Chemical Security Plan List to be Finalized Soon

June 18, 2007

In April 2007, the Department of Homeland Security published an interim final rule establishing comprehensive federal security regulations for high-risk chemical facilities. 

From the date that the finalized list of chemicals of concern and the threshold quantities are published in the Federal Register, you will have 60 days to determine if you have any chemicals on-site in amounts that equal or exceed threshold screening quantities and provide information for the DHS assessment process by submitting a “top screen” to DHS.


One of the Worst Asbestos Violations EPA Has Seen

The U.S. Department of Justice, on behalf of the EPA, recently filed a complaint against the city of Winslow, Ariz., a former city administrator, and a former apartment complex owner for improper asbestos removal and demolition of nine apartment buildings, which are violations of the Clean Air Act.

The city, former City Administrator John Roche, and former apartment complex owner William Christie were responsible for the demolition of the Apache Apartments, located on the 1100 block of Apache Avenue, that included the breaking up of, collection, transport, and burning of asbestos-containing materials.

“This is one of the worst asbestos-related violations we have seen,” said Deborah Jordan, the EPA's Air Division Director for the Pacific Southwest region. “The regulations that were violated in this case are designed to protect workers and the public from exposure to friable asbestos, a known carcinogen. Not only was asbestos released to the outside air during the demolition, but released again at the landfill, and again when the debris was burned and uncontained for weeks.”

After the city declared the apartment buildings uninhabitable, Christie signed an agreement in May 2002 stating that he would remove asbestos-containing transite siding from the buildings and pay the city $3,000 in return for city-employed crews to demolish and haul away all structures on the property.

Christie, the city, and Roche failed to notify the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) in writing their intent to demolish the apartments. After the city demolished four of the nine buildings, an ADEQ inspector, acting on complaints from Winslow residents, directed the city to stop all demolition work pending a thorough asbestos survey, directed the city to submit notification before any work resumed, and notified the city of its legal requirements.

Roche, acting for the city, refused to comply and the remaining five buildings were demolished with asbestos-containing materials in place. Some asbestos-contaminated debris was improperly disposed of at the Painted Desert Landfill, and additional asbestos debris was transported to city-owned property and burned, resulting in additional asbestos release and exposure to workers and the public.

Under the complaint, the city, Christie, and Roche allegedly violated the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for asbestos, including:

  • Failure to notify ADEQ of asbestos removal activities
  • Failure to remove asbestos-containing materials
  • Failure to keep the materials adequately wet to prevent air borne fibers
  • Failure to ensure that no visible emissions from asbestos-containing materials were emitted into the air
  • Failure to keep waste shipment records for all asbestos-containing materials transported off the facility site


The EPA has classified asbestos as a hazardous air pollutant. Individuals exposed to asbestos fibers are at risk of contracting illnesses such as mesothelioma and lung cancer. The defendants are subject to civil penalties of up to $27,500 per day for each violation.

Ban on Disposal of TVs and Computer Monitors in Landfills and Incinerators Goes Into Effect July 1

In order to remove a significant source of lead from the environment, a ban on the disposal of televisions and computer monitors in New Hampshire’s landfills and incinerators goes into effect July 1. Most towns and cities in the state have electronics recycling programs in place and, recently, Staples announced that they will recycle some types of electronic waste at their stores. 

Recently, Texas, Oregon, and Connecticut passed legislation requiring recycling of electronics, joining Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, California, Maryland, and other states with recycling or disposal ban laws. The Electronic Industries Alliance, with nearly 1,300 member companies, has proposed a national legislation model which includes an industry-sponsored organization for the recycling of televisions and a take-back program for computers and related equipment.

State residents should contact their disposal facility or the manufacturer of the equipment to determine the best option for recycling their monitors and televisions. For additional information about the disposal ban, call Donald E. Maurer, supervisor, Solid Waste Technical Assistance Section, at 603-271-3713.

Businesses Rate Energy Performance of their Buildings

EPA provided an Energy Star "benchmarking" presentation to Pennsylvania businesses on June 6 at a Pittsburgh air quality meeting organized by the Allegheny County Health Department. Benchmarking is an educational, web-based training tool that rates the energy performance of buildings by comparing the changes of the building's energy performance over time, based on its energy consumption, operating characteristics, and management practices. 

GreenPrint Launches an Initiative to "Pay the Fortune 500 to Go Green"

GreenPrint Technologies announced last week an initiative to give away its paper and ink saving software to large organizations in exchange for half of the savings the software creates.

"Because the environmental benefit is so significant, we want to do everything we can to make it as easy as possible for large organizations to use GreenPrint," said GreenPrint CEO Hayden Hamilton. "We also see it as symbolic of GreenPrint's revolutionary proposition saving money while saving the environment. Has any other company ever offered to pay the Fortune 500 to go green?"

According to studies released by Citigroup and Lexmark, wasted pages account for as much as 25% of all printed material and cost the Fortune 500 over $1 billion a year. Gartner Research estimates 1% to 3% of Fortune 500 revenues are spent on printing costs annually, and those costs are increasing every year. "Each office worker currently uses up to 50 sheets of A4 [printer] paper a day," says Louella Fernandes, principal analyst with Quocirca, "and estimates predict office paper consumption increasing by 20% per year on average."

In addition to monetary losses, Fortune 500 printer waste also results in over 2 million additional trees being harvested annually, according to studies by UNESCO and Conservatree. "Those are significant numbers," says Greg Meyer of American Forests, "If the Fortune 500 used GreenPrint to eliminate printer waste it would yield profound benefits to our environment for generations to come."

GreenPrint does this by analyzing each page of every document sent to the printer and looking for typical waste characteristics (like that last page with just a URL, banner ad, logo, or legal jargon). GreenPrint also incorporates an easy to use PDF writer, an innovative print preview, and a reporting feature which keeps track of the number of pages and the amount of money saved.

The "Get Paid to Go Green" initiative will run through the end of September, and is available to organizations with more than 1,000 computer users.

GreenPrint Technologies LLC is the maker of software designed to reduce waste in home and office printing. Their products include GreenPrint Home, GreenPrint Enterprise, and EverGreen font.

Ohio Regulates Portable Fuel Containers

" These rules are intended to help Ohio attain and maintain the 8-hour national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) for ozone through the reduction of emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from these containers. The amended rules will be effective on Thursday, June 21.

EPA Announces New Pesticide Screening

EPA is in the final stages to begin screening pesticides for their potential effect on the endocrine system. The agency is seeking comment on the draft list of 73 pesticides to be evaluated under the new screening regimen.

The draft list of pesticide candidates were selected for screening based on their high potential for exposure to people or the environment, and not on possible endocrine disruption effects. The ultimate purpose of the screening will be to determine if the pesticides can adversely influence the endocrine system. This is not a draft list of potential endocrine disruptors.

"As a leader in endocrine disruptor research, EPA's science-driven approach ensures that the data generated by this new testing is comprehensive and based on the best available science," said Jim Gulliford, EPA's assistant administrator for Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances. "EPA remains committed to protecting public health through quality scientific research and collaboration."

Building validated screens to detect endocrine disruption has taken years of open scientific collaboration. This approach ensures that the data generated by this new testing regimen is comprehensive and scientifically sound. While the science in this area continues to expand rapidly, EPA's goal remains to protect public health. The draft list is the first set of chemicals considered for screening.

EPA's Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program, mandated under the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA), will determine whether certain chemicals have an effect on the endocrine system, using validated tests and other scientific information. Under FQPA, all pesticide chemicals will be screened, starting with the draft list.

EPA's draft list focuses on those pesticide ingredients – active and inert – with relatively high potential for human exposure. The agency gave priority to pesticide active ingredients where there is the potential for human exposure through food and water, residential exposure to pesticide products, and high levels of occupational exposure following an application of agricultural pesticides. For pesticide inert ingredients, the priority was on those with high production volumes found in human or ecological tissues, water, and indoor air.

After considering comments on the draft list, EPA will issue a second Federal Register notice with the final list of chemicals.

Recycle Your Fluorescent Lamps at Wal-Mart on June 23

Rhode Islanders are being urged to take advantage of a fluorescent light bulb recycling day to be hosted by Wal-Mart stores, Supercenters, and Sam's Clubs in Rhode Island on Saturday, June 23. Rhode Island was chosen as one of five states across the country to host the event, which will offer consumers a free and convenient opportunity to drop-off and recycle their used compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and fluorescent tubes. The bulbs, which contain small amounts of mercury, will be collected at kiosks outside stores from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Customers can bring an unlimited number of CFLs, but there is a limit of five fluorescent tubes of 4' in length or smaller per household. Wal-Mart is partnering with Waste Management's WM LampTracker, Inc. for this recycling event.

"I strongly encourage Rhode Island residents to take advantage of the compact fluorescent bulb take-back event being hosted by Wal-Mart at all 10 of their Rhode Island stores," said DEM Director W. Michael Sullivan, Ph.D. "Events such as the one planned for June 23 will help complete the life-cycle of mercury-containing CFLs by enabling consumers to return products for recycling. This is a sound example of sharing responsibility for reducing the environmental impacts of products sold in Rhode Island."

The EPA recommends the use of CFLs because when compared with standard incandescent bulbs, they offer many benefits. CFLs help save energy and money. They use 2/3 less energy than standard incandescent light bulbs, and last up to 10 times longer. In addition, CFLs produce about 70% less heat than standard incandescent bulbs, so they are safer to operate and can reduce energy costs associated with home cooling.

CFLs contain a small amount of mercury and should be recycled just like batteries, computers, cell phones, thermostats and other household products. Currently, there is no substitute for mercury in CFLs; however, manufacturers have taken significant steps to reduce mercury used in their fluorescent lighting products over the past few years.® Launches ShopGreen to Help You Make Environmentally Conscious Purchasing Decisions announced the launch of ShopGreen, which offers a comprehensive comparison shopping section of “green” products.  Initial vendors with products offered on ShopGreen include Staples, Office Depot, Hemp Clothiers, and Greenculture.

As part of its investment in sustainability, will donate five percent of its ShopGreen profits to leading environmental nonprofit organizations. Registered site visitors can vote to select the organization that will receive the donation that will be given monthly. The inaugural organizations include the Nature Conservancy, The Trust for Public Land, Environmental Energy Study Institute, and Lloyd Center for Environmental Studies. In addition, consumers will have the opportunity to nominate other ecologically focused nonprofit organizations to be considered for the donation.

With ShopGreen, is extending an invitation to its 24 million users per month to consider the environment when making online purchases and to take a first step toward a greener lifestyle.

EPA Fines Del Monte Fresh Produce $24,640 for Pesticide Violations

The EPA recently fined Del Monte Fresh Produce Co., a Kunia, Hawaii, fruit grower, $24,640 for improperly using registered pesticides, a violation of federal pesticide law.

The company allegedly misused the registered pesticides Telone II, Assure II, and Diazinon 50 W Pro during their application at its Kunia pineapple facility in 2004 and 2005. The company failed to comply with label directions regarding pesticide application and precautions to protect worker health and the environment.

“Companies must ensure employees applying pesticides protect themselves and others from potential pesticide exposure by following all label requirements,” said Katherine Taylor, associate director of the EPA’s Communities and Ecosystems Division for the Pacific Southwest region. “Failure to obey these necessary safeguards is considered a serious violation and can endanger the employees and others in the area.”

During the improper pesticide applications in 2004-05, Del Monte Fresh Produce failed to:

  • Have a certified pesticide applicator apply or supervise the application of restricted use pesticides to the crops
  • Notify workers of pesticide applications
  • Provide decontamination supplies to workers
  • Protect workers from exposure to drifting pesticides


The Hawaii Department of Agriculture discovered the 28 violations during inspections performed in April and May 2004 and September 2005. Worker complaints triggered the initial investigation.

Before selling or distributing any pesticide in the United States, companies must register the pesticide with the EPA and include on the pesticide labeling directions for use and other information necessary to protect human health and the environment. Federal law requires that agricultural employers comply with these labeling directions during pesticide applications to protect farm workers and others who may be in the vicinity.

New Source Review Violations to Cost Nevada Power $60.7 Million

The Department of Justice and the EPA announced a $60.7 million Clean Air Act settlement with Nevada Power Company that will improve air quality in the Clark County/Las Vegas, Nevada area by requiring the company to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), a harmful air pollutant, from its Clark Generating Station by about 2,300 tons annually.

The settlement resolves the federal government's claims that Nevada Power violated the New Source Review provisions of the Clean Air Act at its Clark Generating Station by undertaking modifications of combustion turbines and increasing emissions of NOx without installing the required air pollution controls.

This is the first NSR settlement with an electric utility concerning alleged violations at a gas-fired power plant. It is also the second NSR settlement in the past year in the Western United States.

“The substantial reductions in air pollutants from Clark Station will improve the air quality in Nevada,” said Ronald J.Tenpas, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “We are pleased that Nevada Power has decided to come into compliance and to reduce air pollution. Through the close cooperation of the Environment and Natural Resources Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada and the EPA, we have been able to achieve significant reductions of harmful pollutants for the people of Nevada.”

“Today's settlement allows Clark County residents to breathe easier,” said Granta Nakayama, EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “This action protects public health by reducing harmful air emissions by more than 2,000 tons each year.”

“This case is further evidence that the EPA is fully committed to enforcing New Source Review and other clean air requirements to the maximum extent possible,” said Wayne Nastri, administrator for the EPA's Pacific Southwest region. “It is a major victory for Nevada's citizens, and because of it, they will breathe cleaner air.”

NOx causes severe respiratory problems and contributes to childhood asthma. NOx is also a significant contributor to smog and haze. Air pollution from power plants can travel a significant distance downwind, crossing state lines and creating region-wide health problems.

Under this proposed settlement, Nevada Power will install pollution controls on Units 5, 6, 7 and 8 at Clark Station. These pollution controls are estimated to cost about $60 million and will be installed beginning in 2008. Emissions of NOx are expected to be reduced by about 2,300 tons per year from 2004-2005 levels, an 86% reduction.

Nevada Power will also pay a $300,000 civil penalty and fund a $400,000 environmental mitigation project, the installation of solar arrays on a non-profit’s building in the Las Vegas area.

The Nevada Power settlement was lodged in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada and is subject to a 30-day public comment period. 

EPA Announces New Web Site Listing Regulations with Potential Impact on Agriculture

Knowing the regulations beforehand will allow farmers to address these issues before they become problems.

This Web site is an outgrowth of EPA's National Strategy for Agriculture, signed by EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson in May 2006, which aims to improve communication, collaboration, and innovation with the agricultural community to build a more environmentally productive relationship.

The Web site was developed by EPA's Cross Media Agriculture Team, which regularly brings senior level management staff from different agency offices together to discuss issues and develop comprehensive strategies for reducing farmers' environmental footprints.

Taunton Municipal Electric Company Faces EPA Fine for Clean Water Act Violations

The Taunton Municipal Lighting Plant (TMLP) may pay a penalty of up to $157,500 for violations of the federal Clean Water Act, according to an administrative complaint filed by EPA.

An EPA inspection of the facility in March 2006 found that the Taunton Municipal Lighting Plant violated several provisions of its permits under the Clean Water Act (known as a national pollutant discharge elimination system, or NPDES) permits.

EPA’s complaint alleges that TMLP failed to properly conduct monthly monitoring between June 2004 and February 2006 for oil and grease and failed to operate and maintain adequate laboratory controls and appropriate quality assurance procedures as required by its NPDES permit. The individual NPDES permit violations related to oil and grease monitoring and inadequate laboratory practices are significant because TMLP reported “zero” on its discharge monitoring reports for oil and grease during months in which it failed to maintain adequate laboratory practices to accurately measure oil and grease.

In the complaint, EPA also alleges that TMLP failed to maintain the pH in wastewater discharges to the Taunton River within acceptable limits. The pH of water is a scientific measurement that describes how acidic or alkaline (basic) the water is. The pH violations are significant because discharges with a low pH can cause harm to the riparian habitat.

A municipal electric utility that produces and distributes electricity to approximately 33,000 customers, TMLP’s facility includes the main power generation building, oil storage tanks, a switchyard, a cooling tower, a chemical storage building, a water intake house, fuel oil receiving houses, and a guardhouse. The area surrounding the facility is rural, consisting of wetlands, wooded areas, and the Taunton River.

EPA’s inspection also revealed violations of TMLP’s storm water permit. In addition to having an individual NPDES permit, TMLP is required to obtain coverage under EPA’s general storm water permit known as the Multi-Sector General Permit for Industrial Activities (MSGP). The MSGP describes activities that must be conducted in order to minimize the impacts of storm water runoff to surface waters from certain types of industrial facilities including steam electric generating facilities such as TMLP. The complaint alleges that TMLP failed to conduct quarterly monitoring for total recoverable iron in violation of the MSGP. The MSGP violations are significant because the federal stormwater program is important to ensuring that stormwater runoff does not contribute to the impairment of water quality.

Energy Star Big Part of Climate Change Solutions

The agency debuted the 30-second TV spot of the campaign at the Energy Efficiency Forum in Washington. This spot features ordinary individuals who represent the growing number of Americans who are turning to Energy Star to help save energy and money while protecting the climate for future generations.

"Looking for the Energy Star label is an easy thing consumers can do to make a difference," said Bob Meyers, EPA's acting assistant administrator for Air and Radiation. "Energy Star assures consumers that products are energy-efficient, cost effective, and deliver the product features and quality consumers want."

In 2006 alone, Americans, with the help of Energy Star, saved $14 billion in energy costs and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 25 million vehicles. The savings from Energy Star are expected to double in the coming years.

Consumers can look for the government's Energy Star on more than 50 different kinds of products in the marketplace including consumer electronics (DVDs, TVs), office equipment (computers, monitors and printers), heating and cooling equipment (furnaces, boilers, air conditioners) and lighting. New homes can also earn the Energy Star.

EPA started the Energy Star program in 1992 as a voluntary market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through increased energy efficiency. Today more than 9,000 organizations participate in the Energy Star program, offering businesses and consumers energy-efficient solutions to save energy and money, and to protect the environment for future generations.

The new Energy Star television public service announcement will be distributed nationally and will become part of a larger campaign that also includes print public service announcements.

Energy Star is a joint program of the EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy designed to save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices.

PCI Synthesis Settles EPA Hazardous Waste Complaint

A chemical manufacturer in Newburyport, Mass., will pay a fine of $8,750 and spend $26,500 on emergency response equipment for the city, settling EPA charges of hazardous waste violations at its plant.

In September 2006, EPA charged Polycarbon Industries, Inc, also known as PCI Synthesis (PCI), with violations of hazardous waste management laws and regulations. PCI, a manufacturer of chemicals for the pharmaceutical industry, is a large quantity generator of hazardous waste, generating such wastes as solvents, acids, and ignitable materials at its Newburyport plant. Specifically, EPA’s complaint alleged that PCI failed to:

  • Conduct weekly inspections of hazardous waste storage areas and daily inspections of hazardous waste tanks
  • Have an adequate hazardous waste training program
  • Have an adequate contingency plan
  • Comply with hazardous waste tank regulations
  • Comply with air emission standards for pumps and valves
  • Comply with air emission standards for tanks and containers
  • Separate incompatible wastes
  • Properly label containers and tanks holding hazardous waste
  • Date containers and tanks of hazardous waste
  • Keep containers of hazardous waste closed when wastes are not being added or removed
  • Maintain adequate aisle space in its hazardous waste storage areas
  • Maintain emergency information at hazardous waste storage areas
  • Have an impervious surface for containers of hazardous waste


“Properly managing hazardous wastes and chemicals is very important to protect peoples' health and our environment, “said Robert Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "Following hazardous waste requirements helps prevent dangerous and expensive emergencies."

PCI, which has come into compliance with the requirements it is alleged to have violated, will pay a cash penalty of $8,750 and will purchase a thermal imager and reverse 911 equipment for the City of Newburyport at a total cost of $26,496. Thermal imagers are used by emergency responders to locate victims and hot spots in burning buildings that might not otherwise be visible. Reverse 911 equipment can be used to deliver messages simultaneously to notify people rapidly in times of crisis such as natural disasters and chemical spills. It can also be used to mobilize personnel.

Salem Housing Authority Faces over $200,000 in Penalties for Lead Paint Disclosure Violations

The Salem Housing Authority has agreed to a settlement with EPA valued at nearly $235,000, including paying a fine and performing an environmental project, to resolve EPA allegations that the authority failed to properly notify tenants about potential lead paint concerns in housing. The Salem Housing Authority (SHA) owns and manages 715 units of low-income housing scattered across Salem, Mass., in 23 separate locations.

Under the settlement, SHA will pay a cash penalty of $25,000 and perform a supplemental environmental project valued at $209,000 to settle alleged violations of the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act, and the federal lead paint disclosure rule. EPA’s complaint alleged that SHA had failed to provide tenants with information pertaining to lead-based paint before the tenants became obligated to lease apartments owned by the housing authority, as required by federal lead paint disclosure laws. Most of the leases in question involved families with children.

"Lead poisoning is a serious health threat for children in New England, because so much of our housing is older and may contain lead paint," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA's New England office. "It is critically important that renters and buyers get the information they need to protect themselves and their children from potential exposure to lead paint. This is especially important for pregnant women and families with young children."

The additional project required under the EPA settlement involves promoting compliance with lead paint disclosure rules and other state and federal laws pertaining to lead paint. The Salem Housing Authority will hire a consultant to train all 235 state-assisted housing authorities in Massachusetts to achieve and maintain compliance with state and federal lead paint laws. The consultant will develop software, training materials, and conduct training sessions around the state to ensure that the housing authorities are in compliance with lead paint laws and regulations.

Federal law requires that sellers and landlords selling or renting housing built before 1978 must provide an EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlet, called "Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home"; include lead notification language in sales and rental forms; disclose any known lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards in the living unit; and provide available records to prospective buyers or renters prior to signing purchase and sale contracts and lease documents.

Infants and young children are especially vulnerable to lead paint exposure which can cause intelligence quotient deficiencies, reading and learning disabilities, impaired hearing, reduced attention span, hyperactivity, and behavior problems. Pregnant women are also vulnerable because lead exposure before or during pregnancy can alter fetal development and cause miscarriages. Adults with high lead levels can suffer high blood pressure, nerve disorders, memory problems and muscle and joint pain. Childhood lead exposure is a particularly acute problem for urban children of low-income families who live in older housing.

Proposed Changes to Indiana Drinking Water Rules

EPA Region 5 is seeking comment on its tentative decision to approve three changes to Indiana's drinking water regulations that will enhance protection of public health. The changes are required under amendments to the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. As EPA adopts new drinking water regulations, states such as Indiana that administer their own programs must adopt rules at least as stringent.

Indiana plans to adopt

  • The revised Arsenic and Clarifications to Compliance and New Source Monitoring Rule to reduce the public's exposure to arsenic in drinking water, thereby reducing the frequency of cancers and non-carcinogenic diseases
  • The revised Radionuclides Rule that reduces the public's exposure to radionuclides in drinking water will reduce the risk of cancer.
  • The Long Term 1 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule which will control microbial contaminants, particularly cryptosporidium.


If there is sufficient interest, EPA will hold a public hearing on the proposed changes. Requests for a hearing should be postmarked by June 29 and sent to EPA Region 5, Ground Water and Drinking Water Branch (WG-15J), 77 West Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60604 or

Documents on the proposed changes are available for review at the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Drinking Water Branch, 100 N. Senate Ave., Indianapolis, Ind., and at EPA's Chicago office.

California Refinery Fined $1 Million for Breaking Drinking Water Laws

A California refinery was sentenced to three years probation and ordered to pay a criminal penalty for violating the Safe Drinking Water Act. The company must apply $500,000 of the $1 million penalty towards the Los Padres National Forest Restoration Project. The company pleaded guilty on April 12 and was sentenced in U.S. District Court, Central District of California on Monday.

Investigators from the EPA and the Department of Justice determined that Santa Maria Refining Co., located in Santa Maria, Calif., and a subsidiary of Greka Energy Corp., disposed of contaminated wastewater into wells that were not permitted for that use, posing a risk to groundwater supplies. The wastewater contained benzene, which can cause anemia, excessive bleeding, and cancer, as well as affect the immune system.

The company was also sentenced for making false statements to the EPA. In addition to the penalty and probation, the company must pay the EPA $15,500 in restitution, and must implement an independently audited environmental compliance program.

Three individual defendants also have pleaded guilty to making false statements to EPA in connection with this case. They each face statutory maximum sentences of five years in federal prison. Sentencing is pending.

Since April 2004, the EPA has been investigating allegations that officials at Greka had knowingly and routinely discharged oil refinery waste into underground injection wells that are permitted only for the disposal of brine, which is separated from crude oil during the refining process.

In June 2006, EPA fined Greka's Santa Maria facility $127,500 for unauthorized disposal of oil refinery wastewater into the facility's injection wells.

EPA Settles with Hospital Laundry Services and Snappy Apple Farms for Chemical Inventory Reporting Violations

EPA Region 5 recently settled two cases of hazardous chemical reporting violations involving Hospital Laundry Services and Snappy Apple Farms. The facilities are located in Wheeling, Ill., and Casnovia, Mich.

Federal law requires that local authorities be notified of hazardous chemicals storage. In the event of a fire or emergency, responders need to know what they are dealing with so they can take steps to protect people living or working in the area.

Hospital Laundry Services, 435 W. Hintz Road, Wheeling, Ill., paid $41,242 to resolve EPA's May 2007 complaint for failure to submit to state and local authorities the required 2003-2005 chemical inventory forms for 3,962 pounds of sulfuric acid, 16,605 pounds of sodium hydroxide and 13,767 pounds of hydrogen peroxide. Sulfuric acid is an extremely hazardous substance and must be reported if an amount more than 500 pounds is stored. Sodium hydroxide and hydrogen peroxide are hazardous chemicals that must be reported at levels above 10,000 pounds. Sodium hydroxide and sulfuric acid are commonly used in cleaning and processing metal.

Snappy Apple Farms, 961 Newaygo Road, Casnovia, Mich., paid $7,919 and agreed to perform a supplemental environmental project costing $4,581 to resolve an EPA May 2007 complaint for failure to submit to state and local authorities the required chemical inventory forms for 2002-2004. The facility exceeded the reporting threshold for anhydrous ammonia by 16 times.

The environmental project will include purchasing and donating to the local fire department four weather stations, four binoculars, 16 road-blocking devices, and gas cartridges for 15 breathing apparatuses. Snappy Apple Farms also will pay for fire department training on hazardous material inventory, mapping, and site plotting.

Anhydrous ammonia is used in commercial refrigeration systems. All of the chemicals mentioned above can cause burns to the skin and irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat and may be fatal if inhaled for long periods of time.

Circle C Rock Products Receives $160,000 Fine for Polluting Water

The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) issued a $160,000 fine against Circle C Rock Products of Ridgefield. The penalty resulted from significant and continuous water quality violations at the sand and gravel mine operation.

Circle C Rock Products operates a sand-and-gravel mine in Ridgefield. The company has a permit to discharge clean process water and stormwater to Mud Lake, which empties into the Lewis River.

In 2004, Circle C Rock Products received and paid a penalty for violating its water discharge permit. At that time, Ecology found that the company didn't properly respond when it spilled oil on its site. Oil was found in the detention pond and gullies on the mine site. The company also failed to monitor its water discharges as required and did not use best practices to prevent pollution from getting into the lake.

After paying the fine and then renewing its sand-and-gravel permit in January 2005, the company's water quality issues continued.

Reports show that for nearly every month since December 2004, turbidity – or sediment in water samples – and pH (alkalinity) levels greatly exceeded the levels set in its permit. For example, the maximum daily and monthly turbidity averages should have been below 50 turbidity units. But most daily and monthly averages were over 120 units, and one month went as high as 2,950 units. Tests for pH showed alkalinity levels outside an acceptable range.

If not settled out before being discharged to lakes or rivers, the sediment in turbid water can cover salmon-spawning beds, rendering them useless for future spawning. The sediment also can smother eggs that already have been laid. Out-of-balance pH levels can increase the reactivity of other chemicals in the water, and lead to skin irritation for humans and harmful effects on fish.

Because Circle C Rock Products received a penalty for the same type of violations in 2004, the company is subject to increased consequences and a substantially higher penalty for continuing the same violations.

"The severity of the penalty reflects the fact that Circle C Rock Products repeatedly violated its water quality permits time after time," said Dave Peeler, manager of Ecology's Water Quality program. "We work hard to achieve voluntary, cooperative compliance with companies, but when circumstances require, we have to increase the consequences for violations."

Multiple state and local agencies have been called out to the mine to respond to citizen complaints about the dirty water discharges. Clark County even issued a stop-work order against Circle C in November 2006 until proper controls were put into place and validated by Ecology.

On April 2, Ecology conditionally approved the newly installed sediment treatment system, and the stop-work order was lifted. However, only a portion of the conditions have been satisfied, and Ecology will be closely monitoring further progress.

Hardwick Sand and Gravel Operation Agrees to Fine and Remedies

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and R.J. McDonald, Inc. of Hardwick have entered into a consent agreement to address wetland alterations and water withdrawal at R.J. McDonald's gravel processing operation.

R.J. McDonald, Inc. has been withdrawing water in excess of the Water Management Act threshold of 100,000 gallons per day, without a permit, for purposes of gravel washing and screening. Last year, the company began proactively installing a water recirculation system and water meter to help it conserve the water it uses. If R.J. McDonald continues to withdraw water above the threshold, it agreed to obtain a permit. During the course of MassDEP's investigation of the water withdrawal, alterations of wetland resources along the borders of the gravel mining operation were also identified.

R.J. McDonald agreed to a $24,000 penalty, of which $6,000 is to be paid immediately, and $15,000 will be suspended upon completion of a supplemental environmental project that will create a wildlife corridor along the Ware River and protect nearby drinking water wells of the Wheelwright Water District. The remaining $3,000 of the penalty is suspended to ensure continued compliance with environmental regulations.

"The Water Management Act and wetlands regulations are designed to be protective of water resources and critical wildlife habitat," said Michael Gorski, director of MassDEP's Western Regional Office in Springfield. "MassDEP's regulatory oversight maintains a balance among competing water withdrawals and uses, and prevents the alteration of key environmental resource areas."

The Water Management Act authorizes MassDEP to regulate the quantity of water withdrawn from both surface and groundwater supplies. The purpose of the regulations is to ensure adequate water supplies for current and future water needs. The Water Management Act consists of a few key components, including a registration program and a permit program.

Court Overturns EPA Incinerator Rule

. EPA's rule would have allowed thousands of tons of toxic pollution to go completely uncontrolled. The case was brought by NRDC, Sierra Club, Louisiana Environmental Action Network, and Environmental Integrity Project.

Many industrial facilities, including chemical plants, refineries, metal smelters, and paper mills, burn the waste they generate in on-site incinerators. Among the wastes they burn are chemicals, industrial sludges, plastics, agricultural waste treated with pesticides, chemically treated wood wastes, and used tires. Emissions from these incinerators include mercury, lead, arsenic, dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and other highly toxic pollutants.

EPA had argued that it could set far less protective standards for these incinerators by treating them as though they were "boilers" or "process heaters" that burn only fossil fuels. The court rejected that argument, making clear that facilities that burn waste are incinerators and must meet the Clean Air Act's highly protective incinerator standards.

The court's decision also will require EPA to redo its rules for thousands of industrial boilers and process heaters that burn fossil fuel. Among the provisions vacated by the ruling was a controversial decision by EPA to allow sources to avoid controlling their emissions of hydrochloric acid and several other air pollutants that Congress had listed as "hazardous" in the Clean Air Act.

TCEQ Approves Fines Totaling $706,715

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality approved penalties totaling $706,715 against 69 regulated entities for violations of state environmental regulations.

Agreed orders were issued for the following enforcement categories: 16 air quality, 11 dry cleaner, three field citations, one industrial waste discharge, three licensed irrigator, three multi-media, three municipal solid waste, eight municipal waste discharge, 12 petroleum storage tank, and four public water system, and two water quality, and one Edwards Aquifer. In addition, there were default orders issued for one licensed irrigator and one petroleum storage tank.

Included in the total fine figure is a penalty of $283,654 against Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Beaumont. The fines are the result of violations from investigations conducted between July and August of 2005. Thirty-three violations covered flaring operations, record keeping, maintenance, monitoring, and opacity. The violations were issued as part of the company’s annual compliance certification review. Half of the assessed penalty will be used to assist low-income residents in the West Port Arthur area by conducting home energy audits and weatherizing their homes through a Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission program.

Commissioners also approved the Corpus Christi Eight-Hour Ozone Flex Plan Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). Corpus Christi is the first area in the nation to develop and submit to EPA an Eight-Hour Ozone Flex Plan.

Pennsylvania DEP Fines Oil and Gas Operator $400,000 for Violations

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has ordered the owners of Synd Enterprises Inc. to pay a $400,000 civil penalty for numerous and chronic violations of environmental laws and regulations related to oil and gas operations.

The owners, Stephen and Cynthia Ford, of Lakewood, N.Y., entered into a consent order and agreement whereby the couple must refrain from owning or operating any future oil and gas operations in the commonwealth and must dissolve their other active companies here.

“This settlement brings to an end a pattern of behavior that has resulted in the contamination of soil and water in one of Pennsylvania’s most pristine areas,” DEP Regional Director Kelly Burch said. “We are satisfied that this solution is in the best interest of our residents and taxpayers, as well as the environment.”

The Fords and their various companies have been actively drilling oil and gas wells in northwestern Pennsylvania for many years. Much of their activity has been in and around the Allegheny National Forest and in special protection watersheds.

On Dec. 12, 2006, DEP issued an order to the Fords and their various companies to cease all oil and gas well drilling, earth disturbance, and well stimulation activities in Pennsylvania because of continued and numerous violations of the Oil and Gas Act, the Clean Streams Law, the Solid Waste Management Act, and the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act. DEP had determined that the Fords and their companies had shown a lack of ability or intention to comply with the provisions of the commonwealth’s environmental laws.

Among the violations cited in the order were over-pressured wells, which contaminate groundwater and cause gas migration; failure to implement erosion and sedimentation controls at well sites, leading to accelerated erosion; unpermitted discharge of brine to the ground; and encroachments into floodways and streams without permits.

The settlement requires the Fords to sell their oil and gas assets to Catalyst Energy Inc. DEP has determined that Catalyst has the financial resources, skill, and ability to own and operate these assets in compliance with the law.

The Bureau of Oil and Gas Management will use the $400,000 penalty to plug abandoned wells or to carry out other public health or environmental protection activities under the Oil and Gas Act.

The bureau, created in 1984 to administer the Oil and Gas Act, developed regulations for the permitting and registration of all wells, environmental requirements for operators, cementing and casing requirements, conservation wells, bonding, and gas well classification. Prior to Pennsylvania’s Oil and Gas Act, well activity was largely unregulated.

Groundwork Begun for Greater Use of Ethanol in California's Gasoline

Refinements to the predictive model include the greater use of ethanol. "Clean fuels are essential to reaching healthy air goals in California," said ARB Chairman Dr. Robert Sawyer. "This action helps fuel providers develop the optimum formula for the cleanest burning gasoline, and it allows ARB to forecast emissions from vehicles throughout the state. The greater use of ethanol in the formulas will also reduce global warming emissions."

The predictive model is a set of mathematical equations that relate exhaust rates of hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, and toxics to values of eight regulated properties in gasoline. This in turn is used by refiners to assure that their fuels obtain the required emissions reductions. This gives refiners flexibility in meeting emission limits defined in ARB regulations.

The new predictive model better accounts for widespread use of ethanol and will allow increased use in California's gasoline as part of Governor's Schwarzenegger's Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) executive order. The goal of the LCFS is to ensure that the mix of fuel sold in California market deliver, on average, lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. By 2020, the LCFS is expected to produce at least a 10 percent reduction in the carbon content, replace 20 percent of our on-road fuels with lower carbon alternatives, and more than triple the size of the state's renewable fuels market.

California Air Resources Board's Enforcement Efforts Stepped Up in 2006

California’s ARB's enforcement program has grown to keep pace with an array of operational demands from testing heavy-duty diesel vehicles for smoke emissions and tampering, intercepting imports of illegal vehicles, engines, and consumer products to keeping school buses from idling too long and too close to children's developing lungs. The program's growth has been accompanied by an increase in the number of enforcement actions in 2006 of more than 26% from the year before. "Keeping California in compliance is a big job, but it is a crucial task to keep moving toward our goal of clean air," said ARB Chairman Dr. Robert Sawyer. The ARB 2006 Annual Report of Enforcement Activities key highlights are:

  • 1,992 cases/citations closed
  • $6.7 million in penalties collected
  • More than 70 inspections in environmental justice areas (881 violations issued)
  • More than 17,000 heavy-duty vehicles inspected
  • More than 4,300 commercial vehicle and school bus idling inspections
  • More than 800 gasoline cargo tank trucks inspected
  • More than 523 million gallons of gasoline represented in sampling
  • More than 230 million gallons of diesel fuel represented in sampling
  • More than 14,000 inspections for red-dyed diesel fuel
  • More than 2,600 consumer product samples gathered during inspections
  • More than 500 inspections of portable fuel containers and spouts
  • More than 1,300 locomotive inspections (33 violations issued)
  • More than 140 training programs
  • Emphasized enforcement of the school bus/delivery vehicle idling program
  • Increased enforcement of commercial vehicle idling


Violations of California's air quality laws and regulations range from minor breaches of the state's regulations to criminal actions. The enforcement program ensures the ARB's research, modeling, and assessment, and development and adoption of regulations achieve the anticipated emission reductions for a healthier California.

Get Recognized for Going Green! Apply for Environmental Awards

The Chesapeake Bay Program and the Maryland Department of the Environment are seeking applicants for Businesses for the Bay Excellence Awards. Awards are granted to small, medium, and large organizations of all types that voluntarily implement pollution prevention projects. The deadline for applications is July 16, 2007. Awards will be presented at the Businesses for the Bay annual meeting this fall.

Any Maryland business, facility, or organization that has reduced its air emissions, water discharges, waste streams, or energy and water use is encouraged to apply for an award. Last year’s award winners included:

  • Volvo Powertrain, Hagerstown, Md., recognized for revamping an aging factory to a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility that reduced energy consumption per engine built by 50 percent.
  • Alliant Techsystems, Elkton, Md., recognized for saving thousands of dollars in electric and gasoline usage, and for their successful strategy to gain increased environmental awareness among employees.
  • The Brick Companies, Edgewater, Md., recognized for environmentally-aware development and management of their commercial properties, including golf courses and marinas. They have incorporated green-building features, adopted environmental procurement, and promote ride-sharing and renewable energy credit purchases to offset carbon dioxide emissions.
  • USDA Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville, Md., recognized for practices and research supporting Chesapeake Bay Program’s goals, including the goal that fertilizer used on state and federal lands be from poultry litter or animal manure sources within the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
  • Lynne Forsman of Nautical Destinations, Annapolis, Md., was named Mentor of the Year for promoting environmentally responsible boating and for advocating the adoption of green practices in the hospitality community.


Businesses for the Bay is a voluntary program that encourages and recognizes pollution prevention practices at businesses, government facilities, and other organizations located within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. More than 750 organizations throughout the watershed are participating members. Since the program’s inception in 1996, program participants throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed have reported the reduction and recycling of 8.25 billion pounds of waste and materials at a cost savings of $516 million. These wastes ranged from specific chemicals to air emissions and solid waste.

. Organizations may also join the Businesses for the Bay program online. There is no cost to join.

E-Waste Bill Signed into Law in Oregon

A bill to properly dispose of and recycle electronic waste, was signed into law on June 7 by Oregon Governor Kulongoski. Representative Scott Bruun (R-West Linn) and Representative Jackie Dingfelder (D-Portland) were the two chief sponsors.

“Currently only a small percentage of electronic waste is recycled, leaving hazardous contaminants lying in our landfills. This bill makes it much easier to recycle electronic waste,” Bruun stated. HB 2626 establishes a statewide system for recycling electronic waste, through manufacturer-sponsored recycling collection sites. Covered items include computers, monitors, and televisions. These recycling services will be free to Oregon citizens.

The governor signed HB 2626 the same day he signed SB 707, expanding Oregon’s bottle bill, and only a day after signing SB 838 which implements a renewable energy standard.

“This has been a good legislative session for common-sense conservation policy,” stated Rep. Bruun. “We’ve promoted sound environmental policies that will also promote entrepreneurship and help build new Oregon industries.” HB 2626 had support from environmental groups and manufacturers.

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Trivia Question of the Week

Which of the following has the greatest global warming potential:

a. Carbon dioxide
b. Methane
c. Nitrous oxide
d. Sulfur hexafluoride