NPDES Best Practices for Toxic and Hazardous Chemical Discharges

November 14, 2016

EPA published a best practices guide and factsheet for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit writers, pretreatment coordinators, and industry professionals with recommendations for how to better address toxic and hazardous chemical discharges from industry to publicly owned treatment works (POTWs). The best practices document describes sources of information that NPDES permit writers and pretreatment coordinators can use to identify discharges of toxic and hazardous chemicals that may affect the integrity of the POTW infrastructure as well as the quality of the POTW’s effluent and biosolids. The factsheet helps to inform industry of hazardous waste reporting requirements under the pretreatment regulations.

Charlotte RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Charlotte, NC, on November 29–December 1 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

Burbank RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Burbank, CA, on December 6–8 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

Cleveland RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Cleveland, OH, on January 3–5 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

EPA to Revoke Chlorpyrifos Food Residue Tolerances

In October 2015, EPA proposed to revoke all food residue tolerances for the insecticide chlorpyrifos. Now, EPA has indicated that the Agency is unable to make a safety finding as required under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA). EPA will respond to all comments received on the proposal and make a final decision by March 31, 2017.

In November 2016, EPA revised its human health risk assessment. This revised analysis shows risks from dietary exposure (i.e., residues of chlorpyrifos on food crops) and drinking water. It does not result in a change to our proposal, but after considering the advice of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP), we are modifying the methods used to support that finding.

EPA Begins Indoor Air Tests at Homes Near Dry Cleaner in Ann Arbor, Michigan

This week, the EPA will begin testing indoor air at six Ann Arbor, Michigan, homes to determine whether releases of tetrachloroethylene, or PCE, from a nearby dry cleaner pose a potential health risk to residents. The indoor air sampling is part of EPA’s site assessment at Armen Cleaners, 630 S. Ashley. The business has been in operation for more than 60 years.

As part of a broader review of all dry cleaners in the state, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services requested EPA’s assistance at Armen Cleaners after confirming that nearby residential buildings are being affected by releases of the dry cleaning solvent PCE. The highly contaminated soil is an ongoing source of groundwater contamination which increases the likelihood of vapor intrusion into nearby residences.

PCE contamination in soil and groundwater near Armen Cleaners was first detected in 1985. In 2000, following its investigation of nearby soil and groundwater, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality provided one home with air purifiers. In 2003, EPA assisted MDEQ and the Michigan Department of Community Health by taking samples to help determine whether fumes from a PCE-contaminated groundwater plume were affecting indoor and outdoor air quality in the surrounding neighborhood. Since then, MDEQ installed water monitoring wells and continues to monitor the plume.

EPA Issues Imminent, Substantial Endangerment Order to Nebraska Railcar Cleaning Services

EPA Region 7 issued a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Imminent and Substantial Endangerment Administrative Order to Nebraska Railcar Cleaning Services, LLC, in Omaha, Nebraska, for failure to identify, handle, and dispose of waste that presents a potential danger to public health and the environment.

“The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act helps ensure that companies working with or producing hazardous waste are taking the necessary steps to protect the health of their communities and workers, and the environment,” said Becky Weber, director of the Air and Waste Management Division. “This enforcement action requires Nebraska Railcar Cleaning Services to take immediate action in addressing hazardous waste risks.”

Nebraska Railcar Cleaning Services, with multiple facilities in Omaha, works with waste materials such as crude oil, fertilizer, denatured alcohol, methanol, herbicides, and others through its railroad car cleaning business.

EPA estimates the company generates approximately 2,600 kilograms (5,700 lb) of solid crude oil, 1,800 kilograms (4,000 lb) of liquid crude oil, and an unknown quantity of ethanol and methanol waste per month. These materials and others are highly volatile, as demonstrated by low flash points and a deadly explosion in April 2015 involving these materials.

On-site inspections and information requests indicate that the company continues to improperly manage its hazardous waste, contrary to RCRA requirements. Nebraska Railcar Cleaning Services’ ongoing generation and storage of crude oil and ethanol wastes in open, unmarked containers could lead to fires and explosions, which would also allow benzene, a known carcinogen, to be dispersed into the environment, potentially exposing those who live and work nearby.

To ensure that immediate steps are taken to protect public health and the environment, the administrative order requires the company to engage in comprehensive hazardous waste determinations on its wastes, as required by RCRA, and properly dispose of waste as required by law. It also requires Nebraska Railcar Cleaning Services to provide regular reports of its hazardous waste determinations and disposal practices to EPA Region 7.

If the company fails to abide by the order, civil penalties of at least $14,023 per violation per day may be levied.

Western Lake Erie Basin Declared To Be Impaired

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) recently announced its 2016 Integrated Report to the EPA designates Michigan waters of the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB) as impaired due to extensive algal blooms caused by excessive levels of phosphorous. The impact on aquatic life and other wildlife, a designated use of Lake Erie under state water quality standards, requires the state to take this course of action.

The listing further supports the need for the goals established by the Western Basin of Lake Erie Collaborative Agreement, signed in June, 2015, by Governor Rick Snyder, Premier Kathleen Wynne of the Province of Ontario, and Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor of Ohio. The Collaborative Agreement acknowledges the importance of nutrient reductions necessary to improve and protect Lake Erie’s water quality. It established the goal of a 40% reduction of total phosphorus loads to Lake Erie by 2025, with an interim goal of a 20% reduction by 2020.

“This determination is the result of shoreline monitoring and cyanobacterial bloom analyses by satellite imagery of the West Lake Erie Basin,” said C. Heidi Grether, MDEQ Director. “The failure of the WLEB to meet Michigan’s water quality standards triggers the impaired waters reporting requirement under the Clean Water Act.”

“Michigan’s portion of Lake Erie is small, but in making this determination, we signal the importance of our actions to date and our commitment moving forward to limit the incidences of severe algal blooms that impact aquatic life and wildlife in our waters. Our goal is Lake Erie waters that experience only mild blooms, or smaller, nine out of ten years,” she said.

Michigan’s finding of excessive nutrients in the WLEB supports the state’s efforts to solve the problem through the Collaborative Agreement and the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, Annex 4 which focus on the Lake Erie issues of algal community imbalance, cyanotoxins, hypoxic zones, and maintenance of trophic conditions. Total phosphorus has been identified as the target nutrient for necessary reductions, with a 40% reduction goal of total phosphorus loads entering the western basin to restore its ecological balance.

“The long term solution to the algal bloom problem can only be accomplished through a collaborative approach,” Grether said. “Natural phenomena do not recognize state or national borders and it will take a multi-jurisdictional collaboration to return these waters to a healthier ecological condition.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and Michigan Department of Natural Resources are actively working alongside the MDEQ to address the algae blooms and nutrient loading to the WLEB. Plans under development from the three state agencies will be merged into a draft Domestic Action Plan as part of the Annex 4 process. The Michigan plan will be combined with those of other states and Canada to establish a road map for collaborative actions to address the problem.

New Cybersecurity Framework Profile to Help Ensure Safe Transfer of Hazardous Liquids at Ports

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) oversees approximately 800 waterfront facilities that, among other activities, transfer hazardous liquids between marine vessels and land-based pipelines, tanks or vehicles. These “maritime bulk liquid transfers” increasingly rely on computers to operate valves and pumps, monitor sensors and perform many other vital safety and security functions. This makes the whole system more vulnerable to cybersecurity issues ranging from malware to human error, and is the reason behind a new voluntary cybersecurity guide for the industry.

Maritime bulk liquid transfer processes are part of a complex and sophisticated supply chain of the oil and natural gas industry that brings together various types of organizations and systems. The USCG and industry representatives joined with the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE), part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), to develop a profile to help those organizations assess their cybersecurity risk.

The document is the first in a series of planned profiles that will help maritime industry organizations make the most of the voluntary Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, published by NIST in February 2014. The profile pulls into one document recommended cybersecurity safeguards to provide a starting point for organizations to review and adapt their risk management processes, and it describes a desired minimum state of cybersecurity.

“Working with the U.S. Coast Guard to engage the oil and natural gas industry in creating this profile is a prime example of the collaboration that takes place at the NCCoE,” said Don Tobin, NIST senior security engineer. “Organizations working in this critical mission area can leverage the profile to develop a plan to reach their desired state of cybersecurity.”

The profile is aimed at those involved in overseeing, developing, implementing, and managing the cybersecurity components of maritime bulk liquid transfer. This includes operations executives, risk managers, cybersecurity professionals and vessel operators. It recognizes a need for security controls on operational technologies such as storage, transfer, pressure and vapor monitoring, emergency response and spill mitigation systems. The profile provides guidance on appropriate security controls for information technology to reliably support these increasingly connected processes, as well as traditional ones such as human resources, training and business communication.

“These facilities face inherent cybersecurity vulnerabilities and the U.S. Coast Guard hopes this profile will assist organizations with mitigating them, and provide a long-term process for developing an internal cyber risk management program,” said Lt. Josephine Long, a marine safety expert in the Critical Infrastructure Branch within the USCG’s Office of Port & Facility Compliance.

The profile can help individual companies clarify how cybersecurity fits into their mission priorities and how best to allocate resources to secure their information and operational systems. Benefits also include improved understanding of the environment to foster consistent analysis of cybersecurity risks, and alignment of industry and USCG cybersecurity priorities.

According to Long, the USCG plans to work with the NCCoE to build additional profiles that will cover mobile offshore drilling operations, passenger vessel and terminal operations.

The NCCoE works with industry, academia and other government agencies to address real-world cybersecurity problems with existing technology.

The Maritime Bulk Liquid Transfer Cybersecurity Framework Profile is available on the USCG website, and more information is available in a blog post on Maritime Commons.

Three California Men Charged with Submitting False Drinking Water Reports to State Water Board

A State Water Resources Control Board investigation into the reporting of bacterial samples taken at public water systems in Siskiyou County has led to multiple criminal misdemeanor charges by the Siskiyou County District Attorney’s Office. The complaint has been filed against three individuals for allegedly failing to report positive findings of bacteria in public water systems to the State Water Board’s Division of Drinking Water.

A total of 24 misdemeanor charges were filed against the three men on Tuesday, October 25, 2016, in Siskiyou County Superior Court. The three charged are Ronald Dean Larue of Dunsmuir (18 complaints), Wayne Garland Grigsby of McCloud (three complaints), and David Dwayne Toms of Weed (three complaints). The district attorney’s office issued these complaints following the review of information provided by the State Water Board.

A State Water Board investigation by its Office of Enforcement and the Division of Drinking Water revealed that on multiple occasions, from March 2012 to September 2015, water system personnel working for the cities of Dunsmuir and Weed, and the McCloud Community Services District failed to report monthly bacteriological water samples with positive findings to the Division of Drinking Water. They are also accused of failing to take the necessary repeat samples as prescribed in state regulations when a positive bacteria sample is identified.

During the investigation it was also discovered that the city of Mt. Shasta drinking water system had one incident of failure to report monthly bacteriological water samples with positive findings to the Division of Drinking Water. The Siskiyou County district attorney did not include that one incident in the complaint and has not filed any charges against city of Mt. Shasta staff.

“Honest and accurate testing and self-reporting by drinking water system operators is the foundation upon which federal and state drinking water standards are based. We take these alleged violations of drinking water regulations very seriously and support the district attorney’s efforts to enforce the law,” said Bruce Burton, assistant deputy director for the State Water Board’s Division of Drinking Water “While the filing of this complaint is an important step, the Division of Drinking Water is still reviewing the evidence from our investigation and more enforcement actions from the State Water Board could be issued against these three individuals and all the public water systems involved in these allegations.”

A copy of the complaint can be found at the State Water Board’s Office of Enforcement webpage.

Enforcement Actions Help Protect Vulnerable Communities from Lead-Based Paint Hazards

The EPA announced that 33 entities in the Heartland states of Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska were the target of federal enforcement actions over the last year that require entities like renovation contractors, landlords, and property managers to protect communities and public health from exposure to lead.

Lead paint is the main way people are exposed to lead in the U.S., and lead exposure can cause a range of health problems from behavioral disorders and learning disabilities to seizures and death, putting young children and their developing nervous systems at the greatest risk.

“Renovation companies and their contractors must protect children and other vulnerable people from lead-based paint exposure, especially in minority and low-income communities where housing with lead-based paint is more common,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “These enforcement actions show that EPA will hold companies accountable when they put public health at risk, and they promote a level playing field for businesses that follow the rules.”

From October 2015 through September 2016, EPA entered into 123 settlements nationally for alleged violations of one or more of the three lead-based paint rules: Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule; Lead Disclosure Rule; and Lead-based Paint Activities Rule for abatements—and filed six complaints for ongoing actions. Each settlement requires that the alleged violator return to compliance and, in most cases, pay civil penalties. Collectively, the settlements require violators to pay $1,046,655 in penalties.

The three rules are part of the federal Toxic Substances Control Act and the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act, and apply to housing built before 1978 and child-occupied facilities. Ensuring compliance with all three rules enables EPA to identify and address a variety of lead exposure risks that occur in communities across the nation. These risks can occur when lead paint deteriorates or is disrupted during home renovation and remodeling activities. A blood lead test is the only way to determine if a child has a high lead level. Parents who think their child has been in contact with lead dust should contact their child's health care provider.

In September 2016, EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice announced a settlement with Sears Home Improvement Products Inc. that resolves alleged violations of the Lead RRP Rule for work performed by Sears’ contractors during home renovation projects across the country. Under the settlement, Sears will implement a comprehensive, corporate-wide program to ensure that the contractors it hires to perform work minimize lead dust from home renovation activities and pay a $400,000 civil penalty.

In three of the settlements, entities agreed to fund voluntary environmental projects collectively valued at up to $409,429 to address lead risks and poisoning. Every project requires lead-based paint abatement, including post-construction clearance testing to ensure that no hazards remain. The complaints propose penalties of up to $197,743 for alleged violations of the RRP Rule and/or Lead Disclosure Rule.

Click here for details.

San Carlos Apache Tribe and Tribal Utility Authority to Bring Nine Drinking Water Facilities into Compliance

The San Carlos Apache Tribe and the San Carlos Apache Tribal Utility Authority have agreed to bring nine of their drinking water systems into compliance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act as part of a settlement with the EPA.

The EPA’s administrative order requires the tribe and Tribal Utility Authority to make improvements at their facilities throughout the reservations by September 30, 2018. The nine systems serve 14,981 residents. Prior to that, by December 23, 2016 the tribe will provide alternate drinking water to the 185 Soda Canyon system customers due to levels of arsenic that exceed federal standards.

“Our goal is to protect the health of tribal members and ensure their drinking water is safe.” said Alexis Strauss, EPA's Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Public drinking water systems must sample water, report the results and address compliance issues in a timely manner.”

The EPA’s action amends a 2011 settlement in which the tribe agreed to bring their drinking water systems into compliance. The EPA found the San Carlos Apache Tribe and the Tribal Utility Authority violated the terms of the 2011 order and continued to provide water that was not in compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act. Specifically, the tribe failed to provide drinking water that complies with the maximum contaminant levels for arsenic and total coliform, failed to monitor for total coliform, arsenic, nitrates, lead and copper and failed to provide notice to its consumers.

Arsenic is a naturally occurring element ubiquitous throughout the west. Some people who drink water containing arsenic in excess of drinking water standards for many years may experience adverse health effects. These include circulatory, neurological and liver problems. Arsenic also has hormonal effects that can cause diseases such as diabetes. Arsenic is also a known human carcinogen. It can cause lung, bladder, and skin cancers, and may cause liver, kidney and prostate cancers.

EPA will continue to monitor the tribe’s efforts to provide safe drinking water, and may levy civil penalties if the tribe fails to meet the compliance provisions in the settlement.

EPA Cites Behr Iron and Metal for Air Violations

The EPA recently announced that a notice of violation has been issued to Behr Iron and Metal of Rockford, Illinois, for exceeding the health-based standard which limits air emissions of lead.

EPA required installation of an air monitor at the facility in 2015. Results from the air monitor showed lead emissions on at least seven days from June through August 2016 exceeded the standard for lead in ambient air. Lead in the air poses potential health risks to sensitive populations including asthmatics, children, and the elderly. EPA is taking action now to prevent future violations of the air quality standard.

The company may request a meeting with EPA to discuss the allegations.

Babbitt Ranches and C.O. Bar Agree to Investigate Abandoned Uranium Mines

EPA finalized a settlement with Babbitt Ranches, LLC, and C.O. Bar, Inc. in which the companies committed to conducting a site evaluation of abandoned uranium mines adjacent to the Little Colorado River.

“Babbitt Ranches stepped up to conduct this investigation, consistent with their longstanding stewardship values,” said Enrique Manzanilla, Superfund Director for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest Office. “Today, the mines are closed, but the legacy of uranium contamination remains.”

The site evaluation will include an assessment of the abandoned uranium mines and surveys of cultural and biological resources. Once the evaluation is complete, EPA will consult with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and the neighboring Navajo Nation to determine any additional actions that may be required.

Under the settlement agreement, the companies also agreed to pay the agency $230,000 in past costs incurred and future oversight costs. This agreement is made under authority of the Superfund law, which holds landowners responsible for hazardous materials on their properties and requires them to provide cleanups of historic contamination.

This settlement is part of a larger strategy to address abandoned uranium mines on and near the Navajo Nation. From 1944 to 1986, nearly 30 million tons of uranium ore were mined on or adjacent to the Navajo Nation, resulting in more than 500 abandoned uranium mines. Since 2008, EPA and five other federal agencies invested more than $130 million to reduce the highest risks to Navajo people by conducting initial investigations at all the mines, remediating 48 contaminated structures, providing safe drinking water to 3,013 families, cleaning up groundwater at mill sites, and performing cleanup or stabilization work at 9 mines.

Two Florida Men Sentenced to Over Ten Years in Prison for Multi-State Biodiesel Fraud Scheme

Yesterday, Thomas Davanzo, of Estero, Florida, and Robert Fedyna, of Naples, Florida, were sentenced to 121 months and 135 months in prison, respectively, for their participation in a multi-state scheme to defraud biodiesel buyers and U.S. taxpayers by fraudulently selling biodiesel credits and fraudulently claiming tax credits, announced Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley III of the Middle District of Florida. Both defendants were also ordered to forfeit ill-gotten gains from the conspiracy of over $46 million and other items to the government, including gold coins, jewelry and Rolex watches, thoroughbred horses, vehicles and properties.

Davanzo and Fedyna operated several shell companies that were used to facilitate the scheme. As part of the scheme, Davanzo and Fedyna operated entities that purported to purchase renewable fuel, on which credits had been claimed and which was ineligible for additional credits, produced by their co-conspirators at Gen-X Energy Group (Gen-X), headquartered in Pasco, Washington, and its subsidiary, Southern Resources and Commodities (SRC), located in Dublin, Georgia. They then used a series of false transactions to transform the fuel back into feedstock needed for the production of renewable fuel, and sold it back to Gen-X or SRC, allowing credits to be claimed again. This cycle was repeated multiple times.

“This case shows that EPA is committed to eliminating fraud in the renewable fuels market and ensuring a level playing field for businesses that play by the rules,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “The sentences handed down show the serious nature of these crimes and that EPA will continue to hold criminals accountable.”

“In their pursuit of personal gain, the defendants perpetrated a multi-state conspiracy that defrauded and undermined a federal program intended to further the energy independence of our nation,” said Assistant Attorney General Cruden. “Today’s sentence is a just punishment for these serious crimes against the American people.”

In addition, both Davanzo and Fedyna laundered the proceeds of the scheme through various shell entities. Davanzo and Fedyna established bank accounts in the names of shell entities. Funds were cycled through these shell companies’ bank accounts to perpetuate the fraud scheme and conceal its proceeds.

Davanzo and Fedyna also directed and participated in the generation of false paperwork designed to create the fa?ade that the renewable identification number (or RIN, a serial number used to track biodiesel credits) created and claimed by co-conspirators were legitimate. The paperwork included false invoices from Gen-X or SRC to shell entities, which purported to show sales of renewable fuel, false invoices from shell entities to Gen-X and SRC, which purported to show the purchase of feedstock and false bills of lading, which purported to show the transportation of fuel and feedstock by tanker truck.

From March 2013 to March 2014, the co-conspirators generated at least 60 million RINs that were based on fuel that was either never produced or was merely re-processed at the Gen-X or SRC facilities. The co-conspirators received at least $42 million from the sale of these fraudulent RINs to third parties. In addition, Gen-X received approximately $4,360,724.50 in false tax credits for this fuel.

Air Resources Board Announces 100 Percent Compliance for Cap-and-Trade Regulation

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) recently announced that on November 1, 2016, regulated entities with a compliance obligation under the cap-and-trade program had submitted 100% of the required number of compliance instruments to comply with the annual surrender obligation for 2015 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the regulation.

“The fact that we achieved 100-percent compliance clearly shows that the cap-and-trade program is working well and on track for delivering the greenhouse gas emissions reductions needed to meet the target called for in law,” said CARB Executive Officer Richard Corey. “There can be no doubt that the cap-and-trade program has become part of the economic fabric of the state’s fuel, energy and industrial sectors, and will continue to deliver multiple benefits to California’s environment and communities.”

2015 marks the first year of the second multi-year ‘compliance period’ (2015-2017) of the cap-and-trade program. CARB developed multi-year compliance periods to provide companies in the program more planning flexibility to comply with their GHG emissions obligations.

Under the regulation, every regulated company must surrender a sufficient number of compliance instruments (carbon allowances and a limited number of offset credits) to cover 30% of their reported and verified annual emissions for the first years in each multi-year compliance period—in this case 2015 and 2016. This approach ensures that California stays on track for reducing its emissions of GHGs.

For the last year in a compliance period, companies are required to surrender a sufficient number of compliance instruments to cover the combined remaining emissions for all years of the compliance period.

The cap-and-trade program is one of the programs set in place under the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), which has a goal of reducing GHG emissions back to 1990 levels by 2020. Cap-and-trade sets an annual cap, or total amount of GHG emissions, which declines about three percent each year, guaranteeing reductions.

California’s program linked with the program in Qu?bec in 2014. Under the linked program, covered entities must account for every ton of GHG they emit by providing California-issued or Qu?bec-issued carbon allowances or offsets. Carbon allowances can be purchased at quarterly auctions held by California and Quebec, or on the secondary carbon market.

California’s cap-and-trade program covers facilities in the state which emit more than the equivalent of 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year. At present it covers about 600 reporting entities statewide, responsible for about 85% of California’s GHG emissions.

To date more than $2 billion from cap-and-trade auction proceeds has been invested in projects throughout California, with a focus on disadvantaged communities, to reduce GHG emissions and provide multiple co-benefits.

Solar Required in San Francisco

The California Energy Commission recently approved the adoption of San Francisco building energy standards that require solar systems on new construction. The standards require all newly constructed residential occupancy buildings of 10 floors or less, and newly constructed non-residential occupancy buildings of 10 floors or less, and greater than 2,000 square feet in gross floor area, to install solar photovoltaic systems or solar thermal systems. The Energy Commission establishes statewide building standards and must approve local ordinances that have more stringent requirements.

The Energy Commission also approved updates to guidelines for California’s Solar Electric Incentive Programs, which provide the framework for programs established by Senate Bill (SB) 1, which included the California Solar Initiative (CSI), the New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP) program, and the publicly-owned utility programs.

SB 1 directs the Energy Commission to develop eligibility criteria, conditions for incentives, and rating standards required to qualify for California’s solar electric ratepayer-funded incentives.

The NSHP program, which provides incentives for solar on new residential buildings, recently received more than $111 million in new funds from investor-owned utility customers to continue the program. The updated guidelines address new energy efficiency standards and a maturing solar industry. As of December 31, 2016, the NSHP will be one of the last remaining active state solar programs.

The Energy Commission approved a loan of more than $700,000 to the Waterford Unified School District to finance energy efficiency projects at two schools. The projects involve interior and exterior lighting retrofits. The project will save 375 kilowatt hours of electricity annually and reduce about 129 tons of GHG emissions annually.

The Sanger Unified School District received a $500,000 grant to install and operate a compressed natural gas (CNG) fast-fill fueling station at its transportation facility. The grant from the Energy Commission will allow the district to increase its ability to refuel a fleet of CNG school buses and the CNG bus fleet to expand. The project includes a fuel management card reader system so that other districts and public agencies can use the station.

For details on all actions taken at the business meeting see the business meeting agenda.

Massachusetts Water Resource Authority Industrial Pretreatment Program Recognized for Excellence

The Massachusetts Water Resource Authority (MWRA) Industrial Pretreatment Program in Boston, Massachusetts, was recently selected by EPA for a 2016 Regional Industrial Pretreatment Program Excellence Award.

The industrial pretreatment program staff of MWRA's Toxic Reduction and Control Department (TRAC), was recognized by EPA's New England Office for exceptional work in inspecting, permitting and sampling of industrial users that discharge industrial waste into MWRA’s sewer system.

In addition to inspecting of all of its Significant Industrial Users (SIU), MWRA conducted 918 oil/water separator trap inspections. Of the 379 sampling locations at SIUs, 224 were sampled more than once and 1241 total sampling events were conducted. MWRA also continues to provide outreach to its SIUs by hosting an annual educational meeting inviting all SIUs to participate. Lastly, MWRA enforcement staff initiated 253 enforcement actions and $166,000 worth of penalties were assessed against SIUs in FY 2015. For many years, the MWRA has also submitted outstanding annual industrial pretreatment reports which detail industrial pretreatment program highlights over the course of the year.

"The professionals implementing the industrial pretreatment program, as well as the state environmental agencies that support them, are key to keeping our environment healthy. EPA is proud to give them the credit they deserve," said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA's New England Office.

The EPA Regional Industrial Pretreatment Program Excellence Award was established to recognize and honor employees of publicly owned wastewater treatment plants for their commitment to improving water quality through outstanding oversight of industrial users discharging to the municipal sewer system.

The MWRA Industrial Pretreatment Program was presented the Excellence Award at the 18th Annual EPA New England Industrial Pretreatment Program Conference in October, and the awardees will also be acknowledged in January 2017, at the annual New England Water Environment Association Conference in Boston.

New Bedford Industrial Pretreatment Program Recognized for Excellence

The New Bedford Industrial Pretreatment Program in New Bedford, Massachusetts, was recently selected by EPA for a 2016 Regional Industrial Pretreatment Program Excellence Award.

The pretreatment program staff of New Bedford, led by Wayne Perry, Industrial Pretreatment Program Engineer, under the supervision of Jamie Ponte, Wastewater Superintendent, was recognized by EPA's New England Office for exceptional work in inspecting, permitting and sampling of industrial users that discharge industrial waste into the City’s collection system.

Mr. Perry's efforts to regulate the numerous amount of dentists that discharge dental amalgam waste into the City's sewer system was one of the primary reasons for the award nomination. All 24 dental facilities were inspected in FY 2015 and found to be in compliance with Massachusetts’ regulations. The City of New Bedford also implements a septage hauler inspection program. Under this program, 100% of all loads from 24 separate waste haulers are monitored for pH and visually inspected for oil and grease. For many years, the City has also submitted outstanding annual industrial pretreatment reports, which detail industrial pretreatment program highlights over the course of the year.

"The professionals implementing the industrial pretreatment program, as well as the state environmental agencies that support them, are key to keeping our environment healthy. EPA is proud to give them the credit they deserve," said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA's New England Office.

The EPA Regional Industrial Pretreatment Program Excellence Award was established to recognize and honor employees of publicly owned wastewater treatment plants for their commitment to improving water quality through outstanding oversight of industrial users discharging to the municipal sewer system. More often than not, and particularly with smaller facilities, conscientious pretreatment coordinators and staff continue to perform exceptionally with limited resources.

The New Bedford Pretreatment Program was presented the Excellence Award at the 18th Annual EPA New England Industrial Pretreatment Program Conference in October, and the awardees will also be acknowledged in January 2017, at the annual New England Water Environment Association Conference in Boston.

Environmental News Links

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DB Western CEO Has Left Trail of Toxic Waste Allegations

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Precast Concrete Water and Waste Handling Products to Grow Over 5% Annually

Hazardous Underwater Waste To Be Put in Dry Casks at Last

Cars Hit Fuel Economy Record in 2015

Oregon’s Pipelines: A County by County Look

Trivia Question of the Week

Putting your computer to sleep instead of turning it off uses how much more energy?

a. 10%

b. 20%

c. 30%

d. 50%