The proposed regulations include two rules: New Source Performance Standards that would apply to new stationary spark-ignition internal combustion engines and a technology-based air toxics standard that would apply to certain existing, new and reconstructed stationary reciprocating internal combustion engines. The rules are expected to reduce NOx emissions by 66,000 tons per year by 2015. Both rules also would limit emissions of carbon monoxide, non-methane hydrocarbons and air toxics.
The agency will accept public comment on the proposed rules for 90 days after they are published in the Federal Register. EPA must issue a final rule by Dec. 20, 2007.
New, Simplified Handbook for Drinking Water Security Systems and First Responders
This simplified version of the response protocol toolbox, “Planning for and Responding to Drinking Water Contamination Threats and Incidents” covers the overall concepts and principles in less detail than the full version. The document contains information targeted primarily at drinking water utility personnel, small systems, and managers as well as secondarily health officials, laboratories, fire, police, emergency medical services, and local, state, and federal officials.
Tools to Assist Small Drinking Water Systems Comply with the Stage 1 Disinfectants Rule
. “Complying With the Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule: Basic Guide, Supplement A and Supplement B - Part of the Simple Tools for Effective Performance” (STEP) series will be made available to drinking water utility staff, state regulators, and technical assistance providers in order to demystify the complexities of the rule for different categories of water systems that use various types of disinfection treatment.
These guides will help drinking water system operators to comply with the Stage 1 DBPR by providing information about the health risks associated with disinfectants, disinfection byproducts (DBPs), and residual disinfectants; the monitoring requirements of the Stage 1 DBPR; how to determine if you are in compliance; what to report to the state and customers; and how to maintain compliance through partnerships, treatment, and other options.
Stormwater Regulation Provision Streamlines Construction Site Requirements
On May 8, EPA Assistant Administrator for Water, Ben Grumbles, sent a letter to Regional Administrators encouraging permitting authorities to make use of the "qualifying local programs" provisions in the stormwater regulations. These provisions offer an opportunity to streamline administrative requirements in the stormwater program by formally recognizing local construction management programs that meet or exceed the provisions in EPA's construction general permit. Recognition of qualifying local programs eases the burden on construction site operators by providing them with one set of requirements to follow. A strong municipal program for construction site stormwater runoff, that meets the same basic provisions as the state program, can be recognized in the state's construction general permit. These municipal programs become the primary regulatory authority for construction site operators in that area.
The Phase II regulations require approximately 5000 municipalities to develop and implement comprehensive stormwater programs, including programs to manage stormwater runoff from construction sites. As these programs come online (municipalities have five years to fully implement their programs), state permitting authorities should take advantage of opportunities to recognize good programs and to streamline requirements whereever possible.
The Office of Water will be preparing brief case studies based on current state use of this provision as well as some further guidance about how to review municipal construction programs.
For additional information, contact Nikos Singelis in the Water Permits Division at 202-564-0692.
Save Money While Staying Cool this Summer
In 2005 alone, Americans, with the help of Energy Star, saved $12 billion in energy costs and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 23 million vehicles.
"Energy efficient products with the blue Energy Star label are helping meet President Bush's priority of improving the nation's environmental and energy security," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. "By preserving our resources and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, America's families can make sure skyrocketing temperatures don't have to lead to skyrocketing energy bills."
The average family spends $1,900 a year on energy bills, nearly half of which goes to heating and cooling. EPA's new interactive tool, Energy Star @ Home, shows consumers how they can make energy-efficient improvements in each room of their home.
Did you know that your ceiling fan can help save on summer cooling costs? Or that changing the five most frequently used lights in your home to energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs can save about $60 each year on energy costs?
Those are just a couple of examples of what can be learned on the virtual tour. Homeowners can see where they're doing well, find areas for improvement and learn how they can use energy more efficiently in order to save money and enjoy year-round comfort in their home.
Did you know that programming the thermostat to turn off the HVAC system at night and restart one hour prior to employee arrival can reduce your HVAC costs by as much as 30% and still make a comfortable work environment?
Cooling and ventilating uses almost 20% of the energy in commercial buildings. EPA's Energy Star Challenge encourages businesses and other organizations to improve their energy efficiency by 10% or more by following five energy saving steps. These steps put your business on the path to significant savings, while helping to protect the environment this summer and beyond.
EPA started the Energy Star program in 1992. It is a government-backed program helping businesses and consumers protect the environment through superior energy efficiency. More than 8,000 organizations participate in the Energy Star program.
Simple Steps to a Water Efficient Yard
Being smart with how we use water in our yards is easy and can make a real difference. If we all did our part to maximize water efficiency in our yards, we could reduce water use by 1.5 billion gallons every day.
If you have a landscape irrigation system or are in the market for one, look for systems that use rain or moisture sensors. This will help ensure that only the needed amount of water is applied to your landscape. Also, double check your sprinkler head settings to ensure they are watering the lawn and garden, not the sidewalk. There are other simple things you can do be more efficient; for example: fix irrigation system leaks, avoid over-watering and water during the coolest part of the day, preferably morning.
In the coming months the EPA will be announcing a new partnership program that will include a label for products that use less water along with an outreach campaign to educate consumers about how to use water more efficiently.
Secret Weapon in Mercury Detection Goes to School: Clancy, the Mercury-Detecting Dog
Clancy, the only mercury-detecting dog in the United States and one of three in the world, made an appearance at Upper Darby High School in Pennsylvania on May 12 to help EPA staff and Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) members highlight the dangers of mercury to the school's 11th and 12th grade chemistry classes. This collaboration between EPA, RSVP and Clancy has the makings of a pilot program for use in future projects.
Pennsylvania Fines Dominion Transmission for Air Quality Violations
The PA Department of Environmental Protection has fined Dominion Transmission Inc. of Pittsburgh $10,000 for several air quality violations at compressor stations it owns in Clinton, Potter and Tioga counties.
“Dominion committed a number of violations that reflect poorly on the company’s commitment to comply with our environmental regulations,” DEP Northcentral Regional Director Robert Yowell said.
A DEP inspection in April 2005 revealed that Dominion installed a salt bath heater at its Sabinsville compressor station in Clymer Township, Tioga County, without first submitting a notification to DEP as required.
The company also failed to submit the results of semi-annual air testing to DEP within 30 days after completing sampling in March 2005 at its Finnefrock compressor station.
Dominion conducted portable emission testing without providing DEP with proper notification and the opportunity to observe the testing at seven compressor stations in Clinton, Potter and Tioga counties, a violation of the company’s Title V operating permit.
Innovative Asthma Programs Improve Health
. IMPACT DC (Improving Pediatric Asthma Care in the District of Columbia) and Blue Cross of California, State Sponsored Business Unit (SSB) are this year's winners.
"These award winners combine innovation, imagination and compassion to improve the quality of life for asthma sufferers," said Bill Wehrum, EPA acting assistant administrator for Air and Radiation. "We can all take a deep breath and express our appreciation for IMPACT DC and Blue Cross of California."
Of the approximately 20 million Americans with asthma, more than six million are children. The disease remains one of the leading causes of emergency room visits and school absenteeism for children. Although there is no known cure for asthma, there are ways to reduce the number of attacks, including avoiding exposure to environmental asthma triggers at home, school, and other places where children spend their time.
With comprehensive asthma management for children, IMPACT DC, a program of the Children's Research Institute at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., reduces emergency room visits and decreases asthma severity. The program's unique approach uses the emergency department to identify and educate asthma patients, link them to primary care physicians or Medicaid managed care organizations, and follows them to ensure they receive effective long-term care. The program also helps families avoid visits to the emergency room by reducing environmental triggers in the home by helping parents create a "safe sleeping zone" by making a child's bedroom free of dust mites, mold and other allergens, or irritants that might trigger asthma.
Blue Cross of California, SSB, a managed care system, provides multi-lingual pharmacist consultations, home visits to assess environmental risks for high risk members, and incentives for physicians who follow the program's guidelines. Blue Cross of California, SSB, contributes to education and research efforts addressing air quality and its effect on asthma through a community-wide coalition that it founded.
May is Asthma Awareness month. EPA's recognition of the award winners will be held in conjunction with the first Communities in Action for Asthma-Friendly Environments National Forum. The forum will bring together 130 representatives from community-based asthma programs for a two-day workshop. Through interactive sessions, participants will learn from their peers about effective strategies and approaches to managing asthma triggers and improving the lives of people with asthma in their communities.
Paint Company Ordered to Pay $450,000 for Cleanup
The EPA recently ordered Advanced Packaging and Products to pay for a cleanup estimated to cost $450,000 that will address hazardous substances released onto the property following a January fire at the paint company’s facility in Carson, Calif., that killed the plant manager and severely burned two employees.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department put out the fire at the paint and automotive liquids blending and packaging firm at 1631 Maple Blvd. in Carson. The fire department’s Health Hazardous Materials Division then began cleaning up the site before requesting the EPA’s assistance. EPA officials discovered more than 400 hazardous substances containers at the site, ranging from 5-gallon cans to a 5,000-gallon tank, containing isopropyl alcohol, toluene, xylene, and other flammable materials.
Exposure to xylene can result in disturbed vision, dizziness, tremors, cardiac stress, and coma. Exposure to toluene can cause nose and eye irritation, muscle fatigue, and liver and kidney damage.
“The potential health threats to neighborhood businesses and residents require a fast, effective cleanup. We expect the company to clean up all hazardous substances, contaminated materials and chemical runoff left behind by this tragic fire,” said Keith Takata, director of the U.S. EPA’s Superfund program in San Francisco.
The EPA amended a previous order to include Advanced Packaging and Products, PJH Brands, Inc., Steven Renshaw and Golden Root LLC, to compel a response under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act.
If these parties fail to comply with the order, EPA may conduct the response
Noveon Fined Nearly $57,000 for Ammonia Release
EPA ordered Noveon Kalama Inc., (Noveon) to pay $56,995 for releasing more than 500 pounds of ammonia from their Kalama, Washington facility on May 10, 2005. In addition to the penalty, Noveon will perform a supplemental environmental project (SEP) that will provide $112,990 to pay for emergency response equipment for Cowlitz County and the city of Kalama, WA.
Noveon did not notify local and state agencies until approximately four hours after the ammonia release was discovered. No known injuries occurred as result of the release.
The ammonia release and the failure to notify appropriate agencies are violations of the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).
"These laws help communities prepare for and respond to chemical accidents," said Mike Bussell, Director of EPA’s Office of Compliance and Enforcement in Seattle. "They also help reduce the likelihood and severity of accidental chemical releases that could harm the public and the environment."
The ammonia release was discovered at approximately 4:30 a.m. on May 10, 2005. Noveon personnel stopped the release at approximately 5:00 a.m. The release probably started sometime after 11:30 p.m. on May 9, 2005.
Approximately four hours after discovering the release, Noveon’s safety and environmental manager called the National Response Center and the Oregon Emergency Response Commission to report the release.
Noveon is a manufacturer of specialty organic chemicals used in a variety of industries including wood products, flavor, fragrance, food, beverage, paint, pharmaceutical and photography.
$52,000 Penalty for Distributing Unregistered Japanese Pesticides
Under the terms of a recent settlement with the EPA, the Marukai Corporation of Gardena, Calif., will pay $52,000 for allegedly selling and distributing unregistered, imported Japanese pesticides, a violation of federal law.
Based on an inspection conducted by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation in 2004, EPA investigators determined that the Marukai Corporation had sold and distributed 11 unregistered products from Japan, including Cabitori Haitah, Cabi-Killer, BasuCabi, Cabitori Look, Gokichiru-Z and Mrs. Lloyd Insecticide. The products claimed to be ant and roach killers, moth repellents and mold removers.
“This is the second case we’ve had against the Marukai Corporation within the last 5 years, the last violations occurred in Hawaii,” said Enrique Manzanilla, the EPA’s Communities and Ecosystems Division director for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. “If a store is going to sell imported products, they must be sure that they are registered to ensure that their products meet all federal and state regulations.”
Since these Japanese products were not registered as pesticides with the EPA, their alleged sale and distribution is a violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, which regulates the sale, distribution, and use of pesticides within the United States.
. The agency also makes sure that pesticide labels provide consumers with the information they need to use the products safely. Pesticides that have been registered with the agency have an EPA registration number on the label.
Free Air Quality Forecasts and Alerts Available from EPA as Summer Smog Season Begins
With warmer weather reminding us that June is almost here, now is the time to be prepared for poor air quality this summer by taking advantage of free air quality forecasts and alerts. Remember, you can protect your health by paying attention to local air quality.
“Ground-level ozone and fine particle air pollution are significant public health threats in New England," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England Office. “Thanks to federal and state efforts, air quality has improved over the past decade. However, New Englanders still need to pay close attention to air quality warnings and limit strenuous outdoor activity on air quality alert days. Plus, we all can take individual actions to reduce the air pollution that contributes to this public health risk.”
You can also sign up at this web address to receive “Air Quality Alerts.” These alerts, provided free by EPA in cooperation with the New England states, automatically notify participants by e-mail when high concentrations of ground-level ozone or fine particles are predicted in their area.
Warm summer temperatures aid the formation of ground-level ozone, which is considered unhealthy when concentrations exceed 0.08 ppm over an 8-hour period. Poor air quality affects everyone, but some people are particularly sensitive to ozone, including children and adults who are active outdoors, and people with respiratory diseases, such as asthma. Exposure to elevated ozone levels can cause serious breathing problems, aggravate asthma and other pre-existing lung diseases and make people more susceptible to respiratory infection. When elevated ozone levels are expected, EPA recommends that people limit strenuous outdoor activity.
Whenever air quality levels are predicted to be unhealthy in areas in New England, EPA and the states will announce an air quality alert in these areas. EPA asks that on these days, citizens and businesses take special care to help reduce air pollution, protect the public health, and maybe even save some money. Everyone can reduce air pollution through the following actions:
- Use public transportation or walk whenever possible.
- Combine errands and car-pool to reduce driving time and trips.
- Use less electricity by turning air conditioning to a higher temperature setting, and turning off lights and computers when they are not being used.
- Avoid using gasoline-powered engines, such as lawn mowers, chain saws and leaf blowers on unhealthy air days.
Cars, trucks and buses are primary sources of the pollutants that make smog. Fossil fuel burning at electric power plants, particularly on hot days, also generates significant smog-forming pollution. Gas stations, print shops, household products like paints and cleaners, as well as lawn and garden equipment, also contribute to smog formation.
EPA has taken a number of steps lately to reduce air pollution. EPA emission standards for new vehicles will result in cars that are 77% to 95% cleaner by 2009 (phase-in began in 2004) and cleaner-burning gasoline that contains 90% less sulfur. Also, EPA’s clean diesel trucks and buses program will reduce NOx emissions from new trucks and buses by approximately 90% beginning in 2007. This program is nearing a key milestone. On June 1, 2006, refiners and importers must ensure that the sulfur content of at least 80% of the volume of the highway diesel fuel they produce drops from the current level of 500 ppm to 15 ppm. Lowering the sulfur content will enable modern pollution-control technology to be effective on the 2007 trucks and buses. Once these fuel and engine regulations are fully implemented, 2.6 million tons of smog-causing nitrogen oxide emissions will be reduced each year, nationally. Soot or particulate matter will also be reduced by 110,000 tons a year.
In addition, EPA has issued the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) to help reduce the transport of air pollution from power plants across state boundaries. When fully implemented, CAIR is expected to reduce power plant NOx emissions by more than 60% and sulfur dioxide by over 70%.
Finally, additional improvements in air quality are expected as states implement plans to meet the 8-hour ozone standard. States not meeting the ozone standard must submit plans by June 2007 that will outline how they will meet the standard by the end of 2009.
Oregon DEQ Completes Statewide Assessment of Water Quality and Updates List of Waters not Meeting Standards
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has completed its latest assessment of water quality in Oregon. The assessment comes in its 2004/2006 Integrated Report, which includes an updated list of waters that do not meet Oregon’s water quality standards. The list gives DEQ information about the kinds of pollutants being monitored in Oregon waters and where these pollutants are found.
DEQ is submitting this list, known as the “303(d) list,” to the EPA for review and approval. The 303(d) list is a subset of the 2004/2006 Integrated Report Assessment Database. People interested in accessing the 303(d) list should scroll down to the bulleted link, "Search Oregon's 2004/2006 Integrated Report Assessment Database," and click on it. Once on this page, scroll down to "Search Criteria Options" for instructions on how to search for the 303(d) list. Select the listing status, "Water Quality Limited TMDL needed - 303(d)" and click the Search button.
For waters that don’t meet water quality standards and are placed on an “impaired waters” list under Section 303(d) of the federal Clean Water Act, DEQ will need to develop clean water plans to reduce pollution from all sources in order to meet clean water standards. These plans are known as total maximum daily loads (TMDLs). The 303(d) list helps DEQ establish priority rankings for water bodies with problems and assists the state in directing water quality resources to improve water quality throughout the state.
For the 2004/2006 assessment, DEQ looked at data collected in streams and lakes over a 10-year period. DEQ evaluated more than 500,000 test results and more than 20 million water temperature readings and compared them to water quality standards.
Out of approximately 37,600 water bodies in Oregon, about three percent are listed on the 303(d) list for at least one pollutant. The most common listing is for temperature, which can broadly affect the health of salmon, steelhead and other aquatic species in streams and lakes. The second most common listing is for bacteria, specifically fecal coliform and E. coli. Bacterial pollutants can affect human health and use of Oregon’s waters for recreation and shellfish harvesting.
There are more water bodies with new listings for toxic substances such as iron, manganese, arsenic and beryllium. These metals are more frequently analyzed in ambient water quality monitoring and DEQ has been catching up with putting these data into its database for statewide assessment. There are less data available for other toxic substances such as pesticides, dioxins and PCBs.
DEQ is developing a legislative proposal asking for additional money to comprehensively address increasing concerns about toxic pollutants in state waters, said Lauri Aunan, administrator of DEQ’s Water Quality Division. Currently, the state does not have resources for monitoring to systematically determine which toxics are of most concern, where they are coming from, and how to best target resources toward a solution. DEQ will consult with interested parties to refine the elements of the proposal, which would come before the 2007 Legislature, Aunan said.
The Clean Water Act requires DEQ to assess the state’s water quality every two years and report back to EPA. In addition to reviewing the 303(d) list, EPA will review and approve any waters that are de-listed from previous 303(d) lists.
2006-2007 Florida Environmental Budged Released
Governor Jeb Bush signed the FY 2006-2007 budget, providing the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) with more than $2.9 billion to increase protection for Florida’s natural resources and restore vital ecosystems. Governor Bush reaffirmed his commitment to environmental protection, allocating funds to restore America’s Everglades, conserve Babcock Ranch, and fight pollution.
“Governor Bush is again expanding environmental protection for our state, providing an unprecedented $2.9 billion to preserve land, promote advanced, clean technologies and restore vital ecosystems,” said DEP Secretary Colleen M. Castille. “Thanks to the Governor’s vision and leadership, Florida continues to expand our economy, improve our quality of life, and protect our most precious natural resources.”
The 2006-2007 budget provides more than $745 million to conserve environmentally sensitive land, including $310 million for the acquisition of the 74,000-acre Babcock Ranch. Other appropriations include more than $160 million for continued restoration of the Everglades and Lake Okeechobee, and more than $488.6 million to improve and maintain the health of rivers, lakes, estuaries and springs.
The 2006-2007 budget includes:
Preserving Babcock Ranch, $310 million – Setting the path for one of the largest purchases in Florida’s history, the budget provides $310 million for the purchase of Babcock Ranch. The 74,000-acre purchase will preserve the single largest tract of contiguous conservation lands in the state’s history, while at the same time providing a vitally needed water-recharge area for Southwest Florida.
Conserving Florida’s Land, $300 million – Established in 1999 by Governor Bush and the Florida Legislature, the 10-year, $3 billion Florida Forever program is the largest land buying initiative in the nation, conserving environmentally sensitive land, restoring water resources and preserving important cultural and historical places. More than 1.2 million acres have been placed in public ownership throughout the state under Florida Forever and its predecessor program, Preservation 2000 (P2000).
Restoring America’s Everglades, $135 million -- Through a dedicated infusion of funding, Governor Bush continues to spearhead the $8 billion restoration of the famed River of Grass, returning a natural flow of water across the 2.4 million-acre marsh. Including cash and bonds, Florida’s total financial commitment toward the restoration now tops $3 billion. This year’s allocation includes $25 million to restore coastal wetlands in Biscayne Bay and $10 million for additional water storage around the Loxahatchee River to optimize the performance of existing stormwater treatment areas and divert harmful flows from the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge and the Everglades.
Saving Lake Okeechobee, $25 million -- In October 2005, Governor Bush unveiled a plan to accelerate the restoration and recovery of Lake Okeechobee, the heart of America’s Everglades. This year’s $25 million allocation will expand water storage areas, construct treatment marshes and expedite environmental management initiatives to enhance the ecological health of the lake and downstream coastal estuaries, the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Rivers.
Protecting Florida’s Water, $386.1 million – The 2006-2007 budget expands funding for water improvement projects throughout the state, strengthening protection for Florida's water. Florida has invested nearly $2 billion to improve wastewater treatment, clean up stormwater pollution and upgrade drinking water facilities, funding more than 950 projects statewide since 1999.
Managing Florida’s Growth, $100 million – The Water Protection and Sustainability Program was created last year to support water-related programs that preserve the quality of waterways, improve surface water management and help communities construct drinking water and wastewater facilities. This year’s budget also includes $60 million for alternative water supply development projects such as desalination, reuse and reservoirs. To date, the state has approved nearly 100 alternative water supply projects through the Water Protection and Sustainability Program.
Protecting Florida’s Springs, $2.5 million -- For the sixth consecutive year, the budget provides $2.5 million for the Florida Springs Initiative, a comprehensive and coordinated program that increases protection for Florida’s 700 freshwater springs. Known as “bowls of liquid light,” springs are early gauges of trends in Florida’s drinking water quality and quantity.
Enhancing Ecotourism and Recreation, $107.8 million – Florida’s sandy beaches, state parks and aquatic preserves are home to thousands of species of plants and animals, draw millions of visitors to the state annually and provide an economic engine for many rural communities. This year’s budget provides another $50 million to protect the state’s beaches, the first line of defense against storm surges from hurricanes and other catastrophic storms. The budget also includes $57.8 million for Florida’s award-winning state park system, including $1 million to continue building the network of trails, cabins and campgrounds along the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail, and $3.1 million to complete an Environmental Education Center at the Apalachicola River National Estuarine Research Reserve.
Testing Scheduled for Underground Storage Tank Professionals
In June, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will hold licensing tests for underground storage tank professionals. All tests will take place in the DEQ's Metcalf Building located at 1520 E Sixth Avenue in Helena, Montana.
State law requires licensing of anyone who installs, closes, repairs, modifies or inspects underground storage tank systems, including underground piping connected to above-ground tanks. The law also requires licensing of anyone who installs corrosion protection, tank liners and external leak-detection equipment.
On June 5, 2006, the DEQ will offer licensing tests for removers and/or installers of corrosion protection, tank liners and external leak-detection equipment. Written tests are open to all applicants for new licenses and to those who must retest to maintain current licenses. All new applicants must register and submit a $100 fee, to the Department of Environmental Quality, Waste and Underground Tank Bureau, P.O. Box 200901, Helena, MT, 59620-0901.
Application forms and information are available on the DEQ web site at www.deq.mt.gov or from the DEQ Underground Storage Tank Section at 406-444-5300. The DEQ will make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities who wish to participate in this testing or who need an alternative accessible format of this notice. Please contact the DEQ at 406-444-2929 to advise us of the accommodation needed.
Missouri Wood Treater Fined for Hazardous Waste Violations
A federal court in Missouri has ordered Timber Industries, Inc. to pay a penalty of more than $225,000 for illegal disposal of hazardous wastes at its wood treatment facility, the Justice Department and EPA announced last week. The company, which was previously cited for violating the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), was also ordered to fully comply with the terms of an expedited settlement agreement reached in 2002 to resolve the RCRA violations.
As part of the 2002 settlement, the EPA ordered Timber Industries to stop all releases of pentachlorophenol—a probable human cancer-causing substance—into the environment and to submit evidence of compliance. The company was also required to submit site evaluation and cleanup action work plans and reports. The settlement further required the company to provide evidence that the facility was registered with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources as a hazardous waste generator and that all hazardous wastes stored at the facility were shipped off-site.
On November 18, 2005 the Justice Department and the EPA filed a complaint alleging that Timber Industries failed to comply with several terms of the agreement, specifically failure of the facility to clean up past releases of pentachlorophenol and failure to clean up new releases, which were found during a follow-up inspection. “This action sends an important and clear message to the wood treatment industry that they must promptly and properly investigate and clean up any releases of hazardous wastes. EPA is committed to making sure companies take necessary actions to comply with environmental regulations,” said Jim Gulliford, EPA regional administrator.
The 2002 settlement resulted from an EPA inspection of the Salem facility in December 2000 as part of the EPA Region 7 Wood Treatment Initiative and Compliance Incentive Program. Inspectors found that the pentachlorophenol solution dripped onto the ground near the treatment tank and staging area. The EPA also found new evidence of illegal disposal during a re-inspection.
Dallas Required to Clean Up its Stormwater
The City of Dallas, Texas, has reached an agreement with the federal government requiring the city to spend in excess of $3.5 million in a comprehensive effort to decrease the amount of pollution entering the city’s stormwater system, the Department of Justice and EPA announced last week. The settlement requires the city to construct two wetlands at an estimated cost of $1.2 million—one along the Trinity River and one along Cedar Creek near the Dallas Zoo—and to pay a civil penalty of $800,000.
The settlement resolves allegations first made by the federal government in an EPA order issued in February 2004 that the city failed to implement, adequately fund and adequately staff the city’s stormwater management program. Under the agreement, the City is required to fill staff positions, inspect hundreds of industrial facilities and construction sites, and improve management systems at several facilities.
“We are pleased to conclude this matter with a settlement that will result in vigorous City efforts to keep the City’s stormwater compliant with applicable law,” said Sue Ellen Wooldridge, Assistant Attorney General of the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “We expect all cities to comply with the stormwater requirements of the Clean Water Act.”
“This settlement benefits everyone in Dallas by helping to keep the City’s rivers, lakes, and streams clean. I am particularly pleased that we and the City were able to resolve this matter in a way that improves our urban environment by building water-purifying wetlands along the Trinity River and at the Zoo,” said Richard Greene, Regional Administrator of U.S. EPA Region 6 in Dallas.
The settlement requires the city to have at least 36 people working in the city’s stormwater management section, a 25% increase over the number of people on staff when EPA issued its order. The consent decree also requires the city to inspect at least 500 stormwater discharge pipes per year, 500 industrial facilities each year, and large construction sites every two weeks. Pursuant to the settlement, the city will prepare a formal environmental management system for twelve city-run facilities, including the city’s service centers, and then have a third-party auditor review the management systems. EPA plans to conduct a full audit of the stormwater system within the next three years.
The first wetland the city will construct will be a 60-acre or larger area along the Trinity River downstream of Sylvan Avenue, in the vicinity of the Pavaho pump station. Currently the city pumps stormwater directly from the sump to the Trinity River. This project will use the stormwater to water a wetland that will provide urban green space and filter impurities out of the stormwater before it is reaches the Trinity. Before beginning construction, the city is required to submit a detailed design plan for the wetland to be reviewed by the EPA.
The second wetland will be a small wetland along Cedar Creek near the Dallas Zoo. The wetland will be the last in a series of treatment steps designed to treat runoff from a portion of the Dallas Zoo. The system will be designed so that water emerging from the wetland can be returned to the zoo for use in drip irrigation. As with the wetland along the Trinity River, a detailed design plan must be approved by the EPA before work begins.
Richard B. Roper, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, said, “I applaud the officials of the city of Dallas in acting with the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency to insure that the citizens of Dallas can enjoy the cleanest possible rivers, lakes, and streams.”
“Stormwater, if not properly managed, is a major source of water pollution,” said Granta Y. Nakayama, EPA’s Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “By agreeing to make changes to its operations under this settlement, the city of Dallas will reduce pollution, improve the quality of its stormwater system, and have a positive impact on the environment.”
City stormwater sewers carry significant amounts of pollution into urban rivers, lakes, and streams. City storm sewers can discharge annually as much lead and copper, and as many oxygen-depleting chemicals, as do city sewage treatment plants. When it comes to stream-clogging sediment, storm sewers can discharge ten times the suspended solids that come from sewage treatment plants.
Discharges of stormwater from city storm sewers are regulated by the federal Clean Water Act. Municipalities must obtain permits for their stormwater discharges. The stormwater management program at issue in this settlement was drafted by the city and made part of the stormwater discharge permit issued by the EPA to the city in 1997.