Chemicals of Interest List Finalized for Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards

November 05, 2007

The Department of Homeland Security released Appendix A of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS), a critical element of its chemical security efforts.


Using the information gathered through the Top-Screen, the department will be better able to make a preliminary determination as to whether a facility presents a high level of security risk and whether it will be required to comply with the substantive requirements of CFATS.

 “The chemical security Interim Final Rule defined how the department will implement this substantial new authority given by Congress. With the release of Appendix A, we continue the process of minimizing a significant threat to better ensure the security of American citizens.”

To determine the type and quantity of chemicals that will be subject to the preliminary screening process, DHS examined the following three security issues:

  1. Release—Quantities of toxic, flammable, or explosive chemicals that have the potential to create significant adverse consequences for human life or health if intentionally released or detonated.
  2. Theft and Diversion—Chemicals that have the potential, if stolen or diverted, to be used or converted into weapons.
  3. Sabotage and Contamination—Chemicals that, if mixed with other readily available materials, have the potential to create significant adverse consequences for human life or health.

The department identified these chemicals in the specific amounts for preliminary screening based on their potential to create significant human life or health consequences. Appendix A lists approximately 300 chemicals of interest and includes common industrial chemicals such as chlorine, propane, and anhydrous ammonia, as well as specialty chemicals such as arsine and phosphorus trichloride. Facilities that possess chemicals of interest at or above the listed screening threshold quantities are required to complete the Top-Screen within 60 calendar days of the publication of Appendix A.

DHS has worked closely with the chemical industry as well as state and local authorities on strengthening security at chemical facilities throughout the country. While many chemical facilities have already initiated voluntary security programs and made significant investments to improve security, gaps remain. The CFATS regulation imposes for the first time comprehensive federal security regulations for high-risk chemical facilities. The CFATS regulation, issued on April 9, 2007, is already being implemented at certain high-risk chemical facilities across the nation.


CFATS Frequently Asked Questions

What is Appendix A?
Appendix A of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) regulation lists the DHS chemicals of interest and their corresponding Screening Threshold Quantities (STQ). If a facility possesses, or later comes into possession, of a chemical of interest at or above the specified screening threshold quantity, that facility must complete an easy-to-use online consequence assessment tool, known as a Top-Screen.

It is important to note that many facilities that will fill out the Top-Screen may not be subject to further regulation under CFATS by DHS. Appendix A and the Top-Screen will allow DHS to make preliminary determinations about whether facilities present a high level of security risk.

What is the Top-Screen?
The Top-Screen is an easy-to-use online questionnaire that facility owners and operators complete to provide DHS with a basic understanding of the facility’s potential level of consequence. After answering a series of simple questions, DHS will be able to preliminarily determine whether the facility presents a high level of security risk. Not all facilities that complete the Top-Screen will be subject to further regulation by DHS. The Top-Screen is part of the Chemical Security Assessment Tool (CSAT). 

Who Will Be Required to Complete the Top-Screen and by When?
If a facility possesses a chemical of interest at or above the listed screening threshold quantity, the facility must complete and submit a Top-Screen to DHS within 60 calendar days of the publication of a final Appendix A or within 60 calendar days of coming into possession of the listed chemical of interest at or above the listed screening threshold quantity.

What Kinds of Chemicals Does Appendix A Contain and Why?
To determine the type and quantity of chemicals that require a facility to complete the Top-Screen, DHS examined three security issues:

  • Release: Quantities of toxic, flammable, or explosive chemicals that have the potential to create significant adverse consequences for human life or health if intentionally released or detonated.
  • Theft or Diversion: Chemicals that have the potential, if stolen or diverted, to be used as weapons or easily converted into weapons, in order to create significant adverse consequences for human life or health.
  • Sabotage or Contamination: Chemicals that, if mixed with other readily available materials, have the potential to create significant adverse consequences for human health or life.

In the Proposed Rule, Some Screening Threshold Quantities Were Listed as “Any Amount” but the Final Rule Contains Specified Quantities. Why is This and Are There Any Exceptions?

In the initial draft Appendix A, DHS listed various chemicals with a screening threshold quantity of “any amount,” meaning that a facility possessing any amount of that chemical would have to complete the Top-Screen. In the final rule, the department has replaced the “any amount” STQs that appeared in the proposed list with numerical quantities. The revised quantities are more narrowly tailored to capture high-risk chemical facilities.

In addition to this modification, DHS developed a specialized approach for propane, chlorine, and ammonium nitrate.

  • Propane—The screening threshold quantity for propane is 60,000 lbs. Facilities do not need to count propane in tanks of 10,000 lbs or less.
  • Chlorine—Depending on the hazard it presents, there are two screening threshold quantities for chlorine: 1) a screening threshold quantity of 500 pounds when the chemical presents a theft hazard and 2) a screening threshold quantity of 2,500 pounds when the chemical presents a release hazard.
  • Ammonium Nitrate—DHS identified ammonium nitrate in two forms: 1) the explosive and 2) the more common form used as a fertilizer. DHS set different screening threshold quantities for each form, depending on the hazard presented.

Appendix A Lists Propane as a DHS Chemical of Interest. Which Users of Propane Will Be Affected by This Rule and Why?

DHS has included propane on the list of Appendix A chemicals of interest because propane can produce significant consequences if used in a terrorist attack. And this is not hypothetical: Propane has been successfully employed as a component of terrorist devices.

In the proposed rule, DHS listed the screening threshold quantity for propane at 7,500 lbs. In the final rule, DHS has increased the screening threshold quantity for propane to 60,000 lbs. In addition, facilities do not need to count propane in tanks of less than 10,000 lbs.

By doing this, the department has elected at this time to focus its efforts on large commercial propane establishments. This higher threshold quantity will focus DHS’s security screening effort on industrial and major consumers, regional suppliers, bulk retail, and storage sites; the focus is being shifted away from non-industrial propane customers.

Why Regulate These Sites at All?

The recent events in London and Glasgow—in which the terrorists attempted to attack using propane—illustrate how important it is to appropriately secure facilities that possess potentially dangerous chemicals. For example, while poultry farms may not be a direct target of attack, the chemicals they possess might pose a high risk to the surrounding community. One goal of CFATS is to increase security at facilities that possess dangerous chemicals in such a quantity as to pose a threat to the surrounding community. DHS is committed to mitigating these potential threats.

Besides Propane, What Other Key Chemicals Will Be Regulated?

  • Acetone and urea, both of which had been on the initial draft list of chemicals, have been removed. These chemicals can be used, in combination with others (i.e., acetone with hydrogen peroxide and urea with nitric acid), to create chemical mixtures that could be used as precursors to explosives (e.g., Triacetone Triperoxide includes both acetone and hydrogen peroxide). Given the department’s inclusion of concentrated nitric acid and hydrogen peroxide in the appendix, the department does not believe it is necessary to include acetone and urea. The department is electing to regulate the more critical chemicals (i.e., hydrogen peroxide and nitric acid) of those mixtures.
  • Hydrogen peroxide was on the proposed list and remains on the final list. DHS increased the concentration; it had been “at least 30%” and it is now “at least 35%.” A concentration of 35% is a common technical and food grade of hydrogen peroxide.

Will Appendix A Affect College and University Laboratories? If So, Why?

Yes, some college and university laboratories may be affected. Colleges and universities that meet the Appendix A levels—that is, those that possess Appendix A chemicals of interest at or above the listed screening threshold quantities—will have to complete and submit a Top-Screen to DHS. With the information from the Top-Screen, the department will be able to make a determination as to whether the college or university laboratory might present a high level of security risk and therefore must comply with the substantive requirements of CFATS. Facilities determined by DHS not to present a high level of security risk will drop out of the regulatory program and go no further. DHS anticipates that many academic institutions will likely be found not to present a high level of security risk. Facilities determined by DHS to present such a concern, however, will have to comply with the substantive requirements of CFATS—for example, preparing a Security Vulnerability Assessment  and developing and implementing a Site Security Plan. Because security across academic institutions varies dramatically, the level of measures necessary for each academic institution will likewise vary. While some academic institutions may have security measures in place that will help them meet the applicable risk-based performance standards, some may not, and DHS looks forward to helping those facilities increase their security.

Direct Final Rule on MVAC Refrigerant Recovery and Recycling Equipment Standards


Final EPA Staff Paper Recommends Stronger Standards for Airborne Lead

A key document in EPA’s review of national air quality standards for lead recommends the agency strengthen the current lead standards to better protect children.  It does, however, contain EPA staff recommendations for the administrator to consider in upcoming decisions about revising the national air quality standards for lead.

The Clean Air Act requires EPA to periodically review air quality standards to ensure that it provides adequate health and environmental protection and to update those standards if necessary. The staff based the final paper on a review of current science about lead and health, as well as on analyses of risks at current levels of lead in the air.  The paper also recommends that EPA not consider revoking the lead standard or removing lead from the list of criteria pollutants.

Average lead concentrations in the air have dropped a dramatic 96% since 1980, primarily as a result of the ban on lead in motor vehicle gasoline. Any changes to the lead air quality standard would not affect that ban. In addition to the changes to improve public health protection, the document recommends that the administrator consider revising the existing secondary lead standard to be equal to a revised primary standard.

The assessments, conclusions, and recommendations included are staff judgments and do not represent agency decisions on the lead standards. By the end of November 2007, EPA will issue an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking outlining policy options it is considering and seeking public comment.

EPA is required by a consent decree to issue a proposal regarding the lead standards by May 1, 2008, and to issue a final rule by Sept. 1, 2008. The agency is planning to issue the proposal in March 2008 to provide the public ample time to comment.

U.S. States Join Canada, New Zealand, and Norway in Carbon Markets Partnership


ICAP will provide an international forum in which governments and public authorities adopting mandatory greenhouse gas emissions cap-and-trade systems will share experiences and best practices on the design of emissions-trading schemes. This cooperation will ensure that the programs are more compatible and are able to work together as the foundation of a global carbon market. Such a market will boost demand for low-carbon products and services, promote innovation, and allow cost-effective reductions so as to allow swift and ambitious global reductions in global warming emissions.

The international and interregional agreement was signed by U.S. and Canadian members of the Western Climate Initiative, northeastern U.S. members of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, as well as European members including the United Kingdom, Germany, Portugal, France, the Netherlands, and the European Commission. New Zealand and Norway joined on behalf of their emissions trading programs.

Leaders attending the summit included: President Jos Scrates, Council of the European Union and Prime Minister of Portugal; European Commission President Jos Manuel Barroso; Governor Jon Corzine, New Jersey; Governor Eliot Spitzer, New York; and Premier Gordon Campbell, British Columbia. Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California, participated with video messages.

ICAP will open lines of communication for sharing valuable information, such as research, effective policy initiatives, lessons learned, and new developments. By working together to establish similar design principles, ICAP partners are ensuring that future market systems, in conjunction with regulation in the form of enforceable caps, will boost worldwide demand for low-carbon products and services, provide a larger market for innovators, and achieve global emissions reductions at the swiftest pace and lowest cost possible. The new partnership supports the current ongoing efforts under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which all ICAP members agree has a central role in fighting global warming.

ICAP will facilitate global solutions to global warming by:

  • Rigorously and accurately monitoring, reporting, and verifying emissions and working to determine reliable sources appropriate for inclusion in a globally linked program.
  • Encouraging common approaches and furthering partners' together to expand the global carbon market, helping to prevent leakage.
  • Creating a clear price incentive to innovate, develop, and use clean technologies.
  • Encouraging private investors to choose low-carbon projects and technologies, generating the flow of money needed to support a shift to a low-carbon future.
  • Providing flexible compliance mechanisms that ensure reliable reductions at the fastest pace and lowest cost.

Hercules, Inc. Pays $12.95 Million for Environmental Cleanup Costs at Navy-Owned, Contractor-Operated Site

Hercules, Inc., a former defense contractor, has agreed to pay the United States nearly $13 million toward the cleanup of the Allegany Ballistics Laboratory (ABL) site in Rocket Center, W. Va., according to a settlement reached with the Department of Justice, the Department of the Navy, and the EPA.

This is the first settlement in which the Justice Department has recovered environmental cleanup costs from a contractor on behalf of the Navy. The consent decree was lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia.

The agreement provides that Hercules, which operated the Navy-owned ABL site from 1945 to 1995, will pay a substantial portion of the costs needed to clean up the site pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). The money recovered by the Navy from Hercules will largely go toward further environmental cleanups on Navy-owned land.

The Navy is performing the ongoing cleanup at ABL in consultation with EPA and the state of West Virginia. ABL was placed on EPA’s National Priorities List (NPL) in May 1994. Under the agreement, EPA will recover a portion of the $12.95 million, which will go towards its expenditure in overseeing the cleanup of this NPL facility.

In a complaint filed simultaneously with the consent decree, the United States charged that Hercules’ activities at ABL, including the manufacture of rocket motors and fuel, led to environmental releases of hazardous substances including organic solvents, explosives, propellants, and metals.

“This settlement reflects our commitment to ensure that defense contractors pay their appropriate share of costs arising from environmental cleanups at military facilities,” said Ronald J. Tenpas, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division. “This settlement is part of an expanding enforcement partnership between the Department of Justice and the Department of Defense, the goal of which is to secure an appropriate contribution to overall cleanup costs from the contractors who operated these facilities.”

“The Navy and Hercules had a longstanding relationship in the effort to develop and produce weapons’ systems to defend and protect our military and our nation,” said Don Schregardus, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Environment. “This agreement memorializes our shared commitment to further protect our nation by responsibly cleaning up our environment. The Navy appreciates Hercules’ support in these efforts.”

“Just like any other company, a government contractor that creates a contaminated site must take responsibility for cleaning up the site,” said Donald S. Welsh, administrator for EPA’s mid-Atlantic region. “EPA is pleased that today’s settlement recovers taxpayer money that EPA has spent on this cleanup.”


EPA Reaches Agreement With Greif Brothers on Clean-Air Violations

EPA Region 5 has reached an agreement with Greif Brothers Industrial Packaging & Services LLC, 4300 W. 130th St., Alsip, Ill., on alleged clean-air violations at two industrial process cooling towers at the company's metal drum production plant in Alsip.

The agreement, which includes a $120,000 penalty, resolves EPA allegations that Greif Brothers violated national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants by using hexavalent chromium compounds in its cooling towers.

Short-term exposure to hexavalent chromium can cause shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing. Long-term exposure can cause perforations and ulcerations of the nasal septum, bronchitis, decreased lung function, pneumonia, and other respiratory effects. Hexavalent chromium is also a known cancer-causing agent.

EPA Reaches Agreement With Products Chemical on Clean-Air Violations

EPA Region 5 has reached an agreement with Products Chemical Co., 6400 Herman Ave., Cleveland, Ohio, on alleged clean-air violations.

The agreement, which includes a $33,911 penalty, resolves EPA allegations that Products Chemical exceeded the volatile organic compound (VOC) content limit for architectural coatings without reporting and paying required fees and without submitting required reports from 2000 through 2005. Products Chemical reported and paid the required fees in February 2007.

VOCs contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone (smog), which is formed when a mixture of pollutants react on warm, sunny days. Smog can cause respiratory problems, including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest pain. People with asthma, children, and the elderly are especially at risk, but these health concerns are important to everyone.

EPA Reaches Agreement With Sturgis Iron and Metal on Clean-Air Violations

EPA Region 5 has reached an agreement with Sturgis Iron and Metal Co. Inc. on alleged clean-air violations at the company's secondary aluminum production plant, 3113 S. Gertrude St., South Bend, Ind.

The agreement, which includes a $29,059 penalty, resolves EPA allegations that Sturgis operated a sweat furnace with an afterburner at the facility without complying with certain federal testing, planning, notification, and recordkeeping requirements. These requirements are designed to ensure that the furnace meets emission standards for hazardous dioxins and furans.

There is evidence that dioxins may cause liver damage and probably cause cancer in humans, while furans may cause cancer.

Bruneau Cattle Company Agrees to Pay $40,000 to Resolve Clean Water Act Violations

Bruneau Cattle Co. (Bruneau) has agreed to pay a $40,000 penalty to settle alleged Clean Water Act violations. According to the EPA, the violations occurred at the Bruneau Cattle Company’s feedlot, located on Jack’s Creek Road in Owyhee County, near the town of Bruneau, Idaho.

The settlement resolves alleged Clean Water Act violations involving the discharge of runoff from the feedlot’s pens without permit coverage under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). Based on an NPDES inspection of the Bruneau facility in February 2006, EPA determined that the facility had been discharging wastewater into the South Side Canal numerous times in the last five years. The South Side Canal and Jack’s Creek flow into the C.J. Strike Reservoir, which flows into the Snake River. Bruneau has more than 4,000 head of cattle in its facility, yet it had no containment to prevent runoff of process wastewater.

According to Mike Bussell, EPA’s Director, Office of Compliance & Enforcement in Seattle, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) continue to be a leading source of water quality impairment in the United States. Consolidation trends in the livestock industry have resulted in larger-sized operations that generate about 500 million tons of manure annually. This is three times the amount of human waste produced in the United States.

“When CAFOs fail to take proper precautions, including obtaining necessary wastewater discharge permits, their manure laden runoff can pollute our rivers and streams and contribute to fish kills,” said Bussell. “CAFOs that discharge into our waterways are required to have permits under the Clean Water Act. This requirement has been on the books since the 1970s—so there’s no excuse for not complying with the law.”

In addition to paying a penalty, Bruneau has agreed to undertake various measures to ensure that wastewater is land applied at agronomic rates and is not discharged to surface waters.

The NPDES permit program, established under the federal Clean Water Act, controls water pollution by regulating sources that discharge pollutants to waters in the United States.

EPA Seeks $27,500 Civil Penalty Against Arizona Water Company

The EPA has lodged a civil complaint seeking a $27,500 fine against the American Realty & Mortgage Company, alleging the Arizona water company repeatedly disregarded an order to monitor its drinking water supply for lead, copper, and nitrates.

Monitoring is a key component of ensuring water quality for the company’s 50 Pinal County residents and failing to do so violates the Safe Drinking Water Act. Children are particularly susceptible to the adverse health effects of lead and nitrate in drinking water.

“We are taking action against American Realty to ensure everyone in Pinal County has access to safe drinking water,” said Alexis Strauss, Water Division director for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. "We will continue to oversee all Arizona public water systems and ensure (that) the required monitoring of drinking water quality is conducted."

Information about the water company's drinking water violations was also shared with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and the Arizona Corporation Commission, state agencies which have authorities over water utilities in Arizona. The ACC recently placed this system in receivership. Global Resources, the interim operator, is presently running the water system.

The EPA, in seeking a civil penalty of up to $27,500 against the company, is emphasizing the continued and flagrant nature of the violations, and the health risks those violations pose to the approximately 50 customers it serves in Pinal County, Ariz.

American Realty and Mortgage also failed to notify customers about its failure to monitor for lead, copper, and nitrates, and of excessive levels of nitrate in the water. This puts customers at further risk because they are not aware of the potential problem, and therefore may not take steps to protect themselves.

Infants below the age of six months who drink water containing nitrates in excess of federal standards can become seriously ill and, if untreated, may die. Symptoms include shortness of breath and blue baby syndrome. Elevated blood lead levels in young children can trigger learning disabilities, decreased growth, hyperactivity, impaired hearing, and brain damage.

EPA Fines Emeryville, Calif., Company $36,000 for Stormwater Violations


Storm water from the facility runs off into a city collection system, which runs directly into the San Francisco Bay.

“Runoff from industrial sites can pose a serious threat to the Bay’s water quality,” said Alexis Strauss, the EPA’s Water Division director for the Pacific Southwest region. “The Clean Water Act requires companies to comply with permit requirements and take simple, basic steps to prevent pollutants from contaminating stormwater.”

During a September 2006 inspection, the U.S. EPA discovered:

  • Drums containing waste fluids, surface residues, and/or hazardous materials stored outdoors
  • Evidence of spills of oily substances, product wastes, and other pollutants, as well as significant amounts of debris covering the facility’s storm drains, including metal shavings
  • Outdoor storage items not contained on pallets or under cover
  • Poor housekeeping in the outdoor and scrap bin areas
  • A berm not constructed along the western perimeter of the facility

The EPA also discovered that the company failed to update and revise its pollution prevention plan and conduct and maintain records of the facility’s inspections.

Polluted runoff is the leading cause of water pollution in the San Francisco Bay area. Stormwater runoff can carry pollutants from industrial sources, metals, oil and grease, acidic wastewater, bacteria, trash, and other toxic pollutants into nearby water sources. The EPA requires industrial facilities to prevent water pollution by complying with federal and state water pollution requirements.

This settlement follows a December 2006 EPA order that required Coulter Forge Technologies to comply with the stormwater permit.

EPA Fines Contractor, Arizona DOT $36,410 Over Asbestos Violations


"If not handled properly, asbestos is a hazard to demolition workers and to the surrounding communities,” said Deborah Jordan, the EPA’s Air Division director for the Pacific Southwest region. “This is the EPA’s fourth asbestos enforcement action against the Arizona Department of Transportation in the past five years. We expect them to address this potentially hazardous pattern of non-compliance.”

According to the EPA, ADOT hired BCS Enterprises in March 2006 to demolish a structure in Florence Junction, Pinal County, Ariz., that included approximately 2,800 square feet of transite asbestos-containing roofing shingles.

During the April 2006 demolition of the property, BCS Enterprises and ADOT allegedly violated federal law by:

  • Failing to remove the asbestos shingles before demolition
  • Failing to maintain and provide proper waste shipment records
  • Failing to properly notify the EPA and the local air pollution control agency of the demolition and asbestos removal operations

In 2003, ADOT paid approximately $116,000 in penalties and implemented a compliance program to settle a judicial case against itself and four other defendants involving notification and inspection violations at four demolition sites in Arizona.

In 2005, ADOT settled two administrative enforcement actions for notification violations involving demolitions of an abandoned fuel island in Show Low, Ariz., and a bridge at Interstate 10 and Loop 202 interchange south of Chandler, Ariz. To settle these two administrative actions, ADOT paid a penalty of approximately $10,000 and funded more than 30 training seminars at a cost of approximately $45,000.

Asbestos fibers released to the air are considered a hazardous air pollutant by the EPA. Potential health effects from the inhalation of asbestos fibers include lung disease and cancer.

EPA Reaches Agreement With Tate and Lyle North America on Clean-Air Violations

EPA Region 5 has reached an agreement with Tate & Lyle North America on alleged clean-air violations at the company's wet corn mill at 3300 U.S. 52 S., Lafayette, Ind.

The agreement, which includes a $188,100 penalty, resolves EPA allegations that Tate & Lyle made major modifications at the mill that significantly increased emissions of carbon monoxide without getting a permit requiring best available emission controls.

In a related action, Tate & Lyle agreed to comply with an EPA order to apply for a permit to install best available emission control technology to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

When carbon monoxide enters the bloodstream, it reduces delivery of oxygen to the body's organs and tissues. Exposure to high levels of carbon monoxide can impair vision, hand movement, learning ability, and performance of complex tasks, as well as cause death.

East Boston Sandblasting Company Faces Penalties for Hazardous Waste Violations

A Massachusetts sandblasting company faces a possible $116,331 penalty in an Administrative Complaint filed by EPA for failing to comply with hazardous waste management laws at its East Boston facility.

Amex operates a facility that conducts sandblasting of tanks, bridges, and barges both on and off the site and is a large quantity generator of hazardous waste.

Upon inspection, EPA determined that Amex failed to determine whether the wastes it generated were hazardous, to conduct inspections of its hazardous waste storage area, to have satisfactory emergency preparedness planning, and to properly label hazardous waste containers. The company also lacked adequate training for handlers of hazardous waste, had an incomplete hazardous waste training plan, and improperly diluted sandblast grit containing hazardous concentrations of lead as a substitute for appropriate treatment of the waste.

Amex's violations of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act () posed a significant risk of harm to human health and the environment. At the time of the inspection, no employees were trained in the physical, day-to-day management of hazardous waste. The failure of Amex to provide such training created the potential for mismanagement of hazardous waste, which could have resulted in the release or improper disposal of hazardous waste, thereby threatening human health and the environment. Amex’s improper dilution of lead-contaminated sandblast grit resulted in the shipment of that material to a solid waste landfill rather than a landfill authorized and designed to accept hazardous waste.

EPA’s order requires Amex to comply with RCRA regulations and to correct all violations cited in the complaint. Amex will also be required to submit documentation to the agency demonstrating compliance.

California Mandates Disclosure of Building Energy Consumption

Utilities must have the data in the appropriate format and ready for uploading at a customer’s request by January 2009. The bill further mandates that starting in January 2010, commercial building owners or operators will be required to disclose a building’s benchmarking data and EPA energy performance rating to a prospective buyer, lessee of an entire building, or lender that would finance the entire building. The mandate relates only to transactions involving entire buildings.

California Assembly Member Lori Saldaa, the bill’s author, noted that the legislation would make it easier for building owners and operators to compare their building’s performance with that of similar buildings and to manage their building’s energy costs over time. “This information will help motivate building managers to make their buildings more energy efficient. It will also help them to establish investment priorities and to take advantage of energy investment opportunities offered by utilities and governments,” Saldaa said.

The EPA performance-rating system, available through Portfolio Manager, compares the energy use of an individual building with the national stock of similar buildings using a 1- to 100-point rating system. EPA will continue to work with California utilities and other stakeholders to help ensure the successful implementation of this new bill.

Fluor-Hanford and Twin City Metals Agree to Pay EPA Nearly $85,000 to Resolve PCB Violations

Fluor-Hanford (Fluor), the primary clean-up contractor at the Department of Energy’s Hanford Reservation, and Twin City Metals (TCM), a Richland, Wash., metal recycler, have agreed to pay the EPA a combined total of $84,800 in penalties for mishandling PCB-contaminated transformers.

According to Mike Bussell, director of EPA’s Compliance and Enforcement Office in Seattle, this is a classic case of toxic “ripple effect” that was completely unnecessary.

“Risks to human health and the environment could’ve been greatly reduced, at a fraction of the cost, if this was handled correctly in the first place,” said EPA’s Bussell. “By carefully handling all transformers and diligently cleaning up any spills that occur as quickly as possible, damage can be prevented and costly cleanups avoided.”

In May 2006, 60 transformers were transported by trucks from Hanford to TCM. Fluor arranged the transfer on behalf of DOE. One of the transformers contained approximately 50 gallons of fluid contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at a concentration of 250 parts per million (ppm).

The next day, as TCM was handling the transformers for the purpose of brokering the transformer metal for resale, fluid was spilled from the PCB-contaminated transformer. According to documents associated with the investigation, TCM notified Fluor about the spill later that day, but Fluor took no immediate action to either limit or abate the spill. A significant portion of the fluid was spilled onto soil at TCM, but contaminated fluid was also spilled onto equipment and other surfaces.

Several TCM employees may have been exposed to PCBs by either handling the contaminated transformer or walking though contaminated soil where fluid had spilled.

The next day, the PCB-contaminated transformer was transported by truck to Joseph Simon and Sons, Inc. (JS&S), a metal recycling business located in Tacoma, Wash. The PCB-contaminated transformer was offloaded at JS&S, and JS&S employees may have been exposed to PCBs by handling the contaminated transformer.

Approximately a week later, Fluor obtained sampling results that confirmed the transformer had spilled PCB-contaminated fluid (250 ppm). Fluor then initiated cleanup actions at the homes of workers who were potentially exposed to the PCBs as well as at both the TCM and JS&S facilities.

According to the consent agreement, the settlement terms included Fluor paying a penalty of $54,800 and Twin City Metals paying a penalty of $30,000. Both companies have 30 days from the filing of the final order to submit payment to the EPA.

$25,000 Penalty Against Jet Products for Hazardous Waste Violations

Jet Products Company will pay a $25,000 civil penalty for violating Arizona’s Hazardous Waste Management Act. In February 2006, ADEQ cited Jet Products for 17 major violations at the company’s facility at 2600 W. Quail Ave. in Phoenix, including improperly disposing of waste contaminated with methyl ethyl ketone and chromium as solid waste rather than hazardous waste, failing to perform hazardous waste determinations for those wastes, illegally storing hazardous waste for longer than permitted, failing to perform regular training, and failing to submit required waste manifests to ADEQ.

ADEQ inspectors discovered the violations during a compliance inspection of Jet Products facility in December 2005. Jet Products coats, paints, tests, and assembles aluminum parts for defense, aerospace, and aircraft industries.

In addition to paying the $25,000 penalty, the company also will be required to implement an Environmental Management System (EMS) to ensure that it follows state environmental laws in the future.

Jet Products’ EMS will be monitored by an auditor, who will be determined at a later date. Failure to comply with the consent judgment could lead to additional penalties of $50,000 or more.

Chemical Plants Fined for Not Having Air Permits

Two Rivers Terminal LLC has been fined $10,000 for building two chemical plants on Glade Road in Pasco, Wash., without the proper permits. An air quality permit from the Department of Ecology (Ecology) would have required air pollution-control equipment that would have reduced toxic air pollution emissions.

Two Rivers Terminal did not get the required air-quality permits from Ecology before building and operating the chemical plants. Ecology learned of the plants' existence in early 2007. Ecology and Department of Agriculture officials inspected Two Rivers Terminal on March 5, 2007.

"This is a serious violation because toxic air pollutants have been released at higher amounts than is allowed by state law," said Karen Wood, who manages Ecology's Eastern Washington air quality program. "The laws exist so that air pollution is minimized to a level that is safe for people to breathe."

Both plants release acid mist and other toxic air pollutants. No air pollution control equipment has been installed on either of the plants, which manufacture magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts) and calcium nitrate.

Acid mist is corrosive and when inhaled can cause breathing difficulties and lead to pneumonia and pulmonary edema. Other symptoms may include coughing, choking, and irritation of the nose, throat, and respiratory tract.

In addition to the financial penalty, Two Rivers Terminal must submit an air quality permit application to Ecology, which would likely require the installation of air-pollution-control equipment. Additional enforcement actions will be considered if the company fails to pursue the air quality permit in a timely manner.

Two Rivers Terminal may apply to Ecology for a penalty reduction or appeal the penalty to the Washington State Pollution Control Hearings Board within 30 days.

Ohio EPA Director Encourages Review and Comment on Greenhouse Gas Reporting Protocol

The Climate Registry is seeking comments on its recently released draft General Reporting Protocol (GRP) for the Voluntary Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program. Ohio EPA Director Chris Korleski, who is a Climate Registry board member, encourages interested parties to comment on the proposal by November 30.

The Registry believes that this draft reporting protocol reflects current best practices in comprehensive greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting and reporting. The Registry is gathering public input regarding the document's completeness, usability, accuracy, clarity, and its consistency with other existing greenhouse gas programs. In particular, they seek feedback and suggestions for further clarification on the following guidance provided in the draft reporting protocol:

  • Transitional Reporting, Public Release of GHG data, and Historical GHG Data (Part I: Introduction)
  • Defining and Entity/Organizational Boundaries (Part II: Chapter 3)
  • Establishing and Updating Base Year (Part II: Chapter 7)
  • Specific Quantification Methodologies (Part III)

The Registry also seeks comments on the concept of creating a third classification of reporter (Premier Reporters), which is described in a separate document.  

Comments should be sent by Nov. 30, 2007, to:
Allison Riley
101Merrimac Street, 10th floor
Boston, MA 02114
Fax: 617-742-9162

When finalized, the reporting protocol will serve as the broad accounting standard for the Registry, providing guidance on a wide range of sources across many industries. The Registry anticipates adopting the final protocol at its Jan. 15, 2008, meeting in Santa Monica, Calif.

The Climate Registry is a collaboration between states, provinces, and tribes aimed at developing and managing a common greenhouse gas emissions reporting system with high integrity that is capable of supporting various greenhouse gas emission reporting and reduction policies for its member states and tribes and reporting entities. It will provide an accurate, complete, consistent, transparent, and verified set of greenhouse gas emissions data from reporting entities, supported by a robust accounting and verification infrastructure.

Environmental News Links

Trivia Question of the Week

What is GreenChill?

a. EPA Program to cut emissions of ozone-depleting substances and greenhouse gases at supermarkets.
b. Fuel formulated from hot chili beans.
c. CFC replacement gas that has no potential to deplete ozone.
d. Alliance of ski enthusiasts and the ski industry joined to fight global warming.