Aánew database will provide the public with available information on the potential hazards associated with the most widely used industrial chemicals. . This program challenges U.S. companies to voluntarily make publicly available basic health and safety data for chemicals manufactured or imported in volumes of one million pounds or more per year. HPVIS offers several options for accessing the data including, standard reports, customized requests, and the ability to review data for either individual chemicals or categories of chemicals.
Water Saving Tip
According to EPA's Office of Water, weather-based irrigation controllers use local climate data to provide the right amount of water to keep landscaped areas looking beautiful.á With proper programming, weather-based controllers canáreduce water use by an average of 20% compared to conventional equipment, potentially saving over 11 billion gallons of water per year across the US, enough to fill 18,000 Olympic-size swimming pools.
Radon Test Kit Giveaways
EPA Region 3, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) and the American Lung Association (ALA) are providing Pennsylvania-area residents with free radon test kits to prevent undue deaths from lung cancer. Radon, a naturally occurring element , is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. affecting more than 21,000 people per year. Testing the home is the only way to find out if and how much radon is present. The ALA has a limited supply of radon test kits and will provide only one test kit per household.
More on the New Uniform Manifest
If you've been reading EnvironmentalResourceCenter's tip of the week, you know that big changes are coming down the road for your hazardous waste manifests..á According to the EPA's website, fourteen companies have applied for approval to print the new uniform manifests.á Although there are currently no approved printers for the uniform manifest, it is a good idea to start thinking about using up your current stash of manifests and scheduling a waste shipment before the September 5, 2006, date.á.á Once approved printers are available, order your manifests early to ensure you receive them by September 5, 2006.á Contact your licensed hazardous waste transporter and to learn if they have new procedures or updates.á It might be a good idea to avoid potential problems in the new system by scheduling your waste pick-ups before the early September rush.á
EPA Questions Airports on Deicing
The questionnaires will collect information on airfield and aircraft deicing operations and chemical usage; deicing stormwater collection and treatment systems used; pollution prevention programs and management practices; information on pollutant monitoring and environmental assessment; financial information and data necessary for economic impact analysis. Each airport and airline that is required to respond will receive a hard copy of the appropriate questionnaire from EPA. Selected airlines will initially receive the Airline Deicing Screener. Many of these airlines will subsequently receive the Airline Deicing Questionnaire.
EPA will use the technical data collected by the airport questionnaire to determine a national, statistically valid profile of aircraft and airfield deicing and anti-icing operations and chemicals, to assess deicing stormwater generation and collection, deicing stormwater prevention, management, treatment, discharge status, and characteristics of receiving waters.á For the airline questionnaire, EPA will use the technical data to develop an industry profile for aircraft deicing practices. EPA will use the airport and airline technical data together with the financial data to assess the costs and benefits associated with any new discharge limitations and/or standards considered for the airport deicing category. EPA will also characterize the economic status of the airport and airline industry and estimate possible economic impacts of any national effluent guidelines regulation.
Driver Behavior Causes Most Truck Crashes
Drivers of large trucks and other vehicles involved in truck crashes are ten times more likely to be the cause of the crash than other factors, such as weather, road conditions, and vehicle performance according to a new study released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).. While previous data focused on specific crashes and/or individual causes of crashes, this study was the first nationwide examination of all pre-crash factors.
"This study makes it clear that we need to spend more time addressing driver behavior, as well as making sure trucks and buses are fit for the road," FMCSA Administrator Annette M. Sandberg said. "The multitude of data now available will allow us to analyze specific areas of behavior and work with our industry and safety partners to develop an agenda on driver safety that will improve commercial motor vehicle driver performance." FMCSA will conduct analysis to further examine driver factors such as use of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, speeding, fatigue, inattention, distractions, work environment, and unfamiliarity with the road.
The study, conducted with the help of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, investigated a national sample of fatal and injury crashes between April 2001 and December 2003 at 24 sites in 17 states. Each crash involved at least one large truck and resulted in at least one fatality or injury. The total sample of 967 crashes included 1,127 large trucks, 959 non-truck motor vehicles, 251 fatalities, and 1,408 injuries. Action or inaction by the driver of either the truck or other vehicle was the critical reason for 88 percent of the crashes. The data offer unprecedented detail about the events surrounding truck crashes that are not available anywhere else. The study database eventually will be available to the public to encourage further analysis and increase the knowledge about large truck crash factors.
Bay View Industries Fined $27,300 Hazardous Waste Violations
EPA Region 5 has settled with Bay View Industries, Oak Creek, Wis., for violating federal hazardous waste regulations, including storing hazardous waste without a permit. A $27,300 penalty has been set and the company is now in compliance with EPA regulations. EPA concurrently filed a complaint and compliance order and a consent agreement and final order.
Bay View Industries, located Oak Creek, WI., was cited for violating Resource Conservation and Recovery Act requirements for managing hazardous waste, including failure to: keep manifests on file, train personnel, record inspection reports, maintain a contingency plan and emergency procedures, and have an emergency coordinator familiar with all aspects of the contingency plan.
The company manufactures institutional furniture using processes that generate hazardous waste. EPA and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources conducted the inspection. Under RCRA, EPA regulates hazardous waste from production to final disposal.
Landlord Charged with Failing to Warn Tenants about Lead Paint
EPA is seeking nearly $60,000 in penalties from two Manchester, N.H.-based landlords for violations of federal lead paint disclosure laws. The violations potentially put families with young children at risk of exposure to lead hazards.
EPA is seeking a penalty of $57,640 for the lead disclosure violations.
"Lead paint exposure is a serious public health concern for children in New England," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "Property owners and managers play a large part helping to prevent lead poisoning by following lead paint disclosure requirements and making sure families are aware of potential lead hazards in homes."
During the time period subject to EPA's action, the Morins owned and rented 22 apartment buildings which contained 119 apartment units in Manchester, N.H. All of the apartments were in low-income and disadvantaged neighborhoods, where a disproportionate number of children suffer from lead poisoning.
Infants and young children are especially vulnerable to lead paint exposure, which can cause intelligence quotient deficiencies; reading and learning disabilities; impaired hearing; reduced attention span, hyperactivity and behavior problems. Adults with high lead levels can suffer difficulties during pregnancy, high blood pressure, nerve disorders, memory problems and muscle and joint pain.
The most significant violations alleged in EPA's complaint concern the Morins' failure to provide a tenant with copies of records and reports regarding lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards and failure to provide tenants with EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlets, as required by federal lead-based paint disclosure laws.
According to Mary Ann Cooney, of the N.H. Dept. of Health and Human Services, the New Hampshire Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program has been actively working with EPA in an effort to support the enforcement of lead paint regulations and to meet the national goal of eliminating lead poisoning by 2010.
This case is among dozens of lead-related civil and criminal cases EPA New England has taken as part of a collaborative effort between federal, state and municipal agencies and grassroots organizations to make sure property owners, property managers and real estate agents are complying with federal lead disclosure laws. EPA has conducted hundreds of inspections in New England, and, in collaboration with its partners, has conducted numerous compliance assistance workshops.
Federal law requires that property owners, property managers and real estate agents leasing or selling housing built before 1978 provide the following information to tenants and buyers: an EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlet, called Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home; a lead warning statement; statements disclosing any known lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards; and copies of all available records or reports regarding lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards. This information must be provided to tenants and buyers before they enter into leases or purchase and sales agreements. Property owners, property managers and real estate agents equally share responsibility for providing lead disclosure information and must retain copies of records regarding lead disclosures for three years.
EPA Report Shows Decrease in Toxic Chemicals Released
"Today's report demonstrates that economic growth and effective environmental protection can go hand-in-hand," said Linda Travers, acting assistant administrator for the Office of Environmental Information. "We are encouraged to see a continued reduction in the overall amount of toxic chemicals being released into the environment."
Significant decreases were seen in some of the most toxic chemicals from 2003-2004.
Dioxin and dioxin compounds, which decreased by 58%
Mercury and mercury compounds, which were cut by 16%
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) went down 92%
Industries were instrumental in getting the data to the public quickly and more efficiently. More than 23,000 facilities reported for calendar year 2004 and 90% used electronic reporting, which streamlined the process significantly. Facility-specific data was released last November and the full national data released.
EPA's 2004 TRI reporting includes toxics managed in landfills and underground injection wells in addition to those released into water and air and releases or other disposals of persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) chemicals. PBT chemicals include dioxin and dioxin-like compounds, PCBs, mercury and mercury compounds, lead and lead compounds, and several pesticides. The amount of toxic chemicals released into the environment has declined 45% since 1998. It is important to review the full data in context, since in many cases changes from one year to the next are less important than longer term trends.
Beck Aluminum Cited for Dioxin and Furan Emissions
EPA Region 5 has filed an administrative complaint against Beck Aluminum Corp., in Mayfield, Ohio, for alleged clean-air violations at an aluminum recovery plant at 6560 Juniata Ave., Cleveland, owned by Remelt Services Inc.
EPA alleges that Beck Aluminum had supervisory authority over operations at the plant from September 2003 through December 2005, and thus was responsible for ensuring the plant's compliance with the Clean Air Act.
EPA filed an administrative complaint against Remelt last October alleging that the company failed to comply with federal dioxin and furan emission control requirements for its aluminum melting furnace. Specifically, EPA alleged that Remelt failed to meet requirements for proper operation, monitoring, planning, recordkeeping and notification. EPA is making the same allegations against Beck.
EPA Cites Flavorchem for Failure to Obtain Permits
EPA Region 5 has cited Flavorchem Corp. for alleged clean-air violations at the company's food flavoring, extracting and fragrance manufacturing plant at 1525 Brook Drive, Downers Grove, Ill.
EPA alleges that Flavorchem violated federal and state regulations when it failed to get construction and operating permits for its plant. EPA also alleges that Flavorchem violated state regulations when it failed to participate in the Illinois trading program for major sources of volatile organic compounds. The market-based program is designed to reduce smog-producing VOC emissions.
"EPA's mission is to protect public health and the environment," said Regional Administrator Thomas V. Skinner. "We will take whatever steps are needed to ensure compliance with the Clean Air Act."
These are preliminary findings of violations. To resolve them, EPA may issue a compliance order, assess an administrative penalty or bring suit against the company. Flavorchem has 30 days from receipt of the notice to meet with EPA to discuss resolving the allegations.
Volatile organic compounds contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, or smog. Smog is formed when a mixture of air pollutants is baked in the hot summer sun. Smog can cause a variety of 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.
Rubicon LLC Joins EPA Partnership, Pledges Hazardous Waste Reduction
The EPA, along with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ), presented a plaque to Rubicon LLC in Geismar, Louisiana, marking its entrance into the National Partnership for Environmental Priorities . Rubicon has entered this voluntary program by pledging to reduce one-half million pounds of aniline and one million pounds of benzene from the waste it generates.
"Using innovative approaches to reduce the use of hazardous chemicals is a good environmental strategy," EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene said. "By joining this program, Rubicon is not only protecting public health and the environment, but showing good economic and business sense."
The National Partnership for Environmental Priorities is a voluntary waste minimization program that encourages public and private organizations to form voluntary partnerships with EPA to reduce the use or release of 31 priority chemicals beyond the requirements of environmental regulations. These chemicals are long-lasting substances that can harm humans and the environment.
"Rubicon is honored to be chosen as a partner in the EPA National Partnership for Environmental Priorities program," said Toby Gerhold, Vice President and General Manager of Rubicon. "We are committed to operating effectively with waste minimization and energy efficiency goals that are advantageous to both the company and the community."
EPA Cites Hamakua Energy Partners for Failure to Meet Permit Requirements
The EPA recently notified Hamakua Energy Partners that it is failing to meet state and federal Clean Air Act permit requirements, including emission limits and emission monitoring requirements, at its power plant facility in Haina, Hawaii.
"Clean Air Act rules are very clear on the need for both appropriate emission limits and continuous monitoring of power plant emissions," said Deborah Jordan, director for the EPA Pacific Southwest Region's Air Division. "We will continue to ensure that facilities comply with these regulations and do their part to protect air quality."
Hamakua Energy Partners owns a power plant facility located in Haina, Hawaii that contains two 23 megawatt combustion turbine generators. The facility, constructed in 1999, is a major source of air pollution and was issued a state air permit for construction and operation of the plant.
As part of the permit, Hamakua was required meet certain emission limits, including those for nitrogen oxides, and to install, operate, and maintain continuous air monitoring systems for each combustion turbine generator to measure carbon monoxide and opacity levels of the smokestack emissions.
Quarterly compliance reports submitted to the Hawaii Department of Health by the company identified numerous instances from 2001 to 2003 where facility emissions exceeded nitrogen oxide limits in the permit. Also, the reports identified excessive periods of time where the carbon monoxide monitoring and opacity monitoring systems failed to operate for both generators. Hamakua also failed to submit required quarterly reports to the EPA.
The facility could face penalties of $27,500 per day for each violation that occurred before March, 2004, and $32,500 per day for each subsequent violation.
The federal Clean Air Act requires each state to adopt and submit a plan to the EPA that provides for the implementation, maintenance, and enforcement of national air quality standards. The HDOH has the primary jurisdiction for crafting, implementing, and enforcing Hawaii air permit program requirements
OR DEQ Offers Guidance for Environmental Assessment of Formerly Used Agricultural Lands
. The guidance provides information helpful to potential site users and property owners of such lands.
Knowing the past uses and current condition of former agricultural lands is important to property owners and developers, said Bob Danko of DEQ's Land Quality Division. Past agricultural operations may have left behind hazardous substances that exceed acceptable human health risk levels for residential and commercial properties.
In addition, Oregon's environmental cleanup law places responsibility on current and past property owners for contamination that may exist, as well as for site investigation and cleanup costs.
"DEQ recommends that an environmental assessment be considered before agricultural lands are developed," said Danko. DEQ is available to advise whether an assessment is appropriate and how to select an environmental consulting firm to do the assessment. These firms are usually listed under "Environmental & Ecological Services" in business phone directories. DEQ does not recommend specific firms.
DEQ expects this guidance to be especially useful to property developers; city and county planners, consultants and others who may need to identify potential site acquisition and development issues associated with the conversion of former agricultural lands. Issues concerning formerly used agricultural lands are expected to increase in the next few years as Oregon's population continues to grow and more people and businesses move onto these lands. The recent Oregon Supreme Court decision to uphold the Measure 37 property rights law also means that more properties throughout Oregon that were formerly in farm use may be available for residential and commercial development.
Pesticides are the most likely contaminant present on these lands. DEQ recommends sampling where past owners or operators are known or suspected to have repeatedly applied pesticides that are known to persist in the environment. The guidance document includes detailed descriptions of pesticide types and residues, information on evaluating past pesticide use, site sampling strategies, requirements for lab analyses and risk screening. It also lists numerous other information sources.
For more information on the guidance, please contact Bob Danko of DEQ's Land Quality Division, Portland, at (503) 229-6266, toll-free in Oregon at 1-800-452-4011, ext. 6266.
Maryland Clean Power Rule to be Published on April 28
Because the Healthy Air Act closely mirrors the Clean Power Rule, the State is continuing with its plan to adopt the Clean Power Rule with minor amendments so it conforms with the Healthy Air Act by this June.
"On behalf of the citizens of Maryland
, I thank the General Assembly for codifying the Clean Power Rule into law," said Governor Ehrlich. "The Maryland Healthy Air Act mirrors the Clean Power Rule reductions for nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and mercury. More importantly, it addresses my concerns over cost and reliability of controlling carbon dioxide by adding a comprehensive study of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) that can be completed well before Maryland becomes a full participant in RGGI. This is generally consistent with our existing approach for RGGI."
"The Governor's Clean Power Rule is the vehicle to implement the Healthy Air Act. This is the quickest path to cleaning Maryland's air. The rule will ensure Maryland compliance with the new health-based air quality standards for ozone and fine particulates," said Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Kendl P. Philbrick. "Enacting this legislation through the Clean Power Rule strengthens Maryland's position as a leader in air quality management and controls."
Once enacted, the final version of the regulations will constitute the most sweeping air pollution control measures proposed in Maryland history. The rule will ensure emission reductions occur at Maryland's most polluting coal-fired power plants. It will work to bring the state into compliance with federal health-based air quality standards for ozone and fine particulate by 2010.
MDE is planning to hold a public hearing on the rule on May 31 in Baltimore. . For more information call MDE's Air and Radiation Management Administration at 410-537-3245.
Concrete Company Cited $33,625 after Inspection by Environmental Strike Force
A concrete company based in Lowell has been assessed a $33,625 penalty by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) for violations connected to the discharge of pollutants and hazardous waste to a waterway. MassDEP's Environmental Strike Force conducted a site inspection at the J.G. MacLellan Concrete Company's 180 Phoenix Avenue facility, and uncovered violations that caused contaminants to impact a wetland that feeds the Merrimack River.
The inspection found that the company was washing its concrete trucks, and the wash-water and concrete residue was washing from the site into a municipal storm drain, which empties into a stream and wetland that feeds the Merrimack. The wash-water also contained pH levels over the standards allowed, as well as elevated levels of suspended solids in the water. MacLellan Concrete did not have permits allowing the discharge of wash-water to the environment.
"Wetlands and waterways are sensitive natural resources that must be protected from the impacts of un-permitted business operations," said Pamela Talbot, acting director of MassDEP's Environmental Strike Force. "Companies must follow environmental regulations or their operations will pay the high price that results from non-compliance."
As part of a negotiated consent order, MacLellan Concrete must continue on-site activities that prevent storm water from waste or recycled concrete from entering storm drains. The company must also implement quarterly monitoring, when rainfall is .1 inch or greater, of storm water discharges from all activities at the 180 and 189 Phoenix Avenue sites. They must monitor for total suspended solids, priority pollutant metals, and pH, and report those results to MassDEP. They must also file the proper permits and control plans with MassDEP and the federal EPA.
MacLellan must pay $16,000 of the assessed penalty, with the remaining $17,625 suspended as long as the company implements the required pollution control measures and does not further violate state regulations.
NJ DEP Wins Legal Challenge to Stormwater Regulations
Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson applauded a New Jersey appeals court ruling that upheld the DEP's authority to adopt comprehensive stormwater rules requiring 300-foot buffers to protect high-quality waters from the dangers of development.
"The court ruling represents a tremendous victory for New Jersey in our ongoing fight to protect the quality and quantity of our water resources. Clean, safe and abundant drinking water supplies are something we cannot afford to take for granted," Commissioner Jackson said. "New Jersey's stormwater rules are considered the nation's most protective largely because they require 300-foot vegetated buffers along Category One waterways to help filter pollutants and safeguard the quality of these waters."
In the 24-page decision released by the Appellate Division of New Jersey Superior Court, the three-judge panel rejected the New Jersey Builders Association's argument the DEP lacked the statutory authority to promulgate the stormwater rules, and also noted that the association "mischaracterized these buffers as 'no build zones.'"
"This ruling by the Appellate Division affirms DEP's broad authority to protect water quality in New Jersey, as well as the need to preserve the remaining pristine waters throughout the state for future generations," said Attorney General Zulima V. Farber. "The court recognized the close correlation between water quality and the way that land is used along the banks of our sensitive waterways."
The DEP has applied Category One status, the state's highest level of water protection, to 10,219 acres of reservoirs and 3,855 river miles.
"It's particularly gratifying that the court has acknowledged that without these tough stormwater regulations, developers and industry would continue building right on top of sensitive streams and reservoirs that provide drinking water to millions of our residents," Commissioner Jackson said.
The DEP adopted the new stormwater management rules in February 2004 - the first major update of the regulations in 20 years. Soon after the regulations were adopted, the New Jersey Builders Association took legal action.
"Protecting the quality and quantity of our water supplies not only is essential to our environment and our quality of life, but also is critical to the stability of our economy," Commissioner Jackson said.
Chemical Carrier to Pay over $350,000 for Acetone Spills
The Callahan Company of Walpole, Mass. will pay a fine of $40,000 and undertake two environmental improvement projects costing $317,000 to resolve violations of the Clean Air Act and other environmental statutes. The civil penalty was discounted to reflect the company's cooperation and willingness to undertake projects that benefit the local environment. The projects call for Callahan to make substantial stormwater management improvements to the lower drainage areas of its facility, and to install environmental safeguards to their above-ground tank farm. Both projects will be at Callahan's Walpole facility.
An EPA investigation discovered that Callahan failed to employ adequate safeguards to prevent and mitigate two releases of acetone which occurred at the company's Walpole facility. The company also violated federal requirements to quickly notify local, state and federal responders to the potentially-hazardous chemical release.
Disasters such as September 11th, and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, have highlighted the importance of preparing for, preventing and responding quickly to chemical releases in our communities. EPA's New England office is intensifying its efforts to make sure manufacturers report chemical use, take the necessary steps to prevent chemical accidents, and immediately report releases, as required by the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), the Clean Air Act (CAA), and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).
This settlement derives from violations of the Clean Air Act by Callahan's failing to employ adequate safeguards to prevent and mitigate two releases of acetone - one of about 1,300 gallons on Dec. 6, 2004 and another of 200 gallons on Jan. 14, 2005. Both spills apparently resulted from human error. The company was also cited for failing to follow accepted safe operating procedures by failing to give timely notification of the first release to the NationalResponseCenter and the Local Emergency Planning Committee.
EPA recommends that companies dealing with potentially hazardous chemicals should:
Work closely with Local Emergency Planning Committees to make them aware of chemicals they use and store at their facilities
Be prudent about assessing the potential for chemical hazards, and take steps to prevent releases
Add redundant controls where control failure results in significant risks
Report significant releases to emergency responders and the NationalResponseCenter immediately.
Do not wait to calculate the amount of chemical released. You may be fined for late reporting if EPA determines that you should have known that the release exceeded reportable quantities of chemical before precise calculations are complete; and
Ensure that you have a system for ensuring compliance with EPCRA and other chemical safety laws, including the CAA and OSHA. The system should survive staff turnover.
EPA also encourages companies to take advantage of its Audit Policy, a program that includes incentives for regulated entities to voluntarily come into compliance with federal environmental laws and regulations. The policy does not cover criminal violations or violations that resulted in actual significant harm to public health or the environment. In 2005, some 74 facilities have self disclosed EPCRA violations to EPA through the use of the Audit Policy and the Small Business Policy, saving a combined $5 million in penalties.á
Roche Colorado Receives EPA Award
EPA Region 8 Administrator Robert E. Roberts presented EPA's Environmental Achievement Award to the Roche Colorado Corporation's Schools Chemical Cleanout Campaign Team on April 14 at the corporation's offices in Boulder.
Roberts said, in presenting the award, "This Environmental Achievement Award is given in recognition of Roche Colorado Corporation's Schools Chemical Cleanout Campaign Team for its superior leadership, skill, creativity and dedication while working with EPA to develop a laboratory cleanout and pollution prevention program specifically tailored to meet the unique needs and circumstances of schools in Indian Country."
In 2004, a team of engineers, scientists and health and safety specialists from Roche Colorado Corp. chose to work with EPA Region 8 on a voluntary project that would meet Roche's goal of performing a community service under its Responsible Care program. Responsible Care is a program of the American Chemical Council designed to promote enduring member commitment to community cooperation and achieving its business vision of no accidents, injuries or harm to the environment.
Roche agreed to become a partner with EPA to create and help pilot test what became the Indian Country School Laboratory Hazard Consultation Program. During 2005 alone, Roche dedicated over 200 hours of staff time working with EPA. The Roche/EPA team has completed and pilot tested the program's Chemical Inventory Survey Checklist and taken several other steps toward full implementation of the program
The program is designed to create a safer school laboratory environment in which chemicals are purchased wisely, stored safely, handled by t