DOT Revises Regulations for Shipment of Hazardous Materials by Air

March 27, 2006

In a final rule published on March 22, 2006, DOT clarified the applicability of 49 CFR 175; the exceptions from regulation for operator equipment and supplies, special aircraft operations, and passengers and crewmembers; revised separation distances for the shipment of radioactive materials by cargo aircraft; and updated the regulations to comply with security requirements for explosive special permits. These changes were made to finalize outstanding petitions for rulemaking, convert some special permits into regulations, and promote international harmonization. The rule, known as HM-228 was published in the Federal Register at 71 FR 14585.á

Global Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation


Over three billion people worldwide each year suffer from water-related diseases that can be fatal, and mostly affect children under the age of five. In response to this challenge, EPA joined with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners at the Fourth World Water Forum in Mexico City to launch a new internet resource, the "WSPortal." The Portal will assist countries in delivering safe drinking water to their citizens by using Water Safety Plans (WSPs), health-based risk assessments that identify problems in a water system and chart corrective actions to take.

"March 22 is World Water Day, and I am pleased that the U.S. can now announce a new tool for countries to address a very serious global problem," said Judith E. Ayres, EPA's assistant administrator for the Office of International Affairs. "For countries to move forward in providing a better life for their citizens, clean water and adequate sanitation are essential first steps."

The World Water Forum is organized every three years by the World Water Council and a different host country. The Forum provides a critical international dialogue on water policy, as more than one billion people world-wide still lack access to potable water, and more than two billion do not have adequate sanitation.

The Portal resides on the World Health Organization website ), and represents the first step in the widespread dissemination of best practices for delivering safe drinking water through the use of Water Safety Plans. This "catchment to consumer" approach allows countries to catch problems with a water system before they contaminate drinking water and cause illness. This approach also highlights the best opportunities for potential donors and investors to select projects to fund that would have the largest positive impact on water safety.

EPA has also provided initial financial assistance in development of the website and is involved in WSP demonstration projects in Jamaica and India. Other participants in the launch include the World Bank Water and Sanitation Program, the Australian Agency for International Development, the United Kingdom Department of International Development, The New Zealand Ministry of Health, and the International Water Association, and Water for People.


Agreement Near on Mercury Switches in Scrap Cars

Continuing the effort to remove mercury switches from scrapped automobiles, EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson recently reaffirmed the commitment to complete negotiations on a collaborative agreement with industry, government and non-governmental groups.

Administrator Johnson said:

As many of you know, we have made significant progress toward developing a national partnership program that will help remove mercury switches from scrap automobiles. This national program will substantially reduce airborne mercury emissions from steel mills, and will do so much faster than EPA or states working on their own. The negotiating team includes representatives from the auto, steel, and recycling industries; state governments; environmental groups; and EPA. I want to thank them for a lot of hard work. They are actively working to hammer out the final details and seek agreement within their respective organizations. I fully anticipate we will have a national agreement in place within the coming weeks.

EPA's Office of Policy, Economics and Innovation is coordinating the negotiations.á

Yankee Nuclear Plant to Pay over $48,000 for PCB Violations

The owner of the decommissioning nuclear power plant in Rowe, Mass., will pay $48,750 to settle EPA claims that it violated federal PCB regulations. The company, Yankee Atomic Electric Company, will pay the penalty in settlement of an administrative enforcement action brought by EPA's New England regional office. The action stems from the improper disposal of steel that had been coated with PCB-contaminated paint. EPA's complaint, filed on February 15, 2006, alleged that the Yankee Atomic Electric Company violated the federal Toxic Substances Control Act and the conditions of a PCB disposal approval issued by EPA.
According to EPA, Yankee failed to follow the requirements for disposing of the steel from the structure that supported the nuclear reactor. The structure was coated with PCB contaminated paint and subject to EPA's PCB disposal regulations. At Yankee's request, EPA's New England office issued a disposal approval that allowed the company to remove the PCB containing paint and then recycle the steel. The approval required sampling to verify that any remaining PCB contamination fell below specified levels, and required Yankee to notify EPA if it learned of a possible violation of the approval conditions.

The company learned in May 2005 that some of the reactor structure's steel had been placed in a scrap steel container for collection by a local steel recycler, but had not been sampled for PCBs before the recycler collected and removed the steel from the site. EPA was not notified of this event until June 2005.

Yankee has determined that approximately 50,420 pounds of steel from the reactor structure had been collected by the recycler; the company was able to recover 33,360 pounds, but some 17,060 pounds could not be recovered. This steel had been shipped from the recycler to a smelter in Sayreville, New Jersey, which uses an electric arc furnace to melt scrap steel.

"Yankee's failure to ensure that the steel was properly sampled and decontaminated resulted in some of the PCB contaminated steel being smelted, which potentially caused the release of PCBs into the environment near the smelter," said Robert Varney, Regional Administrator of EPA's New England office. "If Yankee had immediately notified EPA of the problem, as the disposal approval required, EPA may have been able to help in recovering the material before it was smelted."

"Despite this incident," continued Varney, "the cleanup of the site, as regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and EPA, is expected to be completed successfully, and all parties continue to cooperate in this complex endeavor."

EPA has not filed charges against the steel recycler or the smelter. For more information, please visit: 

Businesses Turn Energy Savings into a Profit for the Environment

What do a snack food company, a car manufacturer, a building supplier and a hotel chain have in common? They are part of a select group of 67 businesses and organizations that achieved major energy savings or helped others save money. The EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy will confer partner-of-the-year awards on these organizations for their accomplishments and leadership in the Energy Star program.

"From potato chips to post-it notes, our Energy Star award winners are proving that saving energy dollars just makes sense," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. "President Bush and EPA are improving the nation's energy and environmental outlook - providing the next generation a brighter, healthier future."

Last year alone, Americans with the help of Energy Star, saved enough energy to power 28 million homes and reduced greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to that of 23 million cars, all while saving $12 billion on their energy bills. More than 500,000 new homes have earned the Energy Star distinction and more than 26,000 office buildings, schools, supermarkets and hotels have benchmarked their energy use.

Energy Star partners of the year, including Fortune 500 companies and small businesses, set and reached annual goals to shrink energy use. For example, a retailer reduced energy use by 25% in more than 1,200 of its stores and a property management firm improved energy efficiency over 22 million square feet, saving more than $2 million annually.

Energy Star was introduced by EPA in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Now in partnership with DOE, EPA works with more than 8,000 organizations to improve the energy efficiency of products, homes and businesses.

EPA Releases Ozone Air Quality Criteria Document Released

EPA will review the current air quality standard for ozone to determine if it needs to be revised. The "Air Quality Criteria for Ozone and Related Photochemical Oxidants," document provides scientific bases for EPA's periodic review of the current air quality standards for ozone. The Clean Air Act requires EPA to periodically review the scientific basis for National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for six major pollutants, including ozone, to determine whether the standards sufficiently protect public health and the environment.

This final Ozone Air Quality Criteria Document (AQCD) is a revision of the EPA Ozone AQCD published in 1996. The document released today evaluates the scientific peer-reviewed literature that has been generated since the current ozone NAAQS was set in 1997, and integrates the new findings with previously available studies. The publication of important new research is one part of the public process to review air quality standards.

As a result of the 1997 review, EPA took strong action to improve air quality by implementing an eight-hour ozone standard, which is significantly more protective of human health than the previous one-hour standard. By monitoring over an eight-hour period and tightening the standard from .12 to .08 parts-per-million (ppm), citizens are protected against health effects from longer exposure periods.

EPA is scheduled to propose whether to retain or revise the current national ozone standards in March 2007, and to issue a final decision by December 2007.

The reduction of smog is a critical element of the Bush Administration's comprehensive national clean air strategy. This strategy includes EPA's Clean Air Nonroad Diesel Program, the Clean Air Interstate Rule, the BART rules and the Administration's Clear Skies legislation. These programs are important components of EPA's efforts to help states and localities meet the more protective fine-particle and 8-hour ozone national air quality standards. In combination with other federal and state controls already in place, these programs will bring most of the country into attainment with these new standards.á


National Assessment of Toxic Air Pollutants

Recent news reports of an analysis of EPA data have generated significant interest in toxic air pollution. Although EPA has not issued a new report; the data has been available on EPA's Web site since February 22.

The data in the second National-Scale Air Toxics Assessment (NATA) is not a method for comparing one area of the country to another. Rather it is an important tool to guide further local, state and federal steps to cut toxic air pollution and build upon the significant emissions reductions achieved since 1990. It is a state-of-the-science screening tool that estimates cancer and other health risks from exposure to air toxics.

According to the EPA, the US has made significant progress in reducing air toxics from industry, fuels and vehicles, and indoor sources. Since the Clean Air Act was amended in 1990, EPA has issued 96 standards for 174 different types of industrial sources of air toxics, including chemical plants, oil refineries, aerospace manufacturers and steel mills. The agency also has issued regulations for 15 categories of smaller sources, such as dry cleaners, commercial sterilizers, secondary lead smelters and chromium electroplating facilities. Together, these standards are projected to reduce annual emissions of air toxics by about 1.7 million tons from 1990 levels when fully implemented. It is important to note that the NATA information was based on 1999 data. Thus it does not represent seven years of progress in air quality.

By 2030 EPA's proposed Mobile Source Air Toxic (MSAT) regulations and fuel and vehicle standards already in place will reduce toxic emissions from passenger vehicles to 80% below 1999 emissions.

The MSAT proposal would set new benzene standards for gasoline, hydrocarbon emissions standards for passenger vehicles at cold temperatures and evaporative standards for fuel containers. Once the new standards are fully implemented in 2030, they are expected to reduce emissions of mobile source air toxics annually by 350,000 tons, including 65,000 tons of benzene. The proposal, supporting documentation, and information about submitting comments are online.

NATA is not designed to be used as the sole basis for regulatory action. The results of the assessment, however, will help EPA and state and local air quality regulators identify pollutants and sources of greatest concern and set priorities for addressing that pollution. NATA also will help identify areas where EPA needs to collect additional information to improve the understanding of risks from air toxics exposure.

NATA covers 177 of the Clean Air Act's list of 187 air toxics plus diesel particulate matter. For 133 of these air toxics (those with health data based on chronic exposure) the assessment includes estimates of cancer or non-cancer health effects including non-cancer health effects for diesel particulate matter.

The assessment estimates that in most of the US, people have a lifetime cancer risk from air toxics between 1 and 25 in a million. This means that out of one million people, between 1 and 25 people have increased likelihood of developing cancer as a result of breathing air toxics from outdoor sources, if they were exposed to 1999 levels over the course of their lifetime (70 years). The assessment estimates that most urban locations have an air toxics lifetime cancer risk greater than 25 in a million. Risk in transportation corridors and some other locations is greater than 50 in a million. In contrast, one out of every three Americans (330,000 in a million) will develop cancer during a lifetime, when all causes (including exposure to air toxics) are taken into account.

The second NATA expands on EPA's first national-scale assessment with a more complete emissions inventory and the latest health effects information. The first assessment, based on 1996 data, was release in 2002. The methods used for the assessments were peer-reviewed and endorsed by EPA's Science Advisory Board in 2001.

EPA plans to develop new national-scale assessments as inventory data from subsequent years become available. The next such analysis will focus on exposure and risks from 2002 emissions.

Owner of "Super Soda Center" Stores Settles with EPA over UST Violations

The owner of several "Super Soda Center" gasoline and convenience stores located in Maryland has settled alleged violations of regulations to detect and prevent fuel leaks from underground storage tanks (USTs), the EPA announced.á
In a consent agreement with EPA, Dover, Delaware-based Duncan Petroleum Corp., which operates locations in Maryland and Delaware, agreed to pay a $65,000 penalty to settle alleged violations of federal and state UST regulations at Duncan's Super Soda Centers located in Federalsburg, Easton, Preston, Cambridge and Chestertown, Maryland. According to EPA's complaint, the company failed to properly monitor its gasoline, diesel fuel, and kerosene USTs for leaks; failed to properly maintain and operate leak control equipment; failed to comply with corrosion-prevention safeguards; and failed to investigate, confirm, and report suspected leaks to the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE).

In addition to the $65,000 penalty, the settlement requires Duncan Petroleum to undertake extensive measures to repair and upgrade the systems it utilizes to prevent and detect fuel leaks, including equipment testing, corrosion prevention safeguards and leak detection monitoring. As part of the settlement, the company neither admitted nor denied EPA's factual allegations.

With millions of gallons of gasoline, oil, and other petroleum products stored in USTs throughout the U.S., leaking tanks are a major source of soil and groundwater contamination. EPA and state UST regulations are designed to reduce the risk of underground leaks and to promptly detect and properly address leaks which do occur, thus minimizing environmental harm and avoiding the costs of major cleanups.á

Contractors Fined for Failure to Notify EPA of Demolition Projects

The EPA has settled two cases against Pennsylvania contractors for violating Clean Air Act regulations requiring notification to EPA prior to demolition or renovation projects.

Glen Miller Demolition & Excavating, Inc. of Birdsboro, Pa., has agreed to pay a $19,208 penalty for failing to notify EPA before the August 2005 demolition of the Huntingdon Place condominiums, located near the intersection of Route 63 and Huntingdon Pike, in Huntingdon Valley, Pa.

In a separate settlement, Neuber Environmental Services, Inc. of Phoenixville, Pa., will pay a $7,179 penalty for failing to provide advance notification of its July 2005 demolition of a field house at Liberty High School, 1115 Linden Street in Bethlehem, Pa.

Owners and operators of demolition or renovation activities covered by the Clean Air Act asbestos regulations must provide written notification to EPA at least 10 working days before commencing demolition or renovation. This regulation gives EPA or state inspectors the opportunity to inspect demolition or renovation projects that may involve asbestos-containing materials and, if necessary, halt or correct improper work practices that might cause asbestos emissions.

Asbestos is a hazardous air pollutant that was once heavily used in insulation and other building materials. Prolonged exposure to and inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause cancer and asbestosis, a serious respiratory disease.

The settlement penalties in both cases reflects the contractors cooperation with EPA's investigation and settlement of these matters. The cited contractors have neither admitted nor denied liability for the alleged violations, but both have certified their compliance with applicable Clean Air Act requirements.á

Green Power: EPA Walks the Talk

In a case of practicing what they preach, EPA announced 100% of its power consumption at its Washington, D.C. headquarters will be supplied by green, renewable power. In addition, the vast majority of energy at over 30 regional and laboratory facilities will come from sustainable sources.

"America's energy supply tomorrow requires action today," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. "For 35 years, EPA has been greening our nation's landscape. By committing to alternative, renewable power sources, the agency is meeting the President's call to green our nation's energy."

EPA has contracted to purchase nearly 260 million kilowatt hours of green power each year for 10 of the agency's offices and 21 laboratories, which places the agency among the top three green-power consumers in the country. Only the U.S. Air Force and Whole Foods Markets buy more green power.

Green power is energy generated from renewable sources. Energy for the EPA Green Power Purchase Program include sources such as biogas (methane from landfills), biomass (plant-derived material), geothermal, and wind.

Green power is as simple as flicking on a light switch and as complex as the power grid that it feeds. Depending on location, the agency may buy green-power electricity from the local supplier, or purchase "green tags." These tags allow EPA to support green-power production in a distant location. The idea is to displace traditional generation, stoke the rise of alternate energy sources and short-circuit the pressure for new power plants.

Since 1999, EPA's commitment to green power has grown to cover approximately 88% of the agency's national electrical consumption.

EPA is a leading member and co-founder of the Green Power Partnership. EPA's Green Power Purchase Program was awarded the Presidential Award for Leadership in Federal Energy Management in 2004.á

New Compliance Options Available to Introduce Clean Diesel Passenger Vehicles

To facilitate the transition to cleaner, light-duty diesel vehicles, EPA is providing diesel manufacturers with two voluntary interim compliance options for meeting EPA standards. The standards, known officially as the Tier 2 Vehicle and Gasoline Sulfur Rulemaking, significantly reduce the emissions from new passenger cars and light trucks. The two voluntary compliance options apply to nitrogen oxide requirements for diesels during compliance testing at high altitudes and high speed/high acceleration conditions. Manufacturers choosing these options will be required to meet more stringent requirements in other aspects of the Tier 2 program, including tighter particulate matter standards and longer useful life of the vehicle. These voluntary options are available for three years--model years 2007 through 2009. 

New MassDEP 'Clean Water Toolkit' Outlines Nonpoint Source Pollution Prevention Ideas

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) announces the release of the revised Massachusetts Nonpoint Source Pollution Management Manual, also called the "Clean Water Toolkit." The Toolkit was created and designed for use by municipal officials and residents in Massachusetts to promote understanding and implementation of the many different options for prevention and control of nonpoint source pollution.

Nonpoint source pollution comes from many different sources. It is caused when rainfall or snowmelt move over and through the ground, picking up natural and human-made pollutants and eventually depositing them into lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters, and even underground sources of drinking water.

These pollutants include excess fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides from agricultural and residential areas; oil, grease, and toxic chemicals from urban runoff and energy production; sediment from improperly managed construction sites, crop and forest lands, and eroding stream banks; and bacteria and nutrients from livestock, pet wastes, and faulty septic systems.áá

The Clean Water Toolkit provides a complete resource for understanding and mitigating the effects of nonpoint source pollution. The original version, called the "Megamanual," was released in 1994.

The electronic format affords access to a wealth of additional information through the use of hot links to outside resources. The Toolkit also provides a Best Management Practice Selector Tool, which will allow the user to select appropriate fact sheets and best management practices according to specific criteria or resource areas of concern.áá

Additional information and CD ROM versions can be obtained from Jane Peirce, s.319 Coordinator, MassDEP, at 627 Main Street, Worcester, MA 01608, or by calling 508-767-2792.á

RGGI States Announce Release of Draft Model Rule for Regional Carbon Cap

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Denise M. Sheehan announced that the seven Northeast states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) have released the draft model rule that provides detailed information on RGGI implementation. Public comments on the draft model rule will be accepted until May 22, 2006. Two regional stakeholder meetings on the draft model rule have been announced for March 28 and May 2, 2006, and a New York State stakeholder meeting has been slated for April 7, 2006.
RGGI is a cooperative effort by Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants in the region through a flexible, market-based cap-and-trade program. RGGI represents an important step to protecting our environment and meeting the significant challenge of climate change. RGGI also furthers sound energy policies that foster energy efficiency and energy independence in participating states.
RGGI is the first mandatory cap-and-trade program to control carbon dioxide emissions in the United States. The program will place a mandatory emissions cap on the electric generating sector, and allow emissions trading. RGGI will also achieve significant reductions through end-use energy efficiency and through greenhouse gas emission reduction projects undertaken outside of the power sector.
The seven states will create a regional cap-and-trade system that utilizes emissions credits or allowances to limit the total amount of emissions. Beginning in 2009, emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from power plants in the region will be capped at current levels-approximately 121 million tons annually-with this cap remaining in place until 2015. The states will then begin reducing emissions incrementally over a four-year period to achieve a 10% reduction by 2019.
The draft model rule includes the general provisions detailing how the states plan to implement the program. While remaining true to the core RGGI principle of reducing CO2 emissions, the model rule provides certain flexibility for states to tailor their rulemaking in a way that best meets their particular state's needs. Upon finalization of the model rule, DEC will start the rulemaking process in New York State by proposing draft regulations in early fall this year.
Under the cap-and-trade program, the states will issue one allowance, or permit, for each ton of CO2 emissions allowed by the cap. Each plant will be required to have enough allowances to cover its reported emissions. The plants may buy or sell allowances, but an individual plant's emissions cannot exceed the amount of allowances it possesses. The total amount of the allowances will be equal to the emissions cap for the seven-state region. Electric generating units with a capacity of 25 megawatts or more will be included under RGGI.
The draft model rule also includes provisions to reward generators for emissions reductions undertaken prior to the start of the program in 2009, and would effectively create an incentive for generators to begin reducing carbon dioxide emissions as early as possible.
A minimum of 25% of a state's allowances will be dedicated to strategic energy or consumer benefit purposes, such as energy efficiency, new clean energy technologies and ratepayer rebates. A power plant could purchase these allowances for its own use. The funds generated from these sales will be used for beneficial energy programs. The draft model rule provides states with the flexibility to exceed the 25% minimum and discretion over the use of funds in selecting the most appropriate programmatic purposes for each state.
The RGGI program will allow power plants to utilize "offsets"-greenhouse gas emission reduction projects from outside the electricity sector-to account for up to 3.3% of their overall emissions. Offset projects provide generators with additional flexibility to meet their compliance obligations at the lowest cost. A power plant owner/operator will be allowed to select the lowest cost emission reductions and apply them to a portion of the plant's emissions requirement. Offset projects included in the model rule are fossil fuel end-use efficiency, landfill gas recovery, reforestation, methane capture from farming or natural gas transmission facilities, as well as sulfur hexaflouride gas leak detection and capture at electricity transmission facilities. Under the program, offset projects will be accepted from anywhere in the United States, with a 2:1 preference for projects undertaken in the participating RGGI state.
The draft model rule released today includes more detailed information on offset projects and the requirements that such projects must meet in order to qualify for the program. The states are seeking specific comment on the offset types, the process proposed for approving offsets, and the specific eligibility requirements states should impose when approving offset projects.
The participating states next will review comments received and publish a final model rule this summer. Each individual state will then proceed with the required legislative and/or regulatory approvals to adopt the program. Pending the completion of this process, the RGGI program is slated to begin on January 1, 2009.
The states will be accepting public comments on the draft model rule for 60 days. The comment period will close on May 22, 2006. Two regional stakeholder meetings have been scheduled: March 28, 2006 at 9:30 a.m. in the offices of the New York State Public Service Commission, Hearing Room A, New York City, NY; and May 2, 2006 at 9:30 a.m. at the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, 79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT. A New York State stakeholders meeting will be held on April 7, 2006, at 10:00 a.m., at the DEC headquarters at 625 Broadway, Albany, NY.
In 2003, New York State Governor George E. Pataki initiated the RGGI process by sending a letter to Northeast states inviting them to pursue "a course of cooperation" and work together "to develop a strategy that will help the region lead the nation in the effort to fight global climate change." For the past two-and-a-half years, state representatives have been working to develop the program, which relies on a free-market approach to curb power plant emissions, while also promoting greater energy efficiency and energy independence.
In December 2005, the governors of the seven RGGI states announced that they had signed on to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining the key components of the proposed program. The MOU was the culmination of two years of discussions among the states. The draft model regulation, released today provides additional details on how participating states propose to implement the program. Individual states must still obtain legislative and/or regulatory approvals to adopt and implement the program.ááá

U.S. and Mexico Progress on Key Environmental Border Issues

The U.S.-Mexico border region is one of the most ecologically diverse areas in the world, extending 2,000 miles from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean, with natural features as different as deserts, mountains and beaches. EPA Deputy Administrator Marcus Peacock met with Mexican Environmental Undersecretary Felipe Vazquez at the annual meeting of the U.S.-Mexico Binational Commission (BNC) on the unique environmental challenges for protecting the border's environment and public health. More than 11.8 million people reside here, including four U.S. and six Mexican states, 26 American Indian Tribes, and seven Mexican native populations.

The U.S. EPA works with other countries, particularly our neighbors to the north and south, to protect the environment and public health of all North Americans. The BNC is an annual cabinet-level meeting designed to emphasize the close relationship between the U.S. and Mexico. The 2006 BNC is comprised of 15 workgroups each co-chaired by a U.S. and Mexican cabinet level official. The BNC's Environmental Health Work Group (EHWG) is co-chaired by the heads of EPA and Mexico's environmental agency, SEMARNAT.

The U.S. and Mexico signed a Letter of Understanding identifying areas of cooperation in a "Methane to Markets" agreement. Methane is a clean-burning fuel that is the main component of natural gas. The Methane to Markets Partnership is an international initiative that focuses on advancing cost-effective, near-term methane recovery from sources in the petroleum sector for use as a clean energy source. Seventeen countries currently participate in this international initiative which improves the environment world-wide by reducing global methane emissions.

The U.S. applauded Mexico for its commitment to the delivery of low-sulfur fuels in key areas of Mexico beginning this year. EPA has been working closely with Mexican environmental and energy concerns to promote adoption of cleaner fuel standards in Mexico. Mexico recently announced proposed fuel specifications that would harmonize with U.S. gasoline and diesel ultra-low sulfur fuel specifications. Low sulfur diesel fuels will be delivered to the border region beginning in 2007.

The officials were also pleased to announce the first collaboration between a U.S. and Mexican state under the State-to-State environmental collaboration initiative announced at the 2004 BNC meeting. The governors of Chiapas and Wisconsin signed a mutual letter of intent to share expertise on sustainable forestry and forest fire management. The agreement helps these states leverage resources and share expertise and technology.


Technology Turns Contaminated Sediment into Useful Product

The soil we use to landscape our lawns will some day come from contaminated river and harbor sediments, as EPA Regional Administrator, Alan J. Steinberg demonstrated today in Woodbridge, New Jersey at the first full-scale facility designed to turn this problem into an asset. Joining EPA to tour the facility was U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New York District Engineer Colonel Richard J. Polo, Jr. The technology being showcased uses water under high pressure and biodegradable detergents to strip away contaminants and leave behind soil that can be blended with compost or yard waste to produce high quality top soil. It is patented by BioGenesis Enterprises, Inc. and is being used in the Woodbridge facility to treat more than 4500 cubic yards of contaminated sediment from the lower Passaic River.
"This technology and other technologies that turn contaminated gunk into useful products takes us into the future," said EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. "These innovative technologies complement the President's charge for EPA to pick up the pace of environmental protection while finding ways to keep the economy strong."

The new technology is part of a demonstration program to decontaminate dredged materials from the Port of New York and New Jersey. The program is being funded and implemented by EPA and the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT). In addition to sediment washing technology, EPA and NJDOT are evaluating a technology that heats the sediment to 2600 degrees Fahrenheit and blends it with cement. This technology, patented by Endesco Clean Harbors, will be used at the International Matex Tank Terminal in Bayonne, New Jersey to treat sediment currently stored in the Valgocen, a large cargo vessel docked on the Raritan River at Bayshore Recycling. Sediment washing and thermal destruction may be among the technologies available for treated dredged sediments from the New York/New Jersey Harbor and large aquatic Superfund sites such as the lower Passaic River, with an ultimate goal of creating a self-sustaining industry that uses treated dredged sediments as building material.
The BioGenesis Sediment Washing Technology strips contaminants, such as PCBs, dioxins, heavy metals (i.e. mercury and arsenic) and petroleum related compounds, from sediment particles using a specially-developed biodegradable detergent and high-pressure water jets. Manufactured soil can be produced from the decontaminated sediment. The soil could be used in a number of land-based applications, such as remediation and landscaping. Beneficial-use products also include construction-grade cement, lightweight aggregate, composite bricks, and structural fill.
These demonstration projects receive project management support from the U.S. Department of Energy, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and regional research support from Rutgers University and Montclair State University. These agencies and universities work together to demonstrate different innovative technologies for decontaminating dredged materials to produce environmentally acceptable, beneficial-use products.á

EPA, University of Toledo to Join Forces on Hybrid Vehicle Research

To save energy and help the environment, the EPA and the University of Toledo signed a cooperative agreement worth $1 million to develop advanced vehicle technology that will maximize fuel economy benefits and minimize emissions. EPA is providing $450,000 and the University of Toledo will cost share in support of the 3 year agreement.

"This agreement is an exciting opportunity to work with the university to further the development of clean, cost-effective, and high efficiency vehicles for the U.S. market," said Christopher Grundler, deputy director for the Office of Transportation and Air Quality. "These technologies are based on U.S. innovations, which can lead to much more efficient vehicles at an affordable cost."

The cooperative agreement will focus on improving the components of a unique hybrid that uses a hydraulic system as a secondary power source onboard the vehicle. The hydraulic components will be optimized for smooth and quiet operation, high fuel efficiency, and low emissions.á

$15,000 Penalty for Shipping Hazardous Waste to Unpermitted Site

Ohio EPA reached a settlement with LEWCO Inc. for past hazardous waste violations which occurred at its facility in Sandusky, OH. The company shipped mercury spill residue to its clean-up contractor, who did not have a permit to receive hazardous waste. The 15,000 penalty also covered other violations, including failure to: correctly characterize hazardous waste, mark container, perform weekly inspections, close containers, post emergency information, and train employees.á

Heritage Environmental Fined $166,637 for Inadequate Fire Protection System

Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens announced a settlement totaling $166,637 with Heritage Environmental Services, LLC, a hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal company, for violations at its Coolidge facility.
ADEQ's Hazardous Waste Inspections and Compliance Unit conducted inspections of Heritage Environmental Services in January 2002 and February 2003 that resulted in Notices of Violations being issued to the company for failing to have a fire suppression system with adequate volume and pressure. Water pressure and volume were so low that any fire would have been uncontrollable, thus putting the surrounding residential community at risk. ADEQ issued a compliance order in May 2003, and Heritage installed an adequate fire suppression system in early 2004.
Pursuant to the settlement, Heritage will pay a $35,000 cash penalty and implement a local Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) with two components, totaling $131,637. As part of its SEP, Heritage will conduct at least three household hazardous waste collection events in Pinal County, totaling $75,114. The collection events will be in addition to those which Heritage committed to previously.
The other part of the SEP will be an improvement to Heritage's fire suppression system totaling $56,523 which will increase volume and pressure such that the Coolidge Fire Department will be able to utilize the system in the event of a fire at a neighboring property, specifically the local community center.
"The violations involved in this case could have had extremely serious consequences for the surrounding community if a fire had broken out at the facility," Owens said. "It is extremely important to have an adequate fire suppression system to protect the health and safety of the people living nearby. Additionally, the SEPs will provide the Coolidge community with an improved household hazardous waste collection program, as well as increased safety from fire at the Heritage facility."
Trivia Question of the Week
You must report an oil spill to the National Response Center if it:
a. Violates applicable water quality standards.
b. Causes a film or sheen upon, or discoloration of the surface water or adjoining shorelines
c. Deposits a sludge or emulsion surface water or adjoining shorelines
d. All of the above