October 25, 2021
EPA has proposed
to add 12 chemicals to the list of toxic chemicals subject to Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) reporting requirements. EPA believes that available data show these chemicals have moderately high to high human health toxicity and/or are highly toxic to aquatic organisms. EPA is proposing that one of the chemicals be classified as a persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemical and designated as a chemical of special concern with a 100-pound reporting threshold. When finalized, this rule will provide communities with important information about how these chemicals are being managed in their communities.
The chemicals proposed for addition are:
- Dibutyltin dichloride; 683-18-1 1,3-Dichloro-2-propanol; 96-23-1
- Formamide; 75-12-7
- 1,3,4,6,7,8-Hexahydro-4,6,6,7,8,8-hexamethylcyclopenta[g]-2-benzopyran; 1222-05-5
- N-Hydroxyethylethylenediamine; 111-41-1
- Nitrilotriacetic acid trisodium salt; 5064-31-3
- p-(1,1,3,3-Tetramethylbutyl)phenol; 140-66-9
- 1,2,3-Trichlorobenzene; 87-61-6
- Triglycidyl isocyanurate; 2451-62-9
- Tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate; 115-96-8
- Tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate; 13674-87-8
- Tris(dimethylphenol) phosphate; 25155-23-1
On May 6, 2014, EPA received a petition
from the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) requesting that EPA add 25 chemicals to the TRI list of chemicals under Section 313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).
In response to the petition, EPA has proposed to add 12 of the 25 chemicals to the TRI chemical list. In separate, unrelated actions, three of the 25 chemicals (1-bromopropane, nonylphenol, and 1,2,5,6,9,10-hexabromocyclododecane) have already been added to the TRI chemical list. Of the remaining 10 chemicals, EPA has determined that the available data for nine chemicals are not sufficient for EPA to find that the chemicals meet the EPCRA §313 listing criteria for human health or ecological effects. Regarding the final chemical, EPA is not proposing to add octabromodiphenyl ether, as EPA's production volume screen indicates that no TRI reporting forms would be filed for this chemical.
Comprehensive National Strategy To Confront PFAS Pollution
EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan announced the agency’s comprehensive Strategic Roadmap to confront PFAS contamination nationwide. The Roadmap is the result of a thorough analysis conducted by the EPA Council on PFAS that Administrator Regan established in April 2021. EPA’s Roadmap is centered on three guiding strategies: Increase investments in research, leverage authorities to take action now to restrict PFAS chemicals from being released into the environment, and accelerate the cleanup of PFAS contamination. North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and other elected leaders will join Administrator Regan at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC, for the announcement.
“For far too long, families across America – especially those in underserved communities – have suffered from PFAS in their water, their air, or in the land their children play on,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “This comprehensive, national PFAS strategy will deliver protections to people who are hurting, by advancing bold and concrete actions that address the full lifecycle of these chemicals. Let there be no doubt that EPA is listening, we have your back, and we are laser focused on protecting people from pollution and holding polluters accountable.”
"This roadmap commits the EPA to quickly setting enforceable drinking water limits for these chemicals as well as giving stronger tools to communities to protect people’s health and the environment," said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. "As we continue partnering with the EPA on this and other important efforts, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal and the larger budget resolution would provide critical help by dedicating significant resources to address PFAS contamination."
The Strategic Roadmap delivers on the agency’s mission to protect public health and the environment and answers the call for action on these persistent and dangerous chemicals. Alongside the release of the Roadmap, the agency announced a new national testing strategy that requires PFAS manufacturers to provide the agency with toxicity data and information on categories of PFAS chemicals. The PFAS to be tested will be selected based on an approach that breaks the large number of PFAS today into smaller categories based on similar features and considers what existing data are available for each category. EPA’s initial set of test orders for PFAS, which are expected in a matter of months, will be strategically selected from more than 20 different categories of PFAS. This set of orders will provide the agency with critical information on more than 2,000 other similar PFAS that fall within these categories.
The Roadmap lays out:
- Aggressive timelines to set enforceable drinking water limits under the Safe Drinking Water Act to ensure water is safe to drink in every community.
- A hazardous substance designation under CERCLA, to strengthen the ability to hold polluters financially accountable.
- Timelines for action—whether it is data collection or rulemaking—on Effluent Guideline Limitations under the Clean Water Act for nine industrial categories.
- A review of past actions on PFAS taken under the Toxic Substances Control Act to address those that are insufficiently protective.
- Increased monitoring, data collection and research so that the agency can identify what actions are needed and when to take them.
A final toxicity assessment for GenX, which can be used to develop health advisories that will help communities make informed decisions to better protect human health and ecological wellness. Continued efforts to build the technical foundation needed on PFAS air emissions to inform future actions under the Clean Air Act.
“I’m encouraged that EPA is giving this urgent public health threat the attention and seriousness it deserves,” said Senator Tom Carper. “This is truly a soup-to-nuts plan—one that commits to cleaning up PFAS in our environment while also putting protections in place to prevent more of these forever chemicals from finding their way into our lives. After the previous administration failed to follow through on its plan to address PFAS contamination, EPA’s new leadership promised action. I look forward to working with them on living up to this commitment.”
“Communities contaminated by these toxic forever chemicals have waited decades for action,” said Ken Cook, President of the Environmental Working Group. “So, it’s good news that Administrator Regan will fulfill President Biden’s pledge to take quick action to reduce PFOA and PFOS in tap water, to restrict industrial releases of PFAS into the air and water, and to designate PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances to hold polluters accountable. It’s been more than 20 years since EPA and EWG first learned that these toxic forever chemicals were building up in our blood and increasing our likelihood of cancer and other health harms. It’s time for action, not more plans, and that’s what this Administrator will deliver. As significant as these actions are, they are just the first of many actions needed to protect us from PFAS, as the Administrator has said.”
EPA’s Strategic Roadmap is a critical step forward in addressing PFAS pollution. Every level of government – from local, to state, to Tribal, to federal will need to exercise increased and sustained leadership to continue the momentum and make progress on PFAS. President Biden has called for more than $10 billion in funding to address PFAS contamination through his Build Back Better agenda and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal. These critical resources will enable EPA and other federal agencies to scale up the research and work, so that they meet the scale of the PFAS challenge.
Over the coming weeks, EPA will be working to partner for progress on PFAS. The agency will be engaging with a wide range of stakeholders to continue to identify collaborative solutions to the PFAS challenge, including two national webinars that will be held on October 26
and November 2
. Please RSVP to the webinars using the hyperlinked dates.
- In April 2021, Administrator Regan established the EPA Council on PFAS to address the dangerous impacts of PFAS contamination and meet the needs of EPA’s partners and communities across the United States. To date, under the Biden-Harris Administration, EPA has: Launched a national PFAS testing strategy. Restarted rule development process for designating PFOA and PFOS as CERCLA hazardous substances. Built momentum to set national primary drinking water standard for PFOA and PFOS, Announced actions to stop companies from dumping PFAS into America’s waterways. Formed a workgroup to champion regulating PFAS as categories. Proposed a rule to expand data collection efforts on PFAS.
- Started planning to conduct expanded nationwide monitoring for PFAS in drinking water. Announced robust review process for new PFAS. Released preliminary Toxics Release Inventory data on PFAS. Updated a toxicity assessment for PFBS after rigorous scientific review. Released a draft PFBA toxicity assessment for public comment and external peer review.
PFAS “Forever Chemicals” Now Regulated Under State’s Environmental Cleanup Law
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances
, known as PFAS, have become a serious public health concern across our country and state. They have contaminated some drinking water supplies in Washington and elsewhere. The most common cause in Washington state is the use of firefighting foams
. Sampling has also detected PFAS in Washington’s surface waters, groundwater, wastewater treatment plant effluent, compost, freshwater and marine sediments, freshwater fish tissue, osprey eggs, and human breast milk
The scientific community considers certain PFAS to be persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic
(PBT). PBTs are considered some of the worst of the worst chemicals because they can build-up in organisms and move up the food chain, and their toxicity persists in the environment indefinitely. Researchers often refer to PFAS as “forever chemicals” because of this persistence.
Currently, there are no enforceable federal standards for any PFAS compounds. To help address this toxic threat, the Washington Department of Ecology reviewed the definition of hazardous substance in the state’s environmental cleanup law
and concluded that PFAS compounds meet the definition. This means that when there are PFAS releases, the Agency will now regulate cleanup under the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA), environmental cleanup law.
Currently the Washington Department of Health is creating State Action Levels for five PFAS compounds in drinking water. Once the health department is finished, Ecology will create cleanup levels. These levels will be used to set the standard for people cleaning up contaminated sites. The Agency will also provide guidance about applying the levels.
Although Washington state has made great progress in dealing with PFAS, this is a long-term problem. Efforts to reduce the use of PFAS and to prevent additional releases into the environment will continue to require resources into the future. The Agency is working with other agencies, the public, and stakeholders to figure out the best way to clean up source areas and reduce exposures.
E-Manifest Update Meeting
The e-Manifest national system for tracking hazardous waste shipments electronically. The e-manifest modernizes the nation's cradle-to-grave hazardous waste tracking process, while saving valuable time, resources, and dollars for industry and states.
EPA is holding a free webcast on October 26 which will
- Review the changes incorporated on October 8
- Discuss the October 27 preproduction release
- Identify state correction updates
- Answer user-related and other questions
The session well be held November 14 at 1 pm CST. To join the session, click here
Also note that user fees were revised on October 1, as follows:
Manifest Submission Type
Fee per Manifest
Scanned Image Upload
Data + Image Upload
Electronic Manifest (Fully Electronic and Hybrid)
EPA Seeking Input on Proposed PFAS National Primary Drinking Water Regulation
EPA has invited small entities, including qualifying businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and local governments, to participate as Small Entity Representatives (SERs) for a Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) Panel that will focus on the agency’s effort to develop a National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) for certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS
). This regulation represents one key way that EPA anticipates remediating PFAS to better protect communities under the recently announced PFAS Roadmap. The agency remains committed to engaging with stakeholders as the agency makes progress on this rulemaking.
PFAS are an urgent public health and environmental threat facing communities across the United States. As such, EPA is developing a proposed NPDWR for perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in accordance with the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act and other applicable statutes. EPA is also evaluating additional PFAS and assessing the available science to consider regulations for groups of PFAS.
NPDWRs are legally enforceable maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) or treatment techniques that apply to public water systems. MCLs and treatment techniques protect public health by limiting the levels of contaminants in drinking water. When taking action on PFAS, EPA intends to ensure that small entities in disadvantaged communities are fully engaged in solutions.
The panel will include federal representatives from the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and EPA. The panel members ask a selected group of SERs to provide advice and recommendations on behalf of their company, community, or organization to inform the panel members about the potential impacts of the proposed rule on small entities.
EPA seeks self-nominations directly from the small entities that may be subject to the rule requirements. Other representatives, such as trade associations that exclusively or at least primarily represent potentially regulated small entities, may also serve as SERs.
Self-nominations may be submitted through the link below and must be received by November 2, 2021.
Federal Court Strikes Down Attempt To Limit State, Tribal Rights To Protect Water Quality
On October 21, a U.S. District Court vacated a rule issued by the prior federal administration that sought to limit state and Tribal rights to protect water quality using the authority granted to them in Section 401
of the U.S. Clean Water Act of 1972. Washington led 19 other states and the District of Columbia to challenge the 2020 rule and protect this important right.
“This decision is a major victory for the state of Washington
and the nation,” said Laura Watson, director of the Washington Department of Ecology. “It restores certainty to the regulated community, and restores states’ ability to protect waters for aquatic ecosystems, salmon recovery, recreation, Tribal treaty rights, and all 7.5 million Washingtonians who rely on clean water.”
Watson said “EPA’s 2020 rule was a “massive overreach
that violated the clear language of the Clean Water Act giving state and Tribal governments a leading role in protecting water quality within their borders. The attempted revision was an indefensible attempt to gut one of our nation’s most important environmental laws.”
“I’d like to thank the court for its sensible decision and thank Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson for leading the challenges to this misguided policy.”
EPA’s 2020 Section 401 rule sought to drastically limit the types of pollution discharges a state could review under the Clean Water Act. It also sought to limit the amount of information a state could request from an applicant, dramatically shortened the amount of review time states had to act on an application, and limited the conditions that states could put into certifications to protect state waters from pollution.
Since the 2020 rule has been set aside, federal EPA regulations governing Section 401 of the Clean Water Act that were previously in place now apply.
New PCB Extraction Methods Proposed for Cleanups
EPA has proposed
to expand the available options for extraction and determinative methods used to characterize and verify the cleanup of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) waste under the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) regulations (also referred to as the PCB regulations). These proposed changes are expected to greatly reduce the amount of solvent used in PCB extraction processes, thereby conserving resources and reducing waste.
The proposed changes are expected to result in quicker, more efficient, and less costly cleanups, due to greater flexibility in the cleanup and disposal of PCB waste, while still being equally protective of human health and the environment. EPA also proposed
several other amendments to the PCB regulations, including the amendment of performance-based disposal option for PCB remediation waste; the removal of the provision allowing PCB bulk product waste to be disposed as roadbed material; the addition of more flexible provisions for cleanup and disposal of waste generated by spills that occur during emergency situations (e.g., hurricanes or floods); harmonizing the general disposal requirements for PCB remediation waste; and making other amendments to improve the implementation of the regulations, clarify ambiguity and correct technical errors.
Arkansas Hazardous Waste Fees
Arkansas Hazardous Waste Monitoring and Inspection Fees are due by January 1, 2022. Invoices will be mailed out in November. Descriptions of these fees and their applications are documented in Section 6 of Rule 23
23. The table below summarizes the fee schedule:
Questions on the fees and payments may be directed to Rita Spakes at 501-682-0595 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org
Clean Harbors Cited for Hazardous Waste Violations in San Jose
EPA reached a settlement with hazardous waste treatment company Clean Harbors for improper management of hazardous waste at its facility in San Jose, California. Improper storage and management of hazardous wastes poses threats to human health or the environment. The company has agreed to pay a $25,000 civil penalty.
“Today’s enforcement action against Clean Harbors reflects EPA’s continued commitment to protect all communities by enforcing companies’ obligations to properly manage solid and hazardous waste,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Director of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Amy Miller. “EPA takes seriously every company’s obligation to follow the requirements of their permits.”
Clean Harbors’ facility in San Jose provides wastewater treatment for generators of corrosive liquids, as well as fuel blending. EPA conducted an inspection in 2019 under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and found that the facility was operating out of compliance with their California Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) hazardous waste permit by failing to replace metal tags on equipment used to transfer hazardous waste, which can help readily distinguish the equipment required to be monitored under hazardous waste management regulations. In addition, Clean Harbors failed to separate containers of incompatible hazardous waste during storage, which can lead to employee injuries or a release to the environment through fire or explosion.
EcoLab Fined $214K for Hazardous Waste, Pesticides Violations
EPA announced that it has reached a settlement with EcoLab, Inc., in Tacoma, Washington over violations of federal hazardous waste
laws that resulted in a fire involving hazardous waste at the company’s facility on the Tacoma Tideflats and the hospitalization of a nearby worker. Under the settlement, EcoLab addressed the violations and agreed to pay a total penalty of $214,407.
On or about March 19, 2019, EcoLab employees removed approximately 177.5 pounds of partially spent Weevil-Cide from a shipping vessel in Longview, Washington. This partially spent Weevil-Cide was placed in two dry deactivation containers at EcoLab’s Tacoma facility. On March 19, 2019, the Tacoma Fire Department responded to a fire associated with the two dry deactivation containers. In addition, both the Washington Department of Ecology and the EPA Emergency Response Program responded to the fire due to the release of a hazardous substance.
According to Ecology, the partially spent Weevil-Cide reacted with water in the air to produce hydrogen phosphide gas, or “phosphine,” which spontaneously ignited. The reaction produced significant levels of phosphine that warranted the evacuation of the EcoLab facility and a shelter-in-place of the nearby facility. One person working nearby was taken to the hospital due to apparent inhalation exposure to phosphine.
“Failures like those at EcoLab can be catastrophic for people and the environment – companies handling pesticidal products must ensure that they comply not only with the requirements of a product’s label but also ensure that they dispose of the product legally,” said Ed Kowalski, Director of EPA Region 10’s Enforcement & Compliance Assurance Division. “Further, facilities like Ecolab are often in neighborhoods overburdened by pollution. EPA’s enforcement program is increasing efforts in these areas to ensure compliance and protect vulnerable communities.”
The settlement resolves violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act
. Parties that dispose of pesticidal products must ensure they comply with both FIFRA and RCRA requirements in doing so. EPA found EcoLab violated the hazardous waste management requirements of RCRA by failing to obtain an EPA transporter ID number; receiving dangerous waste from offsite generators without a permit; and storing and/or treating dangerous waste without a permit. Maintaining permit coverage and complying with permitting requirements ensures that hazardous wastes are treated, stored, and disposed with necessary safeguards in place for the protection of human health and the environment. The company agreed to pay $180,000 for the RCRA violations.
EPA also found EcoLab violated FIFRA by disregarding the requirements of the pesticide’s label, including: collecting partially spent aluminum phosphide dust in large drums where confinement of gas vapors occurred; piling multiple cloth bags/socks of partially spent aluminum phosphide together; and allowing the buildup of phosphine to exceed explosive concentrations. Compliance with FIFRA label provisions safeguards the public, the environment, and workers by ensuring that pesticides are used, stored, and disposed of appropriately. The company agreed to pay $34,407 for the FIFRA violations.
EcoLab no longer operates the facility where the violations occurred.
State Orders Terminal Island Metal Recycler To Investigate, Clean Up Pollution on Site and in Neighborhood
After finding evidence that toxic material traveled off-site, the state Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) ordered
a metal shredding facility on Terminal Island at the Port of Los Angeles to stop polluting, determine the extent of contamination and clean it up.
DTSC, the state department responsible for protecting residents and the environment from hazardous chemicals, is requiring SA Recycling LLC to investigate the extent of soil, groundwater and ocean sediment contamination. The order also names the prior operator, Simsmetal West LLC.
“We have a responsibility to protect people, their communities and the environment from companies and industries that pollute,” said DTSC Director Meredith Williams. “DTSC is continuing to take actions such as this one to protect all Californians from potential exposure to harmful materials stemming from the operation of metal recycling activities – especially in neighborhoods already suffering from multiple sources of pollution.”
The facility shreds used vehicles, appliances and other scrap to recycle the metal and has been operating since 1962. Most recently, DTSC issued a summary of violations against the facility in September after its scientists found metal shredder residue called light fibrous material on the pavement, in pavement cracks, on equipment and inside and over storm drains at a neighboring facility, Pasha Stevedoring & Terminals, L.P. Samples of the material exceeded hazardous waste levels for lead, cadmium, and zinc. DTSC ordered the company to curtail those releases and to develop a plan to clean up the contamination at the nearby facility.
Before that, violations were noted in 2017, when inspectors found treated metal shredder residue trapped in an outside wall of their aggregate processing building and elevated levels of zinc, copper, and lead in a huge onsite pile. In 2018, metal shredder residue was detected in the adjacent Yusen Terminal yard and on New Dock Street just to the south. The Yusen samples were collected within 20 feet of the harbor. In addition, a 2019 inspection found elevated levels of copper, lead, and zinc at various locations on site.
DTSC is taking this action to protect the nearby harbor and people who live in the area. This is the latest in a string of enforcement actions DTSC has taken against metal recyclers and shredders in California, many of them in areas that suffer from inordinate amounts of pollution.
Under the corrective action order, the respondents must meet certain deadlines to take action to stop releases and submit required investigation reports to DTSC, including a workplan to determine the extent of contamination and for cleaning up the contamination they find. DTSC plans to notify the surrounding community so residents can become involved in any proposed cleanup plan.
Because of the health and environmental risks associated with metal shredding practices in California and nationwide, DTSC is proposing new regulations that would require metal shredding facilities that generate and handle hazardous waste derived from metal shredding to receive authorization to continue operating. More information can be found here
DTSC and Clearya Partner To Accelerate Chemical Screening in California Consumer Products
California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and tech platform Clearya
are working together to better identify toxic chemicals in personal care and other products used by millions of Californians every day. Identifying hazardous chemicals in consumer products can be challenging. Labels can mislead, ingredient information is often limited, and product testing is expensive and time-consuming.
Clearya is a free mobile app and browser plug-in that alerts online shoppers of ingredients in products that may have safety concerns, according to regulatory or scientific sources. The app also suggests alternative products with safer ingredients, allowing shoppers to make informed choices that reduce their exposure to toxic chemicals.
The new partnership supports the mission of DTSC’s Safer Consumer Product program: to advance the design, development, and use of products that are chemically safer for people and the environment.
“This collaboration with Clearya is a big boost for our Safer Consumer Products program,” said Karl Palmer, Safer Consumer Products Program Deputy Director. “We will be able to screen products for candidate chemicals and understand more about market presence in ways we’ve never been able to do before. This will save time, make us more efficient, speed up our process, and allow us to better protect Californians from harmful chemicals. We have found that since many manufacturers are not transparent about what chemicals are in their products, DTSC has had trouble getting ingredient information.”
Clearya’s app and browser plug-in automatically analyze product ingredient lists while users browse major online shops. Clearya then aggregates its ingredient data and mines it for additional information that could be helpful to environmental health organizations. Clearya currently covers personal care, baby care, cleaning and other products sold online at Amazon, Target, Sephora, Walmart and iHerb.
The collaboration complements other methods, such as data call-ins, modeling, and testing, that DTSC uses to investigate consumer products for regulation.
“We are excited to join forces with DTSC in leveraging the power of data-driven insights for regulating safer consumer products,” said co-founder Amit Rosner. “The partnership will amplify the value of the data we collect with the help of our users, and DTSC will utilize it for protecting Californians.” Amit Rosner and his wife Chen founded Clearya following her recovery from breast cancer.
Install Pollution Controls or Shut Down
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality signed an agreement
with Owens-Brockway resolving the June 2021 enforcement action
. The agreement, officially called a Mutual Agreement and Final Order, gives Owens-Brockway two options: install pollution controls or shut down.
“As I said previously, the best thing Owens-Brockway could do to come into compliance and protect the community is to install pollution controls,” said Nina DeConcini, DEQ’s Northwest Region Administrator. “And if the facility decides to install pollution controls, this agreement requires they demonstrate that the controls achieve a 95% reduction in particulate matter emissions.”
There are three main components to the agreement: deadlines, an interim opacity limit and a supplemental environmental project:
- By June 30, 2022, Owens-Brockway must either shut down or submit a permit application to install pollution controls to DEQ. If the company chooses to continue operating past June 30, 2022, it must install the pollution controls within 18 months of DEQ’s approval of its application. During those 18 months Owens-Brockway must demonstrate progress toward the design, procurement and installation of controls.
- Interim opacity limit. Until controls are installed or the facility is shut down, Owens-Brockway will be subject to an interim opacity limit, in addition to the existing permit limits. Opacity is a surrogate for particulate matter, and the interim limit holds Owens-Brockway accountable for reducing particulate matter emissions until controls are installed. Violations of the interim opacity limit will result in a penalty of $18,000 per violation.
- Supplemental environmental project. DEQ is requiring that Owens-Brockway spend $529,404 of its penalty amount on a project that will provide air quality benefits to the surrounding community. Learn more about supplemental environmental projects at https://ordeq.org/sep.
“This settlement represents a victory for public health and air quality,” said Kieran O’Donnell, manager of DEQ’s Office of Compliance and Enforcement. “By requiring pollution controls, an interim opacity limit and over a half million dollar investment in the community, this settlement begins to redress the negative environmental impacts from the facility’s non-compliance. It sends a message that DEQ holds violators accountable.”
The total settled civil penalty is $661,756 from the original $1 million. The penalty reduction, as compared to the penalty assessed in DEQ’s June 2021 notice of civil penalty assessment and order, is primarily due to Owens-Brockway’s commitment to install controls. DEQ is still in the process of reopening the facility’s permit, evaluating its Cleaner Air Oregon Risk Assessment, and implementing Regional Haze requirements. More information is available on the Owens-Brockway webpage
Oregon DEQ’s Largest Fine in History
On October 20, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued the largest fine in agency history, a $2.1 million penalty
to the Herbert Malarkey Roofing Co. in north Portland for air quality violations spanning 10 years. Since confirming emissions were beyond what its permit allowed in 2019, Malarkey installed pollution controls in July 2020 that are now controlling the facility’s emissions.
In 2009, Malarkey modified one of its emissions units, but did not notify DEQ. In 2018, Malarkey notified DEQ that its formaldehyde emissions may be higher than previously thought, and confirmed the elevated emissions through source testing in 2019. DEQ has determined Malarkey is in violation of environmental law for operating for 10 years without a required Title V air quality permit and without proper pollution control equipment.
“As soon as DEQ became aware of the modification, we followed up to confirm the emission levels and get pollution controls installed,” said Matt Hoffman, DEQ Northwest Region Air Quality Manager. "Subsequent source testing has shown us that those pollution controls are at least 96% effective at controlling emissions, so emission levels are even lower than they were before the modification in 2009.”
Failing to adequately control emissions can impact the health of the surrounding community. In particular, Malarkey’s uncontrolled emissions included formaldehyde, which is a suspected carcinogen. In large amounts, formaldehyde can cause other serious health effects such as burning sensation in the eyes, nose and throat as well as nausea and skin irritation. Now that pollution controls are installed, the risk to public health is low.
DEQ has reached out to the Kenton Neighborhood Association and will be providing more information about this enforcement at their November meeting.
Malarkey has the option to appeal the order within 20 calendar days of receiving the notice. The order becomes final either after the 20 days or once the appeal has been resolved via settlement or an administrative hearing.
Better Homes and Gardens Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones Recalled Due to Rare and Dangerous Bacteria
Walmart is recalling about 3,900 bottles of Better Homes and Gardens-branded- Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones
in six different scents due to the possible presence of a rare and dangerous bacteria and risk of serious injury and death.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC
) tested a version of the product and determined that it contained the dangerous bacteria Burkholderia pseudomallei
which causes melioidosis. CDC has been investigating a cluster of four cases of melioidosis in the U.S., including two deaths. Cases were reported in Kansas, Minnesota, Texas and Georgia, including a child fatality.
Samples taken by CDC from a bottle of the Better Homes and Gardens Lavender & Chamomile aromatherapy room spray in the home of the Georgia victim found the presence of these dangerous bacteria.
The aromatherapy room spray was sold at about 55 Walmart stores nationwide and online at walmart.com from February 2021 through October 2021 for about $4. “Better Homes and Gardens Aromatherapy,” is printed on the label on the front of the 5-ounce glass bottle. The aromatherapy was sold with a pump spray nozzle in the following scents and product numbers:
- 84140411420 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Lavender & Chamomile 84140411421 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Lemon and Mandarin
- 84140411422 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Lavender 84140411423 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Peppermint
- 84140411424 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Lime & Eucalyptus
- 84140411425 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Sandalwood and Vanilla
Walmart has stopped sale of the product. The product was made in India. Consistent with CDC’s guidance, consumers are urged to:
- Stop using this product immediately. Do not open the bottle. Do not attempt to throw away or dispose of the bottle.
- Double bag the bottle in clean, clear zip-top resealable bags and place in a small cardboard box. Return the bagged and boxed product to a Walmart store.
- Wash sheets or linens that the product may have been sprayed on using normal laundry detergent and dry completely in a hot dryer, bleach can be used if desired.
- Wipe down counters and surfaces that might have been exposed to the spray with an undiluted disinfectant cleaner.
- Minimize handling of the product and wash hands thoroughly after handling the bottle or linens. Wash hands thoroughly after removing gloves.
If you have used the product within the last 21 days and experience fever or other symptoms
, seek medical care and tell your doctor about the product exposure. Your doctor may recommend that you get antibiotics (post exposure prophylaxis) to prevent infection.
Crenlo Cab Products, LLC, Fined for Air Emission and Hazardous Waste Violations
According to a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) enforcement investigation, Crenlo Cab Products, LLC, failed to meet several air quality and hazardous waste permit requirements in 2019 and 2020. The company operates an off-road vehicle and tractor cab manufacturing facility in Rochester. Permit violations included:
- Failing to keep an updated emergency contingency plan, including providing hazardous waste training for staff
- Failing to maintain an updated list of emission and emission control equipment, and failing to keep inventory records of coatings and solvents
- Missing several reporting deadlines, and failing to update an operation and maintenance plan
- Failing to properly calculate and maintain hazardous air pollutant emission records
- Failing to keep records of required weekly hazardous waste container and storage area inspections
The company paid a $22,675 civil penalty to the MPCA and has completed a series of corrective actions to ensure the facility will operate in compliance with its air quality and hazardous waste permit requirements.
OSHA To Focus on Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska
“Workers should not have to risk their health for a paycheck,” said OSHA Acting Regional Administrator Billie Kizer in Kansas City. “OSHA's goal is to increase awareness of the dangers of such exposures and ensure employers are implementing required safety and health procedures to prevent potential lifelong illness.”
OSHA will focus its health inspections on employers with documented employee exposure through previous agency inspections and at companies in similar industries. The agency determined that relying solely on injury and illness data is inadequate in identifying exposure to these workplace hazards because the onset of symptoms can occur years after exposure. The emphasis program will assist in developing an inspection targeting system to identify those worksites with health hazards.
The Regional Emphasis Program's initial phase will include informational mailings to employers, professional associations, local safety councils, apprenticeship programs, local hospitals and occupational health clinics, and OSHA presentations to industry organizations and stakeholders. OSHA will also encourage employers to use the agency's free consultation services to help them implement noise safety strategies and ensure compliance with OSHA standards.
OSHA encouraged employers to take steps to identify, reduce and eliminate hazards related to exposure to hazardous substances during the REP's initial phase. Following its three-month outreach that began on Oct. 1, the REP empowers OSHA to schedule and inspect select manufacturing industries in Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.
Mississippi Limestone Corp. Fined $118K After Worker's Death
The death of a 67-year-old worker at a Drummonds worksite in April 2021 might have been prevented had their employer not ignored federal workplace requirements, an OSHA investigation has found.
Investigators determined the employee of Mississippi Limestone Corp., a Friars Point, Mississippi, concrete products manufacturer and distributor, was trying to repair a rock hopper of a mobile concrete plant when he became engulfed in rock. OSHA cited the company for not evaluating the workplace to determine that spaces – such as the rock hopper – were permit-required confined spaces. Investigators also found the company failed to establish a written permit space program for workers, did not provide employees with adequate training and failed to implement an energy control program for workers conducting maintenance on the concrete batch plant.
In addition, OSHA cited Mississippi Limestone Corp. for willfully exposing workers to fall hazards by not installing a stair rail system on the open side of the batch plant. Mississippi Limestone also failed to train and evaluate each powered industrial truck operator, and to remove unsafe vehicles from service as required.
"Mississippi Limestone's failure to comply with safety and health requirements exposed workers to life-threatening hazards that led to the loss of a man's life," said OSHA Area Director William Cochran in Nashville, Tennessee. "Putting workers' safety and health in jeopardy should never be an option. OSHA will hold employers accountable and ensure they meet their legal obligation to protect workers on the job."
In addition to the citations for Mississippi Limestone, OSHA issued a notice to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with one serious violation for exposing workers to amputation, asphyxiation and crushing hazards by failing to ensure confined space entry was allowed only through compliance with a permit-required confined space program. A notice for a second serious violation was issued to the Corps for failing to ensure outside personnel were informed of their respective energy control procedures.
Based in Friars Point, Mississippi Limestone Corp. manufactures concrete products and distributes limestone, sand and gravel. The company performs contract-based concrete product manufacturing for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to maintain supplies of articulated concrete mattresses, used for erosion control in connection with the Mississippi River Corps of Engineers Channel Improvement program.
Twelve of 38 Amston Trailer Sales’ Workers Tested Positive in a Month; One Worker Died
Responding to a complaint alleging coronavirus hazards, federal workplace safety and health inspectors found a Caledonia company failed to protect workers from the virus’ dangers.
OSHA inspected the facility on May 18 and found that a 49-year-old dispatcher died from the virus on April 27 and that 11 out of 38 employees of Amston Supply Inc. tested positive for COVID-19 from April 12 to May 18. The dispatcher worked for the company approximately a month when he died.
OSHA determined the company, operating as Amston Trailer Sales, allowed workers to congregate closely and without face coverings in offices, the parts and services department, maintenance areas, and kitchen – despite their own company policy requiring employees to screen, wear masks, and maintain social distancing when possible to prevent coronavirus infection.
“Failure to protect workers from the hazards related to coronavirus infection can have serious consequences,” said OSHA Area Director Christine Zortman in Milwaukee. “Simply having a policy is not enough – employers are obligated to make sure preventive measures are actually being followed in order to protect their employees.”
Founded in 1979, Amston Trailer Sales began as an equipment leasing company and is now one of the Midwest’s largest trailer dealers. Operating in Caledonia and in Lebanon, Indiana, the company specializes in trailer sales, leasing, parts and service.
Illinois Healthcare Facility Where Workers Were Not Fully Protected from Coronavirus Hazards Fined $38,000
An inspection at a Byron rehabilitation and post-acute care facility found the healthcare facility did not comply with federal respiratory protection requirements in the facility’s quarantine area and failed to protect workers from coronavirus hazards.
OSHA concluded that Generations at Neighbors – operator of six similar facilities in Illinois and Indiana – did not ensure its coronavirus prevention plan included policies and procedures to minimize the risk of transmission for each employee. The agency found the healthcare facility failed to ensure proper use of respiratory protection, conduct thorough hazard assessments, maintain social distancing and physical barriers, and determine employees’ vaccination status.
“Improper use of respirators in a healthcare facility where an outbreak of coronavirus could lead to a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases and potential death could have serious consequences for the health of employees,” said OSHA Area Director Jacob Scott in Naperville, Illinois. “After more than a year of fighting this pandemic, employers need to ensure every precaution is taken to minimize workers’ risk of exposure.”
Owned by Lincolnwood-based Generations Healthcare Network, Generations at Neighbors operates rehabilitation and skilled nursing facilities in Des Plaines, Elmwood Park, Matteson, Niles and Rock Island, Illinois, and in Auburn, Indiana.
Furniture Manufacturer Repeatedly Exposed Workers to Amputation Hazards
While the OSHA had given a Temple furniture design and manufacturing company several opportunities to stop exposing its workers to amputation hazards, an investigation into a recent serious injury found little has changed.
Responding to a complaint, the OSHA investigation on April 20, 2021, found an employee suffered a broken finger when their hand was caught in a machine. The employee’s injury occurred while feeding raw materials into a process line that glues furniture parts. Inspectors determined that the company removed guarding and failed to follow hazardous energy control
procedures to prevent sudden machine start-up or movement during maintenance and servicing.
Following the inspection, OSHA cited the company for three repeat violations related to energy control and two serious violations for failing to follow lockout/tagout procedures and provide machine guarding
to protect workers from the moving parts. MooreCo Inc. faces $249,657 in proposed fines.
OSHA cited the company for similar violations in 2015 and 2018.
“Lockout/tagout and machine guarding violations are two of the most frequently cited hazards and if not addressed, the consequences can be serious or fatal worker injuries,” said OSHA Area Director Casey Perkins in Austin, Texas. “The threat of being caught in an unforgiving machine is a constant danger in a manufacturing setting. Aside from the terrible physical toll paid by injured workers, these preventable incidents can be life-altering events that leave workers unable to support themselves and their families.”
Founded in 1985 and rebranded as MooreCo Inc. in 2007, the company designs and manufactures furniture for commercial use in offices, schools and other locations, as well as custom project design. Its clients include the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, NASA, Amazon and Apple.
Syracuse Iron Foundry To Correct Serious Hazards, Implement Enhanced Safeguards
A Syracuse iron foundry cited by OSHA for dozens of health and safety violations has agreed to correct 60 cited hazards, implement enhanced corrective measures and pay $276,189 in penalties in a settlement agreement with the department.
OSHA's Syracuse Area Office cited Frazer & Jones Co. Inc. in November 2019 following safety and health inspections that identified multiple hazards, including:
- Exposing employees to crystalline silica, silica dust and combustible dust.
- Inadequate respiratory protection.
- Fall, struck-by and caught-between hazards.
- Unsafe work floors and walking surfaces.
- Deficient confined space safeguards.
- Inaccessible or unavailable fire extinguishers.
- An impeded exit route.
- Lack of an effective pest removal program.
- Failure to prevent the build-up of bird feces on equipment.
- Semi-annual inspections of the facility by a safety consultant.
- Addressing the consultant's recommendations for action, and sharing them with the facility's labor-management safety committee and the corporate parent's board of directors.
- Implementing systems to receive and respond to employee complaints.
- A ventilation consultant will evaluate the facility's dust control system for overhaul.
“The hazards our inspectors found at Frazer & Jones Co. Inc. exposed workers to potential injuries and long-term health effects. This settlement requires correction of those hazards and it commits the employer to implement ongoing measures to prevent these conditions from recurring in the future,” said OSHA Area Director Jeffrey Prebish in Syracuse.
“Employers are responsible for providing their employees with safe and healthful workplaces. When they fail to do so, the U.S. Department of Labor will actively pursue appropriate legal actions to change that behavior and compel future compliance with the law,” said Regional Solicitor of Labor Jeffrey Rogoff in New York.
OSHA's Syracuse Area Office conducted the original inspections. Trial Attorney Rosemary Almonte of the department's regional Office of the Solicitor in New York negotiated the settlement for the department.
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