- December 16: Public water systems that serve a population of 10,000 or more must comply with national primary drinking water standards for disinfectants and disinfection byproducts
- December 17: Public water systems that serve a population of 10,000 or more must comply with requirements for total trihalomethanes, haloacetic acids, bromate, chlorite, chlorine, chloramines, and chlorine dioxide
- December 17: Public water systems that serve at least 10,000 are subject to enhanced filtration and treatment requirements
NATION'S SECOND LARGEST HOG PRODUCER REACHES SETTLEMENT WITH U.S. & CITIZEN'S GROUP
EPA and the Justice Department announced that two related companies, Premium Standard Farms (PSF) and Continental Grain Company, which together comprise the second largest producer of hogs in the United States, have entered into a settlement to resolve environmental violations at the companies' large-scale farms, known as concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), in Missouri. The settlement was reached with the United States and the Citizens Legal Environmental Action Network, a citizens group (CLEAN).
According to the consent decree, which was lodged in the Western District of Missouri in Kansas City, PSF and Continental have agreed to pay a $350,000 civil penalty (besides $650,000 previously paid to the state of Missouri), and spend, according to EPA estimates, as much as $50 million to develop and install cleaner wastewater treatment technologies never before used in large-scale farm operations.
PSF's and Continental's operations in Missouri consist of more than 1,000 hog barns, 163 animal waste lagoons and 1.25 million pigs primarily located on 21 large-scale farms in five counties. The settlement will produce significant reduction of odorous and potentially harmful air pollutants from their facilities and prevent spills of animal wastes that can result in fish kills or other harm to local rivers and streams.
The decree requires PSF and Continental to develop and install wastewater treatment technologies for CAFOs that will greatly reduce the toxicity of the tremendous amount of animal wastes produced and the overall emissions of odorous and potentially harmful air pollutants, substantially benefiting human health and the environment. In addition, PSF and Continental have agreed to reduce by at least 50 percent the nitrogen content of waste at the larger Class 1A CAFO farms before it is land applied, and to substantially reduce ammonia emissions. The decree requires the companies to calculate and report on emissions from its large barns and lagoons, and to apply to Missouri for any necessary Clean Air Act permits. Under the decree, defendants will compile data on their current facilities' operations before and after technological improvements have been made.
The federal decree complements a prior consent judgment negotiated by the state of Missouri, PSF and Continental that requires defendants to spend up to $25 million to develop "Next Generation Technology." "This settlement is a prime example of how the federal government can complement and enhance the work of the States to protect the environment and the public. The consent decree is a model of how to reduce emissions and protect human health," said Acting Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden.
"This settlement will put in place new technologies and pollution prevention advances to ensure compliance with environmental laws and to protect the air and water for the surrounding communities," said Sylvia Lowrance, EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance."
The companies also will be required to comply with new farm management practices designed to prevent future discharges of animal wastes and minimize the negative impact of the facilities on local residents. Furthermore, the companies have agreed to fund a $300,000 supplemental environmental project to reduce air emissions and odors from swine barns.
Improper handling of manure from feedlots, lagoons and improper land application can result in excessive nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus); pathogens (i.e., fecal coliform); and other pollutants in the water. This pollution can kill fish, cause excessive algae growth, and contaminate drinking water. Emissions of air pollutants are also of concern for nearby residents.
"We believe this decree presents and fair, logical and reasonable solution to a significant series of problems," said Todd P. Graves, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri. "This decree provides significant incentive for the defendants to make improvements in their operations that should spur creation of new technologies that could ultimately benefit farms of all sizes, and the quality of life for many Missourians."
The agreement resolves claims that PSF and Continental violated
numerous requirements of the Clean Water Act, which prohibits
discharges of pollutants into waters of the United States without
authorization by a permit. In the case of permitted CAFOs, Clean
Water Act regulations prohibit discharges to navigable waters
absent extraordinary circumstances. The settlement also resolves
potential claims under the Clean Air Act and other laws
addressing violations of limits on air emissions and permit and
reporting requirements. The consent decree is available for
public comment for 30 days.
EPA LOOKS TO TELECOMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY FOR INCREASED ENERGY EFFICIENCY OPPORTUNITIES
EPA Administrator Christie Whitman looked to the telecommunications industry to help EPA increase energy efficiency and establish a benchmarking tool for central offices. Central offices house the computers and other equipment needed to connect and switch phone lines. Whitman took the opportunity to recognize the leadership of Verizon as an ENERGY STAR partner.
"With the help of Verizon and other partners, we are looking forward to expanding the benefits of ENERGY STAR to the telecommunications industry so that they can reap the financial and environmental benefits of energy efficiency," said Whitman. "We hope to add central offices to the growing list of buildings that can be benchmarked and rewarded for top performance through ENERGY STAR and we will work with industry leaders like Verizon to make this happen."
Every year the telecommunications industry spends over $2 billion to power its facilities. The facilities require more energy per square foot than all other commercial buildings. Central offices are highly energy intensive. A 10 percent reduction in energy use could save the industry over $200 million a year and prevent 2 million tons of carbon emissions.
Verizon was honored earlier this year with a 2001 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year award. At last week's event Whitman presented the company with ENERGY STAR labels for their Maryland and DC headquarter buildings.
Verizon is helping EPA develop a benchmarking tool for central offices. These tools enable comparison of building energy use across a company's own portfolio of buildings as well as comparison to other similar buildings across the nation. Already, the tool is available for office buildings, K-12 schools, supermarkets, and hospitals. It is available, along with other program information at http://www.energystar.gov. The tool also helps companies identify buildings where they can make energy efficient improvements and allows the best-performing buildings to be distinguished by ENERGY STAR labels.
ENERGY STAR offers consumers and businesses recommendations on how to improve their energy efficiency. In 2000 alone, ENERGY STAR helped save enough energy to power 10 million homes and reduced air pollution equivalent to taking 10 million cars off the road. While accomplishing this for the environment, the program also saved Americans more than $5 billion on their energy bills without sacrificing product features or personal comfort.
EPA established ENERGY STAR, the national symbol for energy
efficiency, in 1992. With help from the U.S. Department of
Energy, ENERGY STAR is empowering consumers and businesses
through energy efficiency. For more information on ENERGY STARÖ,
go to http://www.energystar.gov or call 1-888-STAR-YES.
$22 MILLION HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCE GRANT TO 22 UNIVERSITIES
EPA Administrator Christie Whitman awarded more than $22 million in research grants to establish five new Hazardous Substance Research Centers affiliated with 22 universities. The Centers will address concerns about hazardous substances in the environment by conducting basic and applied research, and providing technology transfer and community outreach.
Thirty percent of the total grant money will be used to provide outreach and technology support to help citizens in low-income communities become effective participants in hazardous substance management decisions that might affect them.
The Johns Hopkins University will study the processes for detecting, assessing and managing risks associated with the use and disposal of hazardous substances in urban environments. The Centers at Purdue University in Indiana, Oregon State University, Louisiana State University and Colorado State University will investigate the removal of contaminants from the environment.
The grants were awarded by two EPA offices: the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, and the Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program in the Office of Research and Development. STAR is an ongoing $100 million a year grant program designed to engage the nation's best university scientists and engineers in environmental research.
Uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites, like warehouses and landfills, exist on thousands of properties where chemical wastes were dumped in the past. Congress established the Superfund Program in 1980 to locate, investigate and clean up the worst sites nationwide. The new Centers are part of EPA's program to fund research and training on the management of hazardous substances and publish the research results.
The Centers will also work on the remediation and redevelopment of Brownfields. These are abandoned, idled or underused industrial and commercial facilities where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination.
The following describes the research programs planned at the five new Centers and the grant amount received:
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md., "EPA Center for Hazardous Substances in Urban Environments" will receive $5.2 million. The mission of this Center is to promote a better understanding of processes for detecting, assessing and managing risks associated with the use and disposal of hazardous substances in urban environments. The Center is a consortium of universities that will provide technical expertise to community groups, state, municipal and local environmental regulators and industry in the Northeast.
Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., "Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, and Great Plains Hazardous Substance Research Center for Integrated Remediation Using Managed Natural Systems" will receive $4.5 million. This consortium of universities will focus on low-cost remediation technologies to remove contaminants from the environment and restore ecosystem quality, thereby enhancing site redevelopment options. The focus of this Center will be the remediation needs of the Midwest, Middle Atlantic and Great Plains states.
Oregon State University, Corvallis, Ore., "Western Region Hazardous Substance Research Center for Developing In-Situ Processes for VOC Remediation in Groundwater and Soils" will receive $4.5 million. This Center will focus on the remediation of below-ground contamination problems associated with volatile organic chemicals and known groundwater contaminants, especially in the western part of the country.
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, La., "South and Southwest Hazardous Substance Research Center" will receive $4.5 million. The objective of this Research Center is to provide information about the engineering management of contaminated sediments and other problems of special interest to communities in southeastern parts of the country.
Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colo., "Rocky Mountain Hazardous Substance Research Center for Remediation of Mine Waste Sites" will receive $3.8 million. This Center will focus on developing new or improved methods or technologies to clean up environmental problems associated with mine wastes, especially in the Rocky Mountains.
The other affiliated universities that will share in this grant money are: New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark; Morgan State University, Baltimore, Md.; University of Maryland, College Park; University of Connecticut, Storrs; Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta; Rice University, Houston, Texas; Texas A&M University, College Station; Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio; Haskell Indian Nations University, Lawrence, Kan.; Howard University, Washington, D.C.; Kansas State University, Manhattan; Michigan State University, East Lansing; University of Cincinnati; University of Missouri, Rolla; Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg; Colorado School of Mines, Golden; Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.
For additional information on the individual Centers, contact the Center directors:
Edward Bouwer, Johns Hopkins University, 410-516-7437
Katherine Banks, Purdue University, 765-496-3424
Lewis Semprini, Oregon State University, 541-737-6895
Danny Reible, Louisiana State University, 225-388-6770
Charles Shackelford, Colorado State University, 970-491-5051