EPA Cites Companies for Violating TSCA

November 15, 2004

The EPA warned eleven waste transportation companies in California and one in Reno, Nevada that they must notify the agency prior to transporting waste containing PCBs or pay a $1,650 fine.

The EPA issued warning notices to the companies for failing to notify the EPA that they were transporting waste containing polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, in violation of the federal Toxic Substances Control Act. The companies are listed at the end of this press release.

The EPA learned of the violations after the storage and waste disposal facilities receiving the PCB-laden waste notified the agency. In each case, the wastes were transported to PCB storage and landfill facilities in California, Arizona and Nevada.

"Waste transporters play a key role in ensuring that PCB waste found in everything from contaminated soil to old electrical equipment undergoes proper disposal," said Enrique Manzanilla, director of the cross media division for the EPA's Pacific Southwest region. "We are warning transporters that failure to meet the requirements may result in stronger enforcement action in the future."

EPA requires that anyone transporting, storing or disposing of PCBs notify the agency in writing. More than 1.5 billion pounds of PCBs were manufactured in the United States before the EPA banned the chemicals in 1978. PCBs were commonly used in paints, industrial equipment, plastics and rubber products. The EPA banned the chemicals after tests showed that PCBs cause cancer in animals and adversely affect the human nervous, immune and endocrine systems.

Companies that transport, store or handle PCBs can check EPA's website to find information on how to comply with the agencyÆs notification requirement at www.epa.gov/pcb/data.html.

The EPA issued the notices to the following companies:

Asbury Environmental Services - Compton
Environmental Services - Auburn
Haz Mat Services, Incorporated - Yorba Linda
Industrial Waste Utilization, Incorporated - Montclair
Janus Corporation - Concord
Karcher Environmental, Incorporated - Anaheim
NRC Environmental Services - Alameda
Photo Waste Recycling Company - San Rafael
PARC Specialty Contractors - Sacramento
Rust & Sons Trucking, Incorporated - El Cajon
World Environmental and Energy, Incorporated - West Sacramento

Universal Environmental - Reno

EPA Cites Kmart for Selling Unregistered Garden Hose Pesticide Products

EPA has fined the Kmart Corporation for selling a variety of garden hoses that claim to inhibit mold, fungus and bacteria growth. The Agency has determined them to be unregistered pesticide products. Since the products are not registered with EPA, the Agency is not able to verify their effectiveness as pesticides. EPA is seeking a penalty of $110,000 in a complaint against the company, based on EPA inspections in April 2004 at Kmart stores in Linden and New Brunswick, New Jersey. Kmart, which is headquartered in Troy, Michigan, receives a variety of garden hose products at its warehouses in California for distribution to its retail stores across the country.

"Our goal is to stop companies from making unsubstantiated claims that their products protect public health by destroying bacteria, mold, mildew and fungus," EPA Regional Administrator Jane M. Kenny warned. "In this case, the products in question are not just a problem in our region. They are on the shelves of Kmart stores coast to coast."

Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), companies must register all products containing pesticides with EPA and must ensure that claims are accurate. The labels on the Kmart hoses state that they contain Microban, which is an EPA-approved pesticide that inhibits the growth of bacteria and fungus in manufactured materials and finished product. The company overstates its product's effectiveness by including terms and phrases on its labels such as "bacteria inhibitor," Microban antimicrobial protection," and "used in. . . medical products over 35 years." These claims imply that Microban, which does serve to preserve the hoses themselves, will also protect the health of the consumers who use them. Since the pesticide is in the fabric of the hoses, its pesticide properties only preserve the integrity of the hoses and do not kill bacteria within the water that runs through them.

Connecticut DEP Begins Process to Ban Boat Sewage Discharge in Long Island Sound

The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is taking steps that would lead to a ban of sewage discharge from boats into coastal waters in an effort to preserve the quality of coastal waters in Long Island Sound.

The DEP plans to ask the EPA to approve designation of the waters from Hoadley Point in Guilford to Eastern Point in Groton, including the Connecticut River from Massachusetts border to Old Saybrook and the Thames River from Norwich to New London as a No Discharge Area. The EPA has already approved ConnecticutÆs designation of a No Discharge Area in Connecticut coastal waters from the Rhode Island Border to Eastern Point in Groton as a No Discharge Area.

Eliminating the release of both treated and untreated sewage from boats will result in reductions of man-made nutrient loading and exposure to bacterial pathogens in swimming areas, shellfish beds and other environmentally sensitive aquatic habitats. The discharge from boats of untreated sewage is currently prohibited, however treated sewage from Type I and Type II Marine.

Sanitation Devices may be legally discharged in coastal waters not currently designated as a No Discharge Area. If a No Discharge Area is established, the discharge from boats of treated as well as untreated sewage will be prohibited with the designated area. Instead, boaters will be required to use pump out facilities or pump out boats that serve the area.

Establishing a No Discharge Area is supported by the goals of the DEPÆs Long Island Sound Study Plan to reduce the entry of man-made pathogens and nutrients into Connecticut waterways. The designation will help to eliminate confusion about what may be discharged and to reduce the accidental discharge of untreated or poorly treated waste from poorly maintained or non-functional sanitation systems.

November 15th is America Recycles Day

Every year on November 15th, citizens all over the country celebrate America Recycles Day. The purpose of this day is to promote recycling and buying recycled products across the United States. The emphasis is on educating people about the environmental and economic benefits of recycling.

The theme of this year's event is "It All Comes Back to You." Additionally, the entire month of November is Buy Recycled Month, and the week of Nov. 14 - 20 is Recycling Awareness Week.

Massachusetts Landfill Operator Fined $25,000 for Violations

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has fined landfill closure project operator Waste Management of Massachusetts, Inc., $25,000 for violations of the stateÆs Solid Waste Management regulations.

The Cottage Street Landfill, located in Springfield, MA, is currently the subject of a landfill closure project. Site-specific guidelines have been established for the project through a series of permits and legally binding agreements. The environmental controls established for the project allow Waste Management of Massachusetts, Inc. landfill to accept certain materials which will serve to shape and grade the site in preparation for development of athletic fields upon completion and closure.

Violations observed by the DEP consisted of mismanagement of shaping and grading materials. Specifically, materials were delivered and accepted at the Cottage Street site which contained greater than the 35 percent organic content allowed. The 35 percent standard for organic content is a critical guideline used to ensure that the materials brought to the site are predominantly inert, a key factor in controlling any additional environmental impacts from the landfill. As part of the settlement agreement, the landfill operator has agreed to comply with the 35 percent standard.

Minnesota Metropolitan Airports Commission Fined $69,076

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) recently announced that the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) has been fined $34,538 for water quality violations at Minneapolis - St. Paul International Airport. As part of the penalty agreement, MAC will also provide an additional $34,538 to partially fund an environmental study of the Lower Minnesota River.

The violations stem from petroleum-contaminated water and de-icing chemicals draining from the airport's property into the Minnesota River, Snelling Lake, and Mother Lake, in excess of permitted limits. The MAC has a permit issued by the MPCA that sets annual limits on the amount of pollutants that can be discharged from the airport's storm sewers. Records submitted by the MAC to the MPCA indicated that these limits were exceeded in 2001 and 2002.

The MAC has a separate MPCA-issued permit covering the discharge of ground water that was extracted during the construction of the light rail tunnel and several other projects at the airport. Some of this water was contaminated with petroleum as well as other chemicals, and the permit set limits on the amount of these pollutants that could be discharged. Records show that these limits were exceeded more than 45 times during a period from May 2001 to Oct. 2003.

When de-icing chemicals and petroleum break down in water, an increased demand for oxygen is created, resulting in less oxygen for use by aquatic plants and creatures.

Much of the stormwater from the airport discharges to a stretch of the Minnesota River that is impaired due to low oxygen levels. The environmental project, to be partially funded by MAC as part of this settlement, will assess oxygen demand in the Lower Minnesota River. The assessment will be used to help develop a water-quality model for managing this portion of the river.

The MAC has also made several improvements that should decrease the amount of deicing chemicals and other pollutants leaving the airport through storm sewers. Examples include the construction of a new stormwater detention pond and sealing of the areas where deicing chemicals are applied. The MAC will also continue to evaluate and improve on its efforts to effectively collect and treat deicing chemicals.