On January 3, EPA published a final rule in the Federal Register that spells out how user fees for electronic and paper hazardous waste manifests will be submitted. After the e-Manifest system's implementation date, facilities that receive hazardous waste (such as permitted treatment, storage, and disposal facilities) will be required to pay a prescribed fee for each electronic and paper manifest and submit the fee to the national e-Manifest system so that EPA can recover the costs of developing and operating the system. The only exception to this requirement is for rejected shipments, when TSDFs return shipments to generators. In these cases, the rejecting TSDF is responsible for the payment of the fee for the return manifest
This final rule also announced that EPA expects the new e-Manifest system to be operational on June 8, of this year. EPA will begin accepting manifest submissions and collecting the corresponding manifest submission fees on this date. Although the fee structure has not been finalized, EPA has initially estimated the following fees, with the highest rates applying to mailed paper manifests:
Mailed paper $20.00 (per manifest)
Image upload $13.00
Data file upload $7.00
The final rule also made changes not related to fees including modifications to the existing regulations to: allow changes to the transporters designated on a manifest while the shipment is en route; describe how data corrections may be made to existing manifest records in the system; and amend the previous e-Manifest regulation (the One Year Rule) to allow the use, in certain instances, of a mixed paper and electronic manifest to track a hazardous waste shipment.
The rule will become effective on June 30, 2018. Learn more about the new manifest at Environmental Resource Center’s live webcast.
Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Atlanta, on January 23-25 and save $100 or receive an Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet with electronic versions of both handbooks. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.
Indianapolis Hazardous Waste and DOT Training
Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Indianapolis on January 30 – February 1 and save $100 or receive an Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet with electronic versions of both handbooks. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.
Tampa Hazardous Waste and DOT Training
Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Tampa, FL, on February 5-8 and save $100 or receive an Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet with electronic versions of both handbooks. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.
Waste to Energy Market Expected to Grow Worldwide as Renewable Energy Sources Rise
Waste to energy (WtE) is a process of generating energy in electrical or heat form using primary treatment of waste. Incineration is the most common and popular method used for waste to energy generation. Residential, industrial, and commercial sources are most common waste stream used for energy recovery. However, bio-waste from agriculture, construction waste, hazardous waste, etc., are also considered feasible for energy recovery, depending on their specific composition, and energy content. Selection of WtE technology is dependent on the nature, and volume of the waste stream. Energy content or calorific value of the waste determines how much energy can be extracted from it.
Increasing adoption of renewable energy resources globally is a key factor driving growth of the global waste to energy market. In addition, government policies on waste deposable & treatment techniques, low price of fossil fuel, and development in thermal technologies such as incineration, gasification, and pyrolysis that lowers the carbon emissions are other factors expected to boost growth of the global waste to energy market over the forecast period.
However, high cost associated with waste to energy generation is a key factor restraining growth of the global waste to energy market. Additionally, lack of awareness regarding waste to energy benefits, and emission of flue gases in thermal waste to energy technology that causes health issues are other factors expected to hamper growth of the global waste to energy market over the forecast period.
Rising demand of low cost technologies for treating local waste is also expected to generate potential opportunity for key players in the global waste to energy market over the forecast period.
The global waste to energy market is segmented on the basis of technology, and region. On the basis of region, the global waste to energy market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa.
European market is expected to be the dominant player in the global waste to energy market followed by market in North America owing to increasing industrial waste coupled with strict government regulations to minimize industrial waste in countries in the region. The market in Asia Pacific is expected to witness fastest growth rate over the forecast period, owing to increasing demand for renewable energy sources in emerging economies in the region.
Chemicals Ban Has Already Reduced Ozone Hole
For the first time, scientists have shown through direct satellite observations of the ozone hole that levels of ozone-destroying chlorine are declining, resulting in less ozone depletion.
A new study in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, shows the decline in chlorine, resulting from an international ban on chlorine-containing manmade chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), has resulted in about 20% less ozone depletion during the Antarctic winter than there was in 2005, the first year that measurements of chlorine and ozone during the Antarctic winter were made by NASA’s Aura satellite.
“We see very clearly that chlorine from CFCs is going down in the ozone hole, and that less ozone depletion is occurring because of it,” said Susan Strahan, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland and lead author of the new study.
CFCs are long-lived chemical compounds that eventually rise into the stratosphere, where they are broken apart by the Sun’s ultraviolet radiation, releasing chlorine atoms that go on to destroy ozone molecules. Stratospheric ozone protects life on the planet by absorbing potentially harmful ultraviolet radiation that can cause skin cancer and cataracts, suppress immune systems and damage plant life.
Two years after the discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole in 1985, nations of the world signed the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, which regulated ozone-depleting compounds. Later amendments to the Montreal Protocol completely phased out production of CFCs.
Past studies have used statistical analyses of changes in the ozone hole’s size to argue that ozone depletion is decreasing. This study is the first to use measurements of the chemical composition inside the ozone hole to confirm that not only is ozone depletion decreasing, but that the decrease is caused by the decline in CFCs.
The Antarctic ozone hole forms during September in the Southern Hemisphere’s winter as the returning sun’s rays catalyze ozone destruction cycles involving chlorine and bromine that come primarily from CFCs. To determine how ozone and other chemicals have changed year to year, scientists used data from the Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) aboard the Aura satellite, which has been making measurements continuously around the globe since mid-2004. While many satellite instruments require sunlight to measure atmospheric trace gases, MLS measures microwave emissions and, as a result, can measure trace gases over Antarctica during the key time of year: the dark southern winter, when the stratospheric weather is quiet and temperatures are low and stable.
The change in ozone levels above Antarctica from the beginning to the end of southern winter— early July to mid-September—was computed daily from MLS measurements every year from 2005 to 2016.
“During this period, Antarctic temperatures are always very low, so the rate of ozone destruction depends mostly on how much chlorine there is,” Strahan said. “This is when we want to measure ozone loss.”
The researchers found ozone loss is decreasing, but they needed to know whether a decrease in CFCs was responsible. When ozone destruction is ongoing, chlorine is found in many molecular forms, most of which are not measured. But after chlorine has destroyed nearly all the available ozone, it reacts instead with methane to form hydrochloric acid, a gas measured by MLS.
“By around mid-October, all the chlorine compounds are conveniently converted into one gas, so by measuring hydrochloric acid we have a good measurement of the total chlorine,” Strahan said.
Nitrous oxide is a long-lived gas that behaves just like CFCs in much of the stratosphere. The CFCs are declining at the surface but nitrous oxide is not. If CFCs in the stratosphere are decreasing, then over time, less chlorine should be measured for a given value of nitrous oxide. By comparing MLS measurements of hydrochloric acid and nitrous oxide each year, they determined that the total chlorine levels were declining on average by about 0.8% annually.
The 20% decrease in ozone depletion during the winter months from 2005 to 2016 as determined from MLS ozone measurements was expected. “This is very close to what our model predicts we should see for this amount of chlorine decline,” Strahan said. “This gives us confidence that the decrease in ozone depletion through mid-September shown by MLS data is due to declining levels of chlorine coming from CFCs. But we’re not yet seeing a clear decrease in the size of the ozone hole because that’s controlled mainly by temperature after mid-September, which varies a lot from year to year.”
Looking forward, the Antarctic ozone hole should continue to recover gradually as CFCs leave the atmosphere, but complete recovery will take decades.
“CFCs have lifetimes from 50 to 100 years, so they linger in the atmosphere for a very long time,” said Anne Douglass, a fellow atmospheric scientist at Goddard and co-author of the new study. “As far as the ozone hole being gone, we’re looking at 2060 or 2080. And even then, there might still be a small hole.”
Tips for Smarter, Cleaner Burning During Winter Season
EPA published tips homeowners who are heating their homes with wood burning stoves, fireplaces, or boilers.
Wood smoke is made up of a mixture of fine particles and toxic gases that can harm your health. Fine particle pollution isn't healthy to breathe indoors or out, especially for children, older adults and those with heart disease, lung diseases, including asthma. Exposure to fine particles has been linked to heart attacks, irregular heartbeat, heart failure and stroke in people with heart disease, and may also increase susceptibility to respiratory infections.
Regardless of the type of wood heater you use, you should not smell smoke inside your home or see smoke coming out of your chimney except during start up.
Here are some wood-burning tips to follow:
- Upgrade to an EPA-certified heater (wood or pellet stove, fireplace insert, or hydronic heater) or gas heater. There are an estimated 13 million fireplaces, almost 250,000 hydronic heaters, and 8.5 million wood stoves nationwide. About 57% of wood stoves are older, inefficient devices.
- Split and season softwood outdoors for at least 6 months and hardwood for 12 months before burning it. Burning seasoned wood generates more heat and, therefore, can result in significant cost savings over the winter. Wood burns best when the moisture content is less than 20%. Inexpensive meters are available at hardware stores and online for testing moisture content.
- Never burn painted or pressure-treated wood, ocean driftwood, wood that contains glue (e.g., plywood), household garbage, trash, cardboard, plastics or foam. All of these products emit toxic fumes when burned.
- Have a certified professional service your wood heater or fireplace annually – don't just rely on a carbon-monoxide alarm.
- Start fires with newspaper and dry kindling or have a professional install a natural gas or propane log lighter in your open fireplace.
- Do not let a fire smolder – this increases air pollution and does not provide heat.
- Reduce your overall heating needs and heating bills by improving the insulation in your home; caulking around windows, doors, and pipes to seal air gaps; and adding weather-stripping to doors and windows.
To learn more about the importance of burning the right wood, the right way, in the right wood-burning appliance, go to EPA's Burn Wise website at www.epa.gov/burnwise.
EPA Received 51 PMNs in October
The EPA received 51 pre-manufacture notices (PMNs) in October.
In all but 15, the name of the manufacturer or importer was withheld as confidential business information (CBI), according to a notice published in the 2 January Federal Register.
The agency announced in December that it had received 165 new PMNs in September. In previous months, there were: 42 in August; 49 in July; 36 in June; 22 in May; and 58 in April.
The EPA also received 22 notices of commencement (NOCs) in October, compared with 13 in both September and August and 20 in July. This represents a significant drop from last spring, when 115 NOCs were received in May and 152 in April.
The agency is accepting comments on the October submissions until 1 February.
New Jersey to Launch Online Platform to Increase Recycling Efforts
New Jersey is purchasing an online program to centralize recycling information for towns and counties in a single app that New Jersey residents may access through their smart devices and computers, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bob Martin announced recently.
With the purchase, New Jersey becomes the first state to bring the Recycle Coach app free of charge to all residents to help increase recycling rates statewide and provide recycling information in a simple, clear, and concise manner. The app, already in use by 92 communities across eight New Jersey counties, will become available statewide in early 2018.
“Recycling is something most of us do every day, and the Recycle Coach app will help us reach even more people to remind them about how they can help the environment,” Commissioner Martin said. “In turn, this tool will help all New Jersey residents in achieving our recycling goals and demonstrate our state’s ongoing commitment as a national leader in recycling.”
As of 2015, New Jersey had recycled 43% of its municipal residential waste, which is well above the national average of 34%, and within reach of the state’s longstanding goal of a 50% recycling rate.
After downloading the app to their smartphone or accessing it through their town’s or county’s website, Recycle Coach users can input their address to access a variety of information: when to put out recyclables and solid waste for pickup, ask questions about what is recyclable, receive specific communication from their town or county, read articles about becoming better recyclers, stay informed of missed pickups or holiday collection schedules, educational podcasts, interactive quizzes and more. A ‘What Goes Where’ database within the app will be especially helpful for knowing where to recycle a variety of materials.
“People today get their information from many different sources, and DEP recognizes that adapting to today’s technologies can help us grow our recycling outreach to the public,” said Mark Pedersen, Assistant Commissioner for Site Remediation and Waste Management. “Through Recycle Coach, residents will be able to get reminders of when to put out their waste for collection and recycling, be advised of pickup schedule changes due to weather or truck breakdowns, and access information through the app or other online platforms. Our partnership with this app is a great way to remind the public about the importance of recycling.”
“We’re very excited the New Jersey DEP shares our vision of an online community where residents and levels of government come together to generate better recycling outcomes,” said Recycle Coach President Creighton Hooper. “Recycle Coach makes it easier for residents to get the personalized information they need, while local governments enjoy operational efficiencies and lower communication costs.”
DEP plans an aggressive implementation schedule in coming months to make Recycle Coach available statewide, while ensuring that accurate and timely information about recycling and solid waste issues is easily available.
Recycling has been a statewide priority for more than three decades. In April 1987, New Jersey became the first state to require residents to recycle by adopting the statewide Mandatory Source Separation and Recycling Act, which requires recycling by residents, businesses and institutions such as schools and hospitals.
DEEP Plans Modernization of Connecticut’s Largest Recycling Facility
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) announced the selection of the Sacyr Rooney Development Team to modernize the Materials Innovation and Recycle Authority (MIRA) facility in Hartford. The facility is Connecticut’s largest waste facility and is set to undergo a transformation that will cut in half the amount of trash burned and dramatically increase the recovery of recyclable materials and organics.
The Sacyr Rooney Development Team team is an alliance between Sacyr, an international Spain-based firm specializing in complex infrastructure projects, and Manhattan Construction Group, which has extensive experience financing and building large-scale infrastructure projects. Other members of the bid team include Baltimore, M.D.-based Synagro, and CWPM of Plainville, CT.
“One-third of the state’s trash (over 700,000 tons-per-year) is currently sent to the MIRA waste-to-energy facility on Maxim Road, Hartford, where material is combusted for energy generation. The facility’s aging equipment is prone to unplanned outages and MIRA had warned state officials that it would be unable to bear the cost of needed upgrades,” said DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee. “The Sacyr Rooney concept has the potential to provide significant environmental and economic benefits to the State, as well as significant improvements in host community impacts compared with the present state.”
The environmental benefits include the recovery of over 40% of incoming Municipal Solid Waste for beneficial uses by employing enhanced recycling, anaerobic digestion, and composting technologies. The remaining material will be combusted for the production of electricity in a refurbished power system. Taking into account expected diversion and the reduced throughput, the concept would reduce by approximately one-half the amount of waste currently combusted at the facility. The concept also helps maintain in-state waste management capacity rather than significantly increasing reliance on out-of-state landfilling, which is consistent with the state’s statutory waste management hierarchy as well as the 2016 Comprehensive Materials Management Strategy (CMMS).
The economic benefits include the potential to stabilize tipping fees throughout the regional waste system, reigning in costs for residents and businesses. The Sacyr Rooney concept is projected to provide tipping fees that are lower than current MIRA contracted rates for many customers. Other benefits include the transformation of waste into valuable commodities, and the creation of new jobs.
For the City of Hartford, the Sacyr Rooney concept holds the potential for a higher host benefit payment, local hiring and purchasing, job training programs, a new education center, aesthetic improvements to the facility and site, remediation of existing contamination at a portion of the site, and increased public access to the riverfront. Upgrades to the power system and the significant reduction in combustion at the site will also reduce the potential for environmental and human health impacts for residents of Hartford and surrounding towns. DEEP has established a process to ensure Hartford has a seat at the table for negotiations on moving the project forward.
DEEP will monitor negotiations involving Sacyr Rooney, MIRA, and the City of Hartford aimed at reaching a final development agreement by August 2018. If an agreement cannot be reached, DEEP has reserved the right to invite another proposer, Mustang Renewable Power Ventures, to enter into talks with MIRA. Contracting will be followed by approximately three years of planning, permitting, and construction before the new facility is fully online.
ENERGY STAR Awarded to Lansing Building
The Michigan Agency for Energy (MAE) and the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) have announced that its leased office building in Lansing has earned the respected ENERGY STAR certification, awarded by the EPA to buildings that meet strict energy waste reduction standards.
“The Michigan Agency for Energy and the Michigan Public Service Commission are leading by example,” said Valerie Brader, executive director of MAE. “ENERGY STAR-certified buildings use less energy, are less expensive to operate than their peers and showcase ways to reduce energy waste.”
The ENERGY STAR designation is open to commercial buildings, industrial plants and other buildings. Click here for information on how to apply for certification.
“We encourage other Michigan building owners and operators to pursue this certification to reduce energy waste,” Brader said.
The certification is the latest step MAE and the MPSC have taken to reduce energy waste in the workplace. In 2015, the building that houses the two agencies became the first energy agency in the nation to make improvements using Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing.
This year, the building is competing in the “office” category of the Battle of the Buildings, an awards and recognition program for energy use reduction that is open to all Michigan commercial, industrial and multi-family buildings. From January through September of this year, electric use at the MAE/MPSC offices is down 5.2%, natural gas use is down 2.2% and water use is down 8.6%, compared to last year. The Battle of the Buildings contest period ended December 31st.
Take Care of Texas Announces Kids Art Contest
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality invites Texas kindergarten through fifth-grade students to enter the Take Care of Texas Kids Art Contest.
The contest is a fun way for students to learn about protecting the environment and come up with creative ways to share this knowledge with others. The contest is open to students throughout Texas, whether they attend a public school, private school, or are homeschooled.
To enter, students submit their artwork showing positive ways to help keep the air and water clean, conserve water and energy, and reduce waste. Students’ artwork must include the slogan “Take Care of Texas. It’s the only one we’ve got.”
Participants submit their artwork to the TCEQ, and each of the TCEQ’s 16 regional offices will select a winner. One grand prize winner will receive a laptop, and 15 students will win a Samsung tablet. The teacher of the student who designs the overall best artwork will also receive a tablet. Prizes are provided by the contest partner, Samsung Austin Semiconductor.
Take Care of Texas is a statewide campaign from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality that encourages all Texans to help keep the State’s air and water clean, conserve water and energy, and reduce waste.
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Trivia Question of the Week:
The majority of energy consumed in the U.S. comes from what source?
b. Natural gas