hazardous materials training, the employer must identify hazardous materials subject to the reverse logistics rule, verify compliance with the appropriate conditions and limitations of the rule, and ensure that employees receive clear instructions from the manufacturer, supplier, or distributor associated with product’s origination or destination.

The clear instructions must be provided to and accessible by employees at the time they prepare reverse logistics shipments, and the employer must document that employees are familiar with the requirements of the rule and specific return instructions for the products shipped. Documentation must be retained as long as the employee is employed and 60 days thereafter. For on-site training, or the development of clear instructions that can be used as an alternative to training, contact Environmental Resource Center.

The final rule will be posted soon in the Federal Register.

Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule

In the first major modification to the hazardous waste regulations in over 10 years, EPA plans to modify and reorganize the hazardous waste generator rule. When adopted, the rule will provide greater flexibility in how hazardous waste is managed and close important gaps in the regulations.

Attend Environmental Resource Center’s live, online session on April 18 to learn:

  • New requirements for documenting hazardous waste determinations
  • Revised requirements for when and how to submit the Notification of Generator Status form to EPA
  • How to take advantage of the episodic generation exclusion to avoid reclassification to a larger generator status
  • Definitions of important new terms – “Very Small Quantity Generator” and “Central Accumulation Area”
  • How to mark containers, tanks, and containment buildings with new information required at central accumulation areas and satellites
  • New conditions under which containers can be left open at satellite accumulation areas
  • Updated time and volume limits for satellite accumulation areas
  • New documentation requirements for contingency plans and biennial reports
  • New requirements for shipping hazardous waste from a VSQG to another facility owned by the same organization

Click here to register online or call 800-537-2372.

New Exclusions for Solvent Recycling and Hazardous Secondary Materials

EPA’s new final rule on the definition of solid waste creates new opportunities for waste recycling outside the scope of the full hazardous waste regulations. This rule, 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 April 11 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.

New Orleans RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in New Orleans, on April 5–7 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

San Diego RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management in California and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in San Diego, CA, on April 12–14 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

Philadelphia RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Philadelphia, PA, on April 12–14 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

Lumber Liquidators Fined $2.5 Million for Violating Formaldehyde Limits

Hardwood flooring retailer Lumber Liquidators, Inc., has paid the California Air Resources Board (ARB) $2.5 million to settle ARB claims that Lumber Liquidators sold, supplied, or offered for sale in California composite wood products that ARB testing showed exceeded state formaldehyde limits, and that Lumber Liquidators failed to take reasonable prudent precautions to ensure those products met such limits designed to protect public health.

During inspections at Lumber Liquidators’ stores in California between September 2013 and May 2015 ARB staff obtained boxes of laminate flooring samples for testing that were labeled as compliant. According to a signed settlement agreement between ARB and Lumber Liquidators, ARB notified the company of its testing showing that some of these samples showed exceedances of state formaldehyde limits and alleging that the company failed to take reasonable prudent precautions to ensure that laminate flooring sold in California contained composite wood products that complied with the formaldehyde emissions standards set forth in California’s Airborne Toxic Control Measure (ATCM) for composite wood products.

“The California Air Resources Board adopted the ATCM to protect the public from toxic exposures to formaldehyde from composite wood products, and we are enforcing this regulation,” ARB Enforcement Division Chief Todd Sax said. “Companies need to understand we expect compliance with our Rules, and we will hold those accountable who do not comply.”

Formaldehyde, a colorless gas which is a toxic air contaminant, a known human carcinogen, and a respiratory irritant, is found in a variety of manufactured products and is a common component of resins used as adhesives to form composite wood products. ARB’s regulation establishes formaldehyde emissions standards on particleboard, medium density fiberboard and hardwood plywood. These composite wood products are commonly used as the underlying platform to which a laminate or wood veneer is affixed during the manufacture of retail products such as furniture, cabinets and flooring.

Under ARB’s regulation, composite wood products must be independently certified as complying with the state standard for formaldehyde. Companies that make finished products are required to label the products as having been made with certified compliant composite wood products, to keep records to verify that they have purchased compliant products, and to inform distributors and retailers that their flooring is compliant with California’s regulations.

Toano, Virginia-based Lumber Liquidators cooperated with ARB during the investigation and the subsequent enforcement action. The full payment by Lumber Liquidators of $2.5 million has been deposited into the California Air Pollution Control Fund, which provides funding for projects and research to improve California’s air quality.

Additionally, Lumber Liquidators has developed, and agreed to implement, a “Fabricator Laminate Evaluation and Audit Program” and a “Composite Core Testing Research Program,” requiring the company to conduct regular audits of existing and new suppliers and to randomly test composite core samples in accordance with ARB’s standard operating procedure for preparing finished goods samples for testing.

The following links provide more information on ARB’s composite wood products regulation:

Oil Spill Response Planning and Preparedness Workshop

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is hosting a public workshop on oil spill response planning and preparedness. The purpose of the workshop is to bring Federal regulators, interested members of the public, industry, and other stakeholders together to share knowledge and experiences with oil spill response planning and preparedness, gather ideas for harmonizing PHMSA's regulations with other agencies, and discuss practical ways onshore oil pipeline operators can better plan and prepare for an oil spill. The event will take place at the National Transportation Safety Board at 490 L'Enfant Plaza East S.W. in Washington, D.C. The event is on April 12, 2016, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Webcasting will also be provided.

Diesel Engine Clean-up Program Nets Major Air, Public Health Benefits

Clean diesel grants aimed at cleaning up old diesel engines have greatly improved public health by cutting harmful pollution that causes premature deaths, asthma attacks, and missed school and workdays, according to a new report by the EPA. Since its start in 2008, the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) program has significantly improved air quality for communities across the country by retrofitting and replacing older diesel engines.

Diesel exhaust significantly contributes to the formation of dangerous soot and smog and is likely to increase the risk of cancer. The funding from the program has helped clean up approximately 335,200 tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 14,700 tons of particulate matter (PM), which are linked to a range of respiratory ailments and premature death. The program has also saved 450 million gallons of fuel and prevented 4.8 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions—equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions from more than 900,000 cars. EPA estimates that clean diesel funding generates up to $13 of public health benefit for every $1 spent on diesel projects.

Over 10 million diesel engines in the nation’s legacy fleet need to be replaced or repowered to reduce air pollutants. While some of these will be retired over time, many will remain in use, polluting America’s air for the next 20 years. DERA grants and rebates are gradually replacing legacy engines with cleaner diesel engines. Priority is given to fleets in regions with disproportionate amounts of diesel pollution, such as those near ports and rail yards.

To search DERA recipients by state, see https://www.epa.gov/cleandiesel/clean-diesel-national-grants - dera2.

This third report to Congress presents the final results from the American Investment and Recovery Act of 2009, and covers fiscal years 2009–2011. It estimates the impacts from funding in fiscal years 2011–2013. Additional report highlights include:

Environmental Benefits

  • 18,900 tons of hydrocarbon prevented
  • 4,836,100 tons of carbon dioxide prevented
  • 450 million gallons of fuel saved

Public Health Benefits

  • Up to $12.6 billion in monetized health benefits
  • Up to 1,700 fewer premature deaths
  • Although not quantified in the report, NOx and PM reductions also prevent asthma attacks, sick days, and emergency room visits.

Program Accomplishments

  • 642 grants funded
  • $570 million funds awarded
  • 73,000 vehicles or engines retrofitted or replaced
  • 81% of projects targeted to areas with air quality challenges
  • 3:1 leveraging of funds from non-federal sources

Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority Fined $33,500 for Clean Water Act Violations

The EPA and the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority (ABCWUA) have agreed to a settlement for violations of the Clean Water Act. ABCUWA will pay a civil penalty of $33,500 and build a pipeline to provide water to a wildlife refuge.

The settlement covers violations of the water authority’s wastewater discharge permit. EPA inspectors found ABCWUA experienced several sanitary sewer overflows and exceeded its permit limit for the amount of E. Coli bacteria in the discharged effluent. ABCWUA was also cited for discharging about six million gallons of sewage into the Rio Grande on February 27, 2015. EPA issued administrative orders to ABCWUA to correct these violations in March 2015.

In addition to the monetary settlement, ABCWUA will build a water line from the Southside Water Reclamation Plant to the Valle del Oro National Wildlife Refuge. The project will expand water-reuse opportunities in the South Valley east of the Rio Grande, and will provide irrigation to landscaping along a bike path on 2nd Street from Rio Bravo to the entrance of the refuge. In addition, the reused water would also be available for landscaping at Mountain View Elementary School, and for parks or street median projects in neighboring communities. The pipeline construction is an example of a supplemental environmental project, which is a beneficial project or activity that a defendant agrees to as part of a settlement or enforcement action.

EPA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) regulates point sources of water pollution. The Clean Water Act requires facilities such as wastewater treatment plants to obtain an NPDES permit and abide by the pollutant discharge limits set in their permit.

A Beautiful Hazardous Waste Site

The Hudson River and the lingering PCBs in it are the focus of a new short film by Jon Bowermaster, a filmmaker who has done several other videos on the river in recent years. This new film retraces the history of General Electric’s release of PCBs into the river and its eventual settlement with the EPA to dredge the Hudson. It interviews various environmentalists who note that there were considerably more PCBs in the sediment than initially believed, and that while GE’s work may have satisfied its agreement with the EPA, it failed to restore the river to a point where people will soon be able to swim in it, fish, or even live along it safely.

Williams Ohio Valley Midstream Violates Clean Water Act

The EPA recently that Williams Ohio Valley Midstream, the owner and operator of a natural gas pipe line in Moundsville, West Virginia, has paid a $14,440 penalty to settle an alleged violation of the federal Clean Water Act prohibiting discharges of oil to waterways. The law is designed to protect waterways, public health, and the environment.

EPA cited the company for discharging natural gas condensate into a nearby waterway after a four-inch pipe ruptured at its facility. Immediately after the rupture, a sheen was observed on three local waterways, including Little Grave Creek, a tributary flowing into the Ohio River. Approximately 132 barrels of natural gas condensate was discharged.

Section 311(b) of the Clean Water Act, establishes liability for discharges of harmful quantities of oil or hazardous substances into navigable waters or their adjoining shorelines. The company’s penalty will be placed in the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund and be made available to fund future oil cleanups.

As a part of the settlement, the company has not admitted or denied its liability for the spill, nor the factual allegations set forth in the settlement, but has paid the penalty to resolve this matter.

For more information see:

City of Osceola, Iowa, to Pay $8,400 for Clean Water Act Violations

EPA Region 7 reached a proposed administrative settlement of Clean Water Act violations by the City of Osceola, Iowa, that requires the city to stabilize stream banks of a tributary flowing into White Breast Creek, and pay a cash penalty of $8,400.

EPA investigations from 2012 through 2015 found several violations of the Clean Water Act. The settlement resolves violations of the city’s Clean Water Act permit effluent limitations for carbonaceous biological oxygen demand, ammonia, and total suspended solids. Inspectors also found operational issues such as a discharge due to an inoperable or out-of-service shut-off valve, and discharge overflows of some equipment.

The city’s wastewater treatment plant, which is subject to the permit, discharges to a tributary of White Breast Creek in Clarke County, Iowa, and thereafter to the Des Moines River. The cited violations could potentially impact downstream water quality. The Supplemental Environmental Project to stabilize stream banks is intended to reduce and prevent erosion of the tributary banks, and prevent and reduce sediment from entering downstream waters. The estimated cost for this project is $20,000.

In a separate compliance order that became effective in December 2015, the city agreed to take the necessary steps to resolve the Clean Water Act violations, and become compliant under its current National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit. This most recent proposed administrative settlement is to define the cash penalty and Supplemental Environmental Project as a follow-up to the December 2015 order.

The Clean Water Act seeks to protect streams and wetlands that form the foundation of the nation’s water resources. Protecting streams and wetlands is also part of adapting to climate change impacts like drought, stronger storms, and warmer temperatures. Pollutants in our water resources can impact water quality standards, pose risks to human health, threaten aquatic life and its habitat, and impair the use and enjoyment of waterways.

North Oxford Mills Assessed $45,412.50 Penalty for Asbestos Violations

The Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has assessed Weymouth Braided Rug Company, Inc., d/b/a North Oxford Mills a $45,412.50 penalty for violations of state asbestos regulations that occurred at the site of the former Worcester City Hospital, 26 Queen Street. North Oxford Mills is a flooring company located in Oxford, Mass.

In November 2013, MassDEP inspectors observed that the company improperly removed asbestos-containing floor tiles from the cafeteria and disposed of them in an open-topped, roll-off container at the site. MassDEP was not notified prior to the asbestos removal work as required by the regulations.

MassDEP required the property owner, UMass Memorial Realty, Inc., to retain a Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards licensed asbestos contractor to cleanup and decontaminate the cafeteria, the roll-off and all affected parts of the facility.

MassDEP regulations require asbestos-containing materials to be removed wet, and to be sealed while wet into leak-tight containers with appropriate warning labels. Areas where asbestos removal will occur must be sealed off and air filtration equipment must be operated during the abatement work. These requirements are designed to prevent a release of asbestos fibers to the environment, to protect building occupants and the general public from exposure to asbestos fibers, and to preclude other parts of the building from becoming contaminated. Notification is required to MassDEP 10 working days prior to asbestos removal work so that MassDEP has the opportunity to conduct inspections to ensure compliance with the regulations.

“Before beginning any demolition or renovation activity, contractors must identify asbestos-containing materials so they can be properly removed and handled in accordance with the regulations. Asbestos is a known carcinogen, and following required work practices is imperative to protect workers as well as the general public,” said Mary Jude Pigsley, director of MassDEP’s Central Regional Office in Worcester. “Failure to do so will result in penalties, as well as escalated cleanup, decontamination and monitoring costs.”

Under the consent order, the company must pay $12,000 of the assessed penalty, and the remaining $33,412.50 will be suspended as long as the company sustains no further violations for a year.

Property owners or contractors with questions about asbestos-containing materials, notification requirements, proper removal, handling, packaging, storage and disposal procedures, or the asbestos regulations are encouraged to contact the appropriate MassDEP Regional Office for assistance.

Aggregate Industries Northeast Penalized $6,616 for Air Emission Violations

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) penalized Aggregate Industries Northeast $6,616 for repeated air quality violations at its Wrentham facility. The stone-processing and asphalt plants at 400 Green Street were inspected by MassDEP in July 2015. As a result of the inspection, MassDEP found that the facility was not operating its two dust-suppression systems in compliance with its plan approvals.

Under the facility's air quality plan approval, issued by MassDEP in September 2005, a wet dust suppression system was to be used to control emissions of particulate matter from rock-crushing equipment. In addition, the asphalt batching portion of the facility was creating excessive blue smoke.

"The facility was in violation of its plan approval and creating nuisance conditions in the surrounding neighborhood," said Millie Garcia-Serrano, director of MassDEP's Southeast Regional Office in Lakeville. "These are environmental violations that the facility must address and MassDEP will work to ensure they are completed."

In addition, the plant was found to have the following violations at the time of inspection:

  • Failure to maintain accurate records
  • Failure to remedy pumping equipment leaking fuel oil into a containment area
  • Failure to properly label satellite storage containers
  • Failure to remove all accumulated spillage and/or precipitation from waste oil containment area within 24 hours

Since the inspection, Aggregate has been working with MassDEP to correct these violations. In addition to the penalty, Aggregate must update and/or develop proper Standard Operating and Maintenance Procedures that ensure compliance for required dust control, particulate emissions to address blue-smoke violations, and other operational deficiencies.

San Diego Water Board Accepts Water Quality Improvement Plans For Watersheds in San Diego County

The San Diego Regional Water Quality Board (San Diego Water Board) has formally accepted seven Water Quality Improvement Plans in San Diego County intended to reduce the effects of storm water pollution and related public health risks and improve water quality in waterways and coastal areas popular with tourists and local residents.

The Water Quality Improvement Plans are mandated under the Regional Municipal Separate Storm Water Sewer System Permit (Regional MS4 Permit), which regulates storm water discharges in San Diego County and parts of south Orange and southwest Riverside counties.

“The successful implementation of these plans will not only benefit our environment, resulting in cleaner inland and coastal waters, but also enhance the San Diego region’s robust tourist economy, which can exceed nearly $10 billion annually,” said San Diego Water Board Executive Officer David Gibson. “Acceptance of these plans is a major milestone in the San Diego Water Board’s efforts to reduce the effects of storm water pollution and achieve improvements in the water quality of inland surface waters, bays, estuaries and coastal waters within the San Diego Region.”

The San Diego Water Board accepted the Water Quality Improvement Plans for the following watershed management areas in San Diego County: San Luis Rey River, San Dieguito, Pe?asquitos, Mission Bay, San Diego River, San Diego Bay, and Tijuana River. A number of these locations are popular tourist destinations. Many have posted signs warning visitors not to swim or recreate in the water following storms due to the high levels of bacteria found in post-storm waters. The Water Quality Improvement Plan for the Carlsbad watershed management area has not yet been accepted because it failed to meet the minimum requirements of the Regional MS4 Permit. Plans for Orange and Riverside counties are currently in the development stage.

The accepted Water Quality Improvement Plans provide the framework for allowing municipal and county governments and special storm water districts in San Diego County (referred to jointly as Copermittees) to choose an integrated and collaborative watershed–based approach toward improving water quality.

Several of the accepted plans include strategies for retrofitting developed areas with storm water runoff treatment where none exists, and to rehabilitate unhealthy segments of streams.

“Since the Clean Water Act was adopted with mandates for storm water quality protection, we’ve spent 25 years developing tools to manage storm water as a flood hazard, source of pollution and as a resource in an ever drier state,” Gibson said. “What has been lacking has been a strategic watershed approach with local buy-in and community support to put all the technical pieces together.”

Since Water Quality Improvement Plans are watershed-based, the Copermittees are given flexibility to identify efficiencies to increase their collective effectiveness. For example, structural controls designed to improve storm water runoff quality can be placed in strategic locations throughout the watersheds, where pollutant loads are typically highest. The Copermittees can conduct this type of adaptive management on their own initiative without waiting for direction from the San Diego Water Board.

According to the San Diego Tourism Authority, the San Diego region is a prime U.S. destination, hosting 34 million visitors every year. Tourists to the area spend nearly $9.9 billion annually, which in turn generates more than $16 billion in new revenue for the region and provides employment to more than 180,000 residents. A primary economic driver in the San Diego region is water—water to drink, water for businesses, and 70 miles of scenic beaches that draw tourists from all over the world.

Additional information on the Water Quality Improvement Plans can be obtained online at the San Diego Water Board’s website.

U.S. EPA Releases Monitoring Plan to Evaluate Conditions in the Animas and San Juan Rivers

The EPA recently released its final monitoring plan for the Animas and San Juan rivers following the August 5, 2015, Gold King Mine incident. The agency also posted on its Gold King Mine website the results of surface water and sediment sampling collected as part of its yearlong effort to gather a robust set of scientific data to evaluate ongoing river conditions.

The conceptual monitoring plan is designed to gather a robust set of scientific data to consistently evaluate river conditions over time and evaluate impacts to public health and the environment. In September 2015, EPA released the draft conceptual monitoring plan, Post Gold King Mine Release Incident: Conceptual Monitoring Plan for Surface Water, Sediment and Biology for comment. Since then, EPA has been working with state, local and tribal partners to develop a consistent monitoring approach to gather scientific data to assess conditions in the Animas and San Juan rivers. The final conceptual monitoring plan is available on EPA’s website. EPA continues to work with states and tribes on any additional monitoring needs and federal funding to support their activities. States and tribes are also designing complementary jurisdiction-specific monitoring plans. EPA has made $2 million in initial funding available to launch these monitoring efforts.

Under the conceptual monitoring plan, EPA is examining water quality, sediment quality, biological community and fish tissue at 30 locations under a variety of flow and seasonal river conditions. The sampling locations are located within Colorado, Southern Ute Indian Reservation, New Mexico, Ute Mountain Ute Reservation, the Navajo Nation and Utah, spanning Cement Creek, the Animas and San Juan rivers, and the upper section of the San Juan arm of Lake Powell.

When fully implemented, the conceptual monitoring plan will provide EPA, state, local governments and tribes a robust set of scientific data about water quality in the rivers and will help to explain the fluctuations over time and location based on seasonal factors that influence river flow, such as precipitation and snow melt. Initial monitoring data collected from 27 locations during the fall are below risk-based recreational screening levels and consistent with pre-event data which are limited in many areas outside the upper Animas. The spring sampling event is currently taking place, and will be followed by additional sampling planned in June and in the fall. EPA will also coordinate with local jurisdictions and tribes to sample the rivers during heavy rain events in the summer.

View the latest sampling results here.

View the final conceptual monitoring plan here.

EPA’s Safer Choice Program Encourages Better Decisions when Choosing Spring Cleaning Products

The snow is gone and temperatures are rising. That means it is time for spring cleaning, and the EPA through its Safer Choice program this spring is encouraging consumers to look for cleaning products that will protect public health and the environment.

“EPA’s Safer Choice program helps consumers find products that are productive and contain ingredients that are safer,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “Products that carry the Safer Choice label have been carefully evaluated by EPA scientists to ensure they contain ingredients that are safer for both humans and environmental health.”

EPA developed Safer Choice labels so it would be easy for consumers and businesses to choose products that meet EPA’s safer product standards. Although the Safer Choice label applies to products that are used year round, EPA is making a special emphasis just in time for spring cleaning.

More than 2,000 products currently qualify to carry the Safer Choice label. Safer Choice products are available for your home at retail stores and for use in businesses like schools, hotels, offices, and sports venues.

Along with protecting human health, Safer Choice-labeled products are less toxic to fish and other aquatic life and they break down more quickly through natural processes, so they are less likely to become part of the food chain or damage the ecosystem.

Louisiana DEQ Encourages Residents to Properly Dispose of Storm Debris

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality encourages residents in storm affected areas to collect trash and debris and place them curbside for proper disposal. Household chemicals can become hazardous in storm-damaged homes.

Examples of materials that may need special disposal or recycling include electronics, batteries, computer hardware, paint, cleaning products, solvents, and lawn and garden products. Materials should be sorted curbside to help expedite cleanup efforts.

Segregate all wastes generated into five categories:

  • Vegetative yard waste (tree limbs, leaves, etc.)
  • Household chemicals, paint, herbicides, pesticides, caustic and flammable liquids (keep these items separated and in their original containers)
  • White goods (refrigerators, washers, dryers, stoves and similar appliances)
  • Electronic appliances (computers, laptops, televisions, stereos, etc.)
  • All other solid, nonhazardous wastes/debris (building materials, furniture, etc.)

When placing these wastes at curbside for pickup, keep each group separated from the other. Where possible, residents should mark containers clearly before placing them out for disposal. Ensure that food is removed from freezers and refrigerators before placing them curbside.

For more information on re-entry, please go to the DEQ website and view the flood re-entry fact sheet,

http://www.deq.louisiana.gov/portal/portals/0/news/pdf/Floodre-entryfactsheet.pdf.

Louisiana DEQ Presents 2016 Environmental Leadership Program Awards

Recently, DEQ hosted the Environmental Leadership Awards at the DEQ headquarters in the Galvez building in downtown Baton Rouge. DEQ Secretary Dr. Chuck Brown was joined by Sen. Mike Walsworth, chair, Senate Environmental Quality Committee, and Rep. Stuart Bishop, chair, House Natural Resources and Environment Committee, to recognize environmental achievements. Members of Environmental Leadership Program were commended for their voluntary pollution prevention efforts, community environmental outreach initiatives and environmental management systems that went above and beyond regulatory compliance to improve the environment.

ELP Awards were presented to large, medium and small businesses, municipalities, and academia. Fifteen new ELP members, who joined in 2015–2016 were recognized. This year, DEQ presented 11 awards in recognition of the following:

Pollutants reduced by the projects:

  • 11,191,587 lb of pollutants including nitrates, NOx, CO2, greenhouse gases, solid waste, E-waste, polyethyl polyol residual
  • 553,416 gallons (gals) of diesel fuel135 cubic yards of aquatic debris

Pollutants reused:

  • 52,560,000 gals cooling tower blowdown water

Pollutants recycled:

  • 1,960,684 gals used oil, hydrocarbon-contaminated water
  • 1,500,000 lb e-waste

“The Environmental Leadership Awards highlight the proactive efforts of school, industry and communities to take ownership in their environment,” said Dr. Brown. “The award projects go a long way to improve our environment and set a good example.”

The ELP began in 1995 as a cooperative effort between DEQ and participating companies in the state. Today, any company, federal entity, municipality, non-governmental organization, school or university committed to improving the quality of the state’s environment is eligible to join the program.

Thirteen Environmental Stewardship Projects Earn Pennsylvania Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence

Governor Tom Wolf recently announced that 17 organizations involved in 13 projects from across the commonwealth will receive the prestigious Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence. These award winners represent the best in using innovation, collaboration, and public service to improve and protect Pennsylvania’s environment.

“Pennsylvania is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “The award winners prove that Pennsylvania is also blessed with excellent environmental stewards. I applaud every winning and nominated organization for their commitment to the commonwealth and our environment.”

Pennsylvania businesses, schools, government agencies, trade or non-profit organizations, or agribusinesses that have completed projects to promote environmental stewardship and economic development were eligible to apply for the award. The winners were selected by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

“DEP received dozens of entries from projects using innovative approaches to solve Pennsylvania’s environmental concerns,” said DEP Secretary John Quigley. “The 13 exemplary projects awarded today support DEP’s mission of protecting Pennsylvania’s land, air, water, and public health.”

The Pennsylvania Environmental Council and DEP will host a dinner to honor the award winners on April 19 at the Harrisburg Hilton. Secretary Quigley will deliver the keynote address.

To learn more about the Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence, click here or visit the Pennsylvania Environmental Council’s website.

Winners Include:

  • Allegheny Land Trust – Community Awakening of Dead Man’s Hollow: The Allegheny Land Trust engaged residents, municipalities, businesses, and nonprofits to complete a comprehensive land management plan for the historic 450-acre property at Dead Man’s Hollow, the largest privately protected conservation area in the county.
  • Borough of Etna – Etna Green Streetscape Phase 1: Etna’s Green Streetscape project has installed 12 new trees, 2,300 cubic feet of underground storage, 2,900 square feet of pervious pavers, and downspout connections – all of which are storm water management best practices that improve local water quality.
  • Green Building Alliance – Pittsburgh 2030 District: The Green Building Alliance’s Pittsburgh 2030 District is a voluntary, locally driven initiative focused on high-performance buildings to balance economic prosperity and environmental concerns.
  • Chesapeake Bay Foundation – Riparian Forested Buffer Stewardship: The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Riparian Forested Buffer project provided tens of thousands of trees to landowners to foster the creation of riparian buffers, which will improve the water quality of the Susquehanna Watershed.
  • Phoenix Contact Services, Inc. – Phoenix Contact-Employee/Visitor Electric Vehicle Charging Stations: Phoenix Contact dedicated eight parking spaces to electric vehicle charging stations. Those stations are available, for free, to employees and to the public to charge electric and hybrid vehicles, which reduce fossil fuel usage.
  • Pennsylvania Resources Council & Eastern Delaware County Stormwater Collaborative – Darby Cobbs Stormwater Initiative: Getting to the New Normal: The Pennsylvania Resources Council and the Eastern Delaware Stormwater Collaborative partnered to educate the residents of the Darby and Cobbs creeks watersheds on rain gardens and the best practices for stormwater management.
  • Pennsylvania State University Department of Animal Science & Franklin County Conservation – 2015 North American Manure Expo: The North American Manure Expo at Chambersburg attracted livestock producers and manure handlers from the state, mid-Atlantic region, and beyond to meet with national experts on manure nutrient issues.
  • Jersey Shore Area High School – Jersey Shore Outdoor Club: The volunteers of the Jersey Shore Outdoor Club removed a damaged flood culvert on a tributary of Pine Creek, cleaned up the Tomb Flats Picnic and Campground area, and restored 28 miles the Tiadaghton Hiking Trail.
  • SBM Site Services (in collaboration with Jones Lange LaSalle & Sustainable Waste Solutions) – Food Waste Composting Program Re-engineering: SBM Site Services re-engineered waste composting programs at two locations in order to keep 70.76 tons of food waste out of landfills.
  • Geisinger Medical Center – Janet Weis Children’s Hospital Solar Panel Project: As part of its commitment to a sustainable future, Geisinger installed 144 solar panels on the roof of the Janet Weis Children’s Hospital to serve as an educational tool on the environmental benefits of solar energy while creating a cleaner environment.
  • Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) – Griscom Wayside Energy Storage System: SEPTA’s Griscom Wayside Energy Storage System, located on SEPTA’s most heavily traveled route, the Market-Frankford Line, recycled a train’s braking energy to reduce electricity consumption and to generate revenue.
  • Sustainable Energy Education and Development Support (SEEDS) of Northeastern PA – SEED’s Free Energy Assessment Program (5th Season): SEEDS has offered free, customized energy assessments of a home’s energy efficiencies to the residents of Wayne and Pike counties since 2010. To date, SEEDS has assessed 200 buildings and has provided summer jobs for more than 15 area high school students.
  • Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC) – Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission Regional Traffic Signal Program Cycle 2: SPC’s Regional Traffic Signal Program assisted 28 municipalities in seven counties with optimizing traffic lights at 207 intersections in the region, demonstrating a cost-effective way to reduce fuel consumption and emissions while improving the safety of the region’s roadways.

Environmental News Links

What’s in Those Bedazzled Easter Dresses?

Lead Testing May Change in Columbus as EPA Reworks Water Guidelines

Unknown Chemical Leak at Lafayette, Colorado, Recreation Center Sends 22 to Hospitals

EPA Must Do More to Ensure Safe Water

EPA Accepting Public Comments on Proposal to Ban the Dumping of Sewage from Boats into the St. Lawrence River

Federal Government Continues Scientific Rash Investigation in Flint

New York State Announces Additional Progress in Addressing PFOA Contamination

Rhode Island DEM and Arbor Day Foundation Team Up to Help Homeowners Save Energy, Money with Free Tree Program

Over $5 Billion Pledged to Improve U.S. Drinking Water Systems, Bolster Protections on World Water Day

Beyond Lead, Water Contamination Widespread in the US

MPCA Commissioner Announces Creation of Environmental Justice Advisory Group

Trivia Question of the Week

Keeping your tires inflated and changing the oil and air filters in your car regularly can decrease fuel consumption by how much?

a) 5%

b) 10%

c) 15%

d) 20%

Answer