September 23, 2001

EPA Administrator Christie Whitman announced that results from the Agency's air and drinking water monitoring near the World Trade Center and Pentagon disaster sites indicate that these vital resources are safe. Whitman also announced that EPA has been given up to $83 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to support EPA's involvement in cleanup activities and ongoing monitoring of environmental conditions in both the New York City and Washington metropolitan areas following last week's terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

"We are very encouraged that the results from our monitoring of air quality and drinking water conditions in both New York and near the Pentagon show that the public in these areas is not being exposed to excessive levels of asbestos or other harmful substances," Whitman said. "Given the scope of the tragedy from last week, I am glad to reassure the people of New York and Washington, D.C. that their air is safe to breath and their water is safe to drink," she added.

In the aftermath of last Tuesday's attacks, EPA has worked closely with state, federal and local authorities to provide expertise on cleanup methods for hazardous materials, as well as to detect whether any contaminants are found in ambient air quality monitoring, sampling of drinking water sources and sampling of runoff near the disaster sites.

At the request of FEMA, EPA has been involved in the cleanup and site monitoring efforts, working closely with the U.S. Coast Guard, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and state and local organizations.

EPA has conducted repeated monitoring of ambient air at the site of the World Trade Center and in the general Wall Street district of Manhattan, as well as in Brooklyn. The Agency is planning to perform air monitoring in the surrounding New York metropolitan area. EPA has established 10 continuous (stationary) air monitoring stations near the WTC site. Thus far, from 50 air samples taken, the vast majority of results are either non-detectable or below established levels of concern for asbestos, lead and volatile organic compounds. The highest levels of asbestos have been detected within one-half block of ground zero, where rescuers have been provided with appropriate protective equipment.

In lower Manhattan, the City of New York has also been involved in efforts to clean anything coated with debris dust resulting from Tuesday's destruction. This involves spraying water over buildings, streets and sidewalks to wash the accumulated dust off the building and eliminate the possibility that materials would become airborne. To complement this clean up effort, EPA has performed 62 dust sample analyses for the presence of asbestos and other substances. Most dust samples fall below EPA's definition of "asbestos containing material" (one percent asbestos). Where samples have shown greater than one percent asbestos, EPA has operated its 10 High Efficiency Particulate Arresting (HEPA) vacuum trucks to clean the area and then resample. EPA also used the 10 HEPA vac trucks to clean streets and sidewalks in the Financial District in preparation for Monday's return to business. The Agency plans to use HEPA vac trucks to clean the lobbies of the five federal buildings near the World Trade Center site, and to clean the streets outside of New York's City Hall.

Drinking water in Manhattan was tested at 13 sampling points, in addition to one test at the Newtown Sewage Treatment plant and pump station. Initial results of this drinking water sampling show that levels of asbestos are well below EPA's levels of concern.

While FEMA has provided EPA with a Total Project Ceiling cost of slightly more than $83 million for the Agency's cleanup efforts in New York City and in at the Pentagon site, EPA currently is working with emergency funding of $23.7 million. If costs exceed this level, FEMA will authorize EPA to tap additional funding in increments of $15 million. As part of the additional funding to be provided by FEMA, EPA will be responsible for any hazardous waste disposal, general site safety and providing sanitation facilities for many of the search and rescue workers to wash the dust off following their shifts. EPA is coordinating with both the U.S. Air Force Center for Environmental Excellence and the U.S. Coast Guard to quickly implement these additional responsibilities to ensure that search and rescue personnel are provided with the maximum support and protection from hazardous materials that may be found during their mission.

At the Pentagon explosion site in Arlington Va., EPA has also been involved in a variety of monitoring of air and water quality. All ambient air monitoring results, both close to the crash site and in the general vicinity, have shown either no detection of asbestos or levels that fall well below the Agency's level of concern. Testing of runoff water from the disaster site does not show elevated levels of contaminants. Given the large numbers of Department of Defense (DOD) employees returning to work this week, EPA has worked closely with officials from DOD and from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to evaluate air and drinking water quality and to be certain that the workplace environment will be safe.

While careful not to impede the search, rescue and cleanup efforts at either the World Trade Center or the Pentagon disaster sites, EPA's primary concern has been to ensure that rescue workers and the public are not being exposed to elevated levels of potentially hazardous contaminants in the dust and debris, especially where practical solutions are available to reduce exposure. EPA has assisted efforts to provide dust masks to rescue workers to minimize inhalation of dust. EPA also recommends that the blast site debris continue to be kept wet, which helps to significantly reduce the amount of airborne dust which can aggravate respiratory ailments such as asthma. On-site facilities are being made available for rescue workers to clean themselves, change their clothing and to have dust-laden clothes cleaned separately from normal household wash.


EPA is adding 11 new hazardous waste sites to the National Priorities List (NPL), and is proposing 17 new sites.

The primary purpose of the NPL is to guide the EPA in determining which sites warrant further investigation. Generally, a site is proposed for the NPL if preliminary investigations indicate that it warrants further action. Proposed sites must go through a public comment period before they can be finalized on the NPL.

Including today's additions, the NPL now contains 1,248 final sites.

The 11 added sites are: Casmalia Resources, Casmalia, Calif.; American Creosote Works, Inc., Louisville, Miss.; Barker Hughesville Mining District, Barker, Mont. ; Carpenter Snow Creek Mining District, Neihart, Mont.; Barber Orchard, Waynesville, N.C.; MacKenzie Chemical Works, Inc, Central Islip, N.Y.; Valmont TCE, Hazle Township and West Hazleton, Pa.; Watson Johnson Landfill, Richland Township, Pa.; Bountiful/Woods Cross 5th South PCE Plume , Bountiful/Woods Cross, Utah; Ely Copper Mine, Vershire, Vt.; Lower Duwamish Waterway, Seattle, Wash.

The 17 proposed sites are: Brine Service Company, Corpus Christi, Texas; Franklin Slag Pile (MDC), Philadelphia, Pa.; Ellenville Scrap Iron and Metal, Ellenville, N.Y.; Crown Cleaners of Watertown, Inc., Carthage, N.Y.; Cayuga County Ground Water Contamination, Cayuga County, N.Y.; McGaffey and Main Groundwater Plume, Roswell, N.M.; Woodbrook Road Dump, South Plainfield, N.J.; Atlantic Resources Corporation, Sayreville, N.J.; Reasor Chemical Company, Castle Hayne, N.C.; Oak Grove Village Well, Oak Grove Village, Mo.; Callahan Mine, Brooksville, Maine; Curtis Bay Coast Guard Yard, Anne Arundel County, Md.; Hatheway and Patterson Company, Mansfield, Mass.; Sauget Area 1, Sauget, Ill.; Sauget Area 2, Sauget, Ill.; Stibnite/Yellow Pine Mining Area, Yellow Mine, Idaho; Railroad Avenue Groundwater Contamination, Des Moines, Iowa.

This action appeared in Monday's Federal Register, with a 60-day public comment period to follow. For more information on these sites, visit http://www.epa.gov/superfund.


Donald Schregardus, the Bush administration nominee for the EPA's top enforcement position, withdrew his name from consideration on September 17.

Schregardus's nomination to be Assistant Administrator in charge of EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance had cleared the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in August but was sent back to the committee after release of an EPA report critical of his work enforcing clean air laws in Ohio. The critical EPA report was released at the urging of Senator Barbara Boxer D-CA. Senator James Jeffords, I-VT, called for a thorough investigation into the tenure of Schregardus during his time as director of Ohio EPA . Senator Jeffords said the investigation would take a long time which, prompted Schregardus to withdraw his name. In a letter to the President, Schregardus said he was withdrawing because his nomination "will not be considered in a timely manner."


EPA is proposing to regulate several types of nonroad engines to help reduce hydrocarbons (HC) carbon monoxide (CO) nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the environment. Controlling these pollutants will reduce exposure to CO and air toxics for the operators who work with or near these engines, and help to remove haze from national parks.

"If left unregulated, pollution from these sources will continue to increase, becoming a larger part of the overall mobile source pollution," said EPA Administrator Christie Whitman. "When fully implemented, this action will not only protect public health, but will help to restore the view of our nation's treasured scenic parks and wilderness areas."

The engines and vehicles covered by this proposal are significant sources of air pollution. They account for about 13 percent of mobile source hydrocarbon emissions, 6 percent of mobile source carbon monoxide emissions and 3 percent of mobile source nitrogen oxides emissions. The proposed standards are expected to reduce CO emissions up to 56 percent and HC and NOx emissions up to nearly 80 percent when fully implemented compared to today's engine groups. These engine groups include:

  • Large Industrial Spark Ignition Engines: Spark-ignition nonroad engines rated over 25 horsepower are usually car engines used in heavy machinery. EPA has proposed adopting standards set by California in 1998 to be effective nationwide in 2004. EPA has proposed stricter requirements for years after 2007. EPA expects fuel savings and substantial reduction in nitrogen oxides, which contribute to ground-level ozone or smog.

  • Recreational Diesel Marine Engines: These engines are used in yachts and other pleasure craft. EPA has proposed to apply similar standards to those it has already promulgated for commercial diesel marine engines, with an additional two years of lead time to allow for emissions control technology to be adapted to these engines.

  • Off-Road Motorcycles and All-Terrain Vehicles: EPA is proposing an emissions standard that would encourage manufacturers of these vehicles to switch from two-stroke engines to four-stroke engines, beginning in 2006. EPA is proposing that all-terrain vehicles would also need to meet a second, more stringent phase of standards beginning in 2009. EPA would exempt from regulation those off-road motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles that can be shown to be intended for use in competition.

  • Snowmobiles: EPA has proposed a standard that would reduce hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions by 30 percent in 2006 and 50 percent in 2010. EPA believes these standards could be met with technologies available from other engine types, and is requesting comments from the public about this view.

To improve the final rule, EPA will refine the cost-benefit analysis it conducted in connection with this proposed rule. EPA will take into consideration the findings of this analysis as it makes final decisions on standards, phase-in periods, and or scope of coverage.

EPA will issue proposals for highway motorcycles and evaporative emissions from gasoline powered boats within the next few months.

Public hearings will be held in Washington, DC on October 24, and in Denver, Colo., on October 30. Detailed information about the hearings and on submitting written comments will be published in the Federal Register and at http://www.epa.gov/otaq.


Ciba Specialty Chemicals Corporation and Novartis Corporation have agreed to perform soil clean up at one of New JerseyÆs Superfund sites under an agreement reached with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department.

The Ciba-Giegy Superfund site in Toms River, NJ, will undergo a cleanup project estimated at over $90 million under a consent decree lodged in U.S. District Court in Newark. The two corporations will also reimburse the EPA $250,000 for its past costs associated with the soil cleanup project. The company already has spent an estimated $60 million on activities related to groundwater cleanup at the Site, and has already reimbursed EPA almost $12 million.

"This settlement shows that we can resolve environmental lawsuits in ways that benefit not just the environment but the communities that have been affected by the sloppy waste disposal practices of the past," said John Cruden, Acting Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division.

"This agreement is the culmination of years of hard work and cooperation between EPA, the Toms River community and the company," said William J. Muszynski, EPA Acting Regional Administrator. "We still have a lot of work ahead of us to eliminate the causes of the ground water contamination at the facility, and this consent decree is a necessary step in that direction. We're pleased that CIBA has taken responsibility for the cleanup of its site, and expect our production relationship with the company to continue as we enter one of the most important phases of the work."

Under EPA oversight, the corporations have agreed to treat or dispose of approximately 150,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil and over 30,000 drums of contaminated hazardous and solid waste. They have also agreed to install caps and barrier walls in the subsurface to prevent movement of contaminants into groundwater, and perform future monitoring at the Site to ensure the effectiveness of the cleanup.

The Toms River Site is an approximate 1400 acre parcel, 320 acres of which were developed and used for the manufacture of various chemicals beginning in 1952 by the Toms River Chemical Company. Toms River Chemical Company was later merged into Ciba-Geigy Corporation. The Site, along with Ciba-Geigy's specialty chemicals businesses, were transferred to Ciba Specialty Chemicals Corporation, one of the defendants. Ciba-Geigy has changed its name to Novartis, which is the other defendant.

Products made at the Site included pigments, organic dyestuffs and epoxy resins. Manufacturing operations ceased at the Site in 1996.

In 1983, EPA listed the site on the Superfund National Priorities List of the country's most severely polluted sites, and the agency has been performing investigations and related cleanup actions since then. A groundwater extraction and recharge system is currently in operation at the Site under a prior consent decree with the United States. The corporations are also required under the consent decree to optimize that groundwater remedy.

The proposed consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.


Safe Drinking Water Act
October 10: Unfiltered public water systems must submit summary report to the state for previous year.

Clean Air Act
October 22: Existing sources subject to organic hazardous air pollutant emission controls under 40 CFR 63, subpart H, for equipment leaks from Groups II and IV chemical process units must submit semiannual report to EPA.