DOT is alerting emergency responders to appropriate emergency response guidance for responding to incidents involving fuel mixtures composed of ethanol and gasoline. The most common of these fuels is designated E85 (85% ethanol and 15% gasoline), recently has begun to be used in volume in the Midwest, primarily in the states of Illinois and Minnesota.
Fires involving E85 and other ethanol/alcohol mixtures containing more than 15% ethanol should be treated differently than traditional gasoline fires because these mixtures are polar/water miscible flammable liquids (they mix readily with water) and will degrade the effectiveness of fire-fighting foam which is not alcohol-resistant.
Did you Miss Last Week’s Tip?
Environmental Resource Center’s tip of the week did not reach everyone last week due to technical difficulties. The tip was entitled, ”What’s on EPA’s RCRA Agenda.”
$300,000 Penalty for Waste Oil Discharge
Corpus Christi Day Cruise, Ltd., operator of the M/V Texas Treasure, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas to pay $300,000 in criminal penalties and four years of probation, the Justice Department announced. The ship’s chief engineer, Gojko Petovic, was also sentenced to three years of supervised probation.
The company pleaded guilty to obstruction and Gojko Petovic pleaded guilty to making false statements during a U.S. Coast Guard investigation into whether the M/V Texas Treasure had illegally discharged waste oil and deliberately bypassed its pollution prevention equipment.
“The defendants intentionally obstructed the efforts of U.S. Coast Guard inspectors to ensure compliance with the law,” said Sue Ellen Wooldridge, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “Vessel pollution is a serious concern and through our on-going enforcement efforts, we remain committed to working with the Coast Guard to prosecute cases of deliberate pollution and related cover-ups, and to deter others from engaging in similar acts.”
According to the plea agreement, on Oct. 25, 2004, U.S. Coast Guard inspectors from the U.S. Coast Guard Sector in Corpus Christi conducted a Port State Control Examination of the M/V Texas Treasure to determine the ship’s compliance with international and U.S. environmental laws and related regulations. Based on their observations, including the discovery of a significant amount of oil in the discharge piping of the ship’s Oily Water Separator, inspectors suspected that the ship was bypassing its Oily Water Separator and directly discharging oil waste overboard. Inspectors also reviewed oil-waste tank sounding records for the month of October and discovered several inconsistencies in the records.
As a result, inspectors asked the ship’s Chief Engineer, Gojko Petovic, to produce oil-waste tank sounding records for the months prior to October to compare them with the ship’s Oil Record Book. If the Oil Record Book is accurately maintained, the data in the Oil Record Book concerning the quantity of oil-waste onboard the vessel should correlate to the data in the sounding records. Chief Petovic stated that the ship only maintained tank sounding records for thirty days, after which time they were destroyed. However, a subsequent review of Chief Petovic’s computer revealed that tank sounding records existed dating back to December 2003, and that Chief Petovic intentionally deleted these records on October 29, 2004, while U.S. Coast Guard investigators were on the ship to examine his computer. A review of the tank sounding records indicates that they are inconsistent with the ship’s Oil Record Book.
Engine room operations on ships such as the M/V Texas Treasure—a Bahamian flagged ship that operated gambling cruises out of Port Aransas, Texas—generate large amounts of waste oil and oil-contaminated bilge waste. International and U.S. law prohibit the discharge of waste containing more than 15 ppm oil without treatment by an Oily Water Separator and oil sensing equipment—a required pollution prevention device. International and U.S. law also require that all overboard discharges be recorded in an Oil Record Book.
Closure Requirements for Hazardous Waste Generators
What is proper closure for a hazardous waste generator? Many generators of hazardous waste may not be clear on their responsibilities when they cease using an area or a unit, such as a tank, used for accumulating hazardous waste. Often when an organization moves, or stops generating hazardous waste, the proper closure of these areas or units is overlooked. The requirements for proper closure originate in 40 CFR 262.34.
Both small and large quantity generators must comply with certain disposal and decontamination requirements once they cease operating accumulation areas or units. Large Quantity Generators (LQG) must comply with the generic federal closure requirements in 40 CFR 265.111(a) and (b) and 265.114, and the unit-specific federal closure requirements found in Part 265, Subpart I (containers), Subpart J (tanks), Subpart W (drip pads), and Subpart DD (containment buildings).
The closure requirements include removing and decontaminating all equipment, structures, and soil to minimize the need for further maintenance and prevent post-closure escape of hazardous waste.
State regulations can be more stringent than those set by EPA, For example, according to a recent e-mail circulated by Renee Bungart of the MO Department of Natural Resources, in Missouri the requirements require Small Quantity Generators (SQGs) that accumulate large quantities of hazardous waste (over 1,000 kilograms) to meet the above LQG closure requirements as well.
Hazardous waste tank closures can be especially critical. When a LQG (or a SQG that stores over 1,000 kilograms of hazardous waste) stops using its hazardous waste tanks, the facility must conduct an evaluation pursuant to 40 CFR 265.197(a) and (b). After the evaluation, the facility must take appropriate actions to deal with any contamination of soils, structures or other surroundings. If it is necessary to leave contamination in place, the facility may be required to conduct an interim status closure, and could potentially trigger post-closure permit requirements. Ideally, tank releases are detected during the operating life of the tank, but this final evaluation provides an additional check and response when the tank ceases operation.
Although there are no specific closure requirements for Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators, all hazardous waste at these facilities, which generate less than 100 kg hazardous waste (and less than 1 kg acute hazardous waste) per month, must be managed in a way that does not threaten human health or the environment.
Un-Tested Compressed Gas Cylinders Recalled
DOT was recently notified of the manufacture, marking, and sale of certain high pressure DOT exemption cylinders that were not tested in accordance with applicable regulatory requirements. These cylinders were manufactured and/or distributed by Luxfer, Inc., Riverside, CA. Luxfer and its independent inspection agency, Arrowhead Industrial Services, Inc., reported to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration that 6,325 high pressure cylinders manufactured to the DOT CFFC and FRP-1 standards as authorized in DOT-E 10915, DOT-E 9634, and DOT-E 9894, had been shipped from Luxfer without undergoing the required autofrettage and hydrostatic tests.
In a joint effort, Luxfer and Arrowhead have retrieved 2,581 of the untested cylinders. The model numbers and serial numbers of the remaining 3,744 cylinders are listed in this notice. Only cylinders with the listed serial numbers listed are affected. Anyone with a listed cylinder should discontinue use of the cylinder and return it to Arrowhead so the autofrettage and hydrostatic test can be completed before its next use.
EPA Approves Part of Missouri’s Water Quality Standards
EPA has approved several provisions of the new and revised Missouri water quality standards submitted to EPA by the state. The approved provisions are now effective for implementation purposes under the Clean Water Act.
EPA received Missouri’s complete submission of their new and revised water quality standards for review and approval March 28, 2006, pursuant to Section 303(c) of the Clean Water Act. Under Section 303(c), states are required to review their water quality standards no less frequently than every three years and submit new or revised standards to EPA.
The March 28 submittal included revisions to the Missouri water quality standards approved September 7, 2005, by the Missouri Clean Water Commission and published in the Missouri Code of State Regulations November 30, 2005.
Missouri designated beneficial uses and updated its water quality criteria to meet the national goal of the Clean Water Act that waters of the U.S. be fishable and swimmable, wherever attainable, ensuring the protection of the public, the environment, and the state’s valuable water resources.
With this action, EPA is approving the following provisions of the new or revised water quality standards:
- The addition of Whole Body Contact Recreation use designations for nearly 95% of Missouri’s classified water bodies.
- Restoring the cold-water fishery designation for several waters.
- Correcting designated-use removals that were disapproved during the last review.
- Increased protection for Outstanding Natural Resource Waters.
- Updates to the criteria for the protection of aquatic life, human health, and drinking water supply.
- Adoption of E. coli bacteria criteria for the protection of recreational uses.
- Revisions to the metals criteria for drinking water.
- Language consistent with the Clean Water Act for developing site-specific criteria.
- Revisions to the mixing-zone policy to increase protection of aquatic life in streams with low flow.
This approval action serves to satisfy the terms of a Consent Decree and partially satisfy a Settlement Agreement, both entered into by EPA and the Missouri Coalition for the Environment in December 2004. Additional revisions to the Missouri water quality standards, not acted upon in this April 28 decision, will be addressed in a separate letter to follow.
The April 28 decision letter provides a more detailed description of EPA’s review and the basis for this action.
Totally Rad Website
From seeing a stadium laser light show to receiving an x-ray, radiation is part of our lives. . RadTown USA is a virtual community showing the wide variety of radiation sources commonly encountered in everyday life. The RadTown site features houses, a school, stadium, construction site, flying plane, moving train and much more to highlight and explain the many common sources of radiation.
The information is organized in a series of easy-to-understand fact sheets, with links to additional information resources. Every fact sheet includes the types of radiation sources at the location, the important roles that federal, state and local governments play in protection and control, and normal steps that individuals can take to protect themselves, such as applying sun block or installing radon detectors in homes.
Air Toxics Reductions from Municipal Waste Combustors Locked In
To ensure continued reductions in air toxics, EPA finalized a rule tightening emissions limits for large municipal waste combustors .
In 1995, EPA adopted emissions control requirements for large MWC units. These requirements were highly effective and reduced MWC emissions beyond what was required, including the reduction of
- organic emissions (dioxin/furans) by more than 99%
- metal emissions (mercury, cadmium, and lead) by more than 93%
- acid gas emissions (sulfur dioxide and hydrogen chloride) by more than 91%
The final rule will ensure that high performance levels at MWCs are maintained. EPA is also finalizing several changes to the rules to simplify implementation.
EPA Reports on Recycling Progress
Steel recycling has reached a 20-year high. The number of buildings meeting green building standards doubled last year. Paint and coating manufacturers now reclaim 97% of all waste solvents for further use. The forest products sector now leads all manufacturers in use of co-generation, a highly efficient process that creates heat and electricity from a single source. These are just a few of the environmental performance trends highlighted in a new EPA report released.
Collectively, these sectors contribute nearly $2.1 trillion to the gross domestic product and $5 billion in environmental spending each year.
"Environmental responsibility is everyone's responsibility – and today I'm pleased our nation's economic leaders are taking this motto to heart," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. "By working with our partners in industry, President Bush and EPA are promoting the innovative solutions that make sense for our environmental and economic well-being."
Through EPA's Sector Strategies Program, more than 20 national trade associations – representing 12 major sectors of the U.S. economy – are working with the agency to improve their environmental performance while also reducing unnecessary administrative burden. The participating sectors represent more than 780,000 facilities in manufacturing (cement, forest products, steel, metal casting, metal finishing, paint and coatings, shipbuilding, and specialty-batch chemical) and non-manufacturing sectors (colleges and universities, construction, ports, and agribusiness).
Using government and industry data, as well as case study examples, the report provides a 10-year portrait of environmental performance for each sector. It tracks each sector for their record in reducing water discharges, air emissions, waste generation, toxic chemical releases, as well as their accomplishments in recycling and energy and water efficiency.
The data reveal areas where sectors are improving and where more effort is needed to achieve environmental goals. For example, the forest products, iron and steel, and cement sectors are some of the nation's most energy-intensive industries. While all three registered improvements in energy efficiency over the 10-year period, their trade associations (the American Forest and Paper Association, the American Iron and Steel Institute, and the Portland Cement Association) have set industry goals that would net further energy savings and reduce greenhouse gas intensity.
The report also provides a first-time look at how EPA's Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) data can be used to target the greatest hazard reduction opportunities when managing chemicals. EPA is using toxicity-weighted scores to show release trends for higher impact substances. This information can serve as a tool for future strategic planning. The 2006 report also describes how sectors are turning would-be wastes into material and energy inputs, and how trade associations are helping their members improve environmental operations.
King County, WA to Become Nation’s First SunWise Community
King County Executive Ron Sims pledged to make King County the nation’s first SunWise Community by encouraging County residents to adopt sun safe behaviors as part of National Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month. SunWise Communities is a program developed by the EPA that extends sun safety education community-wide through classrooms, schools, and community-based programs.
"You would think living in Seattle where it’s cloudy and overcast much of the year that UV rays couldn’t hurt you; however, you may be surprised to know that you can still get burned when it’s cloudy," said Michael Bogert, EPA Regional Administrator. "EPA is proud to be partnering with King County to help children and adults learn how to protect themselves from overexposure to the sun. EPA’s SunWise program will help families live sun-safe, healthy lives."
As part of Executive Sims’ proclamation, King County has asked area schools to participate in EPA’s SunWise Program, a program designed to teach children about the dangers of overexposure to the sun and equip them with the skills to protect themselves. By utilizing the program’s SunWise Tool Kit, students will learn about sun-safe behaviors and can take steps to designate their school a "Sun Safety Zone." Students will also be invited to sign a pledge to practice sun safety, actions which can include wearing sunscreen, limiting time in mid-day sun, monitoring the daily UV index, and other activities that can significantly reduce their lifetime risk of developing skin cancer.
"Despite our reputation as a cloudy region, people in King County love the outdoors. As we spend more time outdoors this spring and summer, we increase our potential exposure to harmful UV rays," said Ron Sims, King County Executive. "We should all take the time to protect ourselves and our families from these harmful rays. As part of our commitment to becoming a SunWise Community, we will encourage King County residents and their families to adopt life-long, preventive sun safe behaviors."
Idaho and Contractor to Pay Total of $895,000 for Storm Water Discharge Claims
The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) and contractor Scarsella Brothers, Inc. have agreed to pay $895,000 for violations of the Clean Water Act during the construction of the Bellgrove-Mica realignment of Highway 95 near Lake Coeur d'Alene in Northern Idaho, the Justice Department and the EPA announced.
This settlement concludes a lawsuit which began in 2004, alleging that ITD and Scarsella Brothers failed to provide adequate storm water controls for a large highway project that later deposited many tons of sediment in Mica Creek, which flows into Mica Bay in Lake Coeur d'Alene.
Under the terms of the consent decrees, lodged in the federal district court in Boise, Idaho, ITD will pay a penalty of $495,000 and Scarsella Brothers will pay a $400,000 civil penalty. As part of the settlement, ITD and Scarsella Brothers also have agreed to send their engineers and environmental inspectors to a certified storm water management training, and ITD has agreed to implement new construction management practices to help avoid future violations of the storm water regulations.
“The Idaho Transportation Department and Scarsella Brothers Construction Company failed to follow known best management practices and their actions had a significant impact on the receiving waters and on the Mica Bay portion of Lake Coeur d’Alene,” said Assistant Attorney General Sue Ellen Wooldridge of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “We are committed to enforcing environmental laws and to seeing that violators undertake the actions necessary to comply with storm water regulations in the future.”
“Runoff from construction sites is a major contributor to water quality impairment in the U.S. The EPA is aggressively enforcing federal regulations to help control this problem,” said Granta Y. Nakayama, EPA's Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “This settlement will result in improved water quality and is a signal of the Agency's commitment to enforcement of our nation's environmental laws and regulations.”
In a related action brought in state court, Scarsella will pay half a million dollars to the Mica Bay Homeowners Association to settle claims for property damage allegedly caused by sediment discharges from the site. The Association intends to use the money for environmental improvement projects in the Mica Bay watershed.
The penalty in these two cases is the largest EPA Region 10 has imposed thus far as part of its regional storm water compliance initiative. Although the initiative began in 2001 with several years of intensive outreach, including workshops, mailers, and an expanded website, it was not until 2005, after EPA stepped up its inspection and enforcement efforts, that the region saw a dramatic increase in compliance rates.
Between June 2004 and April 2005, the number of construction site operators in Idaho signed up for the Construction General Permit rose 112%. EPA inspectors have also noted that construction site operators are increasingly in compliance with the permit’s requirements to design, install, and maintain storm water controls to prevent common construction site pollutants such as sediment, petroleum products, and concrete washout from discharging into nearby waterways. Since the initiative began, EPA has brought cases against more than 100 operators.
Clean-Burning Gas Benefits Will Continue with More Flexibility
As required by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, EPA is removing the RFG two-percent oxygen content requirement that reduces production burdens while continuing to protect the environment.
RFG is made up of many components to ensure low vehicle emissions. Although oxygenates can be used to produce RFG, other gasoline components can be used to ensure that RFG continues to meet its clean air requirements. This removal of the 2% oxygen requirement took immediate effect on May 5 with its publication in the Federal Register.
RFG is required by the Clean Air Act in large metropolitan areas with the greatest ozone pollution, but other areas may choose to use RFG to take advantage of its clean air benefits. Seventy-five million Americans across 17 states and the District of Columbia breathe cleaner air as a result of the program. EPA estimates that RFG reduces emissions of ozone-forming pollutants by 105,000 tons per year, the equivalent of eliminating the ozone pollution from 16 million cars. RFG also reduces toxic pollutants by about 24,000 tons per year, the equivalent of eliminating the toxic emissions from over 13 million vehicles.
Maxim LLC Fined $57,200 for Selling Unregistered Manicure and Pedicure Disinfectants
The EPA alleged the company sold and distributed products “Pedi Redi Plus” and “Satin-ize” to various manicure salons. The products claimed to kill or control germs and bacteria on manicure dishes and pedicure spas. Spa disinfectants are defined as “pesticides,” which require registration under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. However, neither product was registered with the EPA.
“Companies must be aware that products intended to kill or control germs must be registered as pesticides with the EPA,” said Enrique Manzanilla, director of the EPA’s Communities and Ecosystems Division for the Pacific Southwest region. “Without EPA registration, we have no information about the effectiveness of these products. This poses a health risk because people may falsely believe the product is preventing infections caused by bacteria or viruses.”
Both products, which were distributed or sold nationwide, claimed to contain the ingredient Chloramine-T, and referred to it as a hospital-grade disinfectant and germicide. The products also made claims of sanitizing the water, fingers, fingernails and manicure dishes.
The Arizona Department of Agriculture conducted the inspection that uncovered the alleged violations, based on a lead received by the EPA Pacific Southwest Region’s Pesticide Program office.
Federal law requires that before selling or distributing a pesticide in the United States, companies must register the pesticide with the EPA. The company must show additional data before a legal claim can be made that a product protects public health. The label of all EPA registered products must bear the EPA registration number, along with directions for use and safety precautions.
Green Technology: First National Sustainable Design Expo
Imagine a world where houses are built from plant materials instead of cement and bricks. Drinking water is disinfected by solar energy, not chemicals. And homes are designed to harvest rainwater to supply hot and cold water.
A highlight of the Expo is EPA's second annual People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) Awards, a national competition involving 41 teams of college and university students who will exhibit their novel design projects. Sustainable designs prove that providing a higher quality of life and protecting the planet are compatible with economic prosperity. Businesses are taking notice – last year, four P3 design projects became new commercial ventures. Projects included designs for green buildings, alternative fuel technologies, plans for safe drinking water in developing countries and even greening the apparel industry.
"Businesses are discovering green technology not only helps green the planet, but puts more green in their wallets. Scientific innovation has long driven the U.S. economy," said Dr. George Gray, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Research and Development. "Now innovation is driving the movement toward environmental sustainability in the United States and making it profitable. At the Expo, you will see designs for how we will heat our homes, clean our drinking water, and design our transportation systems in the near future."
The P3 Award was launched in 2004 to respond to the needs of the developed and developing world in moving toward sustainability. This national competition enables college students to research, develop and design scientific, technical and policy solutions to sustainability challenges.
Support for the P3 competition includes more than 45 partners in the federal government, industry and scientific and professional societies. The expo is co-sponsored by the National Council for Science and the Environment; Environmental and Energy Study Institute and Green Chemistry Institute.
Organizations in NY/NJ to Voluntarily Cut Down Lead, Mercury and PCBs in Their Waste
Four companies in New Jersey, three from upstate New York and a federal lab on Long Island, were recognized by the EPA as the newest partners in a national voluntary program whose members have collectively pledged to eliminate over five million pounds of toxic chemicals, including over three million pounds of priority chemicals, by 2008. All of the chemicals considered “priority” chemicals by EPA are persistent, bioaccumulative, and/or toxic in the environment. The new members were greeted by Agency officials at EPA’s regional office in Manhattan. They join more than 85 individual industrial, state and federal facilities and organizations that have signed up for the National Partnership for Environmental Priorities program.
Comus International and Crystex Composites LlC in Clifton, the Durand Manufacturing Company in Millville and GGB LLC in Thorofare are the new partners from New Jersey. The Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, the Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, the Sanmina-SCI Corporation in Owego and Anderson Instrument Company, Inc. in Fultonville are the newest additions to the NPEP from New York. These eight organizations will reduce lead, mercury and/or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from their wastes. .
“Companies that are members of this program are on a mission to minimize the release of dangerous chemicals,” said EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. ”The companies here today have shown that eliminating harmful chemicals from the environment also helps their bottom line. The Bush Administration is committed to the principle that when corporations embrace responsible environmental stewardship they’ll find it beneficial for their employees, their communities and their businesses.” EPA Region 2 covers New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and has the second highest number of NPEP members in the country
NPEP members eliminate or reduce their use of chemicals that when released into the environment, can linger for decades. If improperly disposed of, these chemicals can repeatedly cycle through the land, water and air. When airborne, they can cross state and national borders, be deposited on soil and water bodies, and settle in sediments. Ultimately, people may consume the chemicals stored in the fat reserves of living organisms. These chemicals, in part, account for the prevalence of fish advisories due to mercury contamination.
EPA to Review Boutique Fuels
Johnson laid out his vision for the task force, sought agreement on an approach and detailed a time-table to guarantee the success of the president's directive.
Boutique fuels are specialized blends produced for a specific state or area of the country to meet state and local air quality requirements. Boutique fuels deliver substantial air quality and public health benefits at minimal costs - ranging from 0.3 to 3 cents per gallon. However, these unique fuels may present serious challenges to the fuel distribution system and, especially in times of disruption, may have the potential to result in local supply shortages.
"This is the first step in addressing the president's goal to streamline America's fuel supply and distribution system," said Johnson. "I appreciate the governors' positive response, and I look forward to working together on a solution."
Drivers are feeling the burden of high gasoline prices across the country. With direct input from the nation's governors, the task force will seek to simplify and unify the system of fuel regulations, as well as increase cooperation among states on gasoline supply decisions.
EPA is setting an ambitious schedule to provide the president with a final report within six to eight weeks. In order to meet this timeline, EPA will hold a series of meetings to provide states the opportunity to present their views and recommendations. EPA also will involve industry experts, public health organizations and other interested parties.
The key elements of the report will include:
- a summary of actions to date, including EPA's 2001 boutique fuel report and provisions required by the Energy Act
- a current report of the use and utility of boutique fuels
- stakeholder opinion and feedback
- options for possible changes to our fuel supply system
New Truck Idling Model Serves as Resource for States to Cut Truck Fuel Use
Reducing idling conserves energy, helps the environment and saves industry money. Each year, truck idling consumes over one billion gallons of diesel fuel, resulting in the emission of 11 million tons of carbon dioxide, over 180,000 tons of nitrogen oxides, as well as emission of fine particulate matter and other air toxics. The model is based on input from workshops EPA held across the country last year with the trucking industry, states, and environmental and health groups.
Updated Plans for Protecting Great Lakes
These comprehensive environmental management plans provide details on the steps needed to ensure protection, restoration and environmental maintenance of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario.
The plans outline the environmental status of each lake, highlight successes, identify problems, and propose solutions. The lake-wide plans are a requirement of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between the United States and Canada to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the Great Lakes. All of the plans, except for Lake Michigan which is entirely in the United States, were developed with Environment Canada. They are collaborative efforts of the state, federal, tribal and provincial governments, as well as stakeholder organizations.
They address such issues as toxic pollutants, pathogens, shoreline development, wildlife and aquatic habitats, uncontrolled runoff and erosion, aquatic and land-based invasive species, and economic and environmental sustainability. They recommend priority actions and projects and address such emerging issues as new chemical threats and the fast pace of changes in land use.
They also set priorities for projects and programs that will advance some of the recommendations of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy. The strategy, developed by stakeholders under a 2005 presidential executive order, offers basin-wide recommendations to reduce toxic substances, restore habitat and wetlands, and prevent aquatic invasive species.
Each lake has its unique concerns, but certain problems affect all the lakes, such as contaminated sediment, invasive species, and airborne pollutants. Many of these problems originate outside the Great Lakes basin. For example, pesticides blown-in from thousands of miles away and invasive species stowed in the ballast water of visiting oceangoing ships.
Proposed solutions are as broad and varied as the problems they are attempting to solve. In addition to ongoing attempts to control critical pollutants in wastewater discharges and clean up contaminated hot spots, the possible solutions include ballast water controls, use of new air pollution models to identify emission sources, pesticide clean sweeps, control of urban and agricultural runoff, and promotion of private environmental stewardship.
The Great Lakes are one of the world's outstanding natural resources. They contain almost 20% of the fresh surface water on the planet and provide drinking water to more than 25 million people in the United States and Canada.
$86,499 Penalty for Waste Oil and Other Violations
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has ordered Roofblok Limited, to clean up a facility in Fitchburg, MA and pay a penalty of $86,498.50 for numerous environmental violations at the site. MassDEP personnel observed the violations during a number of site inspections, following up on a complaint and a request for assistance by the Fitchburg Board of Health.
In addition to discharging oily wastewater to a surface pit dug in the soil, Roofblok was illegally collecting and storing waste oil on site without appropriate management and control measures to prevent spills. Waste oil is a hazardous waste. The company had also accumulated approximately 500 cubic yards of solid waste – waste concrete blocks on site.
MassDEP has ordered the company to cease the wastewater discharge and to properly characterize, secure, manage, and dispose of all illegal wastes on site. Roofblok is ordered to comply with applicable regulations not only at its former site in Fitchburg, but at all of the company’s places of business in Massachusetts, including a new location in Littleton
“The mess this company left at the site cannot be abandoned. MassDEP attempted for months to negotiate a schedule for clean up and a penalty, but the company did not come to terms, and has now moved to its new site,” said Martin Suuberg, director of MassDEP’s Central Regional Office in Worcester. “The Order and Penalty Assessment will require clean up of its site in Fitchburg, and is designed to prevent it from happening at the next location.”
New Jersey Wind Energy Panel Releases Final Report
The panel proposed in its report that scientific baseline studies be conducted to further assess potential natural-resource and economic impacts before wind turbine facilities are constructed in coastal waters. During its evaluation, the panel had recognized the need for baseline studies after identifying major gaps in data about New Jersey’s offshore natural resources, including migratory birds and mammals, and how offshore wind turbines might affect them.
“I will closely review the panel’s findings and recommendations and consider them while working to shape New Jersey’s energy and coastal policies,” Governor Jon S. Corzine said. “I want to thank Mayor Edward McKenna and the panel members for their efforts in leading New Jersey toward developing progressive strategies for meeting New Jersey’s energy needs while protecting our environment and our economic vitality.”
In the final report, the panel outlines New Jersey’s growing energy-supply crisis, which has spawned high electricity costs, particularly along the state’s coast. Acknowledging that no single strategy will solve all of New Jersey’s energy problems, the report urges state agencies to promote an aggressive, multifaceted solution of energy-efficiency standards and various renewable energy technologies.
“Through the efforts of this panel, New Jersey became the first state to conduct a public and thorough investigation of the costs and benefits of developing offshore wind turbine facilities,” said Edward J. McKenna Jr., the panel’s chairman. “The panel did an excellent job of balancing the need to address our state’s serious energy constraints while ensuring protection of our precious offshore natural resources and our local economies.”
Established by executive order in December 2004, the blue-ribbon panel was directed to assess the environmental and economic issues associated with offshore wind turbines, including costs and benefits as compared to other renewable energy sources, impacts on birds and marine mammals, commercial and recreational fishing, tourism and property values. The executive order also imposed a moratorium on the funding and permitting of offshore wind turbine facilities.
New Mexico Offers Free Radon Certification Training
The New Mexico Environment Department’s (NMED) Indoor Radon Program is sponsoring a three-day radon measurement training free of charge that is designed to prepare participants for the national radon proficiency certification exam. Passage of the exam is required for eligibility to register in New Mexico as a radon service provider.
The training will be held May 10-12 at the Best Western Executive Suites, 4630 Pan American East Freeway, NE, in Albuquerque. On site check-in for pre-registered participants will begin at 8:00 a.m. May 10th. Pre-registration is required for attendance. Home inspectors, environmental consultants, public health officials and real-estate professionals typically attend this training.
Participants will be trained to conduct competent radon measurements in a residential setting and to interpret results for clients. Training topics include basics of radon, health effects, measuring radon, quality assurance and quality control, and basic radon mitigation techniques. While the NMED-sponsored training is free to NM residents, the course is open to out-of-state participants at a cost of $495. The exam costs $100 for all participants. The exam will be administered May 12 by the Southern Regional Radon Training Center, Auburn University.
Radon is a naturally occurring, colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that occurs in most soils and is harmlessly dispersed in outdoor environments, but can be extremely harmful when trapped in buildings. At higher indoor concentrations radon can cause lung cancer after prolonged exposure. Old or new, any home can have a radon problem. The only way to know if a home has a radon problem is to test for it. Testing a home for radon is easy and high radon levels can be fixed at a cost similar to many routine home repairs.
A National Academy of Sciences report in February 1998 confirms that radon is a serious national public health problem as the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. The report concluded that radon causes between 15,000 and 22,000 lung cancer deaths each year, or up to 60 deaths per day.
For further information, contact Adam Rankin, NMED Communications Director, at (505) 827-0314.
EPA Issues Assessment of U.S. Wadeable Streams
What's the state of the union's streams? EPA set out to answer that question in a just-completed, multiyear study of wadeable streams across the country.
The study, Wadeable Streams Assessment , is the first consistent evaluation of the streams that feed rivers, lakes, and coastal waters. Alaska and Hawaii were not included in the report but have pilot projects underway. "Wadeable streams" are those which are shallow enough to be adequately sampled without a boat. They are essential natural resources that have been under-sampled in the past.
"This scientific report card on America's streams will help citizens and governments measure the health of their watersheds, take actions to prevent pollution, and monitor for progress," said Assistant Administrator for Water Benjamin H. Grumbles. "Small streams are connected to the overall health of a community's ecology and economy and this report underscores their importance and identifies priority work ahead."
Conducted between 2000 and 2004, the study was based on sampling at 1,392 sites selected to represent the condition of all streams that share similar ecological characteristics in various regions. It was a collaborative effort that involved dozens of state environmental and natural resource agencies, federal agencies, universities and other organizations. More than 150 field biologists were trained to collect environmental samples using a standardized method.
What Did They Find?
The survey found that stream conditions vary widely across the diverse ecological regions of the country, and that streams in the West were in the best condition. Humans, the researchers found, have a significant impact on wadeable streams. A majority of streams showed evidence of human influence along the streams, such as dams, pavement and pastures.
The WSA measured key chemical and physical indicators that reveal stress, or degradation of streams. The most widespread stressors observed are nitrogen, phosphorus, and streambed sediments, which smother aquatic habitat and degrade conditions for fish. Nitrogen and phosphorus are nutrients that can increase the growth of algae, decrease levels of dissolved oxygen and cloud the water.
The WSA is part of a series of surveys to evaluate all of the nation's waters. Coastal condition has already been evaluated. During the next five years, EPA will sample the condition of lakes, large rivers, and wetlands. Then the process will be repeated to provide ongoing comparisons of the state of the waters and point to possible future action.
Washington to Adopt Hexavalent Chromium and Anhydrous Ammonia Rules
On February 28, 2006, OSHA issued a final standard addressing occupational exposure to hexavalent chromium, which is a natural metal used in a wide variety of industrial activities, including the manufacture of stainless steel, welding, painting and pigment application, electroplating, and other surface coating processes.
The new standard covers the general industry, construction, and shipyards sectors and will protect workers against exposure to hexavalent chromium, while providing employers with adequate time to transition to the new requirements.
The anhydrous ammonia requirements that were located in chapter 296-24 WAC have been repealed.
National Water Program Guidance Available
The Guidance describes priorities for the National Water Program for FY 2007, outlines the strategy for accomplishing specific environmental goals in the coming year, and identifies measures of progress to be used to assess progress. EPA Regions will use the Guidance in working with States and Tribes to develop work plans and related materials and will use "targets" for measures in the Guidance as a point of reference for making "commitments" under the measures over the next several months.
Ted Wilkinson Wins Pollution Prevention Contest
Ted Wilkinson’s pollution prevention ideas for reducing paint waste and emissions won the top award in Environmental Resource Center’s pollution prevention contest. He has earned a 1-year subscription to all of Environmental Resource Center’s environmental and safety seminars.
The first five contestants to submit entries have earned free Hazmat Hats:
rcarte, kmueller, treasurefish, leroi123, rivannabedarf
Trivia Question of the Week
To save energy by reducing heat gain in the summer, you should close window shades, blinds, and curtains on which sides of your home and office?
a. South and West
b. North and East
c. North and South
d. East and West