DOT Bans Lithium Batteries on Passenger Aircraft

August 13, 2007

 This final rule also tightens standards for testing, handling, and packaging lithium batteries to reduce the likelihood of a lithium battery-related fire during shipment.

“Keeping shipments of metal lithium batteries off of passenger aircraft is a prudent step to help keep America’s airlines the safest in the world,” said PHMSA Chief Safety Officer and Assistant Administrator Stacey L. Gerard.

Lithium batteries are considered a hazardous material because they can overheat and ignite in certain conditions. Safety testing conducted by the Federal Aviation Administration found that current aircraft cargo fire suppression systems are not capable of suppressing a fire if a shipment of primary lithium batteries is ignited in flight. While the rule bans shipments of the batteries on passenger flights, it does not affect the ability of passengers to carry or use personal devices containing lithium batteries while aboard aircraft.

In addition to the new rule, PHMSA is working with the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the battery and airline industries, airline employee organizations, testing laboratories, and the emergency response communities to increase public awareness about battery-related risks and developments, and to promote improvements in industry standards and best practices.

Opacity Violations Trigger $285,000 Penalty

St. Lawrence Cement has agreed to pay a $285,000 penalty and improve monitoring to settle smokestack emission violations at its Hudson Valley cement plant in Catskill, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis announced last week.

The cement plant exceeded state and federal air-emission limits at various times over a three-year period. The emission limits are intended to control the dust generated from the preliminary stages of cement production. The violations dealt with improper levels of smoke density.

The settlement requires St. Lawrence to investigate the cause of the violations and complete any necessary repairs to its pollution control equipment by April 30, 2008. Besides paying a $285,000 civil penalty, the company will be subject to more stringent reporting requirements for the next few years, including monthly kiln stack reports. The company must submit an engineering report evaluating the operation, maintenance, and efficiency of the kiln within 120 days, and undertake any recommended repairs.

Schools Fined $67,240 for Asbestos Violations

The EPA recently fined seven Tucson charter school operators a combined total of $67,240 for Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act violations.

In May 2006, EPA inspectors discovered the school operators all failed to conduct inspections to determine if asbestos-containing material was present in school buildings and failed to develop asbestos management plans. Accredited inspectors later found asbestos in six of the schools. All of the schools have since taken necessary actions to comply with the law.

“Asbestos in schools has the potential for endangering the health of students, teachers, and others, including maintenance workers,” said Nathan Lau, Associate Director for the Communities and Ecosystems Division in EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “The EPA takes these violations seriously, and is pleased that the schools have now conducted the inspections and put asbestos management plans in place.”

The schools are:

  • Pima Partnership School: The operator Pima Prevention Partnership, Inc. was fined $12,600.
  • Transformational Learning Center: The operator TLC Charter Schools, Inc. was fined $12,600.
  • Alternative Computerized Education Charter High School: The operator Tucson Youth Development, Inc. was fined $12,600.
  • Tucson Urban League Academy: The operator Tucson Urban League, Inc. was fined $11,300.


Asbestos was discovered at all four schools during inspections. Each school now has a management plan including the location of the asbestos and how the school will properly manage the asbestos to reduce the risk of exposure.

City High School: The operator of the school, Tucson Small School Project, Inc., was fined $8,800. During an inspection, the inspector found asbestos materials, including an area of damaged acoustic ceiling plaster which needed removal. The school has since implemented a management plan and removed the damaged asbestos-containing building material.

Toltecali Academy, Calli Ollin Academy, and Hiaki High School: The operator of these schools, Calli Ollin Academy, was fined $7,300. During an inspection of Calli Ollin Academy, the inspector found asbestos materials, including about three linear feet of damaged pipe insulation. The school has since implemented a management plan and removed the damaged asbestos material for Calli Ollin Academy. Toltecali Academy was constructed in 2002 and a letter from the builder of the school confirmed that no asbestos containing building material was used in construction of the school. A management plan for the school has since been prepared. Asbestos was not found during an inspection of Hiaki High School, but the inspection was not conducted prior to operating the school. The school operator also failed to maintain an asbestos management plan, and has since developed a plan and has records available showing no asbestos was found at Hiaki.

Southside Community School: The operator, Aprender Tucson, will pay a cash penalty of $1,453, after subtracting the EPA approved costs of complying with the law from a $2,040 fine. After the EPA’s inspection, the school operator obtained written confirmation from the builder of the school that no asbestos was used in construction, but failed to maintain an asbestos management plan. The school now has an asbestos management plan and records available showing no asbestos was used in the construction of the school.

Each school is allowed to subtract properly documented costs of complying with the regulations from the penalty amount.

Federal law requires schools to conduct an initial inspection using accredited inspectors to determine if asbestos-containing building material is present and develop a management plan to address the asbestos materials found in the school buildings. Schools are also required to appoint a designated person who is trained to oversee asbestos activities and ensure compliance with federal regulations. Finally, schools must conduct periodic surveillance and re-inspections, properly train the maintenance and custodial staff, and maintain records in the management plan.

Local education agencies must keep an updated copy of the management plan in its administrative office and at the school which must be made available for inspection by parents, teachers, and the general public.

New Water Quality Trading Guide Available

A new EPA publication will help the regulated community design and implement voluntary water quality trading programs consistent with EPA's 2003 National Water Quality Trading Policy. This new guide will provide stakeholders with detailed guidance on the fundamental concepts of trading which can accelerate water quality improvement and reduce compliance costs.

"EPA's Trading Toolkit is the first-ever how-to manual on water quality trading," says Assistant Administrator for Water Benjamin H. Grumbles. "This toolkit will be useful not only for permit writers but for anyone interested in designing a trading program to improve water quality. It is part of EPA's efforts to support and encourage innovation for water quality progress."

Water quality trading is a voluntary option that regulated point sources can use to meet requirements under the Clean Water Act. The Water Quality Trading Toolkit for Permit Writers provides permitting authorities with the tools they need to incorporate trading provisions into required permits. The guide is focused on trading nitrogen and phosphorus, but other pollutants may be considered for trading on a case-by-case basis. The toolkit discusses the fundamental concepts of designing and implementing trading programs including the relevant geographic scope, effluent limitations, and other factors involved in defining a credit. The document also includes a set of appendices that feature detailed case studies based on actual trading programs.

EPA is interested in public comment on the toolkit. Comments received through the document's Web site will be considered for future updates.




Twenty Countries, 600 Groups, Will Meet in China to Reduce Greenhouse Gases


EPA and China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) will co-host the Expo, in cooperation with several key Chinese ministries and corporations. An array of international organizations will participate as organizing sponsors, including the Asian Development Bank; the Australian Government; the United Kingdom's Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs; Environment Canada; the International Energy Agency; and the U.N. Economic Commission for Europe.

"The Methane to Markets Expo is a unique opportunity to promote public-private partnerships which deliver benefits that are good for the environment, good for energy security, and good for our wallets," said Marcus Peacock, EPA's deputy administrator. "EPA is committed to being a good global neighbor by exporting America's environmental successes to our international partners."

Twenty times more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere, methane, the primary component of natural gas, is both a potent greenhouse gas and a valuable energy resource. The Methane to Markets Partnership focuses on promoting near-term, cost-effective projects that capture and use methane emissions as a clean energy source. The partnership focuses on project opportunities in agriculture, coal mining, landfill, and oil and gas sectors, where the collection and utilization of methane is possible using currently available technologies.

The expo's "International Methane Capture Marketplace" will be the first international forum devoted to the promotion of project opportunities and technologies related to methane recovery and use. It will be held in Beijing's China World hotel, and up to 600 participants are anticipated from the public and private sectors from countries spanning the globe.

The Expo will provide attendees with the opportunity to

  • Showcase project opportunities for potential investors
  • Meet with potential project partners and financiers
  • Learn about the latest technologies and services
  • Explore key technical, policy, and financial issues


The United States and 13 other countries launched the Methane to Markets Partnership in November 2004. By 2015, Methane to Markets has the potential to reduce annual methane emissions by up to 50 million metric tons of carbon equivalent – roughly equal to three times the greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity generated in New York State each year.

Concord Enterprises, Inc. Pays $59,000 Fine to Settle Alleged Household Pesticides Violations


Concord Enterprises, Inc. allegedly sold several unregistered pesticides. Mega Care Toilet Bowl Cleaner claimed to “kill germs,” Blue Bubble Auto Toilet Cleaner claimed it “disinfects” and three surface wipes imported from China were identified as “antibacterial.” The products were sold in several states including California, Arizona, and Hawaii. The company is a large wholesale distributor to retail “dollar stores.”

“We continue to find retailers of household pesticide products in violation of federal law. Our rules not only regulate the manufacture and use of pesticides but the retail sale as well,” said Katherine Taylor, associate director of the EPA’s Communities and Ecosystems Division of EPA Southwest Regional Office. “EPA will continue to seek out violators of the federal regulations and level fines in our continuing efforts to protect human health and the environment.”

The case is based on inspections by the EPA, the Arizona Department of Agriculture, and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation in late 2005 and 2006.

The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act regulates the sale, distribution, and use of pesticides within the United States. Before selling or distributing any pesticide in the United States, companies must register the pesticide with the EPA. Each producer, seller, and distributor is required pursuant to federal law to ensure that the registered pesticide is labeled in accordance with agency requirements.

EPA Releases Operator Training Guidelines for State Underground Storage Tank Programs

The operator training grant guidelines describe the minimum requirements states must meet in order to comply with the operator training provision contained in the Energy Policy Act.

The guidelines establish three distinct classes of underground storage tank operators, describe how and when states will implement the guidelines, and discuss when operators must be trained. The guidelines include a description of the classes of operators, required training for each class of operator, deadlines when operator training is required, and examples of acceptable state approaches to operator training. In order for states to comply with these requirements, they must develop state-specific operator training requirements by Aug. 8, 2009, and ensure that all three classes of operators are trained according to state-specific requirements by Aug. 8, 2012.

EPA worked with states, regional tank offices, and other stakeholders to develop the operator training grant guidelines. EPA provides funding to states through grants, which provide resources to help states regulate underground storage tanks and implement the underground storage tank program. EPA's Web site and the Federal Register notice provide the public with the final operator training grant guidelines.

EPA, Bay Area Air District, PG&E, Advanced Energy Fund State’s First Plug-in Hybrid School Bus

EPA joined Bay Area Air Quality Management District (AQMD), Pacific Gas & Electric Co., and Advanced Energy officials to award a $215,843 grant to the Napa Valley Unified School District to fund California’s first plug-in hybrid school bus, which has the potential to double fuel efficiency and reduce emissions by up to 90 percent.

The school district will become one of only seven school districts in the country – and the first in California – to operate the new plug-in hybrid bus.

The Bay Area AQMD provided $100,000 and PG&E contributed $30,000 toward the purchase of the bus. Advanced Energy, a North Carolina-based nonprofit that helps school districts across the country get new plug-in hybrid technology, helped the district secure over $55,000 in additional funding.

Napa Valley Unified School District representatives joined bus manufacturer IC Corporation and Advanced Energy to showcase the new school bus to federal, state, and local officials.

While the exterior of the hybrid school bus looks similar to a standard school bus, it is powered with innovative new “plug-in” technology. With an overnight charge, the system uses a larger battery that provides stored energy that is drawn down over the driving cycle, thus optimizing fuel economy. The bus uses a diesel engine to operate, and the electric battery activates when needed to reduce the amount of diesel fuel used to power the engine. Depending on the route, fuel economy is expected to improve by 70-100 percent and emissions are expected to be reduced by up to 90 percent.

“The adoption of plug-in-hybrid vehicles represents a tremendous opportunity to meet our state’s landmark greenhouse gas emission goals, and to protect our natural heritage,” said Brad Whitcomb, vice president of customer products and services for PG&E, which has helped more than three hundred customers adopt alternative transportation methods. “We are committed to helping the Napa Valley, along with our entire service area, bring more alternative fuel and clean energy into our communities.”

Nationwide, 24 million children ride the bus to school and spend between 20 minutes and several hours daily on buses, many of which are powered by older diesel engines that can expose children to high levels of air pollution. To address the issue, the EPA launched Clean School Bus USA to help take school buses out of the air pollution equation. Clean School Bus USA brings together partners from business, education, transportation, and public health organizations to work toward these goals.

Today, over 2 million children are riding cleaner school buses as a result of the program, which has provided $32 million in grants to retrofit or replace over 30,000 diesel buses in hundreds of school districts – resulting in an estimated reduction of 300 tons of soot (particulate matter) and almost 4,000 tons of total air pollution.

The EPA is currently soliciting proposals for additional clean school bus grant funding. Over $1.3 million is available for Clean School Bus USA projects in the West. Applications must be received by September 24.

The West Coast Collaborative is a partnership of leaders from federal, state, and local government, the private sector, and environmental groups throughout North America committed to reducing diesel emissions. The collaborative seeks to leverage federal funds to reduce emissions from the most polluting diesel sources in the most affected communities to significantly improve air quality and public health.

$43,591 Penalty for Exceeding VOC Limit in Architectural Coatings

EPA Region 5 has reached an agreement with BASF Construction Chemicals LLC, 23700 Chagrin Blvd., Cleveland, Ohio, on alleged Clean Air Act violations. The company was formerly known as BASF Admixtures Inc. and Degussa Admixtures Inc.

The agreement, which includes a $43,591 penalty, resolves EPA allegations that BASF exceeded the volatile organic compound content limit for architectural coatings without reporting and paying required fees and without submitting required reports from 1999 through 2004.

Volatile organic compounds contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, or smog. Smog 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 Orders Public Water Supply Systems in Northeast Louisiana into Compliance

Based on numerous citizen complaints about the quality and safety of drinking water provided by public water supply systems in northeast Louisiana, the EPA announced the issuance of six administrative orders to owner/operator Jeffrey Pruett of West Monroe, Louisiana, for violations of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

The public water systems subject to these orders are the Love Estates Water System, Cottonland Mobile Home Estates Water System, Charmingdale Subdivision Water System, Pine Bayou Water System, Lakeview Estates Subdivision Water System, and the Suburban North Subdivision Water System, all in the Monroe, Louisiana, area.

“We rely on a safe and abundant water supply for the health of our families and our communities,” said EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene. “Public water supply systems are the first line of defense in providing clean and safe drinking water. When those systems experience problems, immediate actions will be taken to return them to compliance.”

In July 2007, staff from the EPA Region 6 Public Water Supply Enforcement Team, along with staff from the Water Quality Protection Division and the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (LDHH), inspected these water systems. Numerous operations and maintenance violations were found requiring immediate compliance action. These violations included improper storage of chlorine gas, insufficient chlorine residuals, unplugged abandoned wells, lack of a source of emergency electrical power, and no site security, among others.

Based on these findings, the owners and operators of these public water supply systems have been ordered to immediately take action to bring the systems into compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Ohio Circuits Fined for Hazardous Waste Violations

Durga, Inc., doing business as Ohio Circuits, has agreed to a $22,920 civil penalty with Ohio EPA to settle numerous hazardous waste violations at its facility located at 2250 East Aurora Road in Twinsburg. The company has corrected the violations and now operates in compliance with Ohio's hazardous waste laws.

During two facility inspections in April 2006, an Ohio EPA inspector found Ohio Circuits violated hazardous waste laws by failing to meet the design, installation, and operation and inspection requirements for two hazardous waste storage tanks.

Some of the other violations included failing to

  • Properly mark hazardous waste storage containers
  • Provide fire control, spill control and decontamination equipment in the storage area
  • Develop and maintain a hazardous waste contingency plan


Ohio Circuits manufactures printed circuit boards and is a large-quantity generator of hazardous wastes including plating and etching wastes.

$14,000 Penalty for Failure to Obtain Construction Stormwater Permit

The owner and developer of a Montesano housing project currently in construction received a $14,000 water quality penalty from the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology).

Ecology inspectors found John Backman of ANB Investments of Olympia and Swiss Meadows LLC were actively developing the land but had not applied for a construction stormwater discharge permit. This type of permit helps companies make sure discharges of stormwater are monitored for turbidity and don't pollute wetlands, streams, or other sensitive areas.

Turbidity refers to the amount of sediment or other particulates that cloud water. When discharged to ditches, streams, or other bodies of water, it can cover fish spawning beds as well as smother fish or fish eggs.

Ecology became aware of the construction project in fall 2006. After initial contact with the owner, inspectors visited the site four times from November 2006 through March 2007 and noted repeated violations: lack of a construction stormwater discharge permit; improperly installed silt "fences" intended to control erosion; discharges of dirty water into the county ditches; unstabilized stormwater ponds; and a risk of turbid discharges to a wetland at the back of the property.

Ecology made several efforts to help Mr. Backman and Swiss Meadows come into compliance with environmental safeguards at the site including onsite discussions about the problems, letters of non-compliance, an order requiring corrections and one-on-one assistance with Backman and his representatives.

In mid-February, Mr. Backman received the construction stormwater permit but other violations at the site have continued.

"A stormwater discharge permit is an essential part of any construction project," said Kim McKee, a water quality manager for Ecology. "The permit emphasizes the need for having proper runoff and stormwater controls in place to prevent problems."

$27,000 Penalty for Air Pollution Control Violations at Power Plant

Pinetree Power Fitchburg, Inc. of Texas, operator of an electric generating facility at 2 Rowtier Drive in Westminster, has been assessed a $27,000 penalty by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) for Air Pollution Control violations that occurred at its Westminster location.

During a review of monitoring data submitted by the company last year, MassDEP personnel found the facility was exceeding its Air Quality Plan Approval limits for nitrogen oxides, opacity, carbon monoxide, and ammonia. Pinetree Power Fitchburg operates a 16-megawatt electric generating facility, using wood chips as its primary fuel with landfill gas and paper cubes as secondary fuels.

In a recently finalized consent order, the company agreed to comply with applicable approved emission limits and pay a $6,750 penalty. Additionally, the company will complete a supplemental environmental project (SEP) valued at $20,250. The SEP will fund collection and disposal of brush, wood chips, and slash from tree and roadway maintenance from Massachusetts' cities and towns, as well as the processing of library discards (old library books) into fuel cubes.

"Companies nearing approved emission limits should proactively take measures to remain in compliance in order to prevent enforcement actions such as this," said Martin Suuberg, director of MassDEP's Central Regional Office in Worcester. "The company now has a plan to maintain compliance, and the SEP will aid our local communities."

TCEQ Approves Fines Totaling $421,494

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) approved penalties totaling $421,494 against 70 regulated entities for violations of state environmental regulations.

Agreed orders were issued for the following enforcement categories: 14 air quality, three dry cleaner, one Edwards Aquifer, three field citations, one industrial hazardous waste, one industrial waste discharge, one licensed irrigator, one multi-media, two municipal solid waste, nine municipal waste discharge, 13 petroleum storage tank, and 12 public water system, and two water quality, and one Edwards Aquifer. In addition, there were default orders issued for the following categories: one dry cleaner, one multi-media, one municipal solid waste, and four petroleum storage tank.

Included in the total fine figure is a penalty of $119,149 against Valero Refining-Texas L.P. in Galveston County. The fines are the result of 12 violations stemming from emissions events in 2006. Of the total, $59,574 will be used to help local school districts and transit agencies replace or retrofit diesel buses to reduce emissions.

The commission also approved publication of rules pertaining to the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan, which provides incentive grants to retrofit or replace polluting equipment; and the Low Income Vehicle, Repair Assistance, Retrofit, and Accelerated Vehicle Retirement Program, which expands eligibility for grants designed to repair or replace older vehicles.

Wastewater Spill Causes Mile Long Fish Kill

Pennsylvania Environmental Protection Regional Director Joseph A. Feola said an equipment failure at the MOPAC rendering plant in Franconia, Montgomery County, resulted in the release of an unknown quantity of untreated wastewater that has affected aquatic health in the Skippack Creek.

“This release of wastewater has resulted in a fish kill throughout a mile-long section of the creek between High School Road and the Pennsylvania Turnpike,” Feola said.

A DEP water quality specialist was dispatched to the site and reported seeing an estimated 10,000 dead fish, mostly minnows. The plant is located at 741 Souder Road. Downstream water suppliers were notified of the effect, as well as the Montgomery County Health Department. The health department recommends that the public avoid recreational activity that involves direct contact with an affecteded stream or river. The wastewater released contained a high level of ammonia, which quickly robbed the stream of dissolved oxygen.

Maryland Issues 10 Waste Management Enforcement Actions

The Maryland Department of the Environment’s (MDE) Waste Management Administration issued enforcement actions between July 15 and July 31, 2007 with penalties more than $5,000. 

$80,000 Penalty for Alleged Violations of Terrain Alteration and Wetland Laws

Attorney General Kelly A. Ayotte and Assistant Commissioner Michael J. Walls, of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (“DES”), announced that the Merrimack County Superior Court (Conboy, J.) approved a settlement between the state and the defendants, Ralph and Gail Tucci, to resolve violations of the state’s terrain alteration and wetland laws. The settlement includes a total civil penalty of $80,000 and a requirement to restore the affected area to the state’s satisfaction.

In its lawsuit, the state alleged that the Tuccis violated state laws by clearing and grading more than 100,000 square feet of land without a permit from DES. The Tuccis also affected over two acres of streams and wetlands. Originally, the Tuccis failed to comply with an administrative order issued by the state to stabilize and restore the area but after appearing before the Merrimack Superior Court in January 2006, the Tuccis agreed to abide by the state’s requirements. From that point on, although they continued to deny the state’s allegations, the Tuccis worked hard to restore the affected areas.

Due in part to the Tuccis efforts at restoration, the state agreed to suspend $60,000 of the total $80,000 civil penalty provided the Tuccis do not violate state laws again and provided they complete an additional project designed to enhance wildlife in the area. The settlement requires the Tuccis to pay the remaining $20,000 civil penalty in cash.

“Preventing damage to streams and wetlands continues to be an important part of the state’s environmental program,” said Attorney General Ayotte. “Everyone must recognize that these areas are protected under state law.”

“Penalties for these types of violations can be significant, but I am glad that this case will also result in some benefits to the environment,” said Assistant Commissioner Walls. “Under this agreement, what began as a violation will become an opportunity to enhance valuable habitat.”

Where Does the Nano Go?

All materials and products eventually come to the end of their useful life, and those made with nanotechnology are no different. This means that engineered nanomaterials will ultimately enter the waste stream and find their way into landfills or incinerators—and eventually into the air, soil and water. As a result, it is important to consider how various forms of nanomaterials will be disposed of and treated at the end of their use, and how the regulatory system will treat such materials at the various stages of their lifecycle.

 Authored by Linda K. Breggin and John Pendergrass, legal experts from the Environmental Law Institute (ELI), the report presents the most comprehensive analysis to-date of two key EPA laws that regulate the end-of-life management of nanotechnology. These are the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as the Superfund statute.

Today, there are over 500 company-identified nanotechnology consumer products on the market, all of which will sooner or later be disposed of. This inventory does not include nanotech products being sold but not identified as such, or the hundreds of nano raw materials, intermediate components, and industrial equipment items used by manufacturers today.

Spear USA Fined for RCRA Violations

Spear USA, headquartered in Mason, Ohio, will pay a $6,720 civil penalty and $1,680 to the Ohio EPA Clean Diesel School Bus Program. The company, which makes film labels for products such as Bud Light and the Starbucks Frappuccino line reached a settlement with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for hazardous waste violations.

The settlement is connected to a 1999 inspection. 

The settlement also outlines corrective steps the company must take to ensure safe future handling of hazardous waste.

Clean Harbors to Operate Former Romic Rail Facility in Redwood City, Calif.

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has issued a consent order to Clean Harbors Environmental Services, Inc. allowing the company to conditionally operate the rail transfer facility in Redwood City formerly owned by Romic Environmental Technologies Corporation.

In June 2007, Clean Harbors purchased several Romic facilities, including the Redwood City rail transfer facility, which is used to transfer liquid hazardous waste between rail tank cars and tanker trucks. DTSC regulates transfer and storage activities at the Redwood City rail facility under a standard hazardous waste facility permit.

Under terms of the order, Clean Harbors will be allowed to conduct specific conditional operations at the Redwood City rail transfer facility until DTSC receives a request from the company for a “Class 2” permit modification, holds a 60-day public comment period, and makes a final determination. These operations include:

  • Setting a maximum capacity of hazardous waste onsite at one time to 60,550 gallons – this equates to two rail cars, one tanker truck and 10 drums of off-site hazardous waste
  • Transfer and store waste from Clean Harbors’ hazardous waste facility in San Jose from tanker trucks into rail cars in Redwood City that will transport waste to authorized facilities
  • Transfer and store hazardous waste from rail cars in Redwood City to trucks bound for Clean Harbors’ hazardous waste facility in San Jose
  • Limit waste storage at the facility to a maximum of 10 days


Before conducting any operations at the Redwood City facility, DTSC’s order requires Clean Harbors to prepare and submit a waste analysis plan, inspection plan, emergency contingency plan, financial assurance documents, and training plan. In addition, the company must notify DTSC 10 days before receiving its first shipment of hazardous waste at the facility. Once shipments begin to the Redwood City facility, Clean Harbors is subject to all operating conditions that DTSC had imposed on the previous owner, Romic, and will be limited to the same materials and quantities of hazardous waste.


In addition to the new order, on August 6, DTSC approved a minor permit modification to transfer ownership and the standard permit for the Redwood City rail facility from Romic to Clean Harbors. This permit modification was allowed by DTSC although the department issued an order to Romic in May 2007 to close the Redwood City rail transfer facility – along with company’s East Palo Alto facility – because Romic found a viable buyer for the rail facility.


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Trivia Question of the Week

Manufacture of a single computer chip consumes how much water?

a. 1 to 2 gallons
b. 3 to 8 gallons
c. 40 to 80 gallons
d. 400 to 800 gallons