EPA Moves Swiftly to Implement TSCA Reforms

September 05, 2016

The EPA is taking action to ensure that the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act signed this June 22, 2016, delivers on the promise of better protecting the environment and public health. This bipartisan bill to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) outlines a number of responsibilities for EPA that must be completed within a tight timeframe.

The milestones accomplished by the agency include:

  • A plan released on June 29, 2016, that outlines activities for the first year of implementing the new law
  • The first determinations completed on seven premanufacture notices under TSCA in July 2016. The new law requires the agency to make affirmative determinations on new chemical substances before they can enter the marketplace. Additional determinations will be released as they are completed.
  • A series of public meetings held from August 9–12, 2016, to obtain comments and feedback from stakeholders on the processes that will be used to establish fees and prioritize and evaluate chemicals under the new law
  • A list of five mercury compounds released on August 26, 2016, that will be prohibited from export as of January 1, 2020. This action will prevent the ability to convert these compounds to elemental mercury after export from the United States.

Additionally, the agency is establishing the Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC) to provide independent advice and expert consultation on scientific and technical aspects on risk evaluations, methodologies, and pollution prevention measures or approaches. The call for nominations to serve on this committee was issued on August 26, 2016.

The new amendments to TSCA will help bring significant improvements to public health as EPA continues to take the steps necessary for its successful implementation.

More about the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act and EPA’s implementation activities and to sign up for updates, visit: https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/frank-r-lautenberg-chemical-safety-21st-century-act.

New Exclusions for Solvent Recycling and Hazardous Secondary Materials

EPA’s new final on the definition of solid waste creates new opportunities for waste recycling outside the scope of the full hazardous waste regulations. This, which went into effect on July 13, 2015, streamlines the regulatory burden for wastes that are legitimately recycled.

The first of the two exclusions is an exclusion from the definition of solid waste for high-value solvents transferred from one manufacturer to another for the purpose of extending the useful life of the original solvent by keeping the materials in commerce to reproduce a commercial grade of the original solvent product.

The second, and more wide-reaching of the two exclusions, is a revision of the existing hazardous secondary material recycling exclusion. This exclusion allows you to recycle, or send off-site for recycling, virtually any hazardous secondary material. Provided you meet the terms of the exclusion, the material will no longer be hazardous waste.

Learn how to take advantage of these exclusions at Environmental Resource Center’s live webcast on October 14 where you will learn:

  • Which of your materials qualify under the new exclusions
  • What qualifies as a hazardous secondary material
  • Which solvents can be remanufactured, and which cannot
  • What is a tolling agreement
  • What is legitimate recycling
  • Generator storage requirements
  • What documentation you must maintain
  • Requirements for off-site shipments
  • Training and emergency planning requirements
  • If it is acceptable for the recycler to be outside the US

EPA Requests Comment on Auto Manufacturers’ Off-Cycle CO2 Credits

EPA is requesting comment on applications from BMW of North American (BMW), Ford Motor Company (Ford), General Motors Corporation (GM), and Volkswagen Group of America (VW) for off-cycle carbon dioxide (CO2) credits under EPA’s light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards. Off-cycle emission reductions can be achieved by employing technologies that result in real-world benefits, but where that benefit is not adequately captured on the test procedures used by manufacturers to demonstrate compliance with emission standards.

EPA’s light-duty vehicle GHG program acknowledges these benefits by giving automobile manufacturers several options for generating off-cycle carbon dioxide (CO2) credits. Under the regulations, a manufacturer may apply for CO2 credits for off-cycle technologies that result in off-cycle benefits. In these cases, a manufacturer must provide EPA with a proposed methodology for determining the real-world off-cycle benefit. These four manufacturers have submitted applications that describe methodologies for determining off-cycle credits. The off-cycle technologies vary by manufacturer and include active aerodynamics systems, active cabin ventilation, active seat ventilation, solar reflective glass/glazing, solar reflective surface coating (paint), active engine warm-up, active transmission warm-up, engine idle stop-start systems, and high efficiency lighting.

Pursuant to applicable regulations, EPA is making descriptions of each manufacturer’s off-cycle credit calculation methodologies available for public comment.

State of the Climate in 2015

The American Meteorological Society recently published the 26th edition of the annual assessment now known as State of the Climate. The year 2015 saw the toppling of several symbolic mileposts: it was 1.0?C warmer than preindustrial times, and the Mauna Loa observatory recorded its first annual mean carbon dioxide concentration greater than 400 ppm. Beyond these, the report identifies a continuation in several trends observed in recent decades.

EPA Issues Standards of Performance for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills

In the August 29 Federal Register, EPA published a new subpart (40 CFR 60, subpart XXX) that updates the Standards of Performance for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills. Under section 111 of the Clean Air Act, the EPA must review, and, if appropriate, revise standards of performance at least every 8 years. The EPA’s review of the standards for municipal solid waste landfills considered landfills that commence construction, reconstruction, or modification after July 17, 2014.

The final standards also reflect changes to the population of landfills and an analysis of the timing and methods for reducing emissions. This action will achieve additional reductions in emissions of landfill gas and its components, including methane, by lowering the emissions threshold at which a landfill must install controls. This action also incorporates new data and information received in response to the proposed rulemaking and addresses other regulatory issues including surface emissions monitoring, wellhead monitoring, and the definition of landfill gas treatment system. The new subpart will reduce emissions of landfill gas, which contains both non-methane organic compounds and methane. Landfills are a significant source of methane, which is a potent GHG pollutant. These avoided emissions will improve air quality and reduce the potential for public health and welfare effects associated with exposure to landfill gas emissions.

This final rule will become effective on October 28, 2016.

Agreement Aims to Reduce Millions of Tons of Air Pollution

An agreement announced recently will lead to annual reductions of millions of tons of air pollution, including pollutants that contribute to unhealthy ozone formation, emissions that can affect visibility in national and state parks and wilderness areas, and GHGs that contribute to climate change.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association and the owners of the Yampa Project at Craig Station, the EPA, the National Parks Conservation Association and Wild Earth Guardians have reached the agreement. The agreement likely will result in the retirement of two coal-fired power units: Craig Unit 1 in Moffat County by Dec. 31, 2025, and the Nucla power plant in Montrose County by December 31, 2022. The agreement is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 4 million tons per year, as well as decrease thousands of tons of other pollutants.

“This collaborative agreement is another step in our continuing efforts to ensure Colorado has the cleanest air in the nation,” said Dr. Larry Wolk, executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “These emission reductions will help lower ozone levels that contribute to respiratory illnesses such as asthma. The reductions also will reduce haze and improve visibility in our national parks and wilderness areas.”

Despite the clean air benefits, the announcement will have an impact on local communities, particularly where the plants are located. “An evolving and diversifying energy mix provides opportunities and challenges for local communities,” Wolk said. “This agreement provides certainty and a reasonable timeline for communities that will be directly affected. Our partners in the administration will work with local communities as appropriate to invest in workers and jobs, stabilize the tax base and public services, and build a more resilient economic future.”

“Clean air and clean energy are nothing new to Coloradans,” said Will Allison, director of CDPHE’s Air Pollution Control Division. “Colorado and other parts of our country already are experiencing some of the effects of a changing climate. Reducing carbon dioxide and other emissions, along with our previous and ongoing efforts to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas, are important strategies in our efforts to ensure clean air.”

The state’s Air Quality Control Commission will be asked at its September 15 meeting to schedule the matter for a hearing at its December 15 meeting.

Total Reclaim Inc. Fined $444,000 for Illegally Disposing of Dangerous Waste Overseas

The Washington Department of Ecology has fined Seattle-based electronics recycler Total Reclaim, Inc., $444,000 for illegally disposing of flat-screen televisions and monitors with fluorescent tubes containing toxic mercury. The company shipped the flat screens to Hong Kong, where they were broken apart in the open by unprotected workers.

“Total Reclaim has been a leading electronics recycler in Washington, so they knew what they were doing was wrong,” said Laurie Davies, manager of Ecology’s Waste 2 Resources program. “This penalty is a reminder that recyclers can’t take shortcuts when it comes to properly managing toxic chemicals.”

Total Reclaim’s actions were revealed in an investigation by the Basel Action Network, a nonprofit group that certifies electronics recyclers for E-Cycle Washington and similar programs. The Basel Action Network attached GPS tracking beacons to electronics, then dropped off the units at recycling facilities. The group followed some of the trackers to Hong Kong, and filmed how the flat screens were dismantled and disposed of.

Total Reclaim later admitted that it sent the flat screens to undocumented recycling facilities and that it withheld information from customers and auditors. The company provided records to Ecology that showed it shipped flat screens overseas beginning seven years ago.

Washington law requires electronics recyclers to either properly recycle e-waste themselves, or ensure that it is legitimately recycled elsewhere. E-Cycle Washington was set up to prevent the toxic materials in old electronics from ending up in the environment, whether here in Washington or elsewhere in the world.

The flat screens illegally disposed of by Total Reclaim represent a small portion of all of the electronics collected for recycling in Washington. So despite the actions of Total Reclaim, Ecology believes it is important to continue recycling electronics to keep lead, mercury, and other toxics out of the environment.

Washington residents can recycle TVs, monitors, computers, and other electronics for free at participating E-Cycle Washington locations. For questions about where other items can be recycled, call or visit 1-800-RECYCLE.

New Oil Rule in Washington Requires Contingency Plans from Railroads

Beginning October 1, railroads moving oil through Washington must demonstrate the ability to immediately respond to an oil spill if one occurs. The Washington Department of Ecology adopted a rule Wednesday establishing contingency planning requirements for railroads transporting oil in

Contingency plans must detail steps the railroad will take if oil spills or a substantial risk of a spill occurs during transport. Each plan will be reviewed, tested through drills and approved by Ecology.

“Washington has built a strong program that prevents and responds to oil spills in Washington waters,” said Governor Inslee. “This rule ensures that railroads have the same high-quality plans long required for vessels so that our natural resources in the inland areas of our state are protected.”

Until now, only pipelines and vessels moving oil through the state were required to share contingency plans with Ecology. California and Minnesota have implemented similar laws for railroads.

The contingency planning requirement builds on a separate rule adopted August 24 that requires facilities receiving shipments of crude oil by rail to notify Ecology, helping spill responders and emergency crews prepare for potential incidents. The notification rule also requires oil pipelines transporting crude oil to submit information twice a year on the volumes and origin of the material they handle.

Ecology held four public meetings on the new contingency planning rule during its 65-day public comment period. More than 1,000 comments were received, reviewed and considered in the rule development.

New Sulfur Dioxide Air Monitors Operational at Bridgeton Landfill

In April, EPA reached an agreement with Bridgeton Landfill, LLC, to install and operate two sulfur dioxide (SO2) ambient air monitors near the Bridgeton Landfill. The agreement requires these monitors to provide 1-hour measurements and to operate for a period of one year. These new air monitors are now operating and producing results, which are available to the public online.

“The installation and operation of these air monitors is an important step in evaluating the air quality in the community,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Mark Hague. “These monitors are the latest in a series of steps taken by the Bridgeton Landfill under EPA and MDNR oversight to help ensure air quality around the landfill is protective of public health.”

In June, EPA approved the SO2 monitoring work plan and instructed Bridgeton Landfill to begin additional air monitoring at two locations: one near the water tower in Spanish Village, and another near St. Charles Rock Road just north of the Bridgeton landfill. EPA selected these locations to ensure the monitors provide coverage of air emissions under a variety of wind directions. The additional monitors will supplement the measurements being taken by the nearby “Rider Trail” monitor operated by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR).

Developer San Altos-Lemon Grove issued $595,367 Penalty for Water Quality Violations

The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board imposed a $595,367 penalty against developer San Altos-Lemon Grove, LLC, for water quality violations related to construction activities at its 18-acre Valencia Hills residential development in the city of Lemon Grove.

The San Diego Water Board found that San Altos-Lemon Grove, LLC, committed 81 violations of the Statewide General Construction Storm Water Permit between December 2014 and September 2015. The violations focused on the site’s persistent lack of effective erosion and sediment controls, and subpar housekeeping practices that resulted in six sediment discharges from the Valencia Hills construction site into Encanto Channel. The Encanto Channel flows into Chollas Creek, which flows into San Diego Bay.

“Compliance with the Statewide General Construction Storm Water Permit by construction site operators and their subcontractors is a high priority for the San Diego Water Board,” said San Diego Water Board Executive Officer David Gibson. “This penalty of nearly $600,000 reflects the San Diego Water Board’s concern for the appalling lack of compliance and cooperation with city and Water Board staff by San Altos-Lemon Grove, LLC despite many months of inspections and warnings. Most construction site operators heed the kind of repeated warnings and Notices of Violation San Altos received and thereby avoid the large penalties noncompliance can bring.”

Sediment, resulting from the accelerated erosion of graded land exposed and inadequately protected, is the pollutant of greatest concern at construction sites because the sediment itself can damage aquatic life and ecosystems. In addition, sediment can pose an even greater threat because it often transports other harmful pollutants such as metals, fertilizers, pesticides, oil and grease and bacteria into creeks, bays, and ocean.

Violations at the Valencia Hills site were brought to the San Diego Water Board’s attention by Lemon Grove after its multiple warnings and enforcement efforts directed at the developer were met with minimal response.

“The San Diego Water Board is deeply appreciative of the efforts by the city of Lemon Grove in this case,” Gibson said. “To properly oversee this site and call in the Water Board Storm Water and Enforcement staff when its warnings, notices, and Stop Work Orders failed to achieve results in how the site was managed to protect water quality and public streets from illegal construction storm water discharges.

“Besides impacts to our storm channels, streams and estuaries, construction site discharges can also threaten public safety, private property and public right of ways. It is imperative that everyone involved with a site - city manager to corporate officer to subcontractor - take every measure to stay in compliance and carefully heed the advice and recommendations of Water Board and municipal inspectors. The Water Board anticipates that most sites will be compliant and make every effort to promptly correct noncompliance.”

The San Diego Water Board conducted the public hearing on the enforcement complaint on March 9, 2016, and adopted the final Administrative Civil Liability Order on August 10, 2016. The adopted Order and related documents are available for review on its website.

“The San Altos decision was a very time consuming and deliberate decision for our Board. It’s always our hope that environmental laws and regulations be complied with so the need to even consider penalties is avoided,” San Diego Water Board member and presiding officer Tomas Morales said. “But when it’s clear that laws or regulations have been violated, we are required to do our part to ensure that companies that do take their responsibilities seriously, aren’t put at a competitive disadvantage and that the environment is protected on behalf of the public.”

The $595,367 penalty will be deposited into the State Water Pollution Cleanup and Abatement Account created by the legislature to provide funds to public agencies to remediate pollution when responsible parties are not available. Eligible entities that can apply for this funding include public agencies, as well as certain nonprofit organizations and tribal governments that serve a disadvantaged community and have the authority to clean up or abate the effects of waste.

Boston-Based Engineering Firm to Pay $5.5 Million Over Claims It Failed to Properly Oversee Construction of Plum Island’s Water and Sewer System

A Boston-based engineering firm will pay $5.5 million to settle allegations it failed in its obligations to adequately oversee construction of Plum Island’s water and sewer systems, Attorney General Maura Healey announced recently.

Construction of the systems, which are maintained by the City of Newburyport, was funded through loans from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s (MassDEP) Clean Water State Revolving Fund and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.

“This company failed to take the necessary steps to make certain that this project was built in accordance with its own technical specifications,” said AG Healey. “We are pleased that we could come to an agreement that provides Newburyport with the resources needed to undertake needed repairs and ensure the integrity of Plum Island’s critical infrastructure.”

According to the recent settlement, CDM Smith, Inc., (CDM) will pay the state $5.5 million, of which $5.3 million will be paid to the City of Newburyport and placed in a trust fund earmarked for costs and expenses related to the repair, modification, or optimization of Plum Island’s water and sewer systems.

“I’m grateful to the Attorney General for all of her office’s work on this and for helping us reach an agreement that will provide our city with the resources necessary to repair this system,” said Newburyport Mayor Donna Holaday.

“The contractor on this water and sewer project failed to oversee and manage its installation, resulting in serious repair costs and service disruption for residents,” said Inspector General Glenn A. Cunha. “I thank the Attorney General’s office for pursuing and achieving a settlement that holds the contractor accountable.”

“The city has been working hard to manage their systems,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “Today’s settlement will ensure that Newburyport can make the needed improvements.”

“Serious problems with the water and sewer infrastructure on Plum Island have been deeply concerning for some time now, and they need to be properly addressed,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). “Fortunately the Attorney General, working with the Mayor and other local officials, have secured a path forward that will bring accountability for those charged with overseeing the project and the resources needed to correct the defects that have us all concerned.”

“I greatly appreciate Mayor Holaday’s focus on this matter, the strong advocacy of Attorney General’s Office attorneys, as well as the efforts of the state’s Inspector General’s Office,” said Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives (D-Newburyport).

“I am glad to see this come to a close and I know that the residents of Plum Island are too,” said Rep. James Kelcourse, (R-Amesbury). “So many people worked hard to get to this point and we are grateful to them for it.”

“As someone who is in the construction business I very much want to see contractors who do work for the Commonwealth be held responsible for their actions,” said Rep. Lenny Mirra, (R-West Newbury). “Residents and taxpayers will be glad to know that we have an Attorney General’s office that will work with elected officials to protect our interests.”

In 2000 and 2002, CDM won contracts to design and oversee construction of a water and sewer system for Plum Island, a barrier island that includes parts of the City of Newburyport and the Town of Newbury, with more than 1,200 homes. Under the two contracts, CDM wrote the technical specifications for the project, including a requirement that ductile iron pipe be wrapped in polyethylene to inhibit corrosion. CDM also acted as the on-site agent to ensure that the contractors responsible for building the project did so in accordance with CDM’s specifications.

The AG’s Office commenced its investigation after an initial investigation by the Office of the Inspector General following a 2011 water main break revealed that ductile iron pipes at the site of the break had not been wrapped in polyethylene and were severely corroded. The recent settlement resolves the AG’s allegations that CDM: did not conform to its design and construction oversight obligations; did not properly familiarize its on-site agents with the ductile iron specification; and did not ensure that contractors abide by those specifications, thereby exposing critical components of the system to corrosive elements.

George Mason University Fined $20,964 After Fuel Oil Discharge

The EPA recently announced that George Mason University will pay a $20,964 penalty to settle alleged violations related to the discharge of fuel oil from a storage facility in Fairfax, Virginia, into a waterway that flows into the Potomac River.

EPA cited the University for violating the Clean Water Act’s prohibition on oil discharges to waterbodies and the Act’s Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) plan regulations. The SPCC requirements are designed to prevent oil from reaching navigable waters, and adjoining shorelines, and to contain discharges of oil.

The university’s facility is located about one-half mile from an unnamed tributary of Rabbit Run, which flows through several tributaries and then into the Potomac River. According to EPA, on January 17, 2015, approximately 4,100 gallons of fuel oil was discharged from aboveground storage tanks, and an estimated 3,500 gallons entered a storm drain that empties into the unnamed tributary.

Following discovery of the spill, the university responded immediately and stopped additional downstream flow of the oil. The university also quickly completed work on recovering oil and removing the contaminated soils.

As a part of the settlement, George Mason University has come into compliance with federal spill prevention requirements to better protect nearby waterways and possible downstream water supply intakes. The penalty will be placed in the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund and made available to fund future oil cleanups.

EPA Addresses Arkansas Regional Haze Goals

The EPA is completing the process for a federally implemented clean air plan for Arkansas. The plan will reduce regional haze in Arkansas and Missouri to help meet federal Clean Air Act requirements. The announcement comes after several months of meaningful negotiations between EPA and Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ).

All wilderness areas included in the plan have already shown some improvement in visibility, one of the major goals of the federal regional haze rule.

The Clean Air Act’s regional haze rule requires states to make progress toward achieving natural visibility conditions in some of the nation’s most treasured wilderness areas. States must submit plans for achieving these progress goals by reducing harmful emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter.

The plan would cut about 68,500 tons of SO2 emissions per year and 15,100 ton of NOx per year, which will better protect the parks and the refuge areas from hazy conditions, while also providing health and environmental benefits. In addition to forming haze and impairing visibility, SO2 can harm people’s health and the environment. SO2 reacts with other compounds in the air to form fine particles. Exposure to these small particles in the air has been linked to increased respiratory illness, decreased lung function, and even premature death.

When state implementation plans do not meet federal requirements, EPA works with states to address deficiencies so that a new state plan can replace the federal plan.

This action will provide for better visibility for the Caney Creek Wilderness Area, Upper Buffalo Wilderness Area, Hercules-Glades Wilderness Area and Mingo National Wildlife Refuge.

Wendy’s Recognized for Leadership in Energy Performance

The Energy Department’s Better Buildings Challenge recognized the Wendy’s Company and its franchisee, Wendco Group, for leadership in energy efficiency. This local restaurant achieved a 37% total energy reduction or more than 50% energy savings per sales transaction, and nearly $8,000 in savings annually.

Through the Better Buildings Challenge, Wendy’s has committed to achieving 20% energy savings over 10 years, across 1.5 million square feet of building space at company-owned restaurants. It’s also the first restaurant company to include franchisees in the Better Buildings Challenge. To date, six franchisees have joined, adding an additional 270 restaurants (nearly 700,000 square feet) to the collective Wendy’s footprint.

Wendy’s joined the Better Buildings Challenge in January of this year and was so inspired by the program that the company started its own program called the Wendy’s Energy Challenge. The program is modeled after the Better Buildings Challenge and encourages Wendy’s franchisees across North America to be good stewards of energy usage.

“The leadership demonstrated by this corporation and its franchisee is tremendous,” said Maria T. Vargas, U.S. Department of Energy, Better Buildings Challenge director. “Not only is The Wendy’s Company focused on improving corporate-level energy efficiency, it is doing so in a way that reaches thousands more restaurants. This approach with the Wendco Group is exemplary of a commitment to continuous improvement, a dedication to greater savings, and proof that partnerships extend energy savings.”

Wendco Group operates 43 restaurants in Alabama and Florida and has made a long-term commitment to energy efficiency as a business strategy. The group actively develops and pursues strategies for lowering energy use across their building portfolio, including ongoing equipment maintenance, strategic energy upgrades, and high efficiency equipment installation.

Upgrades to the Wendy’s location in Mobile, Alabama include exterior LED lights, all-LED interior lights, an ultra-high efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, and a new, efficient commercial kitchen hood.

“We’re proud to be among the first restaurant companies to join the Challenge,” said Abigail Pringle, chief development officer for the Wendy’s Company. “We see environmental stewardship in restaurant development as a big responsibility, and it connects to our values. We believe stewardship is a journey, a long-term commitment. It’s not something we are simply ‘checking off the list,’ rather we’re driving purposeful change with bold goals that are brought to life through our culture and our business practices of how we plan, design, engineer, construct and operate our restaurants.”

The Wendy’s Company previously identified HVAC as one of the largest energy-consuming systems in Wendy’s restaurants. Wendco Group chose the Mobile restaurant as a pilot location to use and validate the efficiency of new HVAC equipment, including new rooftop units (RTUs) with variable speed compressors and fans. A second Wendy’s restaurant in Mobile served as a control test subject, because it was also demolished and rebuilt in 2015, but used the older HVAC design. The ultra-high efficiency HVAC system installed at the new Mobile location led to a 14% decrease in energy consumption compared to the control restaurant.

Through the Better Buildings Challenge, the Energy Department aims to achieve the goal of doubling American energy productivity by 2030 while motivating corporate and public-sector leaders across the country to save energy through commitments and investments. More than 310 organizations are partnering with the Energy Department to achieve 20% portfolio-wide energy savings and share successful strategies that maximize efficiency over the next decade. Across the country, partners have shared energy data for more than 34,000 properties and are reporting energy savings of 20% or more at 5,500 properties, and 10% or more at 12,600 properties.

Check out Wendy’s solutions and over 1,200 innovative and cost-effective solutions shared by other partners in the Better Buildings Solution Center.

Ohio EPA Issues 2016 Encouraging Environmental Excellence Awards

Ohio EPA Director Craig W. Butler presented nine Encouraging Environmental Excellence (E3) Awards recently at the Agency’s Compliance Assistance Conference in Columbus.

Ohio’s E3 program recognizes businesses, nonprofits, and governmental agencies for going above and beyond compliance with requirements while demonstrating environmental excellence. In addition, a new fourth level of recognition was introduced recently by Director Butler, who said, “It is important to encourage Ohioans to keep their environment healthy, and to build on the E3 recognition program, the new Platinum Level will recognize organizations that have expanded their environmental programs beyond their own facility, to make a positive impact on the surrounding community.”

The E3 program also provides Achievement, Silver and Gold levels of recognition. An organization can work through levels of recognition including Achievement at the base level; Silver Level recognizing outstanding accomplishments in environmental stewardship; and Gold Level recognizing comprehensive environmental stewardship programs. All levels require a commitment to meet or exceed environmental regulatory requirements.

Eight organizations are being recognized at the Gold level:

  • ConAgra in Troy produces pizza, dough and meat snacks. Its water cooling system has been updated to reduce water consumption by 2 million gallons per year, and more than 8 million lb of scrap dough and food waste was reused as animal feed or if unsuitable, composted, keeping more than 9 million lb of waste out of landfills.
  • Denison University, a liberal arts college in Granville, added sustainability as one of its goals in 2008. The school set up a revolving loan fund of $500,000 for environmental stewardship improvements at the University, while requiring new buildings to comply with LEED standards. One building saved the institution $28,000 in reduced electric and gas bills. The food service also focused on sustainability by reusing containers, adding a food donation network and initiating campus composting. Starting at 22 tons, the school grew its composting rate to 80 tons last year.
  • Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland makes craft beer. The energy use went down by 6% per year, and water usage decreased by 5% per year, compared to the company’s production level. It also purchased more than 30% of its feedstock from local food sources, which pumped $1.4 million into the local economy.
  • JLG Industries in Orrville manufactures work lifts and motorized telescoping booms that are most often used to lift workers toward higher, out-of-reach places in industrial or construction settings. The company updated its painting preparation process which improved corrosion resistance 150%, while eliminating 1,500 lb per year of phosphate previously being discharged into the environment. It also improved its paint mix system, resulting in a 90% reduction in solvent use and saving more than $120,000 annually.
  • Marathon Office Complex in Findlay is the corporate headquarters for Marathon Petroleum. The complex established a comprehensive recycling, energy and water reduction initiative, now recycling 50% of its waste stream, including 30 tons of used carpet following remodeling. The company reduced 40 tons of cafeteria waste through composting and implemented a broad range of energy efficiency and water conservation practices.
  • PPG Delaware makes resins and coatings for collision and commercial uses for the automotive market. As a prime example of materials exchange for mutual benefit, the company provided 900,000 lb of used material to a Kentucky paint company to be re-used, saving it from incineration and also saving $54,000 in disposal costs. The company also was able to decrease water usage and reduce its waste stream by 12% to save more than $27,000 per year.
  • Scotts in Marysville makes lawn and garden products, making use of more than 50 different waste byproducts that retain agronomic value. By incorporating these into other products, Scotts repurposed more than 5 billion lb of byproducts annually. Revived feedstocks include composted residential yard waste, processed livestock manure, bark and wood chip waste from the forest industry, agricultural crop waste and pre-consumer food waste. To assist in the fight against harmful algal blooms, Scotts has eliminated 10,000 tons of phosphorous from lawn maintenance products, and reduced nitrogen in lawn maintenance fertilizers.
  • United States Postal Service (USPS) Toledo is a mail processing plant, servicing 113 office locations, and is the first in the USPS to achieve a zero waste goal, defined by USPS as recycling more than 95% of its solid waste, exceeding the federal goal of 50% waste diversion. The facility is now working to expand practices that began in Toledo to the rest of the Northern Ohio District, which covers parts of southern Michigan.

One organization is being recognized at the silver level:

  • 3M Elyria makes cellulose sponge material and realized more than $1 million in savings by keeping 4.6 million lb of pollution out of the environment. By improving efficiency of a crystallization system, chemical consumption was reduced by 660,000 lb annually. The company installed an automated clean-in-place system, reducing water usage by 72%. A side benefit is that it lessens the facility’s impact on the city wastewater treatment system, reducing the amount of chemical needed to treat discharge water.

Achievement Level applications are accepted at any time. The deadline to apply for a 2017 Silver, Gold or Platinum Level award is October 14, 2016.

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