EPA has announced that it will begin clean up at 11 new Superfund projects in nine states (Colorado, Louisiana, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Idaho). The new starts are in addition to the 450 sites currently being cleaned up under Superfund. Those 450 sites include 729 separate cleanup projects. To date, EPA has cleaned up 852 sites on the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL).
EPA's FY 2003 Superfund budget for cleanup is approximately $277 million ($227 million from the fiscal year 2003 Superfund appropriation and an estimated additional $50 million from past appropriations). In addition to appropriations that fund the program, the Superfund law requires parties found responsible for polluting sites pay to clean them up. Due to the "polluter pays" structure of Superfund, about 70 percent of Superfund sites are paid for and cleaned up by private parties. Other sites are cleaned up by EPA, with costs recovered from private parties after the cleanup. EPA collected almost $250 million last year through cost recoveries. Consequently, most of EPA's Superfund appropriation is devoted to "orphan" sites where the responsible parties cannot be found.
Among other criteria, the 11 new projects selected for cleanup were principally chosen based on the human health risks posed by the site. "The $277 million will allow us to begin new work at the top priority sites across the country and continue work on sites where cleanup has already begun," said Marianne Lamont Horinko, EPA Acting Administrator. "I want to emphasize that we will monitor all projects, including those where cleanup will not begin this year, to ensure they do not pose any immediate risk to the people living nearby."
According to Horinko, EPA's ability to start cleanups at new sites is more constrained today than in the past, despite the fact that both EPA's cleanup budget and the cleanup funds contributed by responsible parties have remained fairly constant. Appropriations from Congress for the Superfund program, which includes emergency removals, site assessment, site cleanup, enforcement, and administration, have remained between $1.3 and $1.5 billion since 1995.
"Our first priority is to continue work on sites where cleanup has already begun," she said. "The Superfund program has made huge progress over the years. What we've got left on the NPL are large, complex sites. Ongoing cleanup work, which can take decades, is eating up a big chunk of the money available."
At this time, 12 projects at 10 sites have not been selected to receive funding. However, all funding decisions are not final, and the Agency will make another announcement at the end of the fiscal year after determining what remaining funds are available, Horinko said. Any sites not receiving funding do not pose immediate risks to human health and will be considered for funding next year, she added.
This year approximately 40 percent of EPA's Superfund cleanup budget is dedicated to eight, complex Superfund sites. The Administration has requested a $150 million increase in its Superfund budget for fiscal year 2004 in order to accelerate cleanup at ongoing sites and begin long-term cleanup at new sites. "The additional money would allow us to continue momentum in the Superfund program and allow us to begin work at new sites that are awaiting cleanup," said Horinko.
The 11 new projects that were selected for funding in fiscal year 2003 are:
- Vasquez Boulevard and I-70, Denver, Colo.
- Central Wood Preserving, East Feliciana Parish, La.
- Mallard Bay Landing Bulk Plant, Grand Chenier, La.
- Newton County MineTailings, Newton County, Mo.
- DeRewal Chemical Co., Kingwood Township, N.J.
- Fruit Avenue Plume, Albuquerque, N.M.
- Conroe Creosoting Company, Conroe, Texas
- Eureka Mills, Eureka, Utah
- Pownal Tannery, Pownal, Vt.
- Bunker Hill, Kellogg and Shoshone County, Idaho (two projects)
For more information on the sites, go to http://www.epa.gov/superfund.
Revlis Corporation Agrees to Pay Penalty for Hazardous Waste Violations
Ohio EPA has reached a settlement with Revlis Corporation in Akron for past violations of hazardous waste laws related to an incident at American Landfill in Waynesburg, OH in 2002. The company agreed to pay a $100,000 civil penalty.
On August 22, 2002, Ohio EPA was notified that the driver of a truck, after delivering a shipment of waste to American Landfill, required medical attention from exposure to dust while sweeping out the rear of the vehicle. The load was isolated by American Landfill and inspected by Ohio EPA later that day. Inspectors determined that the load contained several inner liners from containers generated by the Revlis Corporation that, when disposed of, would be a hazardous waste. American Landfill does not hold a hazardous waste permit and cannot accept hazardous waste for disposal.
Ohio EPA followed up with additional inspections at the Revlis facility on August 23, 26, and 27, 2002, and September 5, 2002. As a result of the inspections, Ohio EPA determined that the company caused hazardous waste to be shipped to a facility that does not hold a hazardous waste permit; failed to properly evaluate waste; failed to provide annual hazardous waste management training to some of its employees; failed to conduct weekly inspections of emergency equipment; and failed to conduct weekly inspections of hazardous waste storage areas at the facility, among other violations. On August 28, 2002, a contractor for Revlis removed approximately 180 cubic yards of municipal and hazardous waste from American Landfill for off-site disposal at a permitted facility.
The $100,000 civil penalty settlement will benefit Ohio's hazardous waste cleanup fund, which is administered by Ohio EPA. The civil penalty settlement will be paid in installments over a two-year period. A copy of the settlement is available online at http://www.epa.state.oh.us/dhwm/pdf/06-20-03Revlis.pdf.
Manufacturer to Pay Largest Penalty for Environmental Violation in Massachusetts History
Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly has announced that the corporate owner of a Taunton manufacturing plant will pay $6.5 million to settle alleged violations of state air and water pollution laws. The penalty is the largest ever paid for an environmental violation in Massachusetts.
Waters Technologies Corporation, a Milford-based firm that owns and operates the Taunton facility, will pay a $5.9 million civil penalty and an additional $600,000 to fund a pilot study aimed at reducing air emissions through pollution prevention. The settlement resolves allegations that the company made hundreds of unauthorized changes to its plant and operations that resulted in increased air emissions.
This case was brought to AG Reilly's Office by the Department of Environmental Protection's Southeast Office Regional Enforcement and Compliance Team (REACT), which investigates a range of environmental violations. From reports submitted by the company, REACT determined that the plant, where Waters manufactures chromatography equipment, had been operating for more than 20 years without accurately reporting its actual levels of air emissions. After making the determination, REACT inspected the facility repeatedly and discovered that Waters had made numerous plant modifications and process changes during those years without seeking air quality permits authorizing the changes. By submitting inaccurate data, Waters was able to evade evaluation of air pollution emissions and requirements for additional pollution controls. State environmental regulations require companies to submit truthful and accurate reports on air emissions on an annual basis.
The record $6.5 million settlement includes $5.5 million in civil penalties for alleged violations of state air pollution control laws; $600,000 for a pilot study relating to emissions control; and $400,000 in civil penalties for the remaining environmental violations alleged in the complaint. The majority of the settlement, $5.5 million, will go to the state's Clean Air Act Compliance Fund, administered by the DEP.
Waters Technologies Corporation is a subsidiary of the Milford-based Waters Corporation.
FHWA Unveils New Web Site To Help Local, State Agencies Manage Surface Transportation Security
The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has announced a new Web site to provide state and local agencies simple access to information on improving security in the operation of the surface transportation system.
"The need to ensure the security of America's surface transportation system is a top priority for the FHWA," said FHWA Administrator Mary E. Peters said. "We are working closely with the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies to help state and local officials develop and carry out a comprehensive set of improvements to increase the security of our transportation network."
Peters said that a key element in this plan is providing state and local agencies with valuable information that can help them to make wise decisions to improve the security of roadway operations in their areas.
The new "FHWA Operations Security" Web site at http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/OpsSecurity is part of the FHWA's efforts to help state and local transportation agencies develop initiatives to improve security through effective planning, operation and application of technology.
A section on the Web site offers specific information on how to plan effectively for managing emergencies, how to align action plans with the nation's Homeland Security Advisory System, and how to improve military mobilization on roadways. Roads are the primary means of responding to an incident. All emergencies and incidents have a transportation component, and roads are the critical means through which response and recovery strategies can be carried out.
An extra benefit is that many of the measures that improve security also improve transportation's ability to handle natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes.
The agency developed the Operations Security Web site in response to the expressed need on the part of state and local partners for technical guidance and best practices. The new site links to the information on transportation security from all of the department's administrations, from other federal agencies, and from the associations participating in the National Associations Working Group for Intelligent Transportation Systems. The Web site also links to articles, research, and other information related to transportation security.
More information on traffic operations is available at http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov.
EPA Proposes New Drinking Water Rules
EPA is proposing rules that would require drinking water systems to monitor for and increase protection against Cryptosporidium while expanding the monitoring and control of disinfection byproducts. Building upon rules now in effect, the Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2) and the Stage 2 Disinfection Byproduct Rule are required by the Safe Drinking Water Act and were developed in partnership with a wide range of interests including water systems, environmental groups, and state and local health officials.
Cryptosporidium is a widespread waterborne pathogen that is resistant to common disinfectants like chlorine. Ingestion of Cryptosporidium causes gastrointestinal illness – cryptosporidiosis. Health effects in sensitive populations, such as children, the elderly, and the immuno-compromised, can be severe, including risk of death. New data on Cryptosporidium indicate that most public water systems currently provide sufficient treatment. Some systems, however, may require greater protection because they are more vulnerable to Cryptosporidium. The proposed LT2 rule targets additional treatment requirements to these higher-risk drinking water systems. Specifically, the rule requires additional treatment by filtered systems with higher levels of Cryptosporidium in their water sources as well as by systems that do not filter surface water.
EPA estimates that full implementation of the LT2 rule will reduce cases of cryptosporidiosis by as many as 1,020,000 per year, with an associated reduction of up to 140 premature deaths. The economic benefit ranges up to $1.4 billion annually. The additional treatment required under the LT2 rule may also reduce exposure to other pathogens.
Annual costs of the LT2 rule are estimated to range from approximately $73.5 to $111 million. The average annual household cost is estimated to be $1.07 to $1.68 per year, with more than 98 percent of households experiencing annual costs of less than $12 per year. EPA's Web has additional information on the proposed LT2 rule at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/lt2/index.html.
The Stage 2 Disinfection Byproducts Rule further protects public health from byproducts formed during chemical disinfection widely used by public water systems as a principal barrier to microbial pathogens in drinking water. This rule contains a risk-targeting approach to better identify monitoring sites where customers are exposed to high levels of disinfection byproducts, which have been linked both to bladder, rectal, and colon cancer and to a potential risk of reproductive and developmental health concerns.
"The Stage 2 Disinfection Byproducts Rule stresses the importance of addressing potential risks of miscarriage and fetal loss. Although the science is still uncertain, EPA must act on the weight of existing research to protect human life, and our efforts will be focused in this area in the coming years," EPA Assistant Administrator for Water G. Tracy Mehan III said.
EPA estimates the Stage 2 Rule will reduce the incidence of bladder cancer cases by up to 182 cases per year, with an associated reduction of up to 47 premature deaths. The economic benefits from these avoided illnesses and deaths is estimated to be up to $986 million annually. EPA also expects the Stage 2 Rule to reduce fetal losses and other reproductive and developmental health effects. The annual cost of the Stage 2 Rule is expected to be $54.3 to $63.9 million. The average annual household cost is estimated to be 51 cents per year, and more than 99 percent of households will experience annual costs of less than $12 per year. More information on the proposed Stage 2 Rule is available on EPA's Web site at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/stage2/index.html.
In other actions, EPA has concluded a Six-Year Review of 69 Drinking Water Regulations and has finalized regulatory determinations for nine contaminants on the Contaminant Candidate List. For both of these decisions, EPA's review included the best available data on health effects, analytical methods, treatment technologies, and occurrence. For the Six-Year Review, EPA has concluded that the monitoring requirements for Total Coliform (an indicator of bacterial contamination of drinking water) should be revised. EPA also finalized determinations on nine contaminants and found that at this time it is not appropriate to develop regulations for Acanthamoeba, Aldrin, Dieldrin, Hexachlorobutadiene, Manganese, Metribuzin, Naphthalene, Sodium, and Sulfate. Information on the Six-Year Review is available on EPA's Web site at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/review.html, and the information on the Contaminant Candidate List Regulatory Determinations is available on EPA's Web site at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/ccl/cclregdetermine.html.