DOT to Revise Hazmat Security Plan Requirements

September 22, 2008

 Based on an evaluation of the security threats associated with specific types and quantities of hazardous materials, the proposed rule would narrow the list of materials subject to security plan requirements and reduce associated regulatory costs and paperwork. The proposed rule also would clarify certain requirements related to security planning, training, and documentation and incorporate and build on recent international standards governing hazardous materials security.

EPA Proposes Changes to Transboundary Hazardous Waste Shipment Regulations

These changes would make the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act’s (RCRA) hazardous waste transboundary shipment regulations more consistent with those of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Hazardous waste is often shipped between countries for recovery. EPA has established an extensive set of regulations under RCRA governing the shipment of hazardous waste within the United States. Additionally, the United States participates in a number of bilateral waste agreements between countries and in the multilateral waste agreement controlling the shipment of hazardous waste for recovery between OECD member countries.

Specifically, this rule proposes to revise:

  • The existing RCRA regulation regarding the transboundary movement of hazardous wastes for recovery among OECD member countries to conform to legally required revisions made by the OECD
  • The RCRA regulations for spent lead-acid batteries to add export notification and consent requirements
  • The hazardous waste import requirements
  • The address to which export exception reports are to be sent

Comments will be accepted for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register, which is expected within two weeks.

Owner of Medical Waste Disposal Facility Indicted for Dumping Medical Waste and Mercury

The owner and operator of Associated Processor Service (APS), a medical waste disposal company in Natick, Mass., was indicted for illegally storing and disposing of medical waste and unlawfully dumping hazardous waste, including mercury, down the drain of his Mechanic Street facility. Edward P. Small of Dover was indicted by a Middlesex Grand Jury on charges he violated the Hazardous Waste Management Act (seven counts), the Clean Water Act (two counts), the State Sanitary Code (two counts), and the Solid Waste Management Act (one count).

The indictments stem from an investigation by the Massachusetts Environmental Crimes Strike Force (ECSF) that found Small was involved in an extensive business of collecting and transporting medical waste at various locations around Massachusetts. Although Small was licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to transport and temporarily store spent photographic solutions suitable for recycling, authorities allege that Small went beyond his permit by treating and disposing of hazardous materials in violation of several environmental laws, including allegations that Small discharged mercury and industrial wastewater into the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority (MWRA) sewer system, dumped hypodermic needles and syringes into a dumpster at his Mechanic Street facility, and stored other medical waste in a storage locker at a mini-storage facility in Natick.

According to investigators, APS was licensed to provide different services, including:

  • Silver waste collection, specifically the collection of spent photographic fixer solution from veterinary, chiropractic, and dental facilities
  • Mercury waste collection from spent metallic replacement cartridges, and in some cases, liquid mercury
  • Medical waste, including syringes, and soiled bandages

This matter first came to the attention of authorities in 2007 when MassDEP was notified that Small had illegally disposed of red-bagged medical waste, including syringes and blood-contaminated gauze, in a dumpster that was hauled to an Auburn, N.Y., landfill.

A series of inspections by authorities at the APS facility in Natick in 2007 found that Small was not only illegally storing medical waste at the facility, but that he was allegedly illegally treating hazardous waste on-site and then discharging the waste water down the sink and into floor drains that ended up in the MWRA sewer system.

Small’s business of collecting and storing hazardous mercury waste was also investigated. Mercury is a highly toxic chemical that can build up in fish and humans. Authorities allege that Small was collecting the mercury waste from dental facilities and improperly pouring the toxic material down the drain at the Mechanic Street facility.

Authorities further allege that these actions violated numerous environmental laws including the Hazardous Waste Management Act (HWMA), which regulates all aspects of hazardous waste in the Commonwealth from generation to disposal and prohibits anyone without a HWMA license from handling hazardous waste in a manner that could endanger human health, safety, welfare, or the environment.

A Middlesex Grand Jury recently returned the indictments against Small. A Superior Court arraignment date has not yet been scheduled.

Illinois Governor Blagojevich Signs E-Waste Law

The new legislation, which requires electronics manufacturers to collect and recycle or reuse electronics products, comes on the same day the U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report on toxic electronic waste—or e-waste—dumping and scolded the EPA for failing to adequately address the problem of electronic products containing hazardous waste.

“Two years ago, I called on President Bush to do the right thing and develop a national solution to all of the electronics being thrown out and contaminating our environment and putting public health at risk after a report from The National Safety Council predicted there would soon be more than 300 million obsolete computers in the nation,” Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich said.

Senate Bill 2313, sponsored by Sen. Susan Garrett (D-Highwood) and Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Des Plaines), protects the environment and citizens of Illinois from harmful toxins in electronics waste.

The law authorizes the use of a combination of incentives and mandates to reduce the ever-increasing amount of electronic waste—televisions, printers, computer monitors, computers, laptops, printers, fax machines, and MP3 players—and their toxic substances, such as lead, cadmium, copper, flame retardants, and phosphorus, from being disposed in Illinois landfills. It also gives manufacturers flexibility in the strategies they use to meet their goals, such as partnering with retailers and local governments to sponsor collections. Manufacturers, recyclers, refurbishers, and collectors must also register annually with the Illinois EPA.

SB 2313 is effective immediately. Effective Jan. 1, 2012, landfills will be prohibited from knowingly accepting any of the covered electronic devices for disposal.

Today’s efforts build on Governor Blagojevich’s actions to further protect the environment and the public from e-waste. In 2006, the governor signed an Executive Order directing state government to recycle electronic equipment—PCs and laptops, fax and copy machines, cellular phones, and other e-waste—in an environmentally responsible manner when it reaches the end of its usable life, making Illinois the first state in the Midwest to implement electronic recycling policies.

“Many components of electronic equipment—including plastic, glass, and metals—can be reused or recycled, which significantly reduces the amount of toxic and hazardous substances that may enter the environment,” Illinois EPA Director Doug Scott said. “By extending the useful life of products, we conserve energy and raw materials needed to manufacture new products and reduce the pollution associated with production. Recycling achieves similar results by reclaiming materials such as metals and plastics and using them again in other products.”

“States cannot set export policy, but we made sure that the legislation signed today requires transparent reporting from manufacturers and recyclers on the end destination of any exported material,” Governor Blagojevich said. “Our efforts here in Illinois are significant, but the exporting of electronic waste is on the rise and President Bush must begin to address this international issue on a national level.”

New Hampshire Man Pleads Guilty, Sentenced for Transferring and Disposing of Hazardous Waste

On September 17, the former president of the Pacetti Corporation, a metal finishing company in North Reading, N.H., pled guilty to charges of illegally disposing of and transferring hazardous waste. Stephen M. Swisher, 52, of Londonderry, N.H., pled guilty in Middlesex Superior Court on charges that he violated the Massachusetts Hazardous Waste Management Act (four counts). Judge Kathe M. Tuttman sentenced Swisher to serve two years of probation and ordered him to pay a fine of $12,500. Swisher was also ordered to pay full restitution in the amount of $1,618 to the town of Wilmington for the cleanup of the sites where he illegally dumped 12 drums of waste material in two wooded areas in Wilmington.

In May 2006, the Wilmington Police responded to two drum-dumping incidents in two days, both in wooded areas of residential neighborhoods. On May 25, 2006, five 55-gallon drums were found in the vicinity of 69 Park Street, a few feet from a stream leading to a town well field. The following day, seven additional abandoned drums were found in the Hathaway Acres section of Wilmington, in an area adjacent to wetlands that also connects to the town water supply. Analysis of the drum contents revealed that the drums contained hazardous waste, specifically a combination of waste oil and lead-contaminated industrial wastewater.

Identifying information found on some of the drums connected them to the Pacetti Corporation, formerly located at 4 Hallberg Park in North Reading and owned by Swisher. On previous occasions, when his company was operational, Swisher properly disposed of hazardous waste generated by his facility. According to authorities, on the two dates in May 2006, Swisher improperly disposed of the hazardous materials in order to facilitate the sale of his building. Swisher is not licensed to transport or dispose of hazardous waste. Authorities were able to determine that Swisher received an estimate from a licensed disposal company for $1,600 for the proper disposal of the drums, but did not contract with the company. Instead, Swisher told authorities, he paid a person that he met at a bar $500 to dispose of the waste and then gave the person access to his building and the drums of hazardous waste. Swisher’s actions constituted violations of the Massachusetts Hazardous Waste Management Act.

The case was initially brought to the attention of the Environmental Crimes Strike Force by the Wilmington Police and the Department of Public Works who responded to the initial dumping sites. The drums were found in an environmentally sensitive area and were exposed to the general public and the environmental elements.

A Middlesex grand jury returned indictments against Swisher on Oct. 23, 2007. He was arraigned on the charges on Nov. 29, 2007. Last week, Swisher entered a change of plea from not guilty to guilty and was ordered to serve probation as well as pay restitution and fines.

Green Chemistry Action Plan Released

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) announced the release of a strategy to promote research, development, and commercialization of innovative and practical technologies that prevent pollution through cleaner, cheaper, and smarter chemistry. The strategy, released in the report "Advancing Green Chemistry: An Action Plan for Michigan Green Chemistry Research, Development, and Education" identifies key steps for the success of green chemistry in Michigan.

In October 2006, Governor Jennifer M. Granholm issued Executive Directive No. 2007-6, "Promotion of Green Chemistry for Sustainable Economic Development and Protection of Public Health," which established state policy encouraging the use of safer, less toxic, or nontoxic chemical alternatives to hazardous substances and the research, development, and implementation of Green Chemistry in Michigan."

Michigan is a nationally recognized leader in pollution prevention, so I'm proud to announce this significant advancement in our efforts to promote less toxic, safer products during National Pollution Prevention Week," DEQ Director Steven E. Chester said. "This Action Plan will guide us as we draw upon the talents of our business, environmental, and academic communities to further green chemistry advancements to protect our environment and grow our economy."

The DEQ has been given primary responsibility for implementing the Green Chemistry Executive Directive, including establishing a Michigan Green Chemistry Program and convening a Michigan Green Chemistry Roundtable. The roundtable—comprised of experts representing business, academia, environmental interest groups, and the public—had significant input into the development of the Action Plan and will be participating in the implementation of the Michigan Green Chemistry Program.

New Process Derives 'Green Gasoline' From Plant Sugars

Alternative energy doesn't always mean solar or wind power. In fact, the alternative fuels developed by University of Wisconsin-Madison chemical and biological engineering professor James Dumesic look a lot like the gasoline and diesel fuel used in vehicles today.

That's because the new fuels are identical at the molecular level to their petroleum-based counterparts. The only difference is where they come from.

Funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy, Dumesic and his team have developed a process that creates transportation fuels from plant material. 

"Domestically, there are large amounts of lignocellulose available that are not being used effectively for energy," says Dumesic. "This work is a step along the way to making it practical to use biomass as fuel."

Lignocellulose refers to nonedible sources of biomass, which is biological material that can be converted into fuel. Instead of relying on corn as a source of energy, Dumesic notes that the goal of researchers in the field of "cellulosic ethanol" is to turn the carbohydrates, or sugars, from agricultural waste, corn stovers (leaves and stalks), switchgrass, and forest residue into ethanol. Dumesic now suggests that instead of converting the water-soluble sugars derived from cellulose to ethanol, it may be better to convert these sugars to gasoline, diesel, and jet fuels via this process.

Sugars are an attractive basis for fuel because they are abundant. Sugars comprise the largest portion of biomass, and the oil layer created by Dumesic retains 90% of the energy content in the original sugars.

The process of converting sugar into fuel begins by adding a solid catalyst to an aqueous solution, leading to the formation of an organic oil-like solution floating on top of the water. The oil layer, which is easily transportable, contains molecules of acids, alcohols, ketones, and cyclics, which Dumesic calls "functional intermediates." These molecules are the precursors to fuel.

Unlike petroleum, plant sugars contain equal numbers of carbon and oxygen atoms, making it difficult to create high-octane or cetane fuels. The solution is to remove almost all the oxygen atoms, leaving only a few to keep the molecules reactive. The reactive molecules then can be "upgraded" into different forms of fuel, and Dumesic's team has demonstrated three such upgrading processes.

"This is the same fuel we're currently using, just from a different source," says Dumesic. "It's not something that burns like it—it is it."

Environmental Consultant to Be Jailed, Must Pay $340,000 for Fraud

Ohio environmental consultant Dennis Smalley, president of Lancaster-based Smalley & Associates, Inc. (SAI), pled guilty to four felony counts for defrauding three state entities: Ohio EPA, the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Underground Storage Tanks Regulations (BUSTR), and the Petroleum Underground Storage Tank Release Compensation Board (PUSTRCB).

Smalley was sentenced to 22 months of electronic monitoring today. He’ll also serve 60 days in jail. In addition, Smalley and his company were ordered to pay $300,000 in restitution and a fine of $40,000. The fine will be suspended if Smalley pays the full restitution. Those receiving restitution include: PUSTRCB ($100,000), Ohio EPA ($35,000 to the Voluntary Action Program and $35,000 to the Office of Special Investigations), BUSTR ($20,000 to the Corrective Action Program), and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office ($60,000). Smalley also has agreed to never reapply for his professional certification.

Smalley and SAI acted as agents for several property owners who were undertaking environmental cleanups at their sites. A joint investigation revealed that Smalley was not conducting the environmental work he was hired to do in many cases. His business specialized in site assessments, corrective actions, and remedial work for sites where petroleum or hazardous substances had leaked into the soil and groundwater. Smalley would take samples from soil borings and monitoring wells on-site to determine the existence and extent of contamination. He would then submit this data to Ohio EPA and BUSTR in an attempt to show that no further cleanup was needed at a site.

Smalley’s falsified site work and analytical results would show that contaminated sites had been remediated, when further sampling by Ohio EPA and BUSTR later showed that these sites were, in fact, still contaminated and worse than reported. At one site, where groundwater contamination extended beyond the property boundary, the false reports caused concern for the local public water supply and posed a threat to human health.

Smalley has pled guilty to submitting fraudulent data to BUSTR’s Corrective Action Program for petroleum releases from underground storage tanks. Smalley and SAI also provided fraudulent claims for reimbursement and invoices. PUSTRCB relied upon this false information to reimburse Smalley and SAI for more than $100,000 in costs associated with cleanup work that was actually not completed or performed. PUSTRCB provided reimbursement for costs associated with the cleanup to the tank owners of certain sites who were defrauded by Smalley. Ohio law requires each underground storage tank owner/operator to pay an annual financial assurance fee to PUSTRCB for each tank that contains petroleum product. These annual fees are used to reimburse tank owners/operators for the cleanup of any accidental petroleum releases.

Smalley also has pled guilty to submitting false data, documents, and reports to Ohio EPA and withholding or concealing data and other information from Ohio EPA’s Voluntary Action Program (). The VAP gives companies an opportunity to investigate possible contamination of their property and clean it up voluntarily with minimal Ohio EPA oversight. Companies hire engineers and scientists certified by Ohio EPA as certified professionals (CPs). When cleanup is complete, the CP issues a No Further Action letter. Ohio EPA then reviews this letter in deciding whether to issue a Covenant Not to Sue, which officially releases the company and property owners from being legally responsible for further investigation and cleanup. Ohio EPA relies upon the competence and moral character of CPs who, by law, assume responsibility to objectively evaluate site conditions.

In 2005, BUSTR officials noticed inaccuracies in Smalley’s well logs and notified the Ohio Attorney General’s Environmental Enforcement Section and the Bureau of Criminal Identification & Investigation (BCI&I). The criminal investigation expanded to include Ohio EPA’s VAP and Office of Special Investigations. Simultaneously, Ohio EPA was conducting its own administrative investigation of Smalley’s conduct. It resulted in a disciplinary action settlement and the revocation of Smalley’s VAP certification in December 2006. He had been a certified professional with Ohio EPA’s VAP for eight years (1998–2006).

Due to the positive cooperation and information sharing of BUSTR, BCI&I, and Ohio EPA, investigators determined that Smalley committed fraud and theft by charging or overcharging the owners of certain sites for work that he did not do. Investigators also found that Smalley forged sampling documents and falsified data relating to the condition and construction of groundwater monitoring wells. They also found he submitted sampling data from nonexistent wells and lab results for tests that may never have been conducted.

“The integrity of the certified professionals who manage and review VAP cleanups is essential,” Ohio EPA Director Chris Korleski said. “Mr. Smalley’s case is an indication of how aggressively Ohio EPA intends to pursue a lack of that integrity.”

Ohio EPA and BUSTR continue to review Smalley’s work at other sites. BUSTR has revoked its No Further Action letters for the sites where Smalley submitted fraudulent reports, and it is working with new consultants to ensure that proper corrective action is taken at the sites. Smalley is the first VAP certified professional to be prosecuted criminally.

Nitrate Concentrations of Groundwater Increasing in Many U.S. Areas

Nitrate is the most common chemical contaminant in the world’s groundwater, including aquifers used for drinking-water supply. Nitrate in U.S. drinking water is regulated by the EPA because of concerns related to infant health and possible cancer risks. Use of man-made synthetic fertilizers has steadily increased since World War II, raising the potential for increased nitrate contamination of the nation’s groundwater supply, despite efforts in recent decades to improve land-management practices. Monitoring nitrate trends in groundwater through time is important in determining how quickly groundwater systems respond to changes in chemical use and best management practices.

One of the first nationwide studies of nitrate trends in groundwater was recently completed by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), as part of that agency’s federally funded National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program. In particular, monitoring data collected by NAWQA across the country in multiple aquifers were analyzed to characterize near-decadal trends in nitrate concentrations in groundwater between 1988 and 2004. Results from the study were published in a companion supplement to the September–October issue of the Journal of Environmental Quality.

Decadal-scale changes of nitrate concentrations were evaluated in groundwater samples collected from 495 wells in 24 well networks across the United States in predominantly agricultural areas. A well network is a set of about 30 randomly selected wells designed to examine groundwater quality in a particular region. Each well network was sampled once during 1988–1995 and resampled once during 2000–2004.

Findings show statistically significant increases in concentrations of nitrate in 7 of the 24 well networks. Median nitrate concentrations of three of those seven well networks increased above the U.S. EPA maximum contaminant level of 10 parts per million. Concentrations decreased in one network located in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. The study included estimates of the age of the groundwater (that is, time since the water recharged to the aquifer); nitrate concentrations in groundwater increased in response to the increased use of fertilizers since World War II.

“This study highlights the importance of maintaining long-term groundwater monitoring programs in the nation, because sustained monitoring provides critical information on changes of our nation’s groundwater quality, and whether pollution prevention programs are effective in protecting this nation’s groundwater,” said Michael Rupert, a hydrologist with the USGS.

The USGS implemented the NAWQA Program in 1991 to support national, regional, state, and local information needs and decisions related to water-quality management and policy . The NAWQA Program is designed to answer: What is the condition of our nation’s streams and groundwater, and how are conditions changing over time? In the second decade of the Program (2001–2012), a major focus is on regional assessments of water-quality conditions and trends at sites that have been consistently monitored for more than a decade.

The full article is available for no charge for a limited time. 

Boise Building Solutions Fined for Air Quality Violations

The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) has fined Boise Building Solutions of Kettle Falls $15,126 for releasing too many pollutants into the air from the company’s plywood manufacturing facility in 2007. Boise Plywood is required to test its air emissions and report the results to Ecology as a requirement of its air operating permit. The air pollution limits in the permit are set by the state to protect air quality.

A test performed in October 2007 showed that emissions from the plant contained higher-than-permitted levels of carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds. Test results indicated that Boise was releasing to the air twice the amount of carbon monoxide and nearly one-third more volatile organic compound than is allowed by the environmental permit. Ecology subsequently issued a Notice of Violation.

“These equipment tests are supposed to tell us whether pollution control equipment is properly working and protecting the air we breathe,” said Karen Wood, who supervises Ecology’s Air Quality Program in Spokane. “Everyone who operates a facility that sends harmful pollutants into the air has an obligation to make sure their anti-pollution devices are functioning as designed whenever the plant is operating.”

Boise Plywood may appeal the penalty to the Washington State Pollution Control Hearings Board within 30 days.

California to Revise Universal Waste Rules and Adopt European Ban on Electronics with Heavy Metals

California is modifying its universal waste regulations at 22 CCR 4.5, chapters 10, 11, and 23. The revised rules:

  • Establish a list of “covered electronic devices” as defined in Public Resources Code section 42463, subdivision (f), that are presumed to be hazardous waste when discarded. The devices listed are subject to the requirements of the Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003, as amended, and may be managed under the alternate standards for universal waste electronic devices that will be incorporated into California Code of Regulations, title 22, division 4.5, chapter 23 (commencing with §66273.1) by these proposed regulations. The listed devices are those identified in subsection (c) of appendix X of chapter 11, as amended by the R-04-12 and R-2006-05 emergency regulations. Federal regulations do not identify electronic devices that are presumed to be hazardous waste when discarded.
  • Require that the manufacturer of a listed electronic device notify retailers that the electronic device is a covered electronic device subject to the Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003, as amended, including the payment of the fee imposed by Public Resources Code, section 42464, pursuant to Health and Safety Code section 25214.10.1, subdivision (c), and as otherwise necessary to implement the Act.
  • Provide that the manufacturer of an electronic device, who has obtained DTSC concurrence that the device, when discarded, would not be a hazardous waste, as allowed by Health and Safety Code section 25214.10.1, subdivision (e), shall not be required to manage the electronic device as a covered electronic device and shall not be subject to these regulations.
  • Prohibit an electronic device, pursuant to Health and Safety Code section 25214.10, from being sold or offered for sale if the electronic device is prohibited from being sold or offered for sale in the European Union due to the presence of certain heavy metals. Existing federal regulations do not prohibit the sale of electronic devices that are prohibited from sale or being offered for sale in the European Union.
  • Establish alternate standards for treatment of electronic devices as universal wastes, as authorized by Health and Safety Code section 25214.9, subdivision (b). These standards are similar to those adopted in emergency regulations R-03-19 and R-2006-02.
  • Align state regulations with new federal regulations on management standards for universal waste mercury-containing equipment (MCE). To this end, regulations pertaining to various mercury-containing devices will be consolidated under “mercury-containing equipment.”
  • Consolidate management standards for CRT material handlers and small quantity and large quantity handlers of universal waste under a single set of standards. Unlike federal regulations, state regulations will not distinguish between small and large quantity handlers except for notification requirements.
  • Reformat and consolidate the chapter 23 regulations applicable to other universal waste streams for clarification and internal consistency.


Canfield Metal Coating Fined for Hazardous Waste Violations

Canfield Metal Coating Corporation has agreed to pay Ohio EPA a $10,300 penalty to settle hazardous waste violations at its electro-galvanizing facility located at 460 West Main Street in Canfield. The company promptly addressed the violations and now operates in compliance with Ohio's hazardous waste laws.

During a June 2007 facility inspection, an Ohio EPA inspector found Canfield Metal Coating violated Ohio's hazardous waste laws by storing a container of hazardous waste longer than 90 days without a permit. Other violations included failing to meet the tank requirements for the accumulation of waste chromic acid liquid; keep containers of hazardous waste closed; and have a hazardous waste training program that included a facility hazardous waste contingency plan. Ohio EPA did not observe any releases of hazardous waste.

The company uses a wide range of coatings to coat both hot-dip galvanized and electro-galvanized steel. The facility is a large quantity generator of hazardous wastes including cyanide containing calcium carbonate filter cake, waste chromic acid, and spent paint thinner.

The penalty includes $8,240 to Ohio's hazardous waste cleanup fund and $2,060 to Ohio EPA's clean diesel school bus program.

Meijer, Inc., to Pay $16,450 Fine for Deficiencies in Risk Management Plan

In a settlement with Ohio EPA, Meijer, Inc., has agreed to pay a $16,450 fine and correct deficiencies in its risk management plan (RMP) for a storage unit it owns and operates at 4200 S. County Road 25A in Tipp City. At the facility, the company maintains a refrigeration process that requires approximately 44,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia to be stored on-site.

Because of the amount of anhydrous ammonia on the premises, the company must file a RMP with Ohio EPA outlining a program to prevent accidental releases. The plan should include staff training and handling procedures for working with the chemical as well as describe a worst-case scenario for an anhydrous ammonia release. The worst-case scenario in the plan is useful for emergency responders if there is a release. Companies often coordinate plan development with local fire departments and other emergency responders.

A 2001 audit revealed that Meijer, of Grand Rapids, Mich., did not submit a correct calculation for this facility. A second audit was conducted in 2007. This audit revealed that Meijer has continuing violations, including:

  • Not developing a written management system
  • Not maintaining supporting documentation for the hazard assessment
  • Not conducting a RMP compliance audit at least every three years

Of the $16,450 penalty, $3,290 will go to Ohio EPA's Clean Diesel School Bus Fund. The remaining $13,160 will go toward administering the risk management program.

$4 Million Penalty for Oil Spill in Maryland

The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and the Office of the Attorney General announced a settlement of a case against ExxonMobil Corporation for the 2006 release of more than 25,000 gallons of gasoline at ExxonMobil’s Jacksonville Service Station in Baltimore County.

The consent decree settles a complaint filed by MDE in April 2006 as a result of the discovery of an underground pipe at the service station that had been leaking gasoline into the ground for more than one month. ExxonMobil will be required to pay the state a $4 million civil penalty, the largest state environmental penalty ever levied by MDE. Under the consent decree, the company also faces potential further penalties of up to $1 million per year if it does not adhere to a specified schedule for continuing the remedial actions begun immediately following discovery of the release in February 2006. MDE may also require ExxonMobil to take additional remedial action to fully address the contamination if needed.

“MDE will continue to place the highest priority on enforcing the laws of the state that protect public health,” Governor Martin O’Malley said. “The state’s groundwater resources are a critical component of our drinking water supply. It is imperative that laws protecting groundwater are fully enforced.”

The $4 million penalty demonstrates MDE’s commitment to protecting groundwater and the health of Marylanders.
“The size of this penalty is commensurate with the risk to critical groundwater supplies,” MDE Secretary Shari T. Wilson said. “A number of our environmental regulations are preventative in nature. In the case of underground storage tanks, daily inventory and immediate follow-up to variations are critical. This case demonstrates why these rules are so important.”

In February 2006, ExxonMobil reported the gasoline spill from an underground storage tank in Maryland. Cleanup of the groundwater began immediately and is well underway.

“MDE’s team of oil control experts and geologists continue to oversee the groundwater remediation. The active participation of residents in this area has also been critical to the successful cleanup activities to date,” MDE’s Oil Control Program Manager Herb Meade said. “The Consent Decree firms up the ongoing remediation to achieve remedial goals and contains significant, stipulated penalties if ExxonMobil fails to meet deadlines or requirements.”

DuPont and Griffin Fined for Pesticide Violations

EPA Region 4 has settled an administrative penalty case against E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) and Griffin LLC Valdosta, GA (Griffin) for violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (). According to the terms of the settlement, DuPont and Griffin collectively will pay a total civil penalty of $877,500, and will undertake corrective actions to ensure that the violations do not recur. DuPont and Griffin manufacture, market, and sell a variety of pesticide products. These products are sold to farmers in the United States for use on cotton and tobacco.

“By law, pesticides must be properly labeled and registered,” said Beverly Bannister, EPA's Air, Pesticides, and Toxics Management Division Director in Atlanta. “This helps ensure the safe use of pesticides and reduces risks to human health and the environment.”

Based on a review of pesticide importation records and inspections conducted by EPA and the Georgia Department of Agriculture at DuPont’s pesticide production facility in Valdosta, Ga., EPA determined that DuPont and Griffin LLC had been importing a registered pesticide active ingredient, ethephon, from a non-approved manufacturing facility in China, and that the composition of the ethephon differed from the composition specified in the statement of formula detailed in the registration. As a result, the composition of two end-use products manufactured by the companies, Super Boll and CottonQuik, differed from the compositions specified in EPA’s approved registrations for those products. The original registrant, Griffin Corporation, began importing the active ingredient from the unapproved facility in 1996. In 1998, Griffin Corporation and DuPont formed Griffin LLC, and, in 2003, DuPont acquired 100% interest in Griffin LLC. Both Griffin LLC and DuPont continued the practice of importing the ethephon from the unapproved source in China.

EPA also determined that the containers of ethephon imported from China were misbranded in that they stated the incorrect percentage of the active ingredient ethephon contained in the product. Additionally, analytical results from samples of the end-use products Superboll and CottonQuik showed that they contained ethephon in concentrations exceeding the allowable certified limits specified in their registrations. After EPA notification in April 2005 that it was in violation of FIFRA, DuPont filed a registration amendment for the active ingredient to indicate the new source and to revise the formulation. DuPont recently sold the registrations for these products to another company.

Under FIFRA, all pesticides must be submitted to EPA for review, evaluation, and registration to ensure that they do not pose an unreasonable risk to human health or the environment. Proper identification of a pesticide’s active ingredients is an essential component of the regulatory scheme that helps to ensure a product’s integrity and safety. Pesticide manufacturers are required to clearly state the amount of active ingredients contained in each product and must manufacture the product within a specific range of the stated composition percentages. Pesticide products that contain too little or too much active ingredient may pose unreasonable risks to human health or the environment and may not perform effectively.

CITGO to Pay $13 Million for Clean Water Act Violations

CITGO recently pleaded guilty and was sentenced to pay a $13 million fine for the negligent discharge of pollutants into two rivers in Louisiana in violation of the Clean Water Act (CWA), the Justice Department announced. The $13 million fine is the largest ever for a criminal misdemeanor violation of the Clean Water Act.

CITGO pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Lake Charles, La., for negligently failing to maintain storm water tanks and failing to maintain adequate storm water storage capacity at its petroleum refinery in Sulphur, La. As a result of these failures, approximately 53,000 barrels of oil was discharged into the Indian Marais and Calcasieu Rivers following a heavy rain storm.

In 1994, CITGO converted its lagoon waste water system into a tank system for handling excess waste water and storm water. In order to trim costs, only two storm water tanks were constructed, but as early as 1998, employees and outside contractors advised that an additional tank was necessary. Despite being advised of the inadequate storage capacity, CITGO did not approve construction of a third tank until 2005.

In addition, the company failed to follow standard procedures for maintaining the tanks. During its operations, CITGO failed to remove oil, sludge, and solids from the tanks and failed to repair the skimming equipment. Failing to follow these procedures allowed for the build-up of a significant amount of oil in the storm water tanks, which contributed significantly to the overflow.

Between June 19 and 20, 2006, a heavy rainstorm overwhelmed the capacity of the two existing tanks and forced oil that had collected in the tanks out and into the two rivers. The illegal discharge resulted in limited commercial transportation on the water ways for approximately 10 days. Along with the fine, CITGO will implement an Environmental Compliance Plan (ECP) by which it will take measures to ensure a spill of this type will not occur in the future. The ECP includes new reporting requirements within the corporate structure regarding environmental issues and tank maintenance, the completion of the third storage tank, and the installation of new and more effective oil removal equipment for the storm water tanks.

“Companies cannot make economic choices that sacrifice the environment,” said Ronald J. Tenpas, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “Sound business decisions must factor in the safeguard of the environment or companies will face consequences that in the long run are more detrimental to their bottom line.”

“The protection of the environment is among our highest priorities,” said Donald W. Washington, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana. “We will not allow corporations or their employees to escape liability for failing to do their part in preventing harm to the environment. We fully intend to use all the tools at our disposal, including criminal prosecution, to punish those who pollute our air and water.”

This prosecution is the result of an investigation conducted by the EPA, Criminal Investigation Division led by Special Agent Michael Centola, and the U.S. Coast Guard led by Special Agent James White. The case is being prosecuted by Rocky Piaggione and Eric Heimann of the Justice Department’s Environmental Crimes Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley of the Western District of Louisiana U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Kraft Turns Cheese Waste Into Energy

Kraft plants in Lowville and Campbell are using bio-methane from on-site waste treatment systems to replace 30%–35% of each plant's annual natural gas purchases in a year. Whey, one of the most significant waste byproducts from cheese plants, is the source of the alternative energy, which is created when whey is treated in each plant's anaerobic digester system.

"Whey disposal has long been a challenge," said Steve Yucknut, Kraft's Vice President, Sustainability. "Our facilities have previously used strategies such as concentrating the whey to reduce volume and finding outlets for it to be used as animal feed, or for fertilizer on environmentally approved farm fields. Both methods required transporting the whey off-site. Now, we're reducing the associated CO2 emissions that are part of transporting waste, discharging cleaner wastewater from our on-site treatment systems, and creating enough alternative energy to heat more than 2,600 homes in the Northeast."

This project contributes to Kraft's sustainability goals around energy, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions, and waste reduction. The company has set goals to reduce:

  • Energy usage by 25%
  • Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions by 25%
  • Manufacturing plant waste by 15%

The Lowville digester creates enough biogas to heat around 1,000 homes; the Campbell system generates enough to heat more than 1,600 homes. Both systems have been designed, built, and operated for Kraft by Ecovation, Inc., now part of Ecolab. The Lowville waste treatment system came online in February 2008. Campbell's first digester was built in 2003 and has been expanded five-fold. It is expected to be fully operational by the end of September.

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Trivia Question of the Week

Which of the following are not classified as universal wastes according to the U.S. EPA?

a. Cathode ray tubes
b. Electronic equipment
c. Light ballasts
d. All of the above