Steps Taken to Save Energy in EPA Buildings

October 10, 2005

 

EPA is taking immediate actions to conserve natural gas, electricity, gasoline and diesel fuel in all its DC buildings.  These actions will reduce the overall demand of fuel and, in turn, allow extra supplies to be used for the efforts associated with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

 

"Day in and day out, we at EPA are protecting our nation's shared environment and conserving our country's precious resources," said Administrator Stephen L. Johnson.  "By taking actions, both big and small, to reduce our facilities' energy usage, we are responding to the president's call to conserve and promoting the common-sense efforts we can all make as individuals to reduce our energy demand."

 

Actions that EPA is taking include:

- Adjusting the temperatures in our buildings to an average of 68 degrees

- Removing unnecessary light bulbs in some of our hallways

- Turning off the historic fountains in the courtyard areas

- Limiting the courtyard lighting at night and turning it off during the day

 

The president called on all executive departments and agencies in a Sept. 26 memo to take appropriate energy and fuel conservation actions using existing budget authority.  He asked federal agencies to temporarily curtail non-essential travel and other activities that use gasoline or diesel fuel, and encourage employees to carpool, telecommute and use public transportation to reduce fuel use.

 

In addition, the President asked federal agencies to take action to conserve natural gas and electricity during periods of peak consumption by shifting energy-intensive activities to non-peak periods wherever possible and by procuring and using efficient Energy Star-rated energy intensive appliances and products.





Southern Foods Group to Pay EPA Penalty For Leaking Air Conditioners

The EPA announced it has filed a Consent Agreement and Final Order against Southern Foods Group, L.P., the owner and operator of the Oak Farms Dairy facility in Dallas, in resolution of alleged violations of the Clean Air Act.  Southern will pay a penalty of $6,875 and fund a supplemental environmental project valued at $20,625.

"EPA is using every tool available to bring clean air to north central Texas.  This agreement helps propel us toward our goal," EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene said.   The Oak Farms Dairy facility at 1114 North Lancaster St. in Dallas, Texas, processes milk and related dairy products.  Southern allegedly violated the Clean Air Act by failing to repair leaks of a comfort cooling appliance containing more than 50 pounds of a stratospheric ozone depleting substance.
   

Depletion of the ozone layer in the stratosphere increases ultraviolet radiation at ground level, which accelerates the formation of photochemical smog.  

For the supplemental environmental project, Southern will pay to convert four Dallas County school buses from gasoline fuel to liquid propane gas (LPG).  Use of LPG fuel helps prevent ground-level ozone formation by reducing the volatile organic compounds and oxides of nitrogen emissions associated with conventionally fueled vehicles.  When combined with sunlight and hot, stagnant weather, these pollutants form ground-level ozone.


Glidden to Pay $95,000 to Cleanup Abandoned Drum Site

EPA also recently settled with Glidden Co. for $95,000 in cleanup costs at an abandoned drum site in Riverside County, outside of Los Angeles.

 

In June 2004, the EPA investigated four abandoned 48-foot tractor trailers that contained resins, polymers, paint wastes, solvents and heavy metal sludge, located at the Perris Drum site at 19834 Carroll Street in Perris.  The EPA determined that the trailers were holding hazardous substances, and subject to response under of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act or Superfund law. The trailers were owned by John Jones, a trucker who had previously operated a waste hauling business from 1960 to 1980.  Three trailers were located on Jones' property and while another vehicle was parked on a parcel belonging to his brother, Robert Jones.

 

EPA removed approximately 1,000 containers, ranging in size from 5-gallon paint cans to 55-gallon drums. The containers were severely deteriorated and had to be carefully packaged for shipment and disposal. The EPA's cleanup at the trailers cost approximately $206,396.

 

Because it is believed that at least some of the paint cans were transported under the orders of a paint manufacturer since acquired by Glidden, Glidden Co. will share in the clean up costs.


EPA Settles with Glidden/ICI Paints on Hazardous Waste Violations; includes $110,115 penalty

EPA Region 5 has reached an agreement with The Glidden Co./ICI Paints for alleged hazardous waste violations at its Huron, Ohio, facility. The company has agreed to pay a $100,115 civil penalty and comply with applicable hazardous waste storage rules.

 

The company's paint resin manufacturing business, located at 300 Sprowl Road, was cited by EPA for hazardous waste management violations, including failure to comply with standards governing organic air emissions. A joint EPA and Ohio EPA inspection found that Glidden/ICI Paints was not properly marking and monitoring its equipment to find air emissions from hazardous waste lines.


EPA Cites Anchor Glass for Air Permit Violations

EPA Region 5 cited Anchor Glass Container Corp. for alleged clean-air violations at the company's container glass manufacturing plant at 200 W. Belleview Dr., Lawrenceburg, Ind. EPA proposed a $96,901 penalty. EPA alleges that Anchor Glass failed to use its baghouses to control emissions of particulate matter (dust, smoke, ash) at the plant as required by the company's state operating permit. EPA also alleges that the company failed to comply with a number of other requirements in its state operating permit.


Carmeuse Lime Fined for Opacity and Particulate Violations

EPA Region 5 reached an agreement with Carmeuse Lime Inc. on alleged clean-air violations at the company's lime manufacturing facility in Chicago. The company will complete a $238,020 environmental project and pay a $47,771 penalty.

 

The agreement resolves EPA allegations that the plant exceeded its limit for opacity (the amount of sunlight obscured by dust particles) in 2002. EPA also alleged that a kiln and ductwork emitted excessive dust due to poor equipment maintenance. In addition, EPA said the company failed to comply with reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

 

For its environmental project, Carmeuse will install and operate air pollution control equipment that will cut fugitive dust emissions from a material handling system at the plant. This is in addition to air pollution control measures required to remedy the alleged violations.

 

"We are pleased that Carmeuse will be installing and operating this additional air pollution control equipment to protect public health and the environment," said Regional Administrator Thomas V. Skinner.


EPA Settles with J.H. Baxter for Hazardous Waste Violations


EPA announced that J.H. Baxter has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $13,259, and spend $64,624 on structural improvements to its facility to settle alleged hazardous waste violations at its wood treating operation in Arlington, Washington.


The alleged violations include improper handling of wood treating wastes, and failure to comply with requirements that apply to facilities that do not have a permit to treat, store, or dispose of hazardous wastes as required under federal and state laws. Waste from the facility’s wood treating process is considered hazardous because it contains the chemical pentachlorophenol, which can cause organ damage at high levels and is suspected to cause cancer.

As part of the settlement, the facility will add a roof over two of its process areas to reduce the amount of storm water getting into the plant that must then be treated as hazardous waste. The improvements are expected to reduce the amount of hazardous waste generated by as much as one ton per year.

“We are pleased the company has agreed to upgrade its waste handling areas as part of the settlement,” said Mike Bussell, director of EPA Region 10’s Office of Compliance and Enforcement. “The result will be a significant reduction in hazardous waste generated by the facility, which improves worker safety and saves landfill space.”

The company is also required to submit closure plans to EPA for four process areas where hazardous wastes have been alleged to have been handled or disposed of on site.


EPA issues $85,413 Penalty to Dean's Auto Salvage for Hazardous Waste and Used Oil Violations

 

The EPA has issued an administrative complaint for eight alleged hazardous waste and used oil violations totaling $85,413 to Dean's Auto Salvage located at 720 E. Whitney Road, Anchorage, Alaska. The alleged violations were for failure to properly manage hazardous waste and used oil between May 2002 and September 2003.

EPA has been in discussions with Dean’s Auto Salvage since November 2004 in an attempt to resolve these violations. Because the discussions have not resulted in a firm compliance agreement, EPA issued the penalty action.

“When properly managed, used oil can be beneficially used for many purposes. Unfortunately, when the used oil is not properly managed, contaminants contained in the oil can be released into the environment with harmful effects,” said Mike Bussell, Director of the Office of Compliance and Enforcement, EPA Region 10.

Between September 1998 and August 2003, EPA conducted several hazardous waste compliance inspections at the facility and issued Notices of Violations. During these inspections, EPA inspectors observed that the facility was not properly managing paint wastes and used oil. Many of the drums of used oil found during these inspections contained compounds that are considered hazardous waste. Dean’s provided some of the used oil to private entities that used this potentially hazardous used oil as fuel for space heaters.

The complaint also addresses the facility’s failure to properly manage paint waste generated from automobile painting operations. This hazardous waste, composed of used solvents and paint, was not being managed in a protective or safe manner.


Washington Proposes PBT Rule

The Washington Department of Ecology is proposing a rule that will classify Persistent, Bioaccumulative, and Toxic substances (PBTs) which the Agency will use to create action plans to ultimately regulate these substances.


Delaware Takes RCRA Rules to the Cleaners

 

Two dry cleaners were recently cited for hazardous waste violations by DNREC, including:

+         Parklynn Cleaners: operating without a TSDF permit

+         Royal Cleaners: failure to mark containers “Hazardous Waste” and an accumulation start date, and failure to familiarize local police, fire departments and emergency response teams of layout of facility and properties of hazardous waste handled at the facility

 

DNREC also cited Playtex Products for failure to make determinations of which solid wastes it generates are hazardous waste


EPA and DOE Kick-Off Campaign to Save Energy

EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson and Department of Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman kicked off the annual "Energy Star Change a Light, Change the World Campaign" and urged Americans to change a light in their home to a more energy-efficient one as an important step to save energy and protect our environment.

President Bush called on the American people to do their part by conserving fuels and ensuring that the areas hit hardest by Katrina and Rita have the energy supplies they need for relief and restoration efforts. The president also directed the federal government to take the lead in conserving energy.

If every household replaces just one incandescent light bulb at home with one that earned the Energy Star label, the country will save $600 million in energy bills, save enough energy to light 7 million homes, and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 1 million cars.

DOE and EPA launch the annual "Energy Star Change a Light, Change the World Campaign" and declare Oct. 5, as "Energy Star Change a Light Day." Americans are encouraged to take an on-line pledge to replace one incandescent bulb or fixture in their home with one that has earned the Energy Star label.


"On Monday, I announced a nationwide effort to highlight easy things every American can do to help save energy. Changing a regular light bulb to an Energy Star bulb is a great first step," Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said. "[T]he technology driving Energy Star lighting is better than ever. The costs of these products are decreasing while the selection and availability of these products is expanding. We estimate that if every household changed just one bulb to an Energy Star light bulb, families across the country could save about $3 billion over the lifetime of the bulbs."

Lighting accounts for nearly 20 percent of electricity costs, with the average home containing more than 30 light fixtures. Energy Star qualified bulbs and fixtures help reduce household energy costs because they use one-third the energy of traditional lighting, and last up to 10 times longer. Consumers can save up to $25 in utility costs over the lifetime of one bulb. Replacing the most frequently used lights at home will yield the most savings.

"Americans should realize how such a small step can help preserve our energy resources and environment," said Stephen L. Johnson, EPA administrator. "We are delighted to work with partners in offering consumers common-sense energy efficiency solutions that lower energy bills while handing the next generation a better environment."

The Energy Star Change a Light, Change the World Campaign is one of the first major activities of the Partnership for Home Energy Efficiency announced in July. This multi-agency effort of HUD, DOE and EPA seeks to help households save 10 percent or more on home energy bills over the next 10 years.

The federal effort announced is coupled with the efforts of more than half the nation's governors who will be declaring Oct. 5 as Energy Star Change a Light day. EPA and DOE have been joined by the governors of Delaware, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming and the Northern Mariana Islands, Saipan.


$10 Billion Saved on Energy Bills

EPA released a report showing that with the help of Energy Star, Americans saved about $10 billion and the amount of energy required to power about 25 million homes during peak power.  The report also states Energy Star, a government-backed program helping businesses and individuals protect the environment through superior energy efficiency, and EPA's other voluntary programs together prevented 57 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, an increase from 48 million in 2003.

 

"EPA applauds our partners for their leadership and exemplary efforts to save energy and ensure a healthier, cleaner environment for all Americans," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson.  "By harnessing the power of the marketplace and technological innovations, we are proving that environmental results and increased economic productivity indeed progress hand-in-hand."

 

Highlights from the report include:

+                     Close to 12,000 homes have been improved through Home Performance with Energy Star, which continues to grow with the addition of U.S.

+                     Department of Energy (DOE) sponsored pilot programs in a number of cities.

+                     More than 2,500 builders have constructed over 360,000 Energy Star qualified new homes, locking in financial savings for homeowners that exceed $200 million annually.

+                     More than 1.5 billion Energy Star qualified products have been purchased

+                     Through EPA's Green Power Partnership, more than 500 partners have committed to purchasing more than 2 billion kWh of green power.

+                     EPA's climate protection programs exceeded their goals for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in 2004 and are on target to provide significant greenhouse gas reductions required to meet the president's 18 percent greenhouse gas intensity improvement goal by 2012.

+                     Partnership programs achieved significant reductions of non-carbon dioxide gases.  Through the combined efforts of the methane programs, U.S. methane emissions are expected to be kept below 1990 levels through 2012.

 

These programs include initiatives that develop clean energy solutions, increase the capture and use of methane gas, minimize emissions of other non-carbon dioxide gases, and provide opportunities for corporate partners to develop long-term comprehensive climate change strategies. The report details the environmental and economic accomplishments of these programs and outlines goals for 2005 and beyond. Copies of the 2004 annual report, “Investing in Our Future:  Energy Star and Other Voluntary Programs,” are available by calling the Energy Star Hotline at 1-888-STAR-YES.


EPA Cites Merit and Shell for Clean-Air Violations

 

EPA Region 5 has cited Merit Energy Co. and Shell Exploration & Production Co. for alleged clean-air violations at a sour gas processing plant in Manistee, Mich. The plant, formerly owned by Shell, is now owned and operated by Merit.

 

EPA alleges that from 1996 through 2000 Shell modified the plant significantly increasing sulfur dioxide emissions without getting a permit requiring emission controls to prevent deterioration of air quality. EPA also alleges that a sulfur dioxide impact analysis was not completed before the plant was modified.

 

"EPA's mission is to protect public health and the environment," said Regional Administrator Thomas V. Skinner. "We will take whatever steps are needed to ensure compliance with the Clean Air Act."

 

These are preliminary findings of violations. To resolve them, EPA may issue a compliance order, assess an administrative penalty or bring suit against the company. Merit and Shell have 30 days from receipt of the notice to meet with EPA to discuss resolving the allegations.

 

Sour gas is natural gas containing hydrogen sulfide. Removal of the hydrogen sulfide produces sulfur dioxide as a byproduct. Exposure to sulfur dioxide can impair breathing, aggravate existing respiratory diseases like bronchitis and reduce the ability of the lungs to clear foreign particles. Sulfur dioxide can also cause acid rain and contribute to fine particle pollution. Children, the elderly and people with existing heart and lung conditions are the most sensitive to sulfur dioxide.


EPA Fines Azusa Plastics Firm $150,000 for Air violations

 

As part of a recent settlement with the EPA, Advance Foam Plastics, Inc., a manufacturer of expanded polystyrene foam, will pay $150,000 for air pollution violations, at its Azusa, Calif. facility.

 

Under the terms of this settlement, Advance Foam Plastics Inc. has terminated manufacturing operations, surrendered  its South Coast Air Quality Management District permit to operate and will pay the penalty.

 

"Companies like Advance Foam Plastics must comply with all Clean Air Act emission rules to prevent volatile organic compounds from contributing to air pollution," said Deborah Jordan, the EPA's Air Division director for the Pacific Southwest region. "Emissions from the polystyrene manufacturing process must be controlled, captured and reduced to protect air quality."

 

The South Coast Air Quality Management District, which has jurisdiction over air permits in the Los Angeles Basin, requires that manufacturing and storage emissions be limited to no more than 2.4 lb of volatile organic compounds per 100 lb of raw materials used in the process or be controlled through the use of an adequate air pollution control device.  Advance Foam Plastics, which produces expanded polystyrene foam used in the building industry, failed to demonstrate that the emissions were below the emission limit and failed to demonstrate that its air pollution control device was adequate.


State Energy Efficiency Policy Index Online

 

The Alliance to Save Energy's online searchable State Energy Efficiency Policy Index is now available online. This comprehensive index will allow you to search easily for energy-efficiency laws in your state, or by policy topic.

 

With hundreds of energy efficiency laws documented in the index, this resource evidences how states are leading the way to an energy-efficient future.

 

The index is organized by the following eight policy issues: appliance standards, building codes, greenhouse gas emission cap & trade programs, energy-efficiency funds, public benefits funds, tax incentives, transportation initiatives, and other legislation. The index also allows users to click on an interactive map of the United States to download a full listing of energy-efficiency laws in each state.


EPA to Inspect 100 Missouri Underground Storage Tanks

EPA Region 7 will inspect 100 underground storage tank (UST) facilities in Missouri to help Missouri Department of Natural Resources meet its environmental goals.  Regional Administrator Jim Gulliford said, “These inspections will help EPA and MDNR identify any potential problems with underground storage tank systems. Underground storage tank requirements are essential because they represent the front line of defense to prevent gasoline from leaking into the soil and ground water.”

 

Gulliford said MDNR has obtained federal approval for its UST program that requires that MDNR perform and/or oversee UST inspections. He said EPA is confident that the state will resume state-lead UST inspections.  The federal inspections will give EPA an opportunity to share operations and maintenance requirements and the latest leak technology information with facility owners and operators.

 

Inspections will take place in Kansas City, St. Louis, St. Joseph, Springfield, Joplin, Jefferson City, Osage Beach, Cape Girardeau and surrounding areas.  EPA randomly selected 100 of 3,757 registered underground storage tank facilities. Each facility has been notified by mail and advised of information and records that need to be available for review by the inspectors. A need to perform additional inspections in other parts of Missouri will be decided later.




Failure to Report Copper on Form R Results in over $13,000 Penalty

 

EPA recently reached a $13,738 settlement with the Brasstech, Inc., a Santa Ana, Calif. company for failing to submit toxic chemical release reporting forms as required by the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.

 

Brasstech, Inc. is a plumbing supplies manufacturer located at 311 E. Alton Avenue, Santa Ana, that processes copper compounds.  In  2001 and 2002, Brasstech,  Inc. processed copper compounds in quantities exceeding the annual threshold of 25,000 pounds.  As required by SARA Title III (the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act), Brasstech,  Inc. should have submitted in 2002 and 2003 the correct reporting forms documenting its releases of copper compounds.

 

"It's essential that facilities that use certain chemicals follow EPA reporting rules so that we can inform area residents and emergency response personnel of possible chemical hazards in the environment,"

said Enrique Manzanilla, Communities and Ecosystems Division Director for EPA's Pacific Southwest region.

 

Enacted in 1986, the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act requires that reports detailing toxic chemical releases and waste management activities be submitted annually through the Toxics Release Inventory.  Facilities failing to submit timely reports not only fail to comply with the annual reporting requirement but fail to make toxic release data available to states and the public in a timely manner. To learn more about how to comply with the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act, attend Environmental Resource Center’s SARA Title III training.


EPA Cites Holland Terminal for Clean-Air Violations

 

EPA Region 5 has cited Holland Terminal Inc. for alleged clean-air violations at the company's bulk petroleum distribution terminal in Holland, MI. EPA alleges that Holland Terminal violated Michigan's plan for implementing the Clean Air Act by failing to maintain and operate its vapor recovery unit in a satisfactory manner and by failing to maintain its storage tanks at working pressures sufficient to prevent vapor loss to the atmosphere.

 

"EPA's mission is to protect public health and the environment," said Regional Administrator Thomas V. Skinner. "We will take whatever steps are needed to ensure compliance with the Clean Air Act.


EPA Revises Wastewater Treatment Exemptions for Hazardous Waste

Discuss

 

EPA is finalizing revisions to the Wastewater Treatment Exemptions for Hazardous Waste Mixtures, also known as the "Headworks Rule," originally proposed on April 8, 2003. The Headworks Rule:

+         finalizes the addition of benzene and 2-ethoxyethanol to the list of solvents whose mixtures with wastewaters are exempted from the definition of hazardous waste

+         exempts scrubber waters derived from the combustion of any of the exempted solvents

+         adds an option to allow generators to directly measure solvent chemical levels at the headworks of the wastewater treatment system to determine whether the wastewater mixture is exempt from the definition of hazardous waste

+         extends the eligibility for the de minimis exemption to other listed hazardous wastes (beyond discarded commercial chemical products) and to non-manufacturing facilities

This rule is effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.


EPA Workshop on for Lead-Safe Work Practices

Contractors, painters, inspectors, realtors, agents, landlords, and do-it-yourself homeowners are encouraged to attend a free EPA workshop about lead-safe work practices on October 26.

Many homes built before 1978 contain lead-based paint that can be a hazard if not handled properly. Attendees will learn how to work lead-safe by controlling lead dust and debris when doing repairs and renovations. In addition, landlords and property owners will learn about the federal lead disclosure rules requirements when leasing, buying, or selling a property. Contractors, painters, and do-it yourself homeowners will learn how to comply with the federal pre-renovation education rule requirements designed to protect residents.

The free workshop will be held from 10:15 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Wednesday, October 26 at EPA’s regional office at 1650 Arch Street in Philadelphia. The workshop is sponsored by the National Paint and Coatings Assoc. and EPA’s mid-Atlantic regional office.

Although the conference is free, pre-registration is required. You can register on-line or for more information, call 571-203-7766 x106. For additional background on lead-safe work practices see EPA’s website.


Watershed Academy's Webcast Features The ABCs of TMDLs

EPA's Watershed Academy sponsored its third Webcast on the basics of the Clean Water Act section 303(d) Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program on Sept. 28.  The Webcast, entitled “The ABCs of TMDLs for Stakeholders” which featured Bruce Zander, TMDL Coordinator for EPA Region 8.   The on-line seminar attracted several hundred participants from 40 states, Ecuador, Italy and Canada with people participating via streaming audio or phone lines, and viewing the PowerPoint presentation on the Internet. The entire presentation, complete with audio, can be viewed at the Clu-In Web site.    EPA plans to host Webcasts monthly and future offerings will be posted on the