EPA Guidance Documents Easier to Find on Agency’s New Website

March 02, 2020
Presidential Executive Order 13891 directs federal agencies to make active guidance documents available via an online guidance document portal.  On October 31, 2019, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued implementing guidance M-20-02 (PDF), which set deadlines and related information for establishing the searchable, indexed online database for all active guidance documents.
This new website provides links to all of EPA's active guidance documents.  In general, the guidance documents lack the force and effect of law, unless they are expressly authorized by statute or incorporated into a contract. EPA has indicated that the Agency will not cite, use, or rely on any guidance that is not posted on this website, except to establish historical facts.
Free Amazon HD 10 Tablet with RCRA and DOT Training
Annual training is required by 40 CFR 262.17(a)(7).  Learn how to complete EPA’s new electronic hazardous waste manifest, and the more than 60 changes in EPA’s new Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule.  Environmental Resource Center’s Hazardous Waste Training is available at nationwide locations, and via live webcasts.  If you plan to also attend DOT hazardous materials training, call 800-537-2372 to find out how can get your course materials on an Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet at no extra charge.
EPA Rolls Back HFC Leak Prevention Rule
The EPA finalized a rule on Feb 26 that eliminates leak prevention and repair requirements for hydroflurocarbons, or HFCs, the powerful heat-trapping pollutants used in commercial and industrial refrigeration.  The Agency finalized the rollback of an Obama administration standard that set leak repair and maintenance requirements for industrial and commercial refrigeration and air conditioning equipment containing HFCs.
The Obama administration’s rules simply extended to HFCs the leak prevention requirements already in place for the same industries for ozone-depleting refrigerants such as CFCs. Now, the Agency has rolled back that extension.
The rollback will save industry just $24 million a year, a very small amount when spread across thousands of industrial facilities.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers are supporting reinstatement of the HFC leak prevention measures in a bipartisan legislation now moving forward in both the Senate and House. 
Tax Rule for Industry Rewards Carbon Capture
When it comes to encouraging manufacturers to reduce their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, a carrot might be more effective than a stick. That’s the approach taken by a recent U.S. tax code rule that offers credits to companies that capture and then store or use CO2. The rule will likely spur innovations in carbon capture technology, according to an article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society.
The rule, enacted in February 2018, expands a tax credit, called 45Q. Under the rule, industrial manufacturers can earn a tax credit of $50 per metric ton of CO2captured and stored permanently in geologic formations, or $35 per metric ton of CO2 captured and used, such as for enhanced oil recovery (EOR). A previous version capped the credit at 75 million metric tons of captured CO2, and paid only $20 per metric ton of the captured gas. Companies with emission-intensive operations, such as those in the cement, steel and power industries, are busy modeling whether their facilities can take advantage of the credit, Senior Business Editor Melody Bomgardner writes.
The corn ethanol industry, which produces as much as 40 million metric tons per year of CO2, already captures about 20% of the gas to sell to soda bottlers or for dry ice. The tax credit could spur investment in pipelines to transport CO2from ethanol plants to use for EOR and other purposes. The cement maker LafargeHolcim has partnered with Svante, a provider of CO2 capture technology, to study whether the credit makes it profitable to capture and permanently store underground CO2 emissions from a cement plant in Colorado. And Net Power, with partner Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions, have demonstrated a gas-fired power plant that uses captured CO2 to power a turbine before recycling or reuse. Because 45Q mandates that companies start constructing carbon-capture facilities within seven years, most companies benefiting from the rule will rely on mature carbon-capture technologies, but these projects will drive demand for next-generation technologies, experts say.
Deadline for Companies that Haul or Process Soil, Fill Recyclable Material In New Jersey
Businesses conducting soil and fill recyclable material services that do not already possess an A-901 license have until April 20, 2020, to register with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection as a first step to comply with a newly enacted licensing law requiring greater oversight of those activities, Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe announced.
Governor Phil Murphy signed the law – known as the “Dirty Dirt Bill” on Jan. 21, which expands the DEP’s oversight of companies that engage in, or provide, soil and fill recycling services including collection, transportation, processing, brokering, storage, purchase, sale or disposition of soil and fill recyclable materials.
“With the passage of this new law as well as the gains made with our Guard Your Backyard campaign, the DEP and our local partners are in a better position to take action to address problematic fill material and companies engaged in these activities,” Commissioner McCabe said. “These new tools will empower the state and local governments to ensure that the soil and fill brought into our communities is clean and safe, while helping us defend against illegal dumping of soil and fill.”
The law also requires affected companies that do not already possess an A-901 license to submit an application and a disclosure statement to the Attorney General’s Office detailing their work with soil and fill material in order to receive a soil and fill recycling license for operations in New Jersey by Oct. 19, 2020. The Attorney General’s Office, New Jersey State Police and DEP will review the disclosure statements in consideration of granting a license.
“Dumping or unacceptable use of soil and fill materials occur too frequently,” Assistant Commissioner for Compliance and Enforcement Elizabeth Dragon said. “DEP Compliance and Enforcement welcomes this new law to monitor and ensure the businesses involved are legitimate and complying with the new regulations, starting when soil or fill material is picked up until it is placed at a site.” 
Businesses that do not register by the deadline or businesses that apply for a license thereafter and do not meet the license review requirements will no longer be allowed to perform soil or fill recycling services work in New Jersey.
Businesses that register may continue their services while awaiting a license. Those who apply for a license after the deadline will have to wait for the license before continuing soil and fill recycling services. Businesses that believe they may be subject to the new law may review a DEP Compliance Advisory at www.nj.gov/dep/enforcement/advisories-date.html.
The new law follows DEP’s recent launch of the Guard Your Backyard campaign, which has a dedicated website offering local guidance and a model ordinance that municipal leaders can download and modify to suit their local needs. Enacting ordinances can give local governments the authority to determine what kind of fill material may be brought into their communities.
The soil and fill recycling materials registration form for the DEP is available at www.nj.gov/dep/dshw/a901/a901frms.htm.
EPA $2.9 Million Settlement with Dyno Nobel Will Prevent Millions of Pounds of Pollution from Entering Missouri Waterways
EPA announced that Dyno Nobel, Inc. (Dyno Nobel) has reached a settlement with the United States to address violations of the Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act at Dyno Nobel’s explosives manufacturing facility in Carthage, Missouri and its ammonium nitrate facility in Louisiana, Missouri. As part of the settlement, Dyno Nobel has agreed to make extensive improvements to those facilities that will prevent future releases and discharges of explosives, nitrogen, and other pollutants, ultimately reducing pollution levels in Center Creek (adjoining the Carthage facility) and the Mississippi River (adjoining the Louisiana facility). The controls embodied in the settlement will result in the reduction of over 3,800,000 pounds per year of nitrogen, nearly 257,000 pounds per year of heavy metals such as zinc, aluminum and iron, nearly 187,000 pounds per year of oxygen demanding material and 103,500 pounds per year of suspended solids entering Missouri waterways. Dyno Nobel will also pay a civil penalty of $2,900,000 to the United States.
“By preventing millions of pounds of pollutants from entering Missouri waterways, this settlement will help protect the environment and the health of nearby communities,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Susan Bodine.
The settlement resolves water pollution and hazardous waste claims brought by the United States in a lawsuit filed in April 2019. In that lawsuit, the United States alleged that Dyno Nobel violated the Clean Water Act at both facilities by discharging pollutants such as ammonia, nitrate, pH, Total Suspended Solids, Biochemical Oxygen Demand, E. coli, and Nitroglycerin into Center Creek and the Mississippi River in amounts that exceeded the facilities’ permitted limits; failing to properly sample and monitor discharges; and failing to appropriately manage stormwater. Additionally, Dyno Nobel violated the Clean Water Act by discharging wastewater at the Carthage facility into Center Creek that included unauthorized explosives and zinc in toxic levels. The United States also alleged that Dyno Nobel violated the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act by disposing of hazardous waste (including explosives) at both facilities without a permit, and at the Carthage facility, by failing to meet requirements for the generation and transportation of hazardous waste.
The consent decree requires Dyno Nobel to develop and revise pollution controls at both facilities to prevent unauthorized discharges of pollutants, and to investigate sources of contamination. These measures include: eliminating the discharge of high-strength wastewater at the Carthage facility; surveying and modifying the facilities’ sewer systems to identify and eliminate locations with the potential to convey unauthorized discharges to waterways; developing and implementing best management practices and Operations and Maintenance (O&M) programs to reduce spills in, and prevent discharges from, the production areas; sampling soil and cleaning up contamination at the Carthage facility; and performing enhanced effluent monitoring to ensure unauthorized discharges are not occurring.
The settlement, lodged in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and court approval.
Mismanagement of Abrasive Dust Leads to Jail Term
On December 11, 2019, a court sentenced Raymond Williams to ten months’ incarceration to run concurrent with a five-year sentence he is currently serving in Georgia for bribery. He will pay a $4,000 fine and complete a three-year term of supervised release.
Williams acted as the president, owner, and CEO of U.S. Technology Corporation, headquartered in Ohio. The company leased blasting material used to remove paints and other substances. Military bases and agencies often require the use of abrasives to strip paint from tanks, planes, and other equipment. The paint contains heavy metals such as cadmium, chromium, and lead, which get mixed in with the spent blasting material (SBM) returned to the company. Williams leased multiple warehouses in a few states to store SBM.
In July 2016, Williams leased a warehouse in Madisonville, Kentucky, to store SBM he held in warehouses in Georgia and Arkansas, without a permit. For a similar scheme in Missouri, a court sentenced Williams to complete a five-year term of probation and held him jointly and severally liable for $1.5 million in restitution to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for cleanup costs. Williams bribed a Department of Defense official at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia to steer business toward Williams’ companies. He was further ordered to pay restitution of $870,000 to the U.S. Department of Defense in that matter.
The EPA Criminal Investigation Division, the Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Air Force Office of Special Investigations, and Department of Defense/Defense Criminal Investigative Service conducted the investigations.
Drum Recycler Indicted for Illegal Waste Discharges
On December 18, 2019, a grand jury returned a 36-count indictment charging Seattle Barrel and Cooperage Company (Seattle Barrel), owner Louie Sanft, and plant manager, John Sanft, for illegally disposing of caustic pollutants into the King County sewer system for more than a decade. Trial is scheduled for March 16, 2020.
Seattle Barrel reconditions and resells used industrial and commercial drums. The reconditioning process includes submerging the barrels in a 300-gallon wash tank filled with a high pH caustic solution.
After observing John Sanft dumping oily material into the sewer in October 2012, King County officials conducted covert discharge monitoring between February and August 2013. Investigators determined that the company regularly violated its wastewater discharge permit for pH levels (not to exceed 12). King County fined the company $55,250, but later agreed to reduce the fine when the company agreed to install a pretreatment system. The county also issue an amplified discharge permit in 2014 to include submitting monthly self-monitoring reports among other new requirements.
Following the pretreatment system installation in 2016, Sanft submitted monthly reports claiming the facility now re-used all its wastewater on site. After a state inspector found irregularities during a plant inspection in November 2017, the EPA conducted additional covert monitoring in 2018 and 2019 (including obtaining a search warrant for real-time monitoring).
The monitoring revealed ample evidence that Seattle Barrel continued to violate its permit by discharging high pH wastewater. The defendants used a portable pump to discharge solution from the wash tank to a hidden drain that led directly to the sewer system.
Prosecutors variously charged the defendants with conspiracy, violating the Clean Water Act, and making false statements (18 U.S.C. §§ 371, 1001(a)(2); 33 U.S.C. §§ 1319 (c)(4),(c)(2)(A), 1317).
The EPA Criminal Investigation Division conducted the investigation.
Man Jailed for Hazardous Waste Violations
On December 19, 2019, Martin Eldridge pleaded guilty to conspiracy and for violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act for illegally transporting and disposing of hazardous waste.
In October 2018, contractor Khaled Ebrigit paid Eldridge $400 to remove drums containing ‘chemical substances’ from behind a property purchased by Conrex Property Management, LLC. Eldridge removed three 55-gallon drums and 64 ten-gallon drums, most of which were clearly labeled "flammable" with detailed information regarding precautions to take when handling. Fluids leaked from many of the drums. Eldridge loaded the drums into his van and dropped them off next to dumpsters at several apartment complexes throughout Columbus.
Emergency personnel responded to reports of the illegal dumping, collecting the drums and performing site cleanup.
In November 2014, a court sentenced Eldridge to 31 months’ incarceration, with credit for more than nine months’ time served. Eldridge pleaded guilty violating the Clean Air Act for stealing air conditioning units and venting refrigerant into the environment. The EPA Criminal Investigation Division conducted the investigation.
United States v. Lawrence Rutledge, No. 3:18-CR-30073 (S.D. Ill.), AUSA Liam Coonan
On December 3, 2019, a court sentenced Lawrence Rutledge to complete a five-year term of probation and pay $335,935 to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for cleanup costs. Rutledge previously pleaded guilty to violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act for storing and abandoning hazardous waste without a permit (42 U.S.C. § 6928(d)(2)(A)).
Since approximately 1997, Rutledge d/b/a/ Advanced Asymmetries, Inc., synthesized specialty chemicals for the pharmaceutical industry. He located his facility in a residential area, near a nursing home.
Beginning in approximately 2011, Rutledge stopped paying the taxes on the building, and by 2013, the county cut off both water and sewer service to his facility. When state and federal environmental officials inspected the building in August 2015, they found hundreds of containers (many of them rusted) labelled as containing chemicals and wastes. Broken containers spilled unknown substances, and water leaked from the roof. Some of the containers appeared to contain acids, caustics, and other hazardous wastes. Samples taken in September 2015 confirmed the presence of both listed and characteristic hazardous wastes.
The EPA Criminal Investigation Division and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency conducted the investigation.
May 27 Sentencing Hearing Set in Atchison Clean Air Act Case
A federal judge has set a May 27, 2020, hearing for the sentencing of Harcros Chemicals, Inc., and MGP Ingredients Inc., for violating the federal Clean Air Act when a cloud of toxic chlorine gas formed over Atchison, Kan., in 2016, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said.
The hearing is set for 1:30 p.m. in room 403 of the Frank Carlson Federal Building at 444 S.E. Quincy St. in Topeka before U.S. District Judge Daniel D. Crabtree.
“Many people were affected by the release of the gas in Atchison,” said U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister. “We know that 140 individuals including members of the public, first responders, employees of MGP Ingredients and Harcros Chemicals sought medical attention at the time of the incident.”
“I want everyone to be aware that the sentencing hearing will be open to the public,” McAllister continued. Both companies have pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Air Act and each has agreed to pay a $1 million fine.  McAllister said that he wants to assure that anyone impacted by the incident is afforded the right to be reasonably heard and not to be excluded from court. Due to time constraints, it may be impractical for each victim to speak at the sentencing hearing. However, anyone who would like to submit a written victim impact statement for the court’s consideration may email those statements to usaks.victim.witness@usdoj.gov.
Quarry Mining and Processing Facility, Along With The Property Owner, Cited for Ongoing Environmental Violations
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) has issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) to Hopkins Hill Sand & Stone, LLC (HHSS) and Hopkins Hill Road Realty, LLC (HHRR) for environmental violations arising from the mining of sand and stone at a facility located at 190 New London Turnpike in West Greenwich. HHSS operates the quarry mining and processing facility and HHRR is the property owner. The site is situated adjacent to the Big River Management Area, a valuable natural resource consisting of over 8,000 acres of forest land, wetlands, agricultural lands, and other areas that are popular for passive recreation. Major rivers or streams in the area are Big River, Nooseneck River, Congdon River and Carr River.
The NOV charges HHSS and HHRR with violations of Rhode Island’s Water Pollution Control Act, RI Water Quality Regulations, and the RI Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (RIPDES) Regulations. The enforcement action includes a $67,896 penalty.
“This action is another step in DEM’s efforts to hold parties responsible for their acts,” said Terrence Gray, Deputy Director for Environmental Protection. “Right near the Big River Management Area, the quarry operator and the property owner failed to comply with DEM’s requirements by discharging process water and stormwater into the state’s wetlands, thereby altering the wetlands without a permit from DEM. And, they continue to do so in flagrant disregard of state laws and regulations designed to protect these important natural resources. It’s imperative that they follow the measures required by our enforcement action and come back into compliance as soon as possible.”
In 2004, HHRR applied to DEM to alter wetlands for the proposed mining of sand and stone on the New London Turnpike property. DEM approved the wetland application with the condition that HHRR apply for a separate approval from DEM to discharge stormwater associated with industrial activity at the sand and stone facility to the wetlands.
While conducting compliance inspections of the quarry mining and processing facility in May 2018, DEM observed turbid water containing silt and sediment being discharged from the final settling basins towards the wetlands. In June 2018 DEM issued a Letter of Non-Compliance to HHRR for the violations. In July 2018 DEM was notified by the facility’s engineering consultant that the V-notch weir for the main settling basin was plugged and that it would be repaired to prevent future discharge.
In August 2018 HHRR applied for a permit from DEM to discharge process water and stormwater from the facility to the wetlands. DEM identified several deficiencies in the application and issued a Deficiency Letter to HHRR in October 2018. The letter stated that the deficiencies had to be corrected for DEM to proceed with the application review. In March 2019, DEM was notified by the consultant for HHRR that it was working with their client to meet the testing requirements and that additional information would be submitted to DEM soon. To date, DEM has received no further communication from HHRR or its consultant.
During another inspection in June 2019, turbid water containing silt and sediment was observed in the main settling basin; the V-notch weir had wooden boards secured over a portion of the opening; water was observed slowly trickling through these boards and into a pipe that leads to the final settling basins prior to discharging towards the wetlands; the water in the final settling basins was turbid and contained silt and sediment; and the water in the final settling basins was similar in appearance to the water in the main basin.
DEM’s enforcement action orders HHSS and HHRR to immediately cease the discharge of all process water and stormwater from the facility to the wetlands. No discharge of process water or stormwater from the facility to the wetlands is allowed until a permit has been issued by DEM for the discharge, and until all the required controls have been installed and are operational. The NOV also orders HHSS and HHRR to submit to DEM within 90 days a plan assessing the impacts of sedimentation to the wetlands. The plan must describe the methods that will be used to estimate the extent of the deposition of non-native soil including depth, type, and area affected and include a schedule for completion of the work. Within 30 days of DEM’s approval of the plan, HHSS and HHRR must initiate the work and complete it in accordance with the approved schedule. Within 30 days of completion of the work, HHSS and HHRR must submit the findings of the sediment assessment to DEM, which will review the report and notify HHSS and HHRR whether a restoration plan will be required.
If any violation continues, each day during which the violation occurs will constitute a separate offense and the penalties will continue to accrue. HHSS and HHRR are entitled to request a hearing before DEM’s Administrative Adjudication Division within 20 days of receipt of the NOV.
State, ExxonMobil Reach Settlement in Corrective Action Fund Lawsuit
The New Mexico Environment Department and the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office have reached an agreement with ExxonMobil to settle a 2010 lawsuit that alleges the company presented false claims for reimbursement from the New Mexico Corrective Action Fund (CAF). The lawsuit, filed by a whistleblower, alleges that ExxonMobil obtained reimbursement from the CAF to clean up leaking petroleum storage tanks while also having collected insurance money for the same costs. ExxonMobil denies these allegations.
The CAF provides funding for the clean-up and monitoring of petroleum storage tank leaks and spills around the state. The CAF is often the only way leaks from petroleum storage tanks can be cleaned up, as many former tank owners and operators are financially unable to fund clean-up activities.
ExxonMobil has agreed to pay $500,000 into the CAF as part of the settlement.
22 Penalties Recently Issued for Environmental Violations in Oregon
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued 22 penalties totaling $1,704,466 in January for various environmental violations. This includes a $1,296,885 penalty to Hydro Extrusion USA LLC for multiple air quality permit violations at its aluminum recycling facility in The Dalles. More information on the Hydro penalty is provided here: https://go.usa.gov/xd8bV. A detailed list of violations and resulting penalties is at https://go.usa.gov/xEQJn. 
Fines ranged from $2,003 to $1,296,885. Alleged violations included failing to comply with air quality permit conditions, installing a septic system without a license, improper management of hazardous waste and discharging untreated wastewater into local waterways.
DEQ issued civil penalties to the following organizations and individuals: 
  • 205 Auto Salvage, $14,872, Portland, stormwater
  • Alpine Plumbing and Mechanical LLC, $9,000, The Dalles, wastewater
  • Auto Truck Transport USA LLC, $13,646, Portland, stormwater
  • Basco Logging, Inc., $58,378, Winchester, water quality
  • Best Septic, Inc., $2,700, Eugene, water quality
  • Central Service Inc., $3,150, Philomath, underground storage tanks
  • City of Haines, $6,750, Haines, wastewater
  • Collins Products LLC, $150,000, Klamath Falls, air quality
  • GMT Corporation, $25,418, Junction City, stormwater
  • Goshen, Inc., $14,601, Junction City, stormwater
  • Hydro Extrusion USA, LLC, $1,296,885, The Dalles, air quality
  • Krome Transportation Services, LLC, $4,000, Arlington, emergency response
  • Lane County Central Receiving Station CRS, $2,452, Eugene, stormwater
  • LKQ Foster Auto Parts, Inc., $5,400, Boring, hazardous waste
  • LTM Incorporated, $18,000, North Bend, stormwater
  • O’Bryan Market LLC, $2,003, North Bend, underground storage tanks
  • Owens-Brockway Glass Company, Inc., $46,800, Portland, air quality
  • Sheldon Petroleum Services, LLC, $8,400, Hood River, underground storage tanks
  • Summit Excavation, LLC, $3,769, Dallesport, water quality
  • Terry’s Diesel Repair, Inc., $9,782, Portland, stormwater
Organizations or individuals must either pay the fines or file an appeal within 20 days of receiving notice of the penalty. They may be able to offset a portion of a penalty by funding a supplemental environmental project that improves Oregon’s environment.
Penalties may also include orders requiring specific tasks to prevent ongoing violations or additional environmental harm. 
Three Companies Cited for Stormwater Violations in Massachusetts
EPA has reached settlements with three Massachusetts construction companies, which ensures they will come into compliance with stormwater regulations to reduce pollution from runoff. Under the settlements, the three companies will also pay fines and follow the terms of their permits for discharging stormwater.
Martelli Construction Co., developer for the Greenwood II site under construction in Holden, paid $8,400 to resolve claims it failed to comply with its stormwater permit. According to EPA, the company failed to stabilize slopes, protect stockpiles from erosion, and establish and maintain controls on its perimeter.
Wall Street Development Corp., which operates the Boyden Estates site under construction in Walpole, agreed to pay a $7,020 penalty for failing to get a stormwater permit, as required under the Clean Water Act.
Comfort Homes, Inc., a developer at the Wheeler Village site under construction in Dracut, agreed to pay $7,800 to resolve claims that the company failed to document inspections required by its permit.
Dirt and sediment carried off construction sites can damage aquatic habitat, contribute to algal blooms and physically clog streams and pipes. EPA's stormwater permit for construction sites requires sites bigger than an acre to take steps to minimize discharges of sediment. These settlements are the latest in a series of enforcement actions taken by EPA New England to address stormwater violations from industrial facilities and construction sites around New England. These cases stem from inspections by EPA New England in the spring of 2019 at all three sites.
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