EPA Region 5 has reached an agreement with Sun Chemical Corp. for alleged hazardous waste violations at its Northlake, Ill. facility. The ink and coatings packaging manufacturer will pay a $42,723 penalty for multiple hazardous waste management violations, including storage without a permit.
Sun Chemical is required to spend not less than $209,526 on an environmental project. It will develop, implement and maintain a washing system that will reduce hazardous waste and decrease air emissions. The company is also required to submit quarterly progress reports and a completion report to EPA.
How to Manage Electronic Waste in Ohio
In Ohio, electronic waste is not classified as universal waste. Electronic equipment may include computers, fax machines, copiers, cell phones, telephones and television sets. If you are disposing of your electronic equipment, you must first determine if it is a hazardous waste. In Ohio, if you are recycling electronic equipment, it is not regulated as hazardous waste.
According to OEPA, there has been some confusion about the difference between the regulation of lamps and electronic equipment. This may be because prior to December 7, 2004, OEPAÆs Division of Hazardous Waste Management (DHWM) had a different regulatory designation for hazardous waste lamps. This designation removed lamps from regulation as wastes and therefore hazardous wastes when they were reclaimed. On December 7, 2004, we adopted a new rule that changed our regulatory designation for hazardous waste lamps. Under this new rule, lamps remain hazardous waste even when recycled. Now hazardous waste lamp generators have the option of handling lamps as hazardous waste or universal waste. If you plan to manage your lamps under the hazardous waste rules [Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) Chapter 3745-52] and plan to dispose of your lamps, you must first evaluate the lamps according to OAC rule 3745-52-11.
OEPA has not changed its classification of electronic equipment, nor has it added electronics to our universal waste rule. So as noted above, computers and electronic equipment are removed from regulation as wastes and therefore hazardous waste when they are reclaimed (e.g. (recycled, including donating it for reuse). However, if you plan to dispose of your electronic waste, you must determine if it is hazardous. OAC rules 3745-51-20 through 3745-51-24, describe the characteristics of hazardous waste. Equipment that you dispose of that exhibits a characteristic of hazardous waste must be managed according to OhioÆs hazardous waste regulations for your generator category.
Recyclers disassemble electronic equipment to recover components such as memory boards, disk drives, video cards, micro-processor chips and batteries. Plastic or glass components may be recycled into new products. Metals can be separated and sent to smelters where they are melted and used to make new products. OhioÆs hazardous waste rules do not require a facility that recycles electronic equipment to obtain a hazardous waste permit; however, all waste generated by the recycling process must be evaluated and properly managed. If the recycler uses or sells any part of the electronic equipment for use on the land or as an ingredient in a product that is placed on the land, the electronic equipment is subject to the hazardous waste rules.
GAO Says EPA Was Late in Some Actions Required by Clean Air Act
According to the GAO report, more than a hundred million Americans continue to live in communities where pollution causes the air to be unhealthy at times. GAO was asked to report on the current status of EPA's implementation of requirements under Titles I, III, and IV of the 1990 amendments to the CAA. These titles, which address national ambient air quality standards, hazardous air pollutants, and acid deposition control, respectively, are the most relevant to proposed legislation and recently finalized regulations addressing emissions of air pollutants by power plants.
As of April 2005, EPA had completed 404 of the 452 actions required to meet the objectives of Titles I, III, and IV of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. Of the 338 requirements that had statutory deadlines prior to April 2005, EPA completed 256 late: many (162) 2 years or less after the required date, but others (94) more than 2 years after their deadlines. Consequently, improvements in air quality associated with some of these requirements may have been delayed. The numerous actions required to implement these titles varied in scope and complexity. For example, these actions included reviewing numerous state plans to comply with national health- and welfare-based air quality standards for six major pollutants, setting technology-based standards to reduce emissions from sources of hazardous air pollutants, and developing a new program to reduce acid rain.
EPA officials cited several reasons for the missed deadlines, including the emphasis on stakeholders' involvement during regulatory development, which added to the time needed to issue regulations; the need to set priorities among the tremendous number of new responsibilities EPA assumed as a result of the 1990 amendments, which meant that some actions had to be delayed; and competing demands caused by the workload associated with EPA's response to lawsuits challenging some of its rules.
Of the 48 requirements EPA had not met as of April 2005, 45 had associated deadlines, and 3 did not. The unmet requirements include 15 Title I requirements to promulgate regulations to limit the emissions of volatile organic compounds from a number of consumer and commercial products, such as household cleaners and pesticides.
According to EPA officials, these rules were not completed because EPA shifted its priorities toward issuing standards related to the emissions of hazardous air pollutants regulated under Title III. However, the unmet requirements also include actions under Title III to periodically assess whether EPA's emissions standards for sources that emit significant amounts of hazardous air pollutants appropriately protect public health. These "residual risk" assessments are to be made within 8 years of the setting of each of the emissions standards, and 19 of these assessments are now past the 8-year mark. EPA completed the first of these residual risk assessments in March 2005.
Any improvements in air quality that would result from EPA meeting these requirements remain unrealized. In commenting on a draft of this report, EPA generally agreed with our findings and provided supplemental information, primarily on the benefits of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 and the reasons for implementation delays.
Drinking Water Treatment Facilities Effluent Guidelines Program
EPA announced that it is planning to submit a proposed Information Collection Request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in a July 5 Federal Register Notice. This request is for a new collection of data from drinking water treatment facilities serving more than 10,000 customers. EPA is seeking comments (due on or before September 6) before it submits the request for OMB review.
You can learn more about this action by visiting EPAÆs web site.
Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy Released July 7 in Minnesota
The Great Lakes Regional Collaboration announced its draft strategy to protect and restore the Great Lakes on July 7 in Duluth, Minnesota. The strategy is an action plan to address environmental problems in eight critical areas. In December 2004, the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration was formed as a result of an executive order signed by President Bush. It is a partnership of the federal government, states, tribes, local governments and other interested parties to work on Great Lakes environmental and natural resource issues.
Illinois Gov. Blagojevich selects environmental policy expert to advance the Regional Emissions Reduction Initiative
Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced that he has selected Henry L. Henderson as the point person to work with other Midwest states to develop a regional strategy to reduce air emissions from coal-fired power plants. As the new chair of the Midwest Governors Association (MGA), Gov. Blagojevich has championed this cause and convinced his fellow Midwest governors that a regional approach is necessary to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxides, nitrogen oxides and mercury.
Mr. Henderson will provide his services to both the MGA working group comprised of representatives from member states and the Lake Michigan Air Directors Consortium (LADCO), a work group comprised of state air pollution experts from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. LADCOÆs work is focused on the technical analysis of air pollution trends. Mr. Henderson will join Gov. Blagojevich at the next MGA meeting in Des Moines later this month.
Revisions Released for Historic Agreements to Protect Great Lakes Waters
On behalf of Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell, Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty announced the release of revised drafts of the Great Lakes protection agreements, which would update the way the Great Lakes and the waters of the Great Lakes Basin are managed and protected for the millions of people who rely on the resources for energy, recreation, agriculture, industry and other uses.
The revised draft agreements, referred to as the Great Lakes Charter Annex 2001 Implementing Agreements, were unveiled in Chicago. The agreements include a ban on diversions of water with limited exceptions and a requirement for states and provinces to conduct a joint review of water withdrawal proposals that result in large-scale consumptive uses or proposed exceptions to the ban on diversions.
Additionally, improvements were made to the draft to include a stronger commitment to water conservation for current and future water users, and to allow decision making for in-basin water uses at the state and provincial level.
The revised draft agreements are not final and do yet represent consensus of the Council of Great Lakes Governors. After a 60-day public comment and review period, comments and suggestions will be reviewed and the agreements will be refined and presented to the governors and premiers for their final approval and signature. The final documents then will provide a framework for each province and state, including Pennsylvania, to pass laws that will protect the Great Lakes Basin.
EPA cites H. Kramer for Failure to Comply with Testing and Notification Requirements
EPA Region 5 cited H. Kramer and Co. for alleged clean-air violations at the company's bronze manufacturing plant in Chicago, Ill. The Ageny alleges that H. Kramer failed to comply with testing and notification requirements when it installed furnaces used in melting scrap to make bronze. In addition, EPA said that a June 9 test of opacity (the amount of light obscured by smoke particles) exceeded the 20 percent allowable limit by 0.4 percent.
These are preliminary findings of violations. To resolve them, EPA may issue a compliance order, assess an administrative penalty or bring suit against the company. H. Kramer has 30 days from receipt of the notice to meet with EPA to discuss resolving the allegations.
EPA Cites Arkema for not Plugging Open-Ended Lines and Valves
EPA Region 5 has cited Arkema Inc. for alleged clean-air violations at the company's chemical manufacturing plant at 17168 W. Jefferson Ave., Riverview, Mich. EPA alleges that Arkema failed to comply with federal calibration and leak detection monitoring regulations at the plant, which emits hazardous air pollutants. In addition, EPA said the company violated its state operating permit and federal regulations by not plugging open-ended lines and valves.
These are preliminary findings of violations. To resolve them, EPA may issue a compliance order, assess an administrative penalty or bring suit against the company. Arkema has 30 days from receipt of the notice to meet with EPA to discuss resolving the allegations.
New Industrial Startup, Shutdown and Malfunction Requirements
Through proposed regulatory clarifications, EPA announced that affected industries must minimize emissions during their facilities' startup and shutdown, or at times when equipment is malfunctioning. The proposed clarifications would amend a rule known as the "General Provisions."
The General Provisions require facilities develop a startup, shutdown, and malfunction (SSM) plan. An SSM plan describes how a source will operate to minimize emissions during periods of startup, shutdown, and malfunction. Providing they minimize emissions at all times, the proposed amendments would allow a facility to alter the plan on a limited basis.
Facilities must maintain these plans on site and must report to their state or local permitting authorities that they have complied with the plans. EPA will accept comment on this proposal for 45 days after it is published in the Federal Register.
Portland, Maine College of Art Fined for Violating Hazardous Waste Laws
EPA is proposing a $107,165 penalty against the Maine College of Art in Portland for violating numerous hazardous waste regulations that are part of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. According to a complaint and order filed by EPA's New England office, Maine College of Art failed to properly determine if wastes were hazardous, thus putting the school's staff and students at risk.
According to the complaint, waste glaze and related floor sweepings were put in the trash or washed down the sink, and acid pickling solution neutralized with marble was washed down the sink. In addition, cans of old waste paint, metal blasting debris and paint thinners and other solvents were managed improperly. Also, the college, which has 400 students, improperly stored and labeled fluorescent bulbs and computer monitors, EPA said.
As a result of the inspection at MCA in April 2004, EPA observed other hazardous waste management violations, such as improperly labeling containers, failing to obtain a site-specific hazardous waste generator identification number, failing to provide containment around containers in case of spills, and failing to keep containers of hazardous waste closed.
According to the complaint, Maine College of Art must comply with federal hazardous waste regulations and correct all violations. In addition, the college must comply with Maine hazardous waste regulations related to fluorescent bulbs and computer monitors, which are known as "universal wastes." The school must submit documents showing compliance.
EPA Retains NSR Requirements
EPA will maintain New Source Review (NSR) requirements that will be used by states and communities to meet the new, more protective 8-hour standard for ground-level ozone. The decision responds to an Earthjustice petition for reconsideration of the final rule to implement Phase 1 of the 8-Hour National Ambient Air Quality Ozone Standard. To ensure a smooth transition to the new 8-hour ozone standard, the NSR requirements will continue to apply to large sources of ozone-forming air pollutants in nonattainment areas for the 8-hour ozone standard, not the recently revoked 1-hour standard.
EPA determined that the states should be allowed to remove 1-hour ozone New Source Review programs from their state implementation plans and replace them with a New Source Review program that is applicable to the 8-hour standard. By ensuring that new, rebuilt, or modified plants and facilities do not contribute to air quality problems, the NSR program is one tool that nonattainment areas use to meet and maintain EPA's air quality standards.
EPA Proposes $157,500 Fine for Wal-Mart for Clean Water Act Violations
The EPA has proposed a $157,500 penalty against Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and Wal-Mart De Puerto Rico, Inc. for inadequately addressing storm water pollution at its 27.8 acre construction site in Caguas, Puerto Rico. EPA issued a complaint based on Wal-Mart's failure to obtain a permit for discharges from construction activities in a timely manner and, subsequent failure to comply with the requirements of its general permit, issued by the Agency under the Clean Water Act. Under federal regulations, Wal-Mart has the right to request a hearing on the proposed penalty.
The June 16, 2005 complaint charges that Wal-Mart violated the requirements of its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permit for Discharges from Large and Small Construction Activities, also known as a Construction General Permit. In September 2004, EPA inspected the construction site and subsequently ordered Wal-Mart and its general contractor, Constructora Santiago, to comply with the requirements of the NPDES permit. The Agency found that Wal-Mart failed to: develop a plan for preventing storm water pollution, stabilize the site once construction had stopped for a period of 14 days, perform inspections, properly maintain records, and properly maintain storm water controls. Storm water runoff from the site can discharge to Jimenez Garcia Creek, a tributary of the Rio Grande de Loiza.
EPA Fines Landlord $13,675 for Lead-based Paint Disclosure Violations
A Los Angeles-based property owner has agreed to pay the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency $13,675 for violating federal lead-based paint disclosure requirements at over 50 rental units in Tucson, Ariz.
Liberty National Enterprises failed to provide renters of these units with an EPA-approved lead information pamphlet and to include in its leases a lead warning statement, a statement of knowledge about lead-based paint in the units, an identification of any records available regarding lead-based paint in the units, a statement by renters affirming receipt of lead information, and dated signatures certifying the accuracy of their statements. These failures resulted in numerous violations of federal lead-based paint disclosure requirements.
The Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act helps prevent exposure -- especially the exposure of children -- to hazards from lead-based paint by requiring disclosure and notification when selling or leasing applicable housing. Children under six years of age are among the most vulnerable population to adverse health risks from lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards such as dust and contaminated soil.
Federal law requires that persons and entities who sell or rent housing built before 1978 must:
- provide an EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlet;
- include lead notification language in sales and rental forms;
- disclose any known lead-based paint hazards and provide reports to buyers or renters;
- allow a lead inspection or risk assessment by home buyers; and maintain records certifying compliance with applicable federal requirements for three years.
Final EPA Staff Paper Recommends Stronger Particle Pollution Standards
A key document in EPA's review of national air quality standards for particle pollution recommends the Administrator consider strengthening and refining current standards to better protect public health and visibility. Based on the latest science, the "final staff paper" does not change current air quality standards. It does, however, contain EPA staff recommendations for the administrator to consider in upcoming decisions about revising the agency's national standards for fine (PM2.5) and coarse particles (PM10).
The Clean Air Act requires EPA to periodically review air quality standards to ensure they provide adequate health and environmental protection and to update those standards if necessary. In December 2004, EPA and states began implementing the first fine particle standard when the agency designated areas of the country that require additional local, state and federal steps to reduce PM 2.5.
While acknowledging remaining uncertainties, the staff paper concludes that the latest scientific, health and technical information about particle pollution supports strengthening EPA's current health-based standards for fine particles. The paper recommends approaches for doing so.
The staff paper recommends that EPA continue to regulate but revise the current PM10 standards with a new health-based standard for particles known as "thoracic coarse" particles -- particles between 2.5 and 10 micrometers in diameter that can be deeply inhaled. Staff recommends that such a standard apply to more toxic urban coarse particles.
In addition to the changes to improve public health protection, the staff paper recommends that the administrator consider revising the existing secondary fine particle standard to improve protection of visibility in urban areas.
The assessments, conclusions, and recommendations included in the staff paper are staff judgments. They do not represent agency decisions on the PM standards. The agency is required by a consent decree to issue a proposal regarding the particle pollution standards by Dec. 20, 2005, and to issue a final rule by Sept. 27, 2006. That rule may, or may not, include changes to the existing standards.
EPA estimates that meeting existing PM 2.5 standards will prevent at least:15,000 premature deaths; 75,000 cases of chronic bronchitis; 10,000 hospital admissions for respiratory and cardiovascular disease; hundreds of thousands of occurrences of aggravated asthma; and 3.1 million days when people miss work because they are suffering from symptoms related to particle pollution exposure.
EPA Reminds Utilities of Looming Arsenic Deadline
EPA recently reminded water systems that a new, more protective national standard for arsenic in drinking water will take effect less than six months from now.
The Agency adopted the new standard in 2001 that requires all drinking water systems to reduce arsenic from the current standard of 50 parts per billion to 10 parts per billion. The main areas affected in the western United States include small water utilities that draw their drinking water from deep underground wells in CaliforniaÆs foothills and Central Valley, and throughout Arizona and Nevada. The EPA estimates that nationwide, roughly 97 percent of the utilities that fail to meet the new standard are the smaller systems, which serve fewer than 10,000 people.
The EPA, state and local agencies are providing information and technical assistance to utilities that have yet to install treatment systems or take alternative approaches to reduce arsenic levels. Some of the treatment methods used to reduce arsenic levels include iron precipitation and filtration, ion exchange and adsorption to iron media.
Incentives for Refiners Added for Early Fuel Distribution
Refiners have an added incentive to produce and distribute ultra-low sulfur highway diesel fuel earlier than required. Ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel is necessary to reduce harmful diesel emissions because it allows a new generation of engines to run more than 90 percent cleaner than today's diesels.
EPA is enhancing an early credit program through a direct final rule. Under the incentive program, refiners and importers will be given credits for the amount delivered into the distribution system prior to June 1, 2006.
Providing incentives for early production and distribution of ultra-low sulfur highway diesel fuel will help to ensure fuel in the delivery system can be transported and distributed efficiently and in compliance with the regulations. In addition, the fuel tracking system is modified so refiners and other parties throughout the fuel distribution system can better calculate the volume of low-sulfur fuel being produced and distributed.
The credit provisions began June 1, 2005 and the remaining technical amendments will go into effect 30 days after the rule is published in the Federal Register.
EPA Proposed Option to Cut Air Toxics
Expanding on a 1998 proposal, EPA is proposing a second option to reduce air toxics emissions from an estimated 2,200 facilities that produce oil and natural gas. This option would reduce emissions of air toxics by 16,400 tons per year and volatile organic compounds by 31,400 tons per year.
Both the option proposed in 1998 and this expanded option would apply to smaller sources of hazardous air pollutants, known as area sources, and would supplement a 1999 rule to control hazardous air pollutants at major oil and natural gas facilities. In response to a petition filed by the Sierra Club, EPA agrees to take final action by Dec. 30, 2006.
EPA will accept comment on the two options for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register.
Osram Sylvania to Pay $14,000 for Violating Clean Air and Emergency Response Laws
The company, which makes glass and ceramic products, agreed to pay $14,000 to settle claims by the EPA that it violated federal clean air and chemical release notification rules in 2003.
According to a settlement signed last week, Osram Sylvania Products violated the Clean Air Act and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act by failing to have an adequate risk management plan for a hydrofluoric acid process at its facility and by failing to properly notify the National Response Center of an accidental release of hydrofluoric acid on May 13, 2003. In the agreement, Osram neither admitted nor denied the allegations. There were no injuries reported as a result of the release.
The violations were discovered during an EPA audit of the facility and an investigation of the hydrofluoric acid release. The investigation revealed that human error lead to the release. Since the release, Osram has installed additional safety equipment to prevent or minimize further chemical releases at its facility.
Michigan Stops Issuing Manifests
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has stopped distributing blank manifests. To obtain blank copies of the Michigan Uniform Manifest (EPA form 8700-22), contact one of the following approved printers:
CompleteSource Inc. 616-285-9110, or Rotary Multiforms 616-447-7550