September 28, 2020
The 62nd edition of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR
) was recently published and most of changes will become effective on January 1, 2021, unless otherwise noted below or in the DGR.
The following list is not all inclusive, but gives you a quick preview of the changes:
- Dangerous goods training must be competency-based. There is a 2-year transition period for implementation, therefore it is effective January 1, 2023.
- New entries have been added to the list of high consequence dangerous goods that present a security risk, including certain explosives and Category A medical waste
- Provisions have been added to allow passengers and crew members to carry up to 2 spare nickel-metal hydride or dry batteries to power their mobility aids. They may also carry up to 2 self-inflating safety devices such as lifejackets or vests and no more than 2 spare gas cartridges per device. The regulations clarify that portable electronic devices (PED) and electronic cigarettes that are powered by wet non-spillable batteries, dry batteries or nickel-metal hydride (not just lithium batteries) are permissible aboard the aircraft by passengers or crew members.
- New criteria have been added to address solid medical waste containing Category A infectious substances and to assign packing groups to corrosive substances and mixtures
- The List of Dangerous Goods has been updated with new UN numbers for certain explosives, new shipping name entries for DANGEROUS GOODS IN ARTICLES and MEDICAL WASTE, CATEGORY A, AFFECTING HUMANS ANIMALS or HUMANS as well as updates to packing instructions
- Special provisions have been added or updated for lithium batteries and DANGEROUS GOODS IN ARTICLES, amongst others
- UN specification marks may bear more than one specification mark if they meet more than one tested design type
- Many packing instructions have been revised and updated, or created for new dangerous goods articles or materials
- The size of the UN packaging specification has been clarified as well as the year of manufacture for plastic drums/jerricans. New provisions were added for packagings that meet more than 1 design type as well as a requirement that metal packagings must have suitable protective coatings or treatments if used for incompatible materials such as acids.
- The minimum dimension of the lithium battery mark has been revised to reflect a smaller dimension of 100 mm wide x 70 mm high. The marking requirements now clarify the height of the UN/ID number as well as the prefixes UN or ID on each package.
- The documentation requirements have been revised to show how multiple overpacks would be described and an example is provided. There is also a wording change on the air waybill statement when dangerous goods are offered on Shipper’s Declaration and electronic documentation is utilized, to be changed from “attached” to “associated”. There is a two-year implementation period for the wording change.
- Operators must include the transport of dangerous goods as part of their safety risk assessment process, whereas before it was only recommended
- Section 10 Radioactives has been updated in scope; the replacement of “radiation level” by “dose rate”; new radionuclides have been added; and a revised statement to the Air Waybill when dangerous goods are offered on a Shipper’s Declaration
- Many changes, deletions and additions have been incorporated into Appendices A, C, D, E, F and H
Silk Offers Homemade Solution for COVID-19 Prevention
With personal protective equipment still in short supply, researchers at the University of Cincinnati examined what common household fabrics might work best as a face covering.
Next to a single-use N95 respirator or surgical mask, UC found the best alternative could be made by a hungry little caterpillar. Silk face masks are comfortable, breathable and repel moisture, which is a desirable trait in fighting an airborne virus.
Perhaps best of all, silk contains natural antimicrobial, antibacterial and antiviral properties that could help ward off the virus, said Patrick Guerra, assistant professor of biology in UC’s College of Arts and Sciences.
Studies have shown that copper can kill bacteria and viruses on contact. And that’s where the little caterpillars have their own superpower, Guerra said.
“Copper is the big craze now. Silk has copper in it. Domesticated silk moths eat mulberry leaves. They incorporate copper from their diet into the silk,” Guerra said.
The project demonstrates UC's commitment to making an impact in the community as described in UC's strategic direction called Next Lives Here.
Many health care providers are wearing a surgical mask in combination with an N95 respirator. The outer covering helps prolong the life of the N95 respirator by keeping it clean. Guerra, whose wife, Evelyn, is a medical doctor, said silk might be an especially good choice for this outer cover as they perform similarly to surgical masks that are in short supply.
“Cotton traps moisture like a sponge. But silk is breathable. It’s thinner than cotton and dries really fast,” Guerra said.
With COVID-19 surging in parts of the United States, face masks have become a focal point of prevention.
“The ongoing hypothesis is that coronavirus is transmitted through respiratory droplets,” Guerra said. “If you wore layers of silk, it would prevent the droplets from penetrating and from being absorbed. Recent work by other researchers also found that increasing layers of silk improves filtration efficiency. This means that silk material can repel and filter droplets. And this function improves with the number of layers.”
The study was published this month in the journal Plos One
. Because of the timeliness of their work during the global pandemic, UC researchers posted their results early to medRxiv
, a preprint server for health sciences.
“We’re trying to address this critical problem. Health care workers still don’t have enough personal protective equipment, namely N95 respirators or basic surgical masks,” Guerra said.
As part of his research, Parlin studied how the caterpillars make their protective silk cocoons. When they reach a point in their life cycle, the caterpillars become manic workaholics. For 72 straight hours they spin and spin their silk to create a luxurious, breathable fortress where they can pupate safely into a fuzzy white moth.
Researchers created cardboard arenas with a wooden dowel in the center upon which the caterpillars can spin their silk cocoons. The caterpillars work methodically and nonstop, initially spinning silk from the top of the dowel at an angle to the cardboard like a tent. Once the tent is finished, they work in earnest on building their grape-sized cocoon in a corner of it.
“If the cocoon gets damaged, they just build a second layer around it,” Parlin said.
The moisture-trapping cocoon provides an ideal microclimate to keep the caterpillars happy despite any sudden changes in the weather. “The silk cocoons prevent moisture from getting in and keeps the animal from desiccation or drying out,” Guerra said.
Now Guerra is investigating how long the virus survives on silk and other materials.
As shortages of personal protective equipment continue to plague health care providers, Guerra said homemade masks will continue to play an important role in keeping people safe from COVID-19.
“Silk has been with us for a while — since the days of the Silk Road,” Guerra said. “It’s not a new fabric, yet now we’re finding all these new uses for it.”
Environmental Resource Center Update
The health and wellbeing of our employees, customers and our communities is what matters most to all of us. To continue to serve you, our seminars have been converted to live online webcasts. You can find a list of upcoming live webcasts at this link
If you have enrolled in a seminar in September through December, in most cases the seminar will be held on approximately the same dates and at the same times via online webcast. We will contact you by phone or email regarding the details on how to attend the class. On-site training and consulting services are proceeding as usual. If you wish to convert these to remote services, please call your Environmental Resource Center representative or customer service at 800-537-2372.
Because many of our live and on-site training sessions have been postponed or canceled, we have staff available to assist you in coping with COVID-19 as well as your routine EHS requirements. If you have EHS staff that have been quarantined, we can provide remote assistance to help you meet your ongoing environmental and safety compliance requirements. For details, call 800-537-2372 x 224.
California to Phase Out Sales of Gasoline-Powered Cars
California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that he will aggressively move the state further away from its reliance on climate change-causing fossil fuels while retaining and creating jobs and spurring economic growth – he issued an executive order requiring sales of all new passenger vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035 and additional measures to eliminate harmful emissions from the transportation sector.
The transportation sector is responsible for more than half of all of California’s carbon pollution, 80% of smog-forming pollution and 95% of toxic diesel emissions – all while communities in the Los Angeles Basin and Central Valley see some of the dirtiest and most toxic air in the country.
“This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change,” said Governor Newsom. “For too many decades, we have allowed cars to pollute the air that our children and families breathe. Californians shouldn’t have to worry if our cars are giving our kids asthma. Our cars shouldn’t make wildfires worse – and create more days filled with smoky air. Cars shouldn’t melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines.”
Following the order, the California Air Resources Board will develop regulations to mandate that 100% of in-state sales of new passenger cars and trucks are zero-emission by 2035 – a target which would achieve more than a 35% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and an 80% improvement in oxides of nitrogen emissions from cars statewide. The Air Resources Board will develop regulations to mandate that all operations of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles shall be 100% zero emission by 2045 where feasible, with the mandate going into effect by 2035 for drayage trucks.
To ensure needed infrastructure to support zero-emission vehicles, the order requires state agencies, in partnership with the private sector, to accelerate deployment of affordable fueling and charging options. It also requires support of new and used zero-emission vehicle markets to provide broad accessibility to zero-emission vehicles for all Californians. The executive order will not prevent Californians from owning gasoline-powered cars or selling them on the used car market.
Dumpster Diving Hospital Emergency Departments
Emergency departments of hospitals generate significant amounts of environmentally harmful waste which could be reduced through basic changes to disposal policies and practices, while producing lower operating costs, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have found. Efforts to optimize the daily waste stream through improvements such as switching from disposable to reusable items in the ED, better sorting of infectious waste, and more effective recycling of items like glass and aluminum could have meaningful impact both environmentally and financially, according to the study published in the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine
“People working in emergency departments have no idea how much waste they routinely generate, nor that the environmental impact is totally at odds with their professional mission to improve health and save lives,” says Jonathan E. Slutzman, MD, investigator in the Department of Emergency Medicine at MGH and senior author of the study. “A greater awareness of the harm that’s being done, along with the opportunities that are available to turn that situation around, should be on the agenda of every hospital in America.”
Healthcare facilities in the U.S. generate 6,600 metric tons of waste each day, making them the second largest contributor to landfill waste (next to the food industry). They also produce 10% of all greenhouse gas emission as well as other pollutants known to adversely affect human health. The MGH investigation is the first to quantify and characterize the volume of waste emanating from emergency departments. To that end, researchers conducted a 24-hour waste audit in July 2019 at MGH’s Level 1 trauma center in Boston. The team collected, manually sorted into separate categories, and weighed each waste stream component. It also calculated direct pollutant emissions from ED waste disposal activities.
Among the findings was that 85% of all items disposed of as regulated medical waste (RMW) -- the most hazardous ED materials that must be deposited in red bags and autoclaved to render them safe prior to being sent to landfills -- did not meet the criteria for regulated medical waste. “We always want healthcare workers to err on the side of caution when it comes to waste disposal, but the fact is regulated medical waste costs up to ten times as much to dispose of as solid waste,” notes Sarah Hsu, with the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University, and lead author of the study. “But if we could divert through better sorting some fraction of medical waste that now goes into red biohazard bags to regular solid waste, it would open up significant cost-saving opportunities for hospitals.”
Another area rife with opportunity, according to the researchers, is transitioning from the use of disposable devices to more durable, reusable alternatives that would lead to waste reduction and supply savings. One example is the laryngoscope, commonly used in the ED to insert a breathing tube into the trachea, which could be reprocessed onsite and safely used multiple times rather than discarding it after a single use. Rethinking the use of plastic packaging, which was estimated by the MGH study to be responsible for over 40% of all emergency department solid waste, also holds the potential for significant waste reduction. MGH, for its part, asks suppliers to ship products in non-disposable bulk packaging, whenever possible, enabling reuse. Suppliers are also “debulking” items at distribution centers, enabling packaging to be reused from that point rather than being shipped all the way to the hospital.
To determine the best opportunities for waste reduction, Slutzman suggests that hospitals conduct their own audits of emergency department waste. “Gaining a full awareness of the problem and its downstream consequences on the health of the community is an important first step toward a solution,” he says. “In addition to audits, hospitals should assemble all stakeholders around the table to explore alternatives to their current waste disposal practices. Our study shows that significant improvements can be made to optimize ED waste management, and as healthcare professionals we owe it to our patients and the community to take responsible action.”
Slutzman is also an instructor in emergency medicine at Harvard Medical School. Lead author Hsu is a medical student at Brown University. Co-authors include Cassandra Thiel, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Population Health, NYU Medical School, and Michael Mello, MD, MPH, professor of emergency medicine at the Alpert Medical School, Brown University.
Job Openings at Environmental Resource Center
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Starbucks Cited for EPCRA Tier II Chemical Emergency Planning Violations
EPA has settled alleged civil chemical accident prevention and preparedness violations with Starbucks Corporation of Kent, Washington. The settlement, reached under section 312 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act
, is part of EPA’s ongoing efforts to reduce and eliminate accidental releases at industrial and chemical facilities.
“This is a textbook example of how companies never normally associated with hazardous chemicals may nevertheless use them in their day-to-day operations,” said Ed Kowalski, Director of EPA’s Office of Compliance and Enforcement in Seattle. “Regardless of the size or nature of the facility, it’s no less important that their presence, handling and storage be reported in a timely way. The bottom line: Prompt reporting can help prevent injuries and save lives.”
EPA alleged that Starbucks failed to file its required annual Tier II Hazardous Chemical Inventory Report
in a timely way for two different facilities during the 2017 and 2018 reporting years. Both facilities stored hazardous chemicals, including sulfuric acid. Starbucks Corporation was very cooperative during settlement discussions and has since trained employees to prevent future lapses in reporting. Based on their cooperation, a reduced penalty of $100,000 was agreed upon.
EPCRA Section 312
requires companies to file hazardous chemical inventory report forms with the State Emergency Response Commission, the Local Emergency Planning Committee, and the local fire department each year by March 1st
Health Care Facilities and Public Safety Employers Cited for COVID-19 Violations
Cal/OSHA has cited six Bay Area employers including hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and a police department for failing to protect their employees from COVID-19. The employers listed below were cited for various health and safety violations including some classified as serious, with proposed penalties ranging from $2,060 to $32,000.
“Workers in health care and public safety are at a higher risk of exposure to COVID-19 and employers must put in place measures to protect these essential personnel,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Doug Parker.
The employers cited for COVID-19 and other safety and health violations include:
*Santa Rosa Police Department
*Gateway Care & Rehabilitation Center
Sutter Bay Hospitals dba CPMC Davies Campus
Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (North Jackson Ave.)
*Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (South Bascom Ave.)
Canyon Springs Post-Acute
The Ridge Post-Acute
*Cited for inadequate respiratory protection fit-testing
The employers were cited for not protecting workers from exposure to COVID-19 because they did not take steps to update their workplace safety plans to properly address hazards related to the virus.
Several occupational safety and health standards, including Cal/OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens Standard
adopted in 1992 and the Aerosol Transmissible Diseases
(ATD) standard adopted in 2009, address worker protections such as proper respiratory protection when exposure to airborne diseases including COVID-19 may occur in a health care setting. The ATD standard applies to hospital workers and emergency medical services, as well as workers in skilled nursing facilities, biological laboratories, workers performing cleaning and decontamination, and public safety employees who may be exposed to infectious disease hazards. The employers cited put their workers at risk as they failed to comply with the ATD standard.
The Santa Rosa Police Department failed to implement required screening and referral procedures for persons exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms during the month of March 2020 and failed to report to Cal/OSHA multiple serious illnesses suffered by employees who contracted COVID-19. An employee died from COVID-19 after being exposed by another employee who had exhibited signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Cal/OSHA did not learn of the fatality until two weeks after the death.
Cal/OSHA determined that the Gateway Care & Rehabilitation Center skilled nursing facility in Hayward exposed nurses and housekeeping workers to COVID-19 when it failed to follow requirements for providing necessary personal protective equipment.
Sutter Bay Hospitals’ CPMC Davies Campus did not ensure their health care workers in the administrative medical offices and security guards in the emergency department wore respiratory protection. In one incident, a suspect COVID-19 patient underwent a medical procedure in the operating room while medical staff did not have N95 masks or other proper protection.
Cal/OSHA inspectors determined that the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center’s hospital on South Bascom failed to provide effective training for its employees. The Santa Clara Valley Medical Center on North Jackson Avenue was also cited for failing to provide clear communication to their health care workers who were deployed to two skilled nursing facilities. The workers were exposed to COVID-19 suspect and confirmed patients at the Ridge Post-Acute and Canyon Springs Post-Acute facilities. Neither of the skilled nursing facilities trained the deployed health care workers.
Cal/OSHA has created guidance
for many industries in multiple languages including videos, daily checklists and detailed guidelines on how to protect workers from the virus. This guidance provides a roadmap for employers on their existing obligations to protect workers from COVID-19.
Safely Get Your EHS Training at Home or in Your Office
To help you get the training you need, Environmental Resource Center has added a number of dates to our already popular live webcast training. Stay in compliance and learn the latest regulations from the comfort of your office or home. Webcast attendees receive the same benefits as our seminar attendees including expert instruction, comprehensive course materials, one year of access to our AnswerlineTM
service, course certificate, and a personalized user portal on Environmental Resource Center’s website.
Upcoming hazardous waste and DOT hazardous materials webcasts:
Chicago Auto Dealership Fined for Chicago River Pollution
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois announced that it reached a settlement
with a Chicago auto dealership to resolve claims that it discharged pollutants into the Chicago River and created a hazardous obstruction to navigation.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a lawsuit last year in U.S. District Court in Chicago on behalf of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, alleging that JOSEPH J. PERILLO and PERILLO BMW INC. violated the Rivers and Harbors Act and the Clean Water Act by unlawfully placing an obstruction in the North Branch of the Chicago River. The suit claimed that Perillo and his company allowed a steel river wall to collapse into the river in October 2018 and subsequently cut off the wall at the water level, leading to a discharge of pollutants into the river and creating a hazardous obstruction to navigation.
Under the terms of a consent decree, Perillo and his company denied liability but agreed to pay a civil penalty of $80,000 to the U.S. government. In addition, Perillo and his company agreed to remove the collapsed wall from the river and construct a safe replacement. The wall is located on land they own at the descending bank of the river, in the 1300 block of North Branch Street on Goose Island in Chicago.
The consent decree was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. The investigation was led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, with collaboration from the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Chicago; U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Illinois Department of Natural Resources; City of Chicago Transportation Department; City of Chicago Public Health Department; Chicago Police Department; and the North Cook County Soil and Water Conservation District.
$32K Penalty for Hazardous Waste Violations at Water Chemical Company
California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control announced that Thatcher Company of California, in Stockton, has agreed to pay a penalty of $32,480 for its unauthorized accumulation of hazardous waste
and failure to determine if a waste generated onsite was hazardous. The Consent Order
for this action is available online.
Thatcher, a producer and distributor of water treatment chemicals, failed to meet state Health and Safety Code guidelines for companies that accumulate hazardous waste, a DTSC inspection concluded.
Additionally, the company failed to determine if waste generated onsite was hazardous when it held multiple containers of hydrotest wash water on site, which DTSC’s tests determined were corrosive and contained soluble chromium, copper, lead, and nickel. The metals could cause a range of health ailments, including skin irritation, organ failure, and cancer, depending on levels of exposure through inhalation or ingestion.
DTSC’s inspection also uncovered other improper hazardous waste storage at the site, including containers with unsecured lids and lacking proper labeling for safety in violation of the state’s Health and Safety Code.
Thatcher makes water treatment chemicals that are made of varying concentrations of bleach. The company is considered a large-quantity generator of hazardous waste by the San Joaquin County Environmental Health Department, which serves as the regional Certified Unified Program Agency
CalEPA’s Environmental Justice Task Force supported the enforcement initiative that led to this penalty. The task force coordinates compliance and enforcement work of various departments and offices in disadvantaged communities that are burdened by multiple sources of pollution and are disproportionately vulnerable to its effects.
Among the task force
’s goals, it provides communities with opportunities for input on environmental concerns and their proposed remedies.
Colonial Pipeline Fined for Massive Gasoline Spill
The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Waste Management issued a notice of violation
to Colonial Pipeline for impacts to groundwater quality due to a 273,000-gallon gasoline spill
on August 14 in Huntersville, NC. The pipeline has been repaired, and cleanup efforts are underway with oversight by DEQ.
“We will continue to hold Colonial Pipeline accountable for harm to North Carolina’s natural resources,” said DEQ Secretary Michael Regan. “This is one of the largest gasoline spills the state has ever had. Cleanup will take time, and we will be there every step of the way to ensure Colonial Pipeline protects public health and the environment during their remediation efforts.”
The violations identify that the Aug. 14 spill caused the release of constituents of petroleum including, but not limited to, benzene, toluene, xylene and ethylbenzene that exceed groundwater quality standards. Corrective actions include:
- Restore groundwater quality to the standards established in 15A NCAC 02L .0106 for protection of human health and the environment;
- Submit detailed reports monthly that include soil sampling, surface water and water supply well sampling results, groundwater flow, public water system hook-ups for residents, status of free product recovery efforts, and soil excavation, transportation and disposal records; and
- Submit a Comprehensive Site Assessment report by January 20, 2021.
The Department may take further action, including assessing penalties, if the company fails to meet the deadlines and requirements established in the notice of violation.
Out of an abundance of caution, DEQ has also directed that Colonial Pipeline sample its onsite monitoring wells for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS, because the encapsulate that was used to minimize flammable vapors was found to contain PFAS compounds.
On Aug. 14, local and state response agencies and Colonial Pipeline responded to reports of liquid product smelling of gasoline in Mecklenburg County’s Oehler Nature Preserve near Huntersville’s town limits. Cleanup efforts have been underway since the spill began. DEQ has a process for site cleanup, which includes required sampling/testing and monitoring based on the evaluation of environmental impacts. To date, there have been 34 recovery wells and 51 groundwater monitoring wells installed, and samples are being collected from both. Soil samples have been collected as well with only those nearest to the leak showing impacts from gasoline products. Colonial Pipeline has estimated that 96,557 gallons of liquid free product has been recovered.
Environmental Groups to Sue Pellet Mill for Operating Without Title V Permit
Three environmental groups sent a notice of intent to sue Jasper Pellets for significant, repeated, and ongoing Clean Air Act violations at its Ridgeland, S.C. wood pellet manufacturing plant.
The notice accused the company of multiple violations of the Clean Air Act, including operating the facility and installing new manufacturing equipment without proper permits. The required legal notice gives the company a chance to fix the violations before a lawsuit is filed.
“We warned this company two years ago that if they began operating again without a Title V permit, that would be a serious violation,” said Patrick Anderson, attorney for the Environmental Integrity Project. “Unfortunately, we never heard from them, and sure enough they continue to operate illegally without the permit, forcing our hand.”
The Jasper Pellets facility turns raw wood from trees into compressed pellets that are often shipped overseas for power-plant fuel. During that process, the Jasper facility emits more than 100 tons of volatile organic compounds – or VOCs – per year, making it a major source of air pollution under Title V of the Clean Air Act. When combined with sunlight, VOCs produce ozone and smog, along with soot.
However, the facility’s operators have never applied for the proper Title V permit, meaning that it cannot legally operate without facing significant penalties. These permits are crucial to ensure that people living near facilities have access to information about emissions and compliance, among other things.
Ruth Pepin, who lives in the community, said, “If Jasper Pellets obtained the required Title V permit, the publicly available information about air pollution would allow me to make better informed decisions about the use of my property. I would feel safer going outside my house knowing that the facility was complying with air quality laws.”
The Environmental Integrity Project and the Southern Environmental Law Center are representing the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League in the action against the plant, which is located about 75 miles east of Charleston, S.C.
“Compliance with environmental requirements isn’t optional,” said Coastal Conservation League Executive Director Laura Cantral. “We’re committed to making sure that Jasper Pellets doesn’t threaten the health, safety, or quality of life of anyone living near the facility that’s now flagrantly violating the law.”
SELC attorney Heather Hillaker said the goal of the notice is not to shut down the facility, but to make sure it is following the laws for the health of the nearby community. “Pollution permits are required for a reason, and that is to make sure a facility like Jasper Pellets is following the same rules as other companies and industries, so those living nearby have a full and fair picture of what is coming out of the smokestacks,” Hillaker said. “This is about providing the neighbors with information they are entitled to under the law.”
Port of Oakland Fined $300,000 for Violating Ocean Dumping Act
EPA announced the Port of Oakland paid a $300,000 penalty for unauthorized ocean dumping of sediment from one of its dredging projects, in violation of the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act, also known as the Ocean Dumping Act. Dutra Construction Co., Inc., the contractor hired by the Port to do the dredging project, will pay an additional $173,000 in penalties.
“Protecting the health of our oceans is a priority for EPA and unapproved dumping at sea can cause serious harm,” said EPA's Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest John Busterud. “Ports and harbors, and the companies that are contracted to dredge them will face substantial penalties if they do not obtain and follow their ocean disposal permits.”
In August 2017, Dutra Construction, working for the Port, dredged over 6,000 cubic yards of sediment from an area (Berth 35) that had not yet been tested and approved for ocean disposal. They then dumped the sediment at the San Francisco Deep Ocean Disposal Site, about 55 miles offshore of the Golden Gate Bridge. The Port also failed to report the required disposal tracking data within 24 hours.
Under the Ocean Dumping Act, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issues permits for disposal of dredged sediment only after EPA has concurred that the sediment is non-toxic and suitable for disposal. Once approved and permitted, sediment may then be dumped only at an EPA-designated disposal site. There are six ocean disposal sites for dredged sediment in waters offshore of California. Before designating these sites, EPA conducts an extensive environmental review process, including opportunities for public participation, to ensure that impacts from disposal sediment will be minimal. Disposal is strictly prohibited outside these sites because of the potential for harm to the marine environment.
Town Fined for Noxious Landfill Gasses
Seth D. DuCharme, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Pete D. Lopez, EPA Region 2 Regional Administrator, announced that the United States filed suit under the Clean Air Act (CAA) against the Town of Brookhaven (the Town) to address its longstanding failure to properly monitor and control noxious landfill gas emissions. The parties agreed to enter into a Consent Judgment which requires the Town to perform injunctive relief that will bring its landfill into compliance with the CAA. Under the agreement, the Town will install and operate systems that reduce and monitor landfill gases, including sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and methane. The settlement also requires the Town to pay a civil penalty of $249,166.
The lawsuit and Consent Judgment were filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, in Central Islip, New York. Following a 30-day public comment period, the United States will review any comments and, if appropriate, ask the court to enter the Consent Judgment.
“The United States brought this action to ensure that the Town of Brookhaven meets its obligation to protect air quality by properly operating systems that reduce potentially harmful landfill gas emissions. The resolution in this case protects air quality by preventing excess emissions of sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and methane. This Office will vigorously and faithfully enforce the rule of law to protect our community and our precious natural environment,” stated Acting United States Attorney DuCharme.
“The Town of Brookhaven, EPA and the Department of Justice have worked out an agreement that will ensure that hydrogen sulfide and other landfill gas emissions emanating from the Brookhaven landfill are properly monitored, detected, and controlled,” stated EPA Regional Administrator Lopez. “Putting these safeguards in place is essential to protecting human health and the environment. We look forward to our continued engagement on this issue.”
The CAA was passed by Congress in 1970 to protect public health and the environment through the regulation of air emissions from both stationary and mobile sources. The law requires the EPA to establish national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) and imposes limitations on air pollutant emissions. State and local governments are required to adopt federally enforceable plans to meet these standards.
The Town of Brookhaven, the largest town in Suffolk County, owns and operates the Brookhaven Landfill and the Brookhaven Landfill Gas Recovery Facility. The landfill accepts municipal waste from the Town as well as other municipalities throughout Long Island. Waste is deposited at the Landfill into various Cells, which are equipped with gas collection and control systems (GCCS). Gas generated from Cells 5 and 6 contain high levels of hydrogen sulfide, which is combusted by an enclosed flare and oxidized into sulfur dioxide. The Town also operates a system called the SulfaTreat System, to reduce hydrogen sulfide concentration in the gas upstream of the flare, thereby reducing the sulfur dioxide emissions from the flare.
Since 2005, the Town’s facilities have violated the CAA and its implementing regulations related to landfill air pollutant emissions, as well as the Town’s Title V operating permit for its landfill. For example, the Town failed to: maintain proper temperatures in the landfill (which poses a risk for underground fires); properly monitor surface methane emissions; and continuously operate the SulfaTreat system, which reduces sulfur dioxide emissions from its flare. Some of these violations contributed to excessive sulfur dioxide in the ambient air surrounding the facility. In addition to its foul odor, sulfur dioxide can pose a danger to human, animal and plant health.
The settlement requires the Town to perform injunctive relief to bring its landfill facilities back into compliance with CAA. As such, the Town must maintain and operate the facilities and associated air pollution control equipment in a manner consistent with sound practices for minimizing emissions. Compliance with the CAA will require the Town to: properly operate the GCCS system, continuously operate the SulfaTreat system to reduce hydrogen sulfide concentrations from the landfill gas which will result in lower levels of sulfur dioxide emissions, install and operate a continuous hydrogen sulfide monitoring system, design and install a new taller flare to better disperse emissions, conduct monthly methane surface monitoring, and survey and correct any areas of high temperature in the landfill. The Town has also agreed to install 350 solar panels, expected to generate 129 kilowatts of electricity, as a means to further reduce the Town’s air emissions profile.
TransCo Fined for Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Violations
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has announced that it has collected a civil penalty of $736,294.11 from Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC (Transco) for violations associated with the construction of the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline in Columbia, Lancaster, Lebanon, Luzerne, Lycoming, Northumberland, Schuylkill, Susquehanna, and Wyoming counties. The penalty was part of a Consent Assessment of Civil Penalty (CACP) entered into between DEP and Transco. DEP will collect $680,000 of the civil penalty, and the remaining penalty, $56,294.11, will be distributed among the county conservation districts that inspected the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline during its construction to reimburse the costs they incurred during their inspections.
“Impacts from construction activities that harm or have the potential to harm waters of the Commonwealth are unacceptable, and we will continue to hold operators accountable,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell.
The violations included failure to properly maintain erosion and sedimentation best management practices, inadvertent returns of drilling fluids at drilling sites in Lebanon, Luzerne, and Wyoming counties, and sediment discharge into waters of the Commonwealth. Full details are available in the CACP
In addition to the civil penalty, Transco will provide $100,000 to the Shamokin Creek Restoration Alliance to fund two water quality improvement projects in the Shamokin Creek watershed along Quaker Run and Buck Run in the Borough of Kulpmont in Northumberland County.
Gem Environmental Fined $15,000 for of the Hazardous Waste Violations
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has assessed a penalty of $15,000 to Gem Environmental, Inc. of North Adams for violations of the state regulations governing hazardous waste management.
As a result of an inspection conducted at the company’s North Adams site, MassDEP personnel identified that the facility was acting as an unlicensed storage facility and transported hazardous waste without having a license. In addition, MassDEP personnel identified a number of violations related to the management of hazardous waste.
Gem Environmental fully cooperated with MassDEP and initiated corrective actions after being notified of the noncompliance. Gem Environmental must pay $8,000 of the assessed penalty, with $7,000 suspended pending the company's compliance with the terms of a consent order.
“Proper management of hazardous waste is key to preventing accidental releases to the environment,” said Michael Gorski, director of MassDEP’s Western Regional Office in Springfield. “Gem Environmental was cooperative and immediately initiated actions to come back into compliance.”
CarMax Store in Independence, Missouri Cited for Gasoline Release and SPCC Violations
EPA and CarMax Auto Superstores Inc. have reached a settlement to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Water Act at the company’s Independence, Missouri, car dealership. According to EPA, CarMax discharged thousands of gallons of gasoline into a creek adjacent to the facility from corroded piping attached to a petroleum storage tank used to fill up the facility’s cars.
Under the terms of the settlement, the company agreed to pay a $119,440 civil penalty.
Once CarMax became aware of the ongoing discharges to Camp Creek in July 2019, the company notified EPA’s National Response Center and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and initiated cleanup of the creek. CarMax has committed to a complete cleanup and has begun that work, with oversight by MDNR, and estimates it will cost over $1 million when finished.
Facilities that store 1,320 gallons or greater of oil products in aboveground storage tanks are subject to Clean Water Act Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures regulations that require, among other things, proper containment to contain oil releases, inspections of tanks and piping, and integrity testing of oil storage equipment. EPA alleges that CarMax failed to comply with these requirements, and that such noncompliance contributed to the discharges to Camp Creek.
The settlement is detailed in a Consent Agreement and Final Order that will be subject to a 30-day public comment period.
Metal Finishing Company Cited for Hazardous Waste Violations
EPA announced a settlement with Automation Plating Corporation over federal hazardous waste violations at their metal finishing facility in Glendale. Under the settlement, the company will pay a $49,706 civil penalty.
“Metal plating facilities must ensure they comply with hazardous waste laws to prevent harm to workers and the surrounding community,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator John Busterud. “Improper management of hazardous waste can lead to fires, explosions or release of hazardous waste into the environment.”
EPA inspected the Glendale facility in 2019 with the Glendale Fire Department. The inspection identified violations of federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulations.
As a result of the inspection, EPA determined that Automation Plating Corporation:
- Failed to make a hazardous waste determination for certain wastes generated at the facility.
- Failed to prepare a manifest for shipment of hazardous waste.
- Stored hazardous waste without a permit beyond the 90 days allowed.
- Failed to comply with the labeling requirement for some hazardous waste containers.
- Failed to keep a hazardous waste container closed.
The facility has since resolved these violations.
In addition to paying the penalty, the facility also agreed to develop and implement a standard operating procedure for inspecting and maintaining containment systems associated with plating operations, including but not limited to: preventing debris from accumulating; inspecting for cracks in and deterioration of secondary containment systems; and ensuring epoxy coatings are inspected and repaired.
Metal finishers use a plating or anodizing process to coat industrial metal, and typically generate hazardous wastes including: sludges containing heavy metals such as chromium, cadmium, and lead; spent plating solutions containing metals or cyanides; flammable liquids; and both alkaline and acidic corrosive liquids. U.S. law requires metal finishing companies to properly manage hazardous waste to prevent harm to human health and the environment and to prevent costly cleanups.
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