EPA Proposes to Revise Clean Air Act New Source Review Program

September 11, 2006

 According to the Agency, these changes will simplify the process facility owners and operators must follow in determining whether plans to modify their facility would trigger NSR requirements.

EPA says that the changes will accelerate investments in cleaner energy-saving technologies. Existing permit limits on emissions would not be affected, and the proposed changes would encourage investments in refining capacity, improve industries' efficiency and reduce demand for natural gas. The improvements could also lower energy costs to households and consumers.

 These proposals are also a part of the president's clean air initiatives, which are designed to bring cleaner air to Americans: the Clean Air Diesel rule will dramatically cut pollution by more than 90% from heavy-duty diesel engines used in construction, agricultural, and industrial equipment; and the Clean Air Interstate Rule will require coal-burning power plants to make the steepest emissions cuts in over a decade. Together with other Clean Air Act programs, these landmark rules will improve air quality so nearly all areas of the country will meet air quality standards.

The proposal addresses the following three components:

  1. Debottlenecking: EPA is proposing to change how NSR applies when an owner or operator modifies one portion of a facility in such a manner that production or throughput in other unchanged portions of the facility increases, thereby increasing overall efficiency of the facility. This type of modification is known as a "debottlenecking" project. Under the proposal, unchanged portions of the facility would not be subject to NSR if emissions from those portions have already been taken into account in a prior permit or regulatory action.
  2. Aggregation: EPA is proposing to clarify how NSR applies when multiple projects are implemented at a facility. EPA is proposing that projects that are related should be treated as a single project (e.g. aggregated) if one of them is dependent on another. The rule provides additional information about how EPA makes this determination.
  3. Project Netting: EPA is proposing to simplify the step in the calculation used to determine whether NSR applies when emissions increases and decreases are added together (called "netting").

Both aggregation and debottlenecking have been implemented through EPA guidance on a case by case basis in the past. The proposal would provide certainty to both the regulated community and the permitting authorities.

EPA will accept comment on this rule for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Company Owner Indicted for Illegally Storing 11 Tons of Hazardous Waste


Lawrence Aviation and its owner and operator, Gerald Cohen, were indicted on federal criminal charges for illegally storing 11,690 kilograms -- over 11 tons -- of corrosive hazardous waste in violation of the RCRA and illegally operating two diesel generators in violation of the Clean Air Act, at LAI’s principal place of business in port Jefferson Station, Long Island, New York. In a separate action, the United States filed a civil lawsuit against LAI, Cohen, and six parcels of land, under the federal Superfund statute to recover over $8 million in clean-up costs previously incurred by EPA at LAI’s manufacturing facility and a judgment of liability for future clean-up costs to be incurred at the LAI site.

The indictment was announced by Roslynn R. Mauskopf, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Alan J. Steinberg, EPA Regional Administrator, and Mark J. Mershon, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office. The civil complaint was announced by Ms. Mauskopf and Mr. Steinberg.

As alleged in the indictment unsealed September 7, LAI began operating at the Port Jefferson Station site in 1959 and manufactured titanium sheets used primarily in the aeronautics industry. Cohen became the sole owner and operator of LAI in 1982. Part of the manufacturing process required the use of large tanks containing corrosive acid and base liquids. The indictment charges that several years prior to April 2003, LAI stopped using two of the tanks in the manufacturing operations, and instead used them to store liquids and sludge. In 2003, personnel from EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and the New York State DEC tested the contents of the two tanks and determined that they contained corrosive hazardous waste. The indictment alleges that LAI and Cohen violated RCRA because the contents of the two tanks had not been disposed of in a timely manner and had been stored without a permit from EPA or DEC.

The indictment also charges that between June 2001 and July 17, 2003, LAI and Cohen operated two diesel generators to provide electricity at the site without obtaining a permit from EPA or DEC, in violation of the federal Clean Air Act. A permit was required because the generators were capable of emitting 444 tons of nitrogen oxide per year, well in excess of the statutorily permissible emission of 25 tons per year in Suffolk County. The indictment alleges that nitrogen oxide contributes to the formation of dangerous ground-level ozone, commonly known as smog.

The civil complaint seeks reimbursement to EPA for funds it has spent, and will continue to spend, to dispose of hazardous substances at LAI’s manufacturing facility and to clean up the site and the surrounding areas. The complaint was brought under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, commonly known as the Superfund statute, which was passed by Congress to help clean up toxic waste sites across the country. EPA added the LAI site to the National Priorities List of the most contaminated sites in the country in March 2000. The complaint alleges that soils, sediments, surface water, and groundwater at and around LAI’s facility are contaminated. Significantly, the groundwater at the site is allegedly contaminated by a plume of trichloroethylene – a solvent used in manufacturing processes and characterized as a hazardous substance by EPA – that extends from the facility almost a mile towards Port Jefferson Harbor. EPA has secured and disposed of tanks and drums of hazardous substances at the site and developed options for remediation of the contamination of the soil and water at and around the site. To date, EPA has paid over $8 million, and will continue to spend funds as the clean-up of the site progresses.

“We are committed to protecting the public and our environment from the dangers of hazardous wastes, and soil and groundwater contamination,” said United States Attorney Mauskopf. “We will use every tool at our disposal, including criminal prosecutions and civil cost-recovery lawsuits, to ensure that those who pollute our environment are held accountable.”

“For too long, this manufacturer’s activities have contaminated the surrounding area,” said EPA Regional Administrator Steinberg. “We are committed to making sure that polluters pay to clean up the messes they have made.”

“Vigorous enforcement of our environmental laws is how the FBI protects the region’s ecology and natural resources,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Mershon. “Commerce and the economy can co-exist with conservation and the ecology, provided people conduct themselves and their businesses lawfully. When they don’t, there are consequences, both for the environment and for the wrongdoer.”

If convicted of the criminal charges, Cohen faces a maximum sentence of 15 years of imprisonment, and Cohen and LAI each face a fine of up to $50,000 for each day of the RCRA violations, and a $250,000 fine for the Clean Air Act violation.

EPA to Allow Electronic Submission of TSCA IUR Data


 For the first time, in 2006, reporters of IUR data will be able to use the Internet, through EPA's Central Data Exchange (CDX), to submit information on their chemicals to EPA. EPA will continue to allow IUR submissions either on CD ROM or on paper. EPA is also correcting two paragraph cross-references and a section heading. Additionally, the rule clarifies requirements for the reporting of company identification information.

Change a Light to Change the World


The Energy Star, “Change a Light, Change the World” campaign encourages Americans to change the world, one light, one step at a time by taking an on-line pledge to replace an incandescent bulb or fixture in their homes with one that has earned the Energy Star label. The campaign began this month and runs through October, with the official "Change a Light Day" on Oct. 4.  EPA's Energy Star is a voluntary market-based partnership to reduce air pollution through increased energy efficiency.

EPA Orders Destruction of Banned Children's Products at Target, Dollar Tree, Other Stores


 These substances deplete the earth's protective stratospheric ozone layer and increase the risk of skin cancer. Millions of cans of these novelty items, all imported from China or Taiwan and known by various names such as Zany String, Crazy String, and Party Streamer, have been sold illegally in the United States.

Dollar Tree, American Greetings, Inc., Dollar General, Target, and Too, Inc. (which owns Limited Too) have complied with EPA's orders by taking the banned products off their shelves and shipping them to a commercial incinerator for destruction. More than 2.7 million cans will be incinerated under EPA's compliance orders. The companies have also agreed to audit their operations and adopt new policies to ensure that these problems do not arise again.

"EPA banned HCFC propellants in spray cans more than a decade ago. Now, we are seeing imports of these products from overseas manufacturers that claim their products comply with American laws," said Granta Y. Nakayama, EPA's assistant administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "We are pleased that these retail companies signed these compliance orders with EPA to ensure that these products will not be available to consumers and the ozone-depleting substances they contained will never make it into our environment."

$157,500 Fine for Lack of SPCC Plan


Pennywise Oil Company, Inc., Connecticut oil storage and delivery company faces fines of up to $157,500 for allegedly failing to plan for and guard against oil spills at its facilities in Essex and Westbrook.

According to a complaint filed by EPA's New England office, Pennywise did not have spill prevention, control, and countermeasure plans in place at either its main facility in Westbrook or its bulk tank farm in Essex, as required by the federal Clean Water Act.

“Oil spills can do significant damage to the environment, including to neighboring drinking water wells,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. “EPA will continue to ensure that facilities handling oils must follow established procedures to minimize risks of oil spills.”

EPA records show that Pennywise had two prior spills, in Nov. 2005 and Jan. 2006. Both spills were caused by overfilling tanks. While ground water was affected for both discharges, neither spill discharged to navigable waters. Both spills were reported to the National Response Center, which prompted an inspection by EPA.

The Connecticut Dept. of Environmental Protection’s Emergency Response Unit received the spill notifications from the company and initiated emergency remediation activities to protect the surrounding environment.

The location of the Pennywise facilities means that spills could affect navigable waters. A spill occurring at the main facility could contaminate Cold Spring Brook, a tributary of the Long Island Sound, and a spill at the Essex tank farm could contaminate the Falls River, a tributary of the Connecticut River.

An EPA inspector identified the lack of SPCC plans at the facilities in February. The inspector noted that, in addition to not having a plan, the company had failed to construct containment around the three bulk storage tanks and associated transfer areas at the Dennison Road location. Pennywise faces a maximum penalty of $157,500.

Spill prevention and control laws help ensure that a tank failure or spill does not lead to oil being released into private wells, rivers or streams.

Unregistered Hazardous Waste Transporter Fined $44,500


Crosby and Overton of Oakland, Calif., was fined $44,500 by the Calif. Department of Toxic Substances Control for allegedly falsely claiming to be a registered transporter of hazardous waste.

Crosby and Overton was once registered with the state as a hauler of waste, but its registration expired in 2003. The company has agreed to pay the fine outlined by the consent order, but it does not admit any fault. According to the department, an inspection at the facility revealed that the company had falsified 418 hazardous waste manifests that identified it as a registered transporter of waste.

Crosby and Overton did not actually use the California manifests to ship hazardous waste, but violated California law by signing the documents, thereby indicating it was a registered waste hauler, according to the department.

Under the terms of a consent order, the department will require the company to refrain from transporting hazardous waste or doing business as a registered waste transporter until it gets a valid registration from the state.

Kaler Oil Fined $35,000 for Failure to Have an SPCC Plan


To settle claims that it had failed to guard against oil spills at its North Bath, Maine, facility, Kaler Oil Company, Inc. agreed to pay $35,000 to the federal government. According to a complaint filed by EPA's New England office in March, Kaler Oil did not have an SPCC plan in place, as required by the federal Clean Water Act.

An inspector from EPA's New England office inspected the Kaler facility in October 2005 and found that, in addition to not having a plan, the company failed to construct containment around its oil tanks and loading area, leading to a risk of a spill to surface waters and/or drinking wells should tank or piping fail.

“Oil spills can cause significant environmental damage, and particularly in this case to nearby drinking water wells,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA's New England office. “EPA will continue to ensure that New England facilities storing oil take the measures required by the Clean Water Act to minimize the risk of spills.”

Shipping Company Pleads Guilty to Vessel Pollution; Used Hoses to Bypass Pollution Prevention Equipment


The Sun Ace Shipping Company, based in Seoul, South Korea, has pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships. The company, which was the operator and manager of a fleet of five ships, is charged with knowingly failing to maintain an accurate oil record book that fully recorded the disposal of oil residue and bilge into the ocean and then falsifying records to conceal illegal discharges.

A joint factual statement filed in District Court in New Jersey stated that, on the night of Jan. 3, U.S. Coast Guard inspectors boarded the Sun New and discovered that members of the engine room crew has used bypass hoses to discharge oily wastes overboard into the ocean without using the vessel's oil-water separator. Upon further investigation, inspectors discovered that the crew of the Sun New had disposed of oil waste into the ocean at least twice during the voyage from South Korea to New Jersey.

Engine room operations on board large oceangoing vessels such as the Sun New generate large amounts of waste oil. International and U.S. law prohibit the discharge of waste oil without treatment by an oily water separator. The law also requires that all overboard discharges be recorded in an oil record book, a required log that is regularly inspected by the Coast Guard.

Sun Ace Shipping Company will pay a $400,000 penalty and a $100,000 community service payment to the National Fish and Wildlife Program, Delaware Estuary Grants Program, which will be used to protect and restore the natural resources of the Delaware Estuary and its watershed. The Sun Ace Shipping Company will also be subject to a three-year term of probation, during which its vessels will be banned from U.S. ports and waters.

Earlier this month, a grand jury in Newark, N.J., returned a three-count indictment charging the chief engineer and the second engineer of M/V Sun New with conspiracy, obstruction of justice and a violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships in connection with the use of two bypass hoses used to discharge sludge and oil contaminated bilge waste overboard into the ocean.

The most recent case was investigated by marine inspectors from Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay, and special agents from the Coast Guard Investigative Service and the Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division.

Court Upholds Michigan DEQ Penalty Imposed on Underground Storage Tank Owner


Judge Joseph J. Farah, Genesee County 7th Circuit Court, has upheld a $121,650 penalty imposed by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on a former Monroe County underground storage tank owner who failed to properly investigate and act on tank releases that occurred in December 2002.

The penalty addresses property located in Monroe County and failure of the owner, V. K. Vermulapalli, to:

  • Take all appropriate actions to investigate and clean up contamination from waste oil released from underground tanks into soil and groundwater observed by DEQ staff on December 23, 2002
  • Take action to prevent and clean up continuing releases from the tanks, which were left on the property after being removed from the ground
  • Submit required reports to the DEQ


The investigations and required reports were to have been completed by the owner within one year of the reported release. Following repeated DEQ requests to Vermulapalli for voluntary compliance, the department imposed the $121,650 administrative penalty in October 2004 for failure to submit the required final assessment report.

On August 21, the Circuit Court hearing was held to hear arguments and Judge Farah found the DEQ had acted in accordance with the law when imposing the administrative penalty.

Alden Nash Properties Fined for Sediment Discharges


Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Director Steven E. Chester announced that the DEQ has entered into an Administrative Consent Order with Alden Nash Properties, L.L.C. in Montcalm County to resolve violations of water protection laws resulting from multiple sediment discharges to the Flat River dating back to 2004 from Alden Nash’s construction site.

“It is critical to the protection of Michigan’s waters to maintain soil erosion and sedimentation control measures on construction sites,” said Director Chester. “Our agency will continue to take appropriate action to protect the environment and eliminate these harmful discharges.”

The consent order requires Alden Nash to pay a civil fine in the amount of $45,000 and to reimburse the DEQ for enforcement costs of the investigation surrounding the violations. As part of the compliance program contained in the consent order, Alden Nash has agreed to prepare a work plan in accordance with the best management practices (BMPs) approved by the Montcalm County Enforcing Agency, implement this work plan at Alden Nash’s construction site, and to notify the DEQ on a quarterly basis, all BMPs implemented at the construction site.

Alabama Department of Environmental Management Moves Toward More Electronic Documents


ADEM held a public hearing Sept. 5 to gather comments regarding amendments to its administrative code to allow permit applications and other correspondence to be submitted electronically.

Specifically, ADEM proposed a rule amendment titled, “Communications with the Department” that clarifies how correspondence, applications, reports or other documents required by the department may be submitted. The proposed new rule will enhance the department’s acceptance of documents in electronic format by allowing electronic signatures to accompany submittals.

The public hearing was held to receive data, views and comments from stakeholders and other interested parties. ADEM will review and respond to all comments received and will propose adoption of the rule changes to the Alabama Environmental Management Commission. The commission’s next scheduled meeting is Oct. 6.

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Approves Fines Totaling $680,246


The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) approved penalties recently totaling $680,246 against 61 regulated entities for violations of state environmental regulations. Agreed orders were issued for the following enforcement categories: three agricultural, eight air quality, one industrial hazardous waste, one industrial waste discharge, two licensed irrigators, one multi-media, one municipal solid waste, nine municipal waste discharge, fifteen petroleum storage tank, nine public water system and two water quality. The commissioners approved field citations in three categories, including one petroleum storage tank, one water quality and one public water system. Default orders were issued in the following categories: two air quality, three petroleum storage tank and one public water system.

The Sept. 6 meeting marked the first agenda for newly appointed Commissioner Martin A. Hubert. Commissioner Hubert replaces R. B. “Ralph” Marquez, who retired in March, after serving 11 years with the TCEQ.

Commissioners also approved the filling of 22 vacancies on the Galveston Bay Council. a 20-year, science-based plan designed to protect and restore the Bay.

The TCEQ's next agenda meeting is scheduled for September 20. Agenda items from all commission meetings and work session agendas can be viewed on the TCEQ Web site.

Nine Felony Counts of Illegal Discharges Filed against President and Vice-President of Antifreeze Recycler


Based on investigations conducted by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management's Office of Criminal Investigation, N.E. Environmental Services Inc. and the company's president and vice-president have been charged with nine felony counts relating to the illegal discharge of waste oil and glycol at the firm's former facility in Smithfield, RI. The company recycles waste antifreeze and waste oil filters, and leased the Douglas Pike property from PJS Properties.

Representatives of N.E. Environmental Services, Inc., its president, Peter J. Beauregard, and vice-president, Todd L. Smith, were to be arraigned in 6th District Court on Sept. 8 before Magistrate McAtee.

The parties have each been charged with one count of placing pollutants where they would likely enter the state's waters; one count of installing or making a modification or addition to an industrial, commercial, or other establishment, which could result in the discharge of pollutants into the state's waters; and one count of causing or permitting the discharge of oil into the state's waters or land between April 1, 2004 and February 23, 2005. Each violation is punishable by a fine up to $25,000 or by imprisonment up to five years.

In November and December of 2004 and February of 2005, DEM received numerous complaints from residents of strong odors associated with glycol coming from the vicinity of the N. E. Environmental Services, Inc. facility on Douglas Pike. Following the complaints, inspectors from DEM's Office of Compliance and Inspection conducted inspections of the property and detected glycol odors at the site. DEM inspectors also obtained samples of seepage behind the building and in monitoring wells on property. Analytical samples confirmed that ethylene glycol pollutants, at levels in excess of EPA standards, were entering the waters.

On May 20, 2005, DEM conducted an additional inspection of the property and took samples of seepage found at the bottom of an embankment leading to a stream behind the facility. This sample confirmed the presence of beryllium, cadmium, copper, lead and zinc in excess of EPA standards. Additional samples taken from seepage found at the bottom of the embankment and going into the groundwaters confirmed the presence of oil at levels above EPA standards.

In June 2005, DEM's Office of Criminal Investigation received consent to search the site from PJS Properties, the property owner. PJS Properties has been cooperative throughout the investigation. Samples were taken from a leech field pipe and from effluent, and oil samples were taken from the ground.

In addition to the criminal charges, DEM also issued a Notice of Violation to N.E. Environmental Services, Inc. and its principals related to the numerous violations of the state Water Pollution Act. The Department has ordered the company to remediate the site and has imposed an $82,047 penalty.

EPA Methyl Bromide Inventory Data Shows Downward Trend


Methyl bromide is a widely used soil fumigant that is also a powerful ozone-depleting substance. Under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and the Clean Air Act, the United States phased out new production and import of methyl bromide, except for allowable exemptions for users who have no technically and economically feasible alternatives. Methyl bromide needs for these critical uses are met through allowable production under the Montreal Protocol's exemption process as well as the use of existing inventory held by companies in the United States.

The data includes, in aggregate form, the inventory held by approximately 35 companies in the United States from 2003 to 2005. The methyl bromide inventory data shows a continued decrease – approximately 16,422 metric tons in 2003, 12,994 metric tons in 2004, and 9,974 metric tons in 2005 – and demonstrates that the United States is managing its domestic inventory appropriately.

The phaseout of new production and import and the orderly reduction in the existing inventory that facilitates transition to alternatives are proceeding in a manner consistent with previous successful phaseouts of ozone-depleting substances, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and halons.

Since 1994, the U.S. government has invested more than $150 million in research and innovative technologies to promote alternatives to methyl bromide. In addition, U.S. farmers have adopted innovative technologies to reduce methyl bromide use and emissions, such as reduced methyl bromide concentrations in mixtures, and the use of tarps to retain methyl bromide in the soil for longer periods of time.

While not as highly damaging to the ozone layer as other chemicals that have already been phased out (such as chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs), scientists have reaffirmed methyl bromide’s status as a powerful ozone-depleting chemical. The World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme 2006 Scientific Assessment recently affirmed that bromine continues to play a major role in stratospheric ozone depletion. The ongoing transition to methyl bromide alternatives continues to be an important priority for EPA.

EPA's release of the aggregate inventory numbers was made possible by the conclusion of two lawsuits that had been brought to prevent the release of the aggregate data.

Van’s Trading Co. Fined $7,600 for Underground Storage Tank Violations


 In April, EPA inspectors discovered that the company failed to conduct annual line tightness and leak detector tests on its petroleum underground storage tanks. The company also failed to have insurance to address accidental releases from its underground storage tanks. The facility has three underground storage tanks; two for storing gasoline and one for storing diesel. The company has since complied with federal underground storage tank regulations.

To prevent releases, federal law required all regulated underground storage tanks to have spill and overfill equipment, and corrosion protection in place by Dec. 22, 1998. Although the compliance date has long since passed, regulatory agencies still find violations.

Releases that are detected quickly can be cleaned up faster and at a far less expense than releases that go undetected for long periods of time. The EPA frequently conducts unannounced tank inspections.

EPA Proposes Strategy to Reduce Foreign Oil Dependency


 The program, authorized by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, will promote use of fuels largely produced by American crops.

A national RFS will expand the use of biodiesel and ethanol, creating new markets for farm products and greater energy security. Advanced technologies under development could make it possible to produce renewable ethanol from agricultural and industrial waste at a cost competitive with today's gas prices.

"The Renewable Fuels Standard recognizes the value of home-grown energy, and it supports our rural roots by investing in bio-fuels," said Gov. Dave Heineman of Nebraska. "It also increases ethanol and biodiesel use and is the first step toward America's energy future."

. Last December, EPA issued a rule implementing the Energy Policy Act's default standard of 2.78% for 2006, which will continue to apply through this calendar year. The RFS program is designed to cut petroleum use by approximately 3.9 billion gallons a year in 2012 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 14 million tons annually.

In addition to preliminary analyses of the economic and environmental impacts, the proposed regulation explains how industry is likely to comply with the RFS for 2007 and beyond. The rule contains compliance tools and a credit and trading system that is integral to the overall program. The system allows renewable fuels to be used where they are most economical, while providing a flexible means for industry to comply with the standard.

Various renewable fuels can be used to meet the requirements of RFS program, including ethanol and biodiesel. While the RFS program provides the certainty that a minimum amount of renewable fuel will be used in the United States, more can be used if fuel producers and blenders choose to do so. In 2006, there will be about 4.5 billion gallons of renewable fuel consumed as motor vehicle fuel in the United States. The RFS program requires that this volume increase to at least 7.5 billion gallons by 2012.

Energy Efficiency and Pollution Prevention Grants Available in Pennsylvania


Governor Edward G. Rendell has awarded 64 grants totaling $373,554 to help small businesses enhance energy efficiency and promote pollution prevention. The grants, awarded under the Small Business Advantage Grant Program, provide a 50% match of up to $7,500 for equipment or processes to reduce energy consumption and promote pollution prevention while increasing profitability. Governor Rendell launched the program in July 2004, and since then more than $2 million has been awarded to almost 450 businesses across the state.

“Environmental protection can drive economic growth,” Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty said while announcing the grant awards at the Harrisburg office of dentists Peter Friedman and Steven Grater. “Pennsylvania small businesses are leading the way to help showcase the benefits of greater energy efficiency and better resource stewardship.”

Friedman and Grater are using a $7,500 grant to invest in digital radiography and related equipment, which will replace their practice’s conventional X-ray equipment and processes. The equipment will reduce emissions of radiation by up to 80% and eliminate the costs to purchase and dispose of potentially hazardous chemicals to develop film.

Digital radiography equipment reduces consumption of electricity by more than 90% as compared to conventional equipment and sharply reduces water consumption. The doctors estimate annual utility savings of $1,400 for electricity, $160 for water and $189 for sewage.

Friedman and Grater expect to reduce costs associated with processing film and free up office space dedicated to a dark room. The added clarity of digital images also improves clinical decision-making and patient education.

The Small Business Advantage grant program is open to small business owners whose business or facility is located in Pennsylvania. An eligible applicant must be a for-profit business enterprise that is a corporation, limited liability company, partnership, sole proprietorship or other legal entity that has no more than 100 employees and is a separate legal business entity at the time the application is submitted. Applicants may be manufacturers or service providers.

Funding is still available for the program. Grant applications will be accepted through Dec. 15 or until funds are exhausted. The grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.


Tape Manufacturer to Pay $100,000 for Air Permit Violations


RJM Manufacturing, a Bucks County, Penn., tape manufacturer will pay nearly $100,000 in civil penalties for air quality permit violations at its Fairless Hills, Falls Township, facility.

“RJM Manufacturing had violations associated with faulty air pollution control equipment,” Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Southeast Regional Director Joseph A. Feola said. “The company not only failed to correct the problem, it failed to report the matter to our agency.”

The problem was discovered by DEP during a January 2005 site visit. Agency inspectors discovered third-party test results from January 2004 showing problems with a catalytic oxidizer used to control emissions from the facility. Those tests showed the catalyst was not effectively controlling emissions from this unit.

Conditions of RJM's facility-wide permit require immediate notification of such matters to DEP, and the problem must be noted on a compliance certificate submitted to the department on an annual basis. None of these actions were taken. The company continued to operate the faulty equipment until replacing the catalyst in February 2005.

Under terms of the agreement, the company will pay the $99,921 penalty in three installments over a six-month period. The penalty money will go to the commonwealth’s Clean Air Fund, which is used to pay for air quality improvements statewide.

In 1998, the company paid $206,000 in penalties for installing and operating a surface coating line without obtaining the needed permits, and for excess emissions created by this equipment.

Operating Without an Air Permit Results in $272,140 Fine


EPA Region 5 has issued an administrative complaint against CertainTeed Corp. for alleged Clean Air Act violations at the company's roofing materials manufacturing plant in Shakopee, MN. EPA proposed a $272,140 penalty.

EPA alleges that CertainTeed failed to include two units of its manufacturing processes in its state operating permit application and operated those units without a permit. EPA also alleges that another portion of its processes was operated without the emission control efficiency required in the company's state operating permit.

FMC Agrees to Pay $85,000 Civil Penalty to Settle EPA Air Quality Case


The owners of the FMC Idaho LLC elemental phosphorous facility, located just west of Pocatello, Idaho, have agreed to pay an $85,000 penalty to settle federal Clean Air Act violations. The company ceased production of phosphorous from raw ore in 2001, but continued to process smaller amounts of phosphorous material as the plant was being decommissioned. Since the alleged infractions, the company has continued to decommission and dismantle the facility.

According to Jim Werntz, EPA’s Idaho office director in Boise, plant operators needed to be especially diligent in terms of protecting air quality while they decommissioned and decontaminated phosphorus-laden debris.

“It’s a matter of being a responsible corporate neighbor,” said EPA’s Werntz. “Plant operators were required to regularly test the emissions from an air pollution control “scrubber” to control particulate matter. And it just didn’t happen.”

Documents associated with this legal action reveal four specific violations cited by EPA:
FMC did not perform the tests in the time required.

  • FMC did not notify EPA of the planned tests (as required).
  • FMC failed a test due to excessive emissions.
  • FMC failed to promptly notify EPA of the test failure.


At the height of its operations in Pocatello, the FMC plant produced approximately 250 million pounds of elemental phosphorus per year from two million tons of shale, silica, and coke. The elemental phosphorus was sold and used in a variety of products from cleaning compounds to foods. Ore was shipped to the plant in railcars and stockpiled at the plant. The primary by-products from the production process were slag (stored on-site), ferrous-phosphate residuals, carbon monoxide and several aqueous waste streams.

J.D. Power Reports on Environmentally Friendly Autos


Fifteen out of 37 automotive brands are represented in the top 30 list of environmentally friendly vehicles, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Alternative Powertrain StudySM

All new for 2006, the Alternative Powertrain Study (APS) includes the Automotive Environmental Index (AEI), which combines EPA publicly available information with voice-of-the-customer data related to fuel economy, air pollution and greenhouse gases for 2006 model-year vehicles. Voice-of-the-customer data is also used to help determine the relative importance of these environmental factors. The fuel economy factor represents approximately 50% of the index, while air pollution and greenhouse gases contribute to the remainder.

Among the top 30 AEI vehicles, eight are hybrids:

Ford Escape Hybrid

Lexus RX 400h

Honda Accord Hybrid

Mercury Mariner Hybrid

Honda Civic Hybrid

Toyota Highlander Hybrid

Honda Insight

Toyota Prius


Traditional gasoline-powered models in the top 30 are:

Acura RSX

Hyundai Elantra

Suzuki Reno

Chevrolet Aveo

Kia Rio

Toyota Camry

Chevrolet Cobalt

Kia Spectra

Toyota Corolla

Ford Focus


Volkswagen Golf

Ford Focus Station Wagon

Mazda MX-5

Volkswagen Jetta

Honda Accord

Nissan Sentra

Volkswagen New Beetle

Honda Civic

Saturn Ion


Hyundai Accent

Scion xA



Hybrid SUVs are the only truck models among the top 30. Only two luxury models—the Lexus RX400h and Acura RSX—are included among the top environmentally friendly vehicles.

Volkswagen ranks highest among nameplates in the Automotive Environmental Index, with three models in the top 30. While there are no diesels within the top 30, several diesel models from Volkswagen also perform well, which is reflected in VW’s strong overall nameplate performance. VW is followed in the nameplate rankings by Honda and Mazda, respectively.

High gas prices, coupled with consumers becoming more familiar with alternative powertrain technology, are definitely increasing consumer interest in hybrids and flexible fuels,” said Mike Marshall, director of automotive emerging technologies at J.D. Power and Associates. “However, the additional price premiums associated with hybrid vehicles, which can run from $3,000 to $10,000 more than a comparable non-hybrid vehicle, remain the biggest concern among consumers considering a hybrid. The AEI highlights several non-hybrid models available that help consumers reduce fuel use and emissions.”

The study, which examines consumer perceptions regarding hybrids, diesel and flexible fuel vehicles, finds that less than one-fourth of consumers say they will only consider a gasoline-powered model for their next new vehicle. Among consumers who expect to acquire a new vehicle within the next two years, 57% indicate that they are considering a hybrid vehicle, while 49% are considering a flexible fuel (E85 ethanol-based fuel blend) vehicle and 12% a diesel.

“One of the biggest challenges for alternative powertrains is that consumers often have unrealistic expectations for the fuel-saving abilities of these vehicles,” Marshall said. “And particularly with hybrids, actual fuel performance often doesn’t live up to the vehicle’s EPA estimate. There is a real need to educate consumers about the technology and its benefits. Managing consumer expectations and lowering the cost premium will be instrumental in accelerating acceptance.”

Despite often providing lower-than-expected gas mileage performance, hybrid and diesel U.S. market share continue to grow. J.D. Power and Associates forecasts that hybrid vehicles, which represented 1.2 percent of the U.S. new light-vehicle market in 2005, are expected to increase to 1.6% in 2006 and 5% by 2013. Diesel vehicles, which represented 3.2% of the U.S. new light-vehicle market in 2005, are expected to increase to 3.6% in 2006 and 9% by 2013.


Tools for Small Drinking Water Systems


EPA has updated its tools designed to help owners and operators of small systems manage their systems and meet regulatory requirements.

$6,500 Penalty for Importing a Misbranded Pesticide


Gowan Company, of Yuma, Ariz. recently agreed to pay the EPA $6,500 for allegedly importing misbranded bottles of Ultiflora, a pesticide used to control and kill mites, into the Port of Los Angeles, in violation of federal pesticide law.

The bottles of Ultiflora lacked required labeling, such as directions for use and other safety information. The EPA learned of this violation through the "Notice of Arrival of Pesticides and Devices" form submitted for this shipment; according to federal regulations, a “Notice of Arrival” form must be submitted for all pesticides imported into this country.

"Companies must ensure that proper labeling is attached to the products they import and sell," said Enrique Manzanilla, the EPA's Communities and Ecosystems Division director for the Pacific Southwest Region. "Without proper labeling, the consumer will not know if the product has been registered with the EPA, and have no information on the effects of the products, which could result in harm to the consumer and the environment."

In addition to the fine, the Gowan Company must ensure that the product is properly re-labeled before selling or distributing it.

Companies that produce pesticides must register them with the EPA, as required by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. Registered pesticides will be labeled with an EPA registration number, directions for use, and other information to provide consumers with the information they need to use the products safely.