Texas Offers Incentives for Environmental Management Systems

May 06, 2005

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The Texas EMS program provides incentives for regulated entities that adopt and implement a results-based EMS. To receive incentives, regulated entities must have an EMS approved by the TCEQ either through a TCEQ audit or through an approved third party audit. The rules governing the program can be found under (Chapter 90, Subchapter C). The TCEQ is still in the process of developing guidance for participation in this program.

There are many benefits to implementing an EMS, including both environmental improvements and costs savings. Additional benefits for facilities that get their EMS approved by the TCEQ include regulatory incentives and recognition. To determine if you would like to participate in the Texas EMS program, you can review the program brochure,incentives and audit protocols, or contact an EMS coordinator at 512-239-3100. The TCEQ has training available and some draft model EMS guides.




Field Screening Method for Perchlorate in Water and Soil

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The Army Corps of Engineers has published a reliable and inexpensive colorimetric method for perchlorate in water and soil extracts. The method has been developed and tested with surface water, well water, bioreactor effluent, and soil extracts. The detection limit for water is 1 ug/L and 0.3 ug/g for spiked soils. Results from nearly 100 well water and bioreactor samples show excellent agreement with EPA Method 314 over the range of 1-225 ug/L (slope = 1.11, R2 = 0.913). Some false positives were encountered in some wells. A cleanup method was developed that can eliminate false positives due to humic substances.




Texas Proposes TDMLs

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The TNRCC is developing TMDLs for impaired water bodies under Section 303(d) of the federal Clean Water Act. A TMDL is a detailed water quality assessment that provides the scientific foundation for allocating pollutant loads in a certain body of water in order to restore and maintain designated uses. Comments are currently being accepted for the following proposed TDMLs:
PCBs in Lake Worth Nitrate and Nitrite in the Lower Sabinal River Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) and Chloride in Clear Creek Above Tidal Colorado River Dissolved Solids Petronila Creek Dissolved Solids Orange County Oso Bay/Oso Creek




Two Virginia Companies Receive Environmental Excellence Designation

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Alcan Packaging and Smithfield Foods were awarded the Virginia Environmental Excellence ProgramÆs ôExemplary Environmental Enterpriseö designation. The recognition is awarded to Virginia facilities that have developed and implemented a comprehensive environmental management system with a commitment to pollution prevention. ôThis designation is reserved for facilities that have shown a commitment to superior environmental performance,ö Department of Environmental Quality Director Robert G. Burnley said.

The Environmental Excellence Program is DEQÆs effort to promote the use of environmental management systems and pollution prevention to achieve superior environmental performance and improved organizational performance. Environmental management systems encourage organizations to make continuous improvements in environmental performance. Information on the Virginia Environmental Excellence Program is available on the DEQ web site.




America Celebrates Wetlands Month

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During the month of May, the nation will celebrate the 15th annual American Wetlands Month. This year's theme is "It Pays to Save Wetlands" and focuses on the economic benefits that wetlands provide. In addition to replenishing and cleaning water supplies and reducing flood risks, wetlands are important spawning grounds for the fishing industry, essential habitat for many wildlife species and provide places for recreational activities like birding, canoeing and hunting.

Throughout the month, EPA will join with elected officials, local and state environmental agencies, corporate officers, representatives from environmental groups, and individual citizens at local wetlands events across the country. Events will educate, involve and engage Americans who want to better understand the value of one of Earth's most important ecosystems. EPA's wetlands goals are to increase the quantity and quality of wetlands nationwide.

Assistant Administrator for EPA's Office of Water Benjamin Grumbles spoke at Wetlands Awareness Day at Huntley Meadows Park in Fairfax County, Va., on May 1 to kick-off the monthÆs events.

For details about American Wetlands Month events, go to: http://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/awm/ . For more information on wetlands, go to: http://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/.




EPA Honors Southeast Green Power Purchasers

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EPA praised Southeast companies for switching to green power during a recognition ceremony held in conjunction with the Southeast Green Energy Summit today in Orlando.

Green power is a marketing term for electricity products that are partially or entirely generated from environmentally preferable renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, and low-impact biomass and hydro resources.

EPA Green Power Partners BMW Manufacturing (Spartanburg, SC) and Duke University (Raleigh, NC) were recipients of the ôGreen Starö Award for serving as a role model for other green power purchasers in the Southeast. At the BMW plant, 25% of the plantÆs power comes from captured methane gas drawn from the Palmetto Landfill. BMWÆs Spartanburg facility is currently listed as number 18 on EPAÆs Top 25 Green Power Purchasers list that identifies the nationÆs largest purchasers. Duke University is purchasing 10 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually through nationally-sourced Renewable Energy Certificates. EPA also honored several other Southeast organizations for their commitment to green power. Additional details about all of the green power purchasers can be found on the EPA Web site at http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/partners/gpp_partners.htm.

The EPAÆs Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program to encourage the use of renewable energy as a way to reduce the risk of climate change. The Green Power Partnership works to reduce the environmental effects of conventional electricity generation by supporting and recognizing organizations that pledge to switch to green power for a specified minimum percentage of their electricity needs. Nationwide, there are currently more than 550 Green Power Partners. The total annual green power commitment by these Partners is 2.5 billion kWh, which is enough electricity to power 230,000 homes.

The Southeast Green Energy Summit is sponsored by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, the Florida Solar Energy Center, the United States Department of Energy, state energy offices in the Southeast and various regional utilities in the Southeast. It brings together an audience of energy policy-makers, utility companies, environmental organizations, government representatives, renewable industry suppliers and consultants, and green power purchasers.
For more information about green power, visit http://www.epa.gov/greenpower.




EPA Orders 'Stop Sale' of Illegal Pet Flea Control Products

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EPA recently ordered an Arizona company to immediately stop selling and distributing unregistered and misbranded pet products, a violation of federal pesticide law.

The EPA recently discovered that Rizing Sun, of Peoria, Ariz. continued to illegally sell and distribute unregistered versions of "Frontline" -- a popular flea and tick control product used on dogs and cats -- after the EPA issued a complaint in September 2004 seeking a $357,000 penalty.

The pesticides were unlawfully imported and look similar to legitimately registered pesticides sold in the United States. State inspectors originally discovered the illegal products at various retail stores in Hawaii, Pennsylvania, and Georgia and traced the products back to Rizing Sun.

"Without proper labeling and registration, the illegal products can endanger pets and their owners," said Enrique Manzanilla, director of the EPA's Communities and Ecosystems Division for the Pacific Southwest region. "The sale of these products also undercuts legitimate businesses that have registered their products."

In September 2004 the EPA also filed a complaint against Honolulu company Pang & Son Distribution, L.L.C., and settled with Tidalwave Distribution, Inc. of Torrance, Calif. for $50,000 for distributing illegal pet products.

The EPA's pesticide regulations require registration and approved labels on all pesticide products before they are sold in the United States. Pesticides registered with the agency have an EPA registration number on the label.

The EPA will not register a pesticide without information that shows it will not pose an unreasonable risk when used according to the directions. The agency ensures that pesticide labels provide consumers with the information they need to use the products safely.

For more information, visit the EPA's Web sites on illegal pesticides and illegal pet products, at: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/health/illegalproducts/ or at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/factsheets/petproduct.htm.




How to Reduce Lead Exposure at Firing Ranges

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The Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council Environmental Management has released guidance for the reduction of lead exposure at Operating Outdoor Small Arms Firing Ranges. This document addresses the minimization of potential exposure to metals, especially lead, associated with shooting ranges. It is designed to assist range operators in developing, using, and monitoring environmental management plans at active outdoor small arms firing ranges. The central task in formulating an environmental management plan is the selection and implementation of effective and reliable pollution prevention and mitigation measures otherwise referred to as best management practices.

The Florida DEP has published several documents to ensure that firing ranges do not cause undue environmental harm:

Manual of Best Management Practices for Shooting Ranges.
Self-Inspection Checklists
Record-Keeping Forms
Also see the New HampshireÆs Call to Action for SportsmenÆs Clubs and Shooting Ranges:Getting the Lead Out




Superfund 25th Anniversary

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Superfund will mark its 25th anniversary in December 2005. In commemoration, EPA is planning three major activities to capture the history of the Superfund program by allowing those involved to share their experiences. These commemorative activities consist of a national discussion on the changing nature of Superfund, an oral history project, and a photo history project. EPA is calling for photographic submissions for the photo history project. The Agency is encouraging people to submit photographs that capture the people and places of Superfund, the human and environmental impacts of Superfund sites, and the changes in communities resulting from site cleanups. EPA will use selected photos to enhance the oral history project and to create an archive of Superfund images. In addition, EPA will select two photos representing each of its ten regions for later display. Guidelines for submitting photos are available on Superfund's 25th Anniversary web site.




Atlantic States Cast Iron Pipe Agrees to $9.3 Million Mercury Emissions Settlement

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NJ DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell announced an Administrative Consent Order (ACO) with Atlantic States Cast Iron Pipe Company settling air emission and water violations at its Phillipsburg facility that occurred since 2003. Atlantic States has voluntarily agreed to install and begin operation of its mercury reduction technology, which will be the first of its kind in North America, by January 6, 2006.

TodayÆs settlement will protect public health and the environment in New Jersey by significantly reducing mercury emissions,ö said Acting Governor Richard J. Codey. It reinforces New JerseyÆs commitment to reducing mercury exposure through the mercury switch legislation and DEPÆs 2004 mercury air emissions rules.

Atlantic States has agreed to install a state-of-the-art, $9.3 million emission control system to substantially reduce emissions, including mercury emissions, from this facility. The company also will pay a fine in the amount of $51,520 and contribute $85,000 toward an ambient air mercury monitoring project in Warren County. In addition, Atlantic States will undertake several projects to minimize fugitive emissions from the foundry operations and install and operate a continuous emission monitoring system to monitor mercury emissions.

Atlantic StatesÆ mercury reduction project will voluntarily remove approximately 160 pounds of mercury from the environment four years before DEPÆs new mercury restrictions take effect in 2010. The company has agreed to allow its technology to be studied and used as a model for mercury control at other foundries throughout the United States.

DEP in 2004 published mercury air emissions standards under which foundries and steel mills by January 1, 2010 must reduce mercury emissions to a rate of 35 mg per ton of steel produced.

"We are extremely proud of the fact that Atlantic States will be introducing mercury control technology that will result in significant benefits to the environment, and can serve as the model for other foundries throughout North America," said Mitchell Kidd, Vice President and General Manager of Atlantic States. "We sincerely appreciate the cooperation of the DEP and we will continue to work closely with regulators and regional organizations towards environmental protection for our community."

Mercury is a highly toxic pollutant. Exposure to the most toxic form of mercury comes primarily from eating contaminated fish and shellfish. Children and pregnant women are especially susceptible to mercury contamination, which can cause permanent brain damage to the fetus, infants, and young children. Mercury exposure has been shown to affect the ability of children to concentrate and to remember. Even exposure to low levels of mercury can permanently damage the brain and nervous system and cause behavioral changes. At least one in 10 pregnant women in New Jersey has concentrations of mercury in their hair samples that exceed safe levels.




Tree Cores Help Assess Chlorinated Solvent Contamination

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Can trees replace monitoring wells? A new report published by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the EPA entitled ôAssessment of Subsurface Chlorinated Solvent Contamination Using Tree Cores at the Front Street Site and a Former Dry Cleaning Facility at the Riverfront Superfund Site, New Haven, Missouri, 1999-2003 (Scientific Investigations Report 2004-5049) describes the assessment of subsurface chlorinated solvent contamination using tree cores at two sites that were investigated as part of the Riverfront Superfund Site. During an initial assessment in 1999, core samples were collected from 32 trees. Results from these samples were used to scope and design the subsurface characterization of soils and a ground-water monitoring network.




Improper Disposal of Paint Filters Leads to Penalty

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Several North Carolina companies were recently fined for hazardous waste violations in April, including:

  • BE Aerospace in Winston Salem was fined over $69,000 for improper disposal of paint filters, failure to conduct waste determinations, failure to conduct inspections, and the lack of RCRA training for the siteÆs emergency coordinator, and several other transgressions.

  • Dynapar in Elizabethtown was fined over $10,000 for the storage of hazardous waste without a permit, failure to inspect accumulation points weekly, failure to properly mark universal waste and waste oil, and failure to provide employee RCRA training

  • Greensboro Auto Auction was fined over $40,000 for failure to mark containers with the words hazardous waste and keep them closed, failure to clean up spills and maintain spill control equipment, and failure to label containers of used oil properly




EPA Announces $5 Million in Grants to Reduce Truck Engine Idling

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EPA Region 3 announced a first-of-its kind initiative - the SmartWay Transport Partnership, a voluntary, government-industry initiative aimed at reducing emissions and conserving energy. The initiative demonstrates innovative idle reduction technologies of the trucking industry, from the manufacturer level to trucking fleets and at truck stops, ports, and borders. EPA will award up to $5 million in grants and is requesting proposals for initiatives to deploy and demonstrate three kinds of commercially-available technologies. The full proposal solicitation is available. The deadline for receipt of proposals is June 6, 2005. More on the SmartWay Transport Partnership.