Tycoon Tree Terminator Fined $2 Million

April 18, 2005

Settling violations stemming from the destruction of public parkland, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Palisades Interstate Park Commission (PIPC) today announced that private landowner Andrew Krieger has agreed to pay $2 million. In 2002, Krieger bulldozed more than an acre of Palisades Interstate Park, Bergen County, which is owned by the State of New Jersey and leased to the Palisades Interstate Park Commission.

In February 2002, Andrew Krieger proposed to DEP a land exchange that would have enabled him to develop the parkland that he subsequently bulldozed. DEP advised Krieger on the land trade process, which Krieger opted not to pursue. In the following three months, Krieger and his employees cleared more than one acre of parkland and illegally stored construction materials on state and county property.

Krieger, who owned property adjacent to Palisades Interstate Park, destroyed trees and other vegetation, excavated approximately one mile of trails, destroyed an old stone wall and disturbed two small, intermittent streams located in the park.

DEP and PIPC sought compensatory and punitive damages from Krieger.

Krieger has agreed to settle charges filed against him by paying $2 million and apologizing for damaging public parkland. Deputy Attorney General Robert A. Marshall handled the State's civil suit.

"In my 20 years of public land management I have never seen a case as severe as this, where an adjacent property owner took such a deliberate and willful action in damaging public park property," said PIPC Superintendent Jim Hall. "Time finally ran out for the tycoon tree terminator paying for his acts."

DOT Clarifies Applicability of Regulations to Pre-transportation Activities

In the April 15, 2005 Federal Register, DOT described the pre-transportation functions that are subject to the hazardous materials regulations. These include:

  • Determining the hazard class of a hazardous material
  • Selecting a hazardous materials packaging
  • Filling a hazardous materials packaging, including a bulk packaging
  • Securing a closure on a filled or partially filled hazardous materials package or container or on a package or container containing a residue of a hazardous material
  • Marking a package to indicate that it contains a hazardous material
  • Labeling a package to indicate that it contains a hazardous material
  • Preparing a shipping paper
  • Providing and maintaining emergency response information.
  • Reviewing a shipping paper to verify compliance with the HMR or international equivalents
  • For each person importing a hazardous material into the United States, providing the shipper with timely and complete information as to the HMR requirements that will apply to the transportation of the material within the United States
  • Certifying that a hazardous material is in proper condition for transportation in conformance with the requirements of the HMR.
  • Loading, blocking, and bracing a hazardous materials package in a freight container or transport vehicle
  • Segregating a hazardous materials package in a freight container or transport vehicle from incompatible cargo
  • Selecting, providing, or affixing placards for a freight container or transport vehicle to indicate that it contains a hazardous material

Personnel that perform any of these functions must be trained and tested every three years. A schedule of classes offered by Environmental Resource Center can be found in the following links:

DOT Hazardous Materials Training
RCRA & DOT Annual Update and Refresher
How to Ship Consumer Commodities and Limited Quantities
Transportation of Infectious Substances by Ground and Air
IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations Webcast
DOT Hazardous Material Update Webcast

Philip Services Fined for Hazardous Waste Explosion

Philip Services Corp., hazardous waste handler in Tacoma Washington, has been fined $43,000 by the Washington Department of Ecology for allowing an explosion to occur inside a hazardous waste tank and for not properly identifying and tracking its wastes.

Although no injuries occurred, the explosion had the potential to threaten human health and the environment, according the Department of Ecology, which issued the penalty. Ecology's investigation also found Philip had violated its waste-handling permit on several counts.

"Philip provides an important service, but like any business that deals with hazardous materials, it must take steps to protect people and the environment. The permit provides instructions on how to do this," said Darin Rice, acting manager of Ecology's hazardous-waste program. Rice said the explosion and resulting release could have been more severe. "We are lucky no one was injured."

The incident occurred during the evening of Aug. 5, 2004, when hydrogen gas built up in a 21,000-gallon tank that Philip was using to treat waste that contained sodium borohydride. Ecology's investigation found that because Philip had not properly identified its wastes, its worker did not know that sodium borohydride was in the tank and that it was potentially explosive. In addition, Philip did not take other extra precautions for the hazardous mixture. Rice said the explosion and Philip's procedural errors leading up to it are Ecology's biggest concerns. "The incident would not have happened if Philip had adequate knowledge of what was in the tank, as required by the permit," said Rice.

Meanwhile, Philip has agreed to no longer accept certain wastes for treatment until it has a more protective waste-handling system under a modified permit. Philip Services Corp. also does business in Washington as Burlington Environmental Inc. Burlington is a wholly owned subsidiary of Phillip Services.

Romic Fined Almost $900K in California

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) announced an $849,500 settlement with Romic Environmental Technologies Corporation (Romic) which resolves hazardous waste violations that occurred at two Romic facilities located in East Palo Alto and Redwood City.

A copy of Judgment is available on DTSCÆs Web site. Romic, owned by a subsidiary of ERP Environmental Services, Inc., has been in operation in East Palo Alto since 1963. The company stores, treats, and recycles hazardous wastes at the East Palo Alto facility including: paint thinner, antifreeze, discarded paints and oils, inks, adhesives, and a variety of solvents. In addition, Romic has operated a rail car transfer and storage facility in Redwood City since 1991 that is used to transfer waste to and from its East Palo Alto facility.

Under terms of the settlement, Romic will pay a total of $849,500, of which $526,700 is penalties, $122,800 is reimbursement of DTSCÆs administrative costs, and $200,000 will be used to fund Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs). Romic will use $150,000 of the SEP dollars to fund an insurance policy for $5.4 million to cover future closure costs for the East Palo Alto facility. This represents an increase of almost $4 million dollars in coverage over the previous closure cost estimate of $1,568,155.00. The remaining $50,000 in SEP dollars will be used for the State Environmental Enforcement and Training Account, which provides a supplemental source of funding for California environmental enforcement and training programs for public prosecutors, peace officers, firefighters, and environmental regulators.

The settlement stems from violations found by DTSC inspectors at the East Palo Alto and Redwood City facilities between 1999 and 2004. Romic operates 50 permitted hazardous waste storage tanks, 55 permitted treatment units, four permitted drum storage buildings, and a regulated drum sampling area on its 14-acre East Palo Alto facility. At the East Palo Alto facility the violations DTSC found included:

    1. Combining incompatible hazardous wastes resulting in two separate small bin fires in December 1999; 2. Storing hazardous waste in unauthorized containers in unauthorized areas in 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004; 3. Storing incompatible hazardous wastes without separation in 2001 and 2003; 4. Treating hazardous waste in unauthorized units in 2001, 2002, and 2003; 5. Exceeding capacity of hazardous waste tanks in 1999, 2000, and 2001; 6. Modifying facility equipment without prior authorization from DTSC; and 7. Failing to comply with DTSCÆs permit conditions

All violations listed above have been corrected.

At the Redwood City rail transfer facility the violations included: 1. Failing to maintain a financial assurance mechanism to cover the cost of possible closure of the facility in 2002; 2. Failing to comply with conditions of the rail transfer facilityÆs standardized permit in 2002 and 2004; 3. Failing to maintain a secondary containment unit at the rail transfer facility in 2004; and 4. Failing to conduct regular inspections at the rail transfer facilityÆs secondary containment unit in 2004

Romic has corrected all violations that occurred at the rail transfer facility in 2002.

EPA and OxyChem Collaborate on Mercury Emissions Monitoring

EPA and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control have signed an agreement with Occidental Chemical Corporation (OxyChem) in which the company will voluntarily measure and reduce fugitive mercury emissions at its Delaware City plant.

OxyChem Delaware is one of nine mercury cell chlor-alkali facilities in the country producing chlorine gas, which is used widely in products for homes, industry, and medicine. Facilities obtain permits for releasing a limited amount of emissions into the air, usually through stacks or vents. Fugitive emissions are those which escape from plant equipment rather than being emitted through stacks or vents.

OxyChem approached DNREC and EPA to discuss a new methodology it wants to undertake to appropriately measure and reduce fugitive emissions. The company has invested in a first-of-its-kind technology for mercury monitoring.

ôBy conducting comprehensive, real-time localized monitoring there will be more information about this important issue and a better understanding of how fugitive mercury emissions escape and ways to reduce them,ö said Donald S. Welsh, EPA mid-Atlantic regional administrator.

The mercury monitoring system OxyChem is using is supplied by Mercury Instruments, GmbH, Germany. An integral part of the year-long monitoring will be to continually evaluate opportunities for emissions reductions that can be implemented quickly. The recently installed monitoring system enables facility personnel to quickly identify, isolate and correct abnormal operating conditions in the facilityÆs main process building.

As an example, the monitor has detected elevated emissions that were due to minor equipment problems with pumps and heat exchangers. Workers were able to quickly identify the minor source, then repair the emission source, eliminating the emissions. In another instance the monitoring equipment identified an emissions source at a heat exchanger where the plant was able to modify plant procedures eliminating the need to service equipment that might have been a source of emissions, thereby reducing the emissions potential from future events.

Fugitive emissions of mercury from the facility are currently estimated based on calculations and modeling and reported to EPA and DNREC as part of the annual Toxic Release Inventory. For 2003 (the most recent data reported) the facility estimated 747 pounds of fugitive mercury emissions. The facility reported 1046 pounds of fugitive emissions in 2002. The monitoring equipment will measure actual fugitive emissions on a continuous basis and provide a more reliable and accurate source of information.

Under the agreement, the company will share all data with EPA and DNREC and will not make any claims of business confidentiality with respect to the monitoring data. Nationally, EPA has planned two monitoring studies to better quantify fugitive emissions at two other chlor-alkali facilities. Although not part of the national study, the information gained from the voluntary industry project in Delaware will be of interest to the national study.

EPAÆs monitoring study is part of the agencyÆs effort to quantify how much mercury might be emitted from chlor-alkali plants as fugitive emissions. These studies will help the agency address mercury used in these facilities that is neither accounted for by emissions from stacks nor through reclamation. The agencyÆs best information to date indicates that a high level of fugitive emissions is unlikely, however, the monitoring studies will help EPA better understand this issue.

Mobil to Pay Nearly $1 million for Clean Air Act Violations

EPA announced a settlement with Mobil Exploration & Producing U.S. Inc. worth nearly $1 million for alleged Clean Air Act violations at MobilÆs oil production facility on the Navajo Nation in the Four Corners area near Aneth, Utah.

The company will pay a $350,000 penalty and spend about $500,000 on operation improvements to control air pollution at its oil field.

Mobil will also spend $99,849 on a public health project that will provide x-ray equipment, an x-ray processor and a pulmonary function testing machine to the Montezuma Creek Community Health Center in Montezuma Creek, Utah.

"Companies that operate and manage our nation's oil fields have an obligation to the community to be in compliance with environmental laws," said Wayne Nastri, the EPAÆs regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest region. "TodayÆs action not only ensures that Mobil will better control air pollution from its oil field, but also provides much needed diagnostic equipment to the local health center for residents who live near MobilÆs operations."

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for Utah, alleges that Mobil operated unpermitted equipment, exceeded air pollution emission limits for sulfur dioxide and volatile organic compounds, failed to monitor its main flare and equipment leaks, and failed to notify the EPA that the company was demolishing its gas plant that may have contained asbestos.

Sulfur dioxide emissions can cause injury to both human health and the environment. High concentrations of sulfur dioxide can cause serious health problems, including respiratory illness. Sulfur dioxide pollution causes acid rain, which damages waterways and vegetation, and also causes decreased visibility, which has been a problem at many national parks.

As part of the settlement, Mobil has agreed to immediately comply with interim air pollution limits, obtain air pollution permits, investigate and correct all significant flaring events from its main flare, and better control air pollution from its main flare.

The EPA has resolved three other enforcement actions in the Aneth area within the last three years. Through separate agreements, the EPA settled Clean Water Act cases against Mobil in 2004 and Texaco Exploration and Production, Inc. in 2002, as well as a Clean Air Act case against Texaco Exploration and Production, Inc. and its contractor Envirotech Inc. in 2002.

EPA Kudos for 3M, Motorola, Pfizer

EPA will present national awards in Chicago next Tuesday for exemplary environmental outreach and performance to nine members of its National Environmental Performance Track program. EPA will also welcome 73 new Performance Track members and honor the program's first three Corporate Leaders.

"By definition, Performance Track members are among the nation's top environmental performers, and we are pleased to welcome the 73 new members to the program," said Stephanie Daigle, EPA acting associate administrator for Policy, Economics and Innovation. "The facilities and companies that we will recognize at this event demonstrated truly outstanding environmental results over the last two years."

EPA is honoring Performance Track members' achievements with the following awards and recognition:

Environmental Performance Awards
These awards will be presented to the following four facilities that have demonstrated especially outstanding performance:

    1. 3M, Nevada, Mo.

    2. Durango-McKinley Paper Company, Prewitt, N.M.

    3. Ideal Jacobs Corp., Maplewood, N.J.

    4. Rohm and Haas, La Mirada, Calif.

Outreach Awards

These awards recognize the following members for extraordinary efforts in communicating the benefits of membership in Performance Track to their employees and other facilities:

    1. 3M ESPE Dental Products, Irvine, Calif.

    2. International Paper, Franklin, Va.

    3. Motorola GTSS Ocotillo, Chandler, Ariz.

    4. Pfizer Inc., Terre Haute, Ind.

    5. 3M Corp., headquartered in St. Paul, Minn. (which will receive the first corporate-level Performance Track Director's Award for Outreach within and outside the company)

Performance Track Corporate Leaders

Although Performance Track has historically been a facility-based program, EPA added a Corporate Leader designation to recognize companies that have multiple facilities in Performance Track and that demonstrate an exceptional corporate-wide commitment to environmental stewardship and continuous improvement.

    1. Baxter Healthcare Corp., headquartered in Deerfield, Ill.;

    2. Johnson & Johnson, headquartered in New Brunswick, N.J.;

    3. Rockwell Collins, headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

At the Chicago ceremony, EPA's New England Regional Administrator Robert W. Varney will unveil the "2005 Performance Track Progress Report: Growth and Renewal," a detailed view of the program and its members' achievements. Since the program's inception, Performance Track members have reduced their water use by more than 1.3 billion gallons, cut their generation of solid waste by nearly 600,000 tons, and decreased their energy use by more than 8.4 trillion British Thermal Units (BTUs), enough to power more than 80,600 homes for a year.

The April 12 ceremony, taking place at the Fairmont Hotel, is being held in conjunction with the 2005 National Environmental Partnership Summit, a merger of the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable Spring Conference, the National Compliance Assistance Providers' Forum, and the Performance Track Participants' Association's annual meeting.

With the addition of the new members, Performance Track now has 351 facilities in 46 states and Puerto.

Hazardous Waste Inspection Reports

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has made available the forms that its inspectors use when conducting hazardous waste compliance audits. The Agency also publishes a sample compliance order. You can download them at the following links:

Inspection report û CESQG
Inspection Report û LQG/SQG
Compliance Order

Most Frequently Cited Hazardous Waste Violations in Ohio

According to data collected from December 2002 through November 2004, the violations most frequently cited by Ohio hazardous waste inspectors include requirements concerning hazardous waste determination, annual reports, container management, emergency equipment inspections and used oil storage. To learn how to avoid these common violations, click on the links below.

Waste Determination
Annual Reports
Container Management
Testing and Maintenance of Equipment
Used Oil Labeling/Storage

New EPA Rules Will Protect Air Quality on Indian Reservations

The EPA announced today the publication of new federal rules regulating air emissions within the boundaries of 39 Indian reservations in Idaho, Oregon and Washington, including the Nez Perce Reservation. The Federal Air Rules for Reservations (FARR) was signed by Acting EPA Administrator Steve Johnson on March 25,and will take effect on June 7, 2005.

ôThese rules are important because they will protect human health and air quality for people on Indian reservations in the Pacific Northwest,ö said Ron Kreizenbeck, Acting Administrator of EPAÆs Regional office in Seattle. Very few rules currently exist under the federal Clean Air Act (CAA) for Indian reservation land, because states generally do not haveauthority in Indian country and no Pacific Northwest tribes have EPA-approved rules.

EPA developed this basic set of air rules to fill this regulatory gap and to level the playing field so that people living on reservations will have similar air quality protections as people living outside reservations. The rules will apply to both tribal and non-tribal individuals and businesses within the federally-recognized boundaries of Indian reservations.

The rules include a requirement for sources to report their emissions, procedures to follow during air pollution emergencies, rules for open burning and some emission limitations for industrial sources. Industrial source rules regulate particulates, sulfur dioxide, and fugitive emissions.

ôThese rules were developed in consultation with Tribes and with significant public input during the comment period,ö said Kreizenbeck. ôThis input helped us to develop final rules that we think set a good foundation for regulating air pollution on Indian reservations in this region.ö

EPA will be working closely with the Nez Perce Tribe, and conducting outreach and education to affected reservation residents and business, as part of the implementation of these rules.