Any facility that manufactures, uses, stores, or distributes certain chemicals above a specified quantity must complete and submit a Chemical Security Assessment Tool (CSAT) Top-Screen by Jan. 20, 2008. Last week, the Department of Homeland Security published the final Appendix A in the Federal Register. Therefore, the CSAT Top-Screen submission requirement established by 6 CFR 27.210(a)(1)(i) is now in effect.
New Tools Make Understanding Air Quality Easier Than Ever
Ever used your computer to "fly" through the mountains or zoom in on a satellite picture of your house?
EPA has developed two tools that let computer users "see" air quality information on a virtual globe. Both tools are now available to the public.
"Google has changed the way people use the Internet. By combining their innovative mapping tools with our air data, EPA and Google are changing the way people use the Internet to protect their health," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson.
The first tool is part of the new "Air Emission Sources" website, which is designed to make emissions data for six common pollutants easy to find and understand. . Users can look at overall emissions, emissions by type of industry, or emissions by largest polluter.
Want to know what industry emits the most sulfur dioxide in your state? Want to "see" which refineries in your state emit the most sulfur dioxide? Use the "tilt" feature in Google Earth to quickly find the largest emitter. Then click on the balloon to get more details about emissions from that facility.
EPA also is providing Air Quality Index () information in the Google Earth format. Use the AQI tool to quickly see air quality across the country, then click on a specific location to see that city’s AQI forecast and current levels of ozone or particle pollution.
The AQI is EPA’s color-coded tool to inform the public about daily air pollution levels in their communities. EPA, in collaboration with state and local governments, provides AQI forecasts and conditions for more than 300 cities across the United States.
The EPA’s real-time scientific air quality information is also available on Google Earth. Public health officials, media outlets, and the general public can now view timely air quality information by city on Google Earth.
Everyone—particularly asthmatics, children, and other sensitive populations who depend on accurate pollutant information to make decisions about their activity levels—can benefit from using the tool to get information on a daily and hourly basis. For example, a mother of an asthmatic child can check the current AQI to decide if her child should go outdoors to play soccer. Health-care providers can urge sensitive patients and the public to consider the AQI in planning outdoor activities. Media outlets can also show pollutant readings on Google Earth.
United Airlines Fined $85,000 for Hazardous Waste Violations
The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) entered into an $85,000 consent order with United Airlines for hazardous waste violations at the airline’s San Francisco International Airport Maintenance Operations Center. The facility consists of 16 major buildings, 9 associated hangers and docks, and areas used to store and treat hazardous waste, at which DTSC noted several violations during a routine inspection in October 2006.
“It is essential that the airline industry abides by California’s hazardous waste laws and regulations in order to protect public health and the environment,” DTSC Director Maureen Gorsen said. “San Francisco International Airport is a vital transportation hub, and all airlines there are responsible for ensuring they manage hazardous waste in accordance with the law.”
Among the violations DTSC inspectors found were that United Airlines workers stored hazardous waste for longer than the 90 days without having a hazardous waste facility permit. The company failed to fully inspect the structural integrity of several major tanks containing hazardous waste at the airport maintenance center. They also failed to label hazardous waste storage tanks and containers properly.
Under terms of the order, United Airlines will pay a total of $85,000, of which $81,300 is a penalty and $3,700 is reimbursement of administrative costs incurred by DTSC.
Maryland to Regulate Coal Combustion By-Products
The Department of the Environment has submitted regulations controlling disposal of coal combustion by-products to the Legislative AELR Committee for review. The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) plans to propose, in the Dec. 21, 2007, issue of the Maryland Register regulations controlling the disposal of coal combustion by-products (CCBs) and the use of CCBs in mine reclamation. No federal program exists to regulate the management of these materials. MDE’s action ensures there will be adequate measures in place to protect public health and the environment.
The regulations address the disposal of CCBs in dedicated disposal facilities as well as the use of CCBs in coal and noncoal mines. The regulations also address active and abandoned mines.
The agency is publishing an Advanced Notice of Proposed Action in the same issue of the Maryland Register to solicit feedback and input from interested parties on MDE’s plans to promulgate regulations at a future date on the beneficial use of CCBs. In this Advanced Notice, MDE is soliciting comments from the public on the development of management standards on the beneficial use of CCBs to protect human health and the environment. The public hearing for the regulations is February 5 at 10 a.m. at MDE. There will be a public meeting to discuss the Advanced Notice of Proposed Action on February 26 at 10 a.m. at MDE.
The various coal combustion facilities in Maryland produce about 2 million tons of coal ash annually. This rate of generation is expected to continue. Scrubber sludge to be generated by flue gas desulphurization (FGD) pollution control technology is expected to be produced at a rate of about 2.5 million tons annually. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been working on regulations to control the management of CCBs since 2000. The MDE is proceeding in the absence of federal requirements.
EPA Settles With ABC Corporation for $52,000 for Pesticide Violations
The EPA recently settled with ABC Corporation of Waipahu for $52,000 for allegedly distributing an antimicrobial disinfectant that failed effectiveness testing, a violation of federal pesticide laws.
In March 2005, the Hawaii Department of Agriculture inspected the ABC facility and collected samples of Fresh and Clean, produced through an agreement with Lonza, Inc., of Allendale, N.J.
Test results found the product was ineffective against Pseudomonas aeruginosa and did not meet its labeling claim of being suitable for hospital use. Once notified of the failure, ABC stopped distributing the product.
“Hospital disinfectants must meet specific efficacy requirements, which Fresh and Clean does not,” said Katherine Taylor, associate director of the Communities and Ecosystems Division for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “If claims are made and the product fails testing for its effectiveness, the company can expect significant penalties.”
Disinfectants are considered pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, which regulates the production, distribution, and use of pesticides within the United States. Before selling or distributing any pesticide in the United States, a company must register it with the EPA. As part of the registration process, the company must ensure the pesticide meets claims made on its label.
Washington Seeks Comments on Proposed Industrial Stormwater Permit
The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) seeks public comments through January 10 on a revised permit that will reduce the concentration of toxic metals allowed in stormwater runoff from industrial sites.
“This permit will make Washington's waters cleaner and healthier for people, communities, and salmon,” said Dave Peeler, manager of Ecology’s water quality program. “We have good evidence that the protections built into this permit are doable. In fact, industries have already demonstrated that they can achieve levels the permit sets for copper and zinc. This permit is both realistic and rigorous.”
The permit targets copper, zinc, other metals, and silt. Copper and zinc are harmful even at relatively low concentrations to threatened and endangered salmon and aquatic life. Copper can cause salmon to lose their ability to sense their spawning grounds, while zinc and silt can bind to fish gills and cause suffocation. Fish that are dependent on clean water in Washington have an annual economic value of more than $1 billion.
Copper and zinc are pervasive metals in industrial settings. Copper is found in paints, brake linings, and machinery. Zinc can be found everywhere from cyclone fences to metal roofs.
Polluted stormwater runoff from industrial sites can send oil, grease, and toxic substances into waters. The runoff is bad for people exposed to the pollution when swimming and from eating contaminated fish and shellfish. Polluted stormwater is the state's largest source of urban water pollution.
The permit, called the Industrial Stormwater General Permit, is one of the state's key tools to protect water quality in Puget Sound and in Washington's rivers and major lakes. The permit regulates industrial facilities that discharge stormwater into surface waters and into storm sewers. It targets runoff from industrial activities, materials, and loading docks. It does not cover parking lots or landscaping. The permit covers approximately 1,150 industrial facilities across the state. Approximately 70% of permit holders discharge stormwater in the 12 counties that border Puget Sound.
The permit covers a wide array of industry sectors. Examples include businesses that deal with lumber, paper, printing, chemicals, petroleum, leather, stone, metals, ships, landfills, transportation, mills, and food.
Ecology will collect public comments on the permit through four public workshops and hearings across the state in January. Sessions will lead off with the workshops, in which Ecology will explain the permit, discuss changes from the previous permit, and answer questions. The hearings provide an opportunity for people to give formal oral testimony and comments on the proposed permit. Public hearings will begin immediately after each workshop.
Written comments may be mailed but must be postmarked or received no later than 5 p.m., January 10. You may voice comments by testifying at the public hearings.
Submit written, hard-copy comments to Lionel Klikoff, Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600.
Ecology expects to issue the final permit in the spring of 2008. Afterwards, it will schedule workshops across the state for operators of facilities covered by the permit. This will allow time for permit holders to understand and respond to the permit prior to the onset of the following wet season.
EPA Settles With JWS Refrigeration for Illegally Importing Ozone-Depleting Substances
The EPA has issued a $53,481 fine to JWS Refrigeration & Air Conditioning, Ltd., a Tamuning, Guam refrigeration and heating equipment services company, for allegedly importing banned refrigerants in violation of the Clean Air Act.
“To protect stratospheric ozone, the Clean Air Act limits the importing of ozone-depleting chemicals into the United States,” said Deborah Jordan, director of EPA’s Air Division for the Pacific Southwest region. “Companies in Guam and other U.S. territories are not excluded and must comply with all Stratospheric Ozone Protection regulations.”
A May 2006 inspection by the Guam EPA, in consultation with the EPA, identified the violations by JWS Refrigeration.
High in the atmosphere, the stratospheric ozone layer is the earth’s protective shield against excessive ultraviolet radiation. Overexposure to ultraviolet radiation is responsible for increased risk of skin cancer and cataracts, depressed immune systems, decreased crop output, and the destruction of plankton, a critical link in the oceanic food chain.
The EPA’s stratospheric ozone protection program aims to prevent depletion of the ozone layer through the production phase-out and use restriction of refrigerants. Among other restrictions, the program forbids the importation of ozone-depleting substances.
Anadarko to Mitigate Damaged Wyoming Wetlands and Pay $157,500 Civil Penalty
The Anadarko Petroleum Co. has agreed to mitigate approximately three acres of wetlands that were adversely impacted and pay a $157,500 civil penalty for its subsidiaries' destruction of those wetlands in violation of the Clean Water Act (CWA). The violations occurred adjacent to the Hams Fork River in Lincoln County, Wyo.
The EPA, in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, found that during construction of two natural gas well pads and associated access roads and connecting pipelines, Westport Oil and Gas Co. and Kerr-McGee Oil & Gas Onshore, LP, Anadarko’s wholly owned subsidiaries acting without a permit, placed material into the wetlands, adversely altering their functions and values. The CWA prohibits such discharges unless authorized by a Corps permit.
EPA Region 8 Legal Enforcement Director Mike Risner said, “EPA is taking these actions to prevent the destruction or pollution of the wetlands, streams, and lakes of Wyoming and to provide deterrence against future violations of federal laws designed to protect valuable water resources.”
As compensatory mitigation for the violations, Anadarko is required to physically restore 0.85 acres of impacted wetlands and create an additional 4.18 acres of wetlands.
“The environmental impacts cited here could have been avoided if the company had consulted with the Corps prior to commencing its activities,” Risner noted.
The creeks, streams, rivers, and adjacent wetlands in this area are important as habitat for wildlife, water storage, and retention and flood control. Placing dredged or fill material in creeks, streams, rivers, or wetlands can have adverse impacts on fish and wildlife habitat and can adversely impact the plants or insects they rely on as food sources. Damaging or destroying wetlands can lead to serious results such as increased flooding, a decline of water quality, and extinction of species. A wetland’s functions and values can be regained through wetland mitigation strategies.
A Corps permit is required before performing any work that results in discharges of dredged or fill material into U.S. waters, which includes lakes, rivers, streams, and their adjacent wetlands.
Developers and other land owners, including oil and gas exploration and production companies, that plan to conduct earth-moving activities near wetlands, rivers, streams, ponds, and other water bodies should contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ regulatory office in Cheyenne at 307-772-2300 before they begin work to determine a permit is needed.
Denver's Air Quality Violates Federal Ozone Standard
EPA's Region 8 office has announced that it will not grant another extension date for Denver to meet EPA's 8-hour ozone standard. The result is a federal nonattainment designation for the Denver area.
According to state-validated air quality data from 2005, 2006, and the first three quarters of 2007, the Denver area violated the 8-hour federal health-based standard for ozone. Based on this data, EPA has allowed a nonattainment designation to take effect, thus the area has forfeited its participation in the Early Action Compact program. The Denver Early Action Compact agreement was signed in December 2002 by the Regional Air Quality Council, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado Department of Transportation, the Air Quality Control Commission, the Denver Regional Council of Governments, and EPA. The nonattainment designation will require local and state officials to submit a new plan to reduce ground-level ozone pollution.
In April 2004, EPA designated the Denver area (Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, Jefferson, and parts of Larimer and Weld counties) as nonattainment for the 8-hour ozone standard, but deferred the effective date of the designation based on a commitment from the state of Colorado, the Regional Air Quality Council, and others to implement ozone control measures sooner than required by the Clean Air Act. This commitment was contained in the Denver Early Action Compact. In return for this early action and for meeting certain milestones, EPA agreed to defer the effective date of the nonattainment designation under the 8-hour ozone standard.
The latest deferral date was November 20. Because the state's monitoring data shows a violation of the 8-hour ozone standard, EPA has not granted another extension, and the 8-hour ozone nonattainment designation for the Denver EAC area is now effective.
Ground-level ozone, a primary ingredient in smog, is formed when volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides react chemically in the presence of sunlight. Cars, trucks, power plants, and industrial facilities are the primary sources of these emissions. Ozone pollution is a concern during the summer months when weather conditions needed to form ground-level ozone—stagnant air, lots of sun, and hot temperatures—normally occur. Ozone is unhealthy to breathe, especially for people with respiratory diseases and for children and adults who are active outdoors.
CDPHE, the RAQC, and others are working on a revised state implementation plan to address the Denver area's 8-hour ozone nonattainment issues. The revised plan is expected to contain additional control measures that will ensure the area meets the 8-hour ozone standard in the shortest time possible.
Hanford Settlement Agreement Benefits Local Community and Environment
The EPA and the Department of Energy (DOE) have reached an agreement to address violations of the Hanford Federal Facility Agreement and Consent Order (commonly referred to as the Tri-Party Agreement or TPA). The violations by DOE and its contractor, Washington Closure Hanford, LLC (WCH), occurred at the Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility (ERDF landfill) at the Hanford Superfund site, located in eastern Washington.
According to Elin Miller, EPA’s Regional Administrator in Seattle, proper management of ERDF is essential because the landfill is a key component of cleanup at Hanford, which is one of the country’s most complex and difficult Superfund sites.
The violations include failure to perform weekly inspections of the landfill’s leachate collection and removal system to determine if it is functioning properly. In addition, DOE failed to comply with waste-compaction testing requirements as outlined in the Waste Material Management Plan.
“With this enforcement action, we sent DOE a message that they and their contractors have taken to heart,” Miller said. “They have made changes to ensure that these types of violations don’t occur again at ERDF.”
Under the terms of the agreement, DOE, with its ERDF contractor WCH, will perform two Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) that will directly benefit the Hanford environment, as well as pay a penalty amount of $285,000. For one project, DOE and WCH will purchase two emergency response boats for Benton County Sheriff’s Office, costing $253,000. The boats will be used to provide a quick response to any hazardous material spills in the Columbia River.
For the other project, DOE and WCH will construct a greenhouse and nursery facility at the Washington State University (WSU) Tri-Cities campus, to grow native vegetation for habitat rehabilitation. This project would include the initial development, production, and propagation of native plants and seeds, as well as the planting of initial demonstration plots and the development of a revegetation manual on developing, planting, and deploying native plants and seeds. The project will cost $602,000 and will be implemented with assistance and cooperation of WSU and with the involvement of the Tribal Nations. This project is particularly timely considering the recent fire on the Hanford Reach National Monument.
The ERDF landfill site serves as the primary repository for contaminated soils, debris, and other hazardous and radioactive waste from cleanup operations across the site. ERDF is designed to meet stringent requirements for hazardous and radioactive waste landfills.
Leachate is the liquid produced when water percolates through any permeable material. It can contain either dissolved or suspended material, or usually both.
EPA Fines Gardena Pesticide Producer $15,500
The EPA determined that Pioneer Chemical Company was producing Super 60 PYM Foamer, a disinfectant and fungicide for hospital, institutional, and industrial use, and not reporting it to the EPA in its annual pesticide production reports.
“Companies producing pesticides must be careful to report the production of all products produced in their facilities,” said Katherine Taylor, associate director of the Communities and Ecosystems Division in EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “The EPA uses these reports to track pesticide production and ensure safe management and distribution.”
The violations were discovered as a result of an inspection performed at the Gardena facility by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.
. Federal law requires each producer or repackager to report the registered pesticides and the quantity of such pesticides produced annually.
Cabinet Maker to Pay $52,360 Penalty for Violating Ohio Air Pollution Laws
In a settlement with Ohio EPA and the Ohio Attorney General, Swiss Woodcraft, Inc., has agreed to pay a $52,360 penalty for violating Ohio’s air pollution control laws at its wood cabinet and trim manufacturing facility located at 15 Industrial Street in Rittman.
On repeated occasions and for prolonged periods, Swiss Woodcraft’s facility failed to meet air pollution emissions limits for volatile organic compounds; obtain necessary permits for installing and modifying new and existing air emissions sources (woodworking and finishing equipment); and comply with recordkeeping and reporting required under its permits.
The civil penalty includes $41,888 to support Ohio EPA’s air pollution control programs and $10,472 to Ohio EPA’s clean diesel school bus program for the purpose of installing diesel
particulate filters on public school buses.
Small business owners can protect the environment and avoid running afoul of the law by understanding and complying with Ohio’s air pollution regulations and permitting requirements.
Ohio EPA’s Office of Compliance Assistance and Pollution Prevention (OCAPP) is a non-regulatory arm of the agency dedicated to helping small businesses comply with Ohio’s air pollution control laws. Information exchanged through OCAPP will not be shared with Ohio EPA inspection and enforcement staff. To learn more about OCAPP’s free information and services, call 1-800-329-7518.
ERM Agrees to Pay $35,000 Penalty to State for Impacting Pennsylvania Drinking Water
Environmental Resources Management Inc. of Exton, Pa., will pay the commonwealth $35,000 in civil penalties for its role in a November 2006 drinking water incident that affected water quality in parts of the Audubon Water Company distribution system in Montgomery County.
Environmental Resources Management, or ERM, will pay $30,500 to the state’s Safe Drinking Water Fund and $4,500 to its Hazardous Sites Cleanup Fund. ERM is an environmental engineering firm that oversees a groundwater cleanup at the Commodore Semiconductor Superfund site, which is adjacent to two Audubon Water Company production wells at the Valley Forge Corporate Center in Lower Providence Township.
ERM applied to DEP on behalf of Audubon for permits to install new carbon filters on the wells; however, the company used citric acid to condition the filters, which caused elevated levels of copper in Audubon’s distribution system. The permits issued by DEP did not authorize the use of citric acid.
Drinking water that contains elevated levels of copper can cause nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea.
“ERM has cooperated with the department in the investigation of the incident and the settlement of this matter,” said the department’s Southeast Regional Director Joseph A. Feola.
The $35,000 penalty was based upon DEP staff and laboratory costs incurred during the incident’s investigation. The department has assessed a separate penalty against Audubon for its failure to notify DEP and the public promptly during the incident.
Nobel-Prize Winning Science Panel Confirms Urgency of Global Warming
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its official synthesis of the scientific findings presented in the multi-volume Fourth Assessment of Climate Change. In the Summary for Policy Makers (SPM) of the report, Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report, the IPCC confirmed the availability of solutions and the need for immediate action to stop and reverse global warming.
The IPCC Synthesis Report states that the warming of the climate is “unequivocal” and concentrations of global warming emissions “have increased markedly as a result of human activities” since the industrial revolution. The report identifies the wide array of measures for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other alternative sources that are available to cut global warming emissions.
David Hawkins, director of the Climate Center at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and member of the IPCC review team, said, “The IPCC has made it clear that the longer we wait, the more the world will suffer from global warming, and the more costly attempts to recover will be. We hope this report will help drive action in this Congress, because additional delay will put our country and the world at large in harm’s way. The solutions are at hand but Congress must act for the market to deliver them in time.”
EPA Symposium on Integrated Approaches for Energy, Climate, and Environment
The 2008 Symposium on Innovating for Sustainable Results: Integrated Approaches for Energy, Climate, and the Environment, will be held in Chapel Hill, N.C., from January 7–10. This event combines what had historically been two separate events: the National Air Innovations Conference and the State-EPA Innovation Symposium.
Participants will receive up-to-date information on innovative approaches and technology for addressing energy, climate, and other environmental challenges. The agenda also will offer pre- and post-symposium workshops for in-depth learning about select topics. The symposium is sponsored by EPA, ECOS, and the Council for Excellence in Government.
The agenda includes sessions on State Collaboration for Clean Energy, Sustainable Communities, Sustainable Energy, and Performance Tracking. The symposium will also feature a workshop on Developing Successful Sustainable Community Programs on Thursday, January 10.
Governors Sign Energy Security and Climate Stewardship Platform and Greenhouse Gas Accord
Indiana, Ohio, and South Dakota are signing the agreement as observers to participate in the formation of the regional cap-and-trade system. The historic agreement, signed at the Midwestern Governors Association (MGA) Energy Security and Climate Change Summit held in Milwaukee, Wis., will serve as a regional strategy to achieve energy security and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. The Accord will:
- Establish greenhouse gas reduction targets and time frames consistent with MGA member states’ targets
- Develop a market-based and multi-sector cap-and-trade mechanism to help achieve those reduction targets
- Establish a system to enable tracking, management, and crediting for entities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- Develop and implement additional steps as needed to achieve the reduction targets, such as a low-carbon fuel standards and regional incentives and funding mechanisms
“This is a momentous day in Milwaukee, Wisconsin,” said Governor Doyle, chair of the MGA. "Leaders from across the Midwest are charting a new energy direction for our citizens, our nation, and our world, creating high-paying jobs for our citizens and building a cleaner and safer world for generations to come. Our strong manufacturing base and rich agricultural industries, along with the wealth of resources in our vast northern forests and our world-leading research universities, position the Midwest to become the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy.”
The platform establishes shared goals for the Midwest region, including specific timelines for the advancement of energy efficiency, the promotion of bio-based products, the production of renewable electricity, and the development of advance coal-and-carbon capture and storage.
To support these shared goals, the Midwestern states launched new cooperative regional initiatives to address the following:
- CO2 management to create a regional transportation and storage infrastructure
- A bioproduct procurement program to support the growth of the region’s bioeconomy
- Electricity transmission adequacy to support thousands of new megawatts of wind energy
- Renewable fuels corridors and coordinated signage to promote renewable fuel usage across the Midwest
- Advanced bioenergy permitting to assist states with the latest technologies
- Low-carbon energy transmission infrastructure that will provide a cost-effective way to supply the Midwest with sustainable and environmentally responsible energy
Midwestern states are leading the nation in the development of renewable energy and energy-efficiency programs. The Midwest boasts world-class renewable energy resources that support rapidly growing wind energy, corn ethanol, and biodiesel industries, and has the potential for robust cellulosic biomass and solar industries.
The Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord builds on existing greenhouse gas reduction efforts in each state as well as existing regional efforts. The new Midwest regional effort will include more states. Current emission levels in these states will require more aggressive efforts than in other regions.
Washington State Announces Environmentally Sound Management and Performance Standards for Direct Processors
The minimum performance standards for all processors are also included in this document. If you have questions, please contact Mike Kuntz at 360-407-7157
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Trivia Question of the Week
Which state has the highest CO2 emissions?
b. New York