The guide includes most of the generator requirements, plus links to agency guidance to help determine the agency’s position on some confusing issues.
State Permitting Manuals and Forms Available Online
Those responsible for ensuring that their operations comply with Missouri environmental requirements now have a new tool to aid them in their efforts: the how-to manuals used by regulators in writing permits and performing environmental inspections and investigations.
“Making these manuals available to the public will promote a better understanding of department procedures. Anything we can do to take the mystery out of our processes saves businesses time and money and saves our own staff resources.”
The Water Pollution Control Permits Manual is a tool for department staff writing permits under the Missouri Clean Water Law. It is intended to help all department offices involved in water pollution control permitting follow the same basic processes and guidelines when drafting permits, helping to ensure consistency.
This guide will serve as a good starting point for basic information and a tool to find other resources. Links and contact information for other agencies can be found throughout the guide. This manual is still in progress and will be continually updated.
This manual, which will be updated regularly, provides information on the department’s initial assistance visits, inspections, complaint investigations and other division procedures. Regulated businesses and facilities may find the department’s procedures and checklists helpful for developing their own internal inspections and procedures.
“The public, regulated facilities and the department all benefit by having our procedures transparent and well-understood by those we inspect, permit and investigate,” Childers added.
This change enables businesses to complete these forms electronically and save them so they can easily be updated for future submissions.
The department’s Air Pollution Control Program and its Division of Geology and Land Survey are the first offices to make forms available in these formats. Forms are protected so their integrity isn’t compromised, while still allowing customers to type in the fields and save the file for finishing on a later date. When the forms are completed, they can be printed and mailed to the Department of Natural Resources, or they can be sent via e-mail.
Utility Sector Leaders Make Firm Commitment to Energy Efficiency
By adopting the plan's recommendations on low-cost, under-used energy efficiency, Americans could save hundreds of billions of dollars on their gas and electric utility bills, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and lower the costs for energy and pollution controls.
"Taking action to support the National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency is a great step towards maximizing energy efficiency, while also answering the president's call to be mindful of energy consumption," said Kevin Kolevar, Department of Energy director of the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability.
The action plan was developed with assistance from the Department of Energy and EPA. It provides five recommendations for helping states and utilities overcome policy, regulatory, and other barriers that limit investment in energy efficiency even when investment in more efficient homes, buildings and industries would cost less than new supply and would lead to overall lower energy bills.
The recommendations include: recognize energy efficiency as a high-priority energy resource; make a strong, long-term commitment to implement cost-effective energy efficiency as a resource; broadly communicate the benefits of and opportunities for energy efficiency; promote sufficient, timely, and stable program funding to deliver energy efficiency where cost-effective; modify policies to align utility incentives with the delivery of cost-effective energy efficiency; and modify ratemaking practices to promote energy efficiency investments. The plan builds upon best practices from successful efficiency programs already operating in many areas to remove barriers that have limited utilities, states and customers from pursuing cost-effective energy efficiency resources.
The action plan was developed by a group of more than 50 organizations, which was co-chaired by Jim Rogers, CEO of Duke Energy and president of the Edison Electric Institute, and Commissioner Diane Munns, member of the Iowa Public Utility Board and president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. The group includes 23 electric and gas utilities, 16 state agencies, and 12 other organizations, with 15 organizations observing the work of the group.
As part of this announcement, 72 stakeholders across 33 states announced commitments to take action within their own organizations to increase investment in energy efficiency.
EPA and International Dioxcide, Inc. Reach Settlement for Federal Pesticide Rules Violations
The Seattle office of the EPA announced last week that International Dioxcide, Inc. (IDI), a DuPont Company, will pay $21,840 for violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) by selling and distributing pesticides with outdated and inaccurate labels.
On May 9 and December 7, 2005, the Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) inspected BHS Acquisitions of Nampa, Idaho. During the inspections, ISDA collected sample labels of ASC SOLUTION, a 25% aqueous sodium chlorite disinfectant for municipal and other potable water systems and food processing systems. IDI registered this product with EPA as ADOX 8125 and allowed, under a written agreement, BHS Acquisitions to supplementally distribute it as ASC SOLUTION. An EPA review of the ISDA inspection report showed that on six occasions, BHS Acquisitions sold ASC SOLUTION with an outdated label lacking key precautionary, first aid and physical and chemical hazard statements.
“A pesticide registration is a contract between EPA and pesticide-producing companies with terms established to protect human health and the environment,” said Chris Gebhardt, a FIFRA Enforcement Officer in EPA’s Regional Office in Seattle. “It’s important that registrants and their agents update pesticide labels in a timely way to ensure that users have access to better information.”
IDI and BHS Acquisitions updated the label of ASC SOLUTION quickly after they were told that the label was outdated.
Six South Phoenix Companies Reduce Air Pollution by 18,452 Pounds
As part of the Industry Challenge/Good Neighbor Partnership, six of the 21 charter members – Earl’s Fiberglass, ON Semiconductor, Sanmina-SCI, Schuff Steel Company, Super Radiator Coils and UCSC, Inc. – reduced their air emissions in 2005.
The partnership, which launched in March 2005 and runs through spring 2008, aims to reduce routine air emissions of priority pollutants by 20% between 2002 and 2007 (adjusted to production), and reduce the number and severity of accidental releases.
“Over the past year, our partners kept more than 18,000 pounds of air pollution from being emitted into the air we breathe,” said Maricopa County Air Quality Department director Bob Kard. “This incredible partnership achieved this goal without any new regulations.”
Additional charter members Chem Research, National Gypsum, Phoenix Brickyard, Rinker Materials and Western States Petroleum have also set air emission reduction goals and are currently working to meet them.
“These eleven companies have established an average 31% reduction goal for air emissions of 21 chemicals,” said Trace Terrin, management analyst at the Maricopa County Air Quality Department and chairperson of the partnership’s emission reduction workgroup. “These reductions involve high priority, high toxicity chemicals like formaldehyde, sulfuric acid, perchloroethylene and xylene.”
“This year’s results are great news,” said Steve Thorne, environmental health and safety engineer at Sanmina-SCI and the partnership’s co-chairperson. “Given that many of these companies are growing, it’s beneficial that they will emit less pollution per unit of production than they would have if we had not created the partnership. We’re hoping many more companies are inspired by this and decide to get on board.”
“The South Phoenix area has the highest childhood asthma rates in Arizona, and these companies met the challenge and made a significant reduction in air pollution,” said Jeff Scott, the EPA’s Waste Management Division director for the Pacific Southwest region. “By working together, we have an opportunity to prove that South Phoenix can have both a thriving industrial base and clean air for its citizens to breathe.”
Emission reductions are tracked and reported annually. The Industry Challenge/Good Neighbor Partnership companies will continue to reduce emissions in 2006 and 2007 and report results to the public. Other partnership member companies are improving site safety procedures and equipment to prevent accidental chemical fires and releases.
U.S. Pesticide Safety Highest in the World
According to the EPA, Americans today can be confident that pesticides used in the United States meet the highest health and safety standards in the world.
By strengthening standards for pesticides used in the United States, those who apply pesticides will be better protected. In addition, by ensuring that instructions for pesticide use are followed wildlife and water resources will be better preserved. Changes in pesticide uses include outright elimination of unsafe uses, stricter labeling provisions and safer food tolerances.
Under the Food Quality Protection Act, an EPA review will cover 1,100 of 1,105 pesticides used in the United States. An example of an accomplishment is highlighted in the proposed cancellation of the six remaining seed treatment uses of the pesticide lindane. Because EPA made the determination that the remaining uses of lindane are not eligible for re-registration, the manufacturers chose to seek voluntary cancellation.
A review of the chemical aldicarb will be completed this fall. When the review is complete, EPA will be able to conclude the cumulative assessments for carbamates (aldicarb, formetanate, carbofuran, oxamyl and carbaryl) and complete the reassessment of the remaining tolerances.
To ensure that pesticides are continuously reviewed against the latest health and safety standards, EPA's final rule will include a registration review program for reviewing pesticides on a continuous 15-year cycle. This program will ensure that all pesticide registrations are systematically reviewed every 15 years.
New Clean Air Technology Tested at Sacramento Area Rail Yard
Technology to capture and treat emissions from diesel train locomotives was unveiled in Roseville, Calif., as part of a project to demonstrate the system’s effectiveness in improving air quality near working rail yards.
The new system, known as the Advanced Locomotive Emission Control System, or ALECS, will for the first time apply technology used to capture emissions from industrial plants to near-stationary locomotives.
“We and our West Coast Collaborative partners believe this project holds great promise for achieving significant emission reductions from locomotive engines,” said Wayne Nastri, EPA’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest Region. “Importantly, this technology may also be applicable to ships, thereby providing emission reductions at ports as well.”
ALECS is expected to reduce sulfur dioxide by 99%, particulate matter by 99%, nitrogen oxide by 95% and water-soluble volatile organic compounds by 50% from captured and treated locomotive emissions. All of these pollutants are significant contributors to poor air quality anywhere diesel engines operate.
If proven effective through the demonstration project, the system could be used more extensively at the Roseville facility or similar railroad operations throughout the country.
The demonstration project will take place at Union Pacific’s 950-acre J.R. Davis Rail Yard in Roseville, which services more than 30,000 locomotives annually, making it the largest service and maintenance rail yard in the West.
A partnership of local, state and federal agencies, along with private business, is funding and managing the $1.75 million demonstration project. The partners include the Placer County Air Pollution Control District, Advanced Cleanup Technologies, Inc., – developer of the ALECS – Union Pacific Railroad, U.S. EPA, Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, South Coast Air Quality Management District, the City of Roseville and the California Air Resources Board.
“We are thrilled to demonstrate the effectiveness of this system in contributing to cleaner air,” said Tom Christofk, Placer County air pollution control officer. “This innovative project is the result of significant collaboration between the public and private sectors. It will help us take a significant step towards capturing and treating the diesel locomotive emissions that contribute to air-quality problems in Placer and Sacramento counties.”
Following the Roseville demonstration project, the system will be reconfigured as an advanced maritime emissions control system at the Port of Long Beach to demonstrate its effectiveness in capturing and treating emissions from ships loading and unloading cargo in port.
ALECS includes a stationary emissions treatment unit that is connected to diesel locomotives with flexible ducts and a hood designed to fit over and attach to the exhaust stacks. Emissions are then captured and treated rather than being released into the air. The system will be used on locomotives that are idling or undergoing engine load tests, and will allow for some train movement so that there is minimal disruption to maintenance and testing operations.
The ALECS technology can be used to treat various types of internal combustible engines burning a variety of diesel fuels. The Roseville demonstration will include two different locomotive types, and results will be captured in a final report expected in November 2006.
“The system that we developed and are demonstrating at Roseville is truly unique in its ability to effectively capture and treat diesel locomotive emissions,” said Ruben Garcia, ACTI chief executive officer. “We’re confident about the system’s ability to perform and we are proud to be making significant strides in improving air quality throughout the state.”
City Agrees to Invest $86 Million to Improve Sewage Treatment System and Pay $120,000 Civil Fine
Michael Sullivan, United States Attorney; Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for the EPA’s New England Office; Thomas F. Reilly, Massachusetts Attorney General; and Robert W. Golledge, Jr., commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, announced an agreement with the City of Brockton, Mass., that settles alleged violations of federal and state clean water laws and permits.
A civil complaint and consent decree were simultaneously filed in U.S. District Court in Boston. The Commonwealth also moved to intervene and filed its own complaint. Under the consent decree, Brockton will pay a $120,000 fine and invest in a $86 million sewage treatment upgrade to resolve allegations that the city’s publicly owned treatment works (POTW) had discharges that violated limits for phosphorous, total residual chlorine, fecal coliform, and ammonia, among other pollutants. Brockton also will undertake three supplemental environmental projects.
“This resolution is a victory for public health,” said U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan. “The City has already made progress on the treatment plant improvements, and its willingness to undertake three important supplemental environmental projects demonstrates its commitment to clean water. All cities and towns must meet the requirements of the Clean Water Act or be forced to undertake remedial measures through an enforcement action.”
“Thanks to close coordination and strong efforts by state and federal agencies, Brockton is already beginning to make improvements to its treatment plant that will better protect public health and the aquatic ecosystem of the Salisbury Plain River,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA’s New England office. “The work at the plant and the supplemental projects will make real improvements that we can all be proud of.”
The civil complaint alleges that Brockton failed to comply with the Clean Water Act in operation of its POTW, and violated its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit by exceeding concentration limits for certain effluents.
Under the settlement, Brockton will pay a total penalty of $120,000 ($60,000 to the federal government and $60,000 to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts). It will be required to complete three phases of the POTW upgrade project. Phase I has begun and operation will commence in December 2006. The contract for Phase II was awarded in February, and that work will be completed by March 2008. The city is required under the consent decree to award the contract and issue a notice to commence work for Phase III of the upgrade project by this coming fall.
“With this agreement, the citizens of Brockton will enjoy cleaner water and improvements to their natural resources, like the Salisbury Plain River,” Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly said. “Brockton is taking some very positive steps today and my office will continue to work with law enforcement to protect and preserve our environment.”
MassDEP Commissioner Robert Golledge praised the work of the technical personnel who addressed complicated issues in the design of the upgrade project. “MassDEP personnel have been in regular contact with city engineers and contractors, making sure the upgrade project went forward, even as details of today’s consent decree were being worked out.”
The city has also agreed to undertake three supplemental environmental projects that include a post-upgrade water quality assessment of the Salisbury Plain River; contracting for a study to investigate region-wide alternatives for wastewater treatment, and a pilot program to test for lead in drinking water at the city’s public schools.
By agreeing to assess the water quality of the river after it completes construction of the upgrade to its treatment plant, the City will be developing valuable data on the health of the river that will enable regulators to better manage this valuable resource.
An investigation of wastewater treatment alternatives for southeastern Massachusetts will address concerns raised by other communities in the area looking for ways to dispose of their wastewater in a manner consistent with the state and federal environmental laws. Developing options such as ground discharges and decentralized treatment units will allow for growth in these communities without harming the environment.
The case was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara Healy Smith in Sullivan’s Civil Division; Tonia Bandrowicz, EPA Enforcement Counsel; Assistant Attorney General Andrew Goldberg in Massachusetts Attorney General Reilly’s Environmental Protection Division, and Senior Regional Counsel Anne Bingham of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.
Barry Controls to Pay $80,000 for Clean Air Act Violations at Former Brighton, Mass. Plant
Barry Wright Corp. will pay $80,000 to settle EPA claims that it violated the Clean Air Act at its former manufacturing plant in Brighton, Massachusetts. EPA alleged that the company’s Barry Controls division failed to properly notify regulators that the company had installed a degreaser and had modified a boiler to increase its capacity.
Under the Clean Air Act’s hazardous air pollutant regulations, Barry Controls was required to notify EPA when it installed a degreaser that used the toxic solvent trichloroethylene. In addition, Barry Controls was required to estimate the degreaser’s potential to emit hazardous air pollutants, to keep detailed records of solvent usage and emissions, and to file regular compliance reports.
Similarly, after the company increased its heating boiler’s capacity, federal air regulations required Barry Controls to inform EPA of the changes and to keep records of the amount of fuel used. According to EPA, Barry Controls did not fulfill any of these obligations for several years.
In 2004, the Massachusetts Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) charged Barry Controls with a series of emissions violations deriving from other equipment at the Brighton facility. EPA was not involved in that investigation, which the company settled with DEP. During the course of negotiations over DEP’s allegations, and while Barry Controls was contemplating closing its Brighton facility, the company elected to hire a consultant to conduct a comprehensive air compliance audit. That audit revealed the recordkeeping and reporting violations associated with the degreaser and the boiler.
In Jan. 2005, Barry Controls disclosed these violations to both DEP and EPA and began coming into compliance. While the company’s disclosure did not qualify for EPA’s special incentive policy for companies that self-report violations before any government investigation has begun, EPA did agree to a substantially reduced penalty in light of the company’s voluntary audit and good-faith disclosure. EPA did not allege that the degreaser or boiler violated emissions standards.
The company has since closed its Brighton plant but maintains facilities in Hopkinton, Mass., and in other states.
Revised CAFO Proposed Rule Comment Period Extension and Webcast
EPA has extended the public comment period for the proposed concentrated animal feeding operations emissions rule to August 29, 2006. The proposal would revise several aspects of EPA's current regulations governing discharges from CAFOs.
In addition, an overview of the proposed rule will be provided via webcast on Tuesday, August 8, 12 pm to 2 pm (EDT).
EPA Settles Two Cases, Cites Illinois Aldi Warehouse
Two cases involving late notification of hazardous chemical releases were recently settled by EPA Region 5. The facilities are located in Riverdale, Ill., and Zeeland, Mich. A new case involving an Aldi warehouse in Dwight, Ill., was also filed.
"Federal law requires notification to local authorities of hazardous chemical releases," said Richard Karl, Regional EPA Superfund Division director. "Emergency responders need to know so they can take steps to protect people living or working in the area."
Westway Terminals Co., 13550 S. Indiana Ave., Riverdale, Ill., paid $15,000 to resolve EPA's October 2005 complaint for failure to immediately notify the National Response Center (NRC), the Illinois emergency response commission and the Cook County or Chicago local emergency planning committees of a 50,667-pound release of sulfuric acid on Dec. 24, 2002. Riverdale borders the city of Chicago.
Sulfuric acid releases of more than 1,000 pounds must be immediately reported to the NRC and state and local emergency response agencies. The release at Westway occurred when a storage tank leaked sulfuric acid into a secondary containment area and some of the sulfuric acid spilled onto the ground. In settling the matter, Westway not only agreed to pay the $15,000 fine, but also to spend $5,000 on an environmental project in which the company donated specialized fire-suppression materials and response equipment to the Chicago and Riverdale fire departments. Sulfuric acid causes burns to the skin and irritation to the eyes nose and throat.
Zeeland Chemicals, 215 N. Centennial St., Zeeland, Mich., paid $10,000 to resolve EPA's October 2005 complaint for failure to immediately notify the National Response Center, the Michigan emergency response commission and the local emergency planning committee of a 5,490-pound release of toluene on Jan. 2, 2005.
Toluene releases of more than 1,000 pounds must be immediately reported to the NRC and state and local emergency response agencies. A required follow-up report was also filed late. The release occurred when a process tank over-pressurized and a rupture disk blew, allowing the toluene to be released into the atmosphere. In addition to the fine, Zeeland Chemicals completed an environmental project valued at $70,625, in which the company installed an upgraded scrubber system that should reduce its air pollution and volatile organic compound releases. Toluene causes irritation to the eyes, nose and throat and might cause liver and kidney damage.
In the new case, EPA proposed a $93,433 civil penalty against Aldi Inc., 1 Aldi Drive, Dwight, Ill. The company was cited for failure to immediately notify the NRC, the state emergency response commission and the local emergency response planning committee of a 600-pound anhydrous ammonia release on Aug. 22, 2005. EPA alleges the company did not contact the response agencies for more than eight hours after it knew of the release. The required follow-up report was also filed late. Additionally, the company was late in submitting the Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory forms to the proper authorities for 2003 and 2004.
Anhydrous ammonia releases greater than 100 pounds must be immediately reported. Anhydrous ammonia, which is commonly used in commercial refrigeration systems, causes burns to the skin and irritation to the eyes, nose and throat. It may be fatal if inhaled for long periods of time.
Des Moines Landlords Cited for Serious Violations of Federal Lead Rules
EPA has filed a complaint against Des Moines, Wash., landlords Stanley Xu, Breakwater Apartments, L.L.C., and Longwell Company, alleging they failed to notify their tenants that lead-based paint could pose serious health threats to children or pregnant women. Longwell Company manages the Breakwater Apartments located at 23502 16th Pl S in Des Moines. Each violation carries a maximum penalty of $11,000.
EPA’s complaint alleges the named parties committed 96 violations of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 and Disclosure Rule for violations including:
- Failure to provide tenants with a lead warning statement disclosing the health hazards associated with lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards
- Failure to notify the tenants of either the presence of known lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards or a lack of knowledge of such presence
- Failure to provide any records or reports to the tenants regarding lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards or a statement that no such records exist
- Failure to provide signatures of the landlord and tenants certifying to the accuracy of their statements along with the dates of signature
Failure to provide their tenants with the EPA-approved lead information pamphlet entitled Protect your Family from Lead in Your Home and a statement affirming receipt of the EPA-approved lead information pamphlet
EPA previously filed a complaint against Stanley Xu and Longwell Company for violations of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 and Disclosure Rule for Sunset Vista Apartments located at 10406 SE 174th in Renton, Wash.
“Lead poisoning in children from deteriorating paint is especially tragic because it can be avoided,” said Rick Albright, director, Air, Waste & Toxics, EPA Region 10 Seattle. “Landlords, owners and property management companies must take seriously their obligations to inform parents how to protect their children from the hazards associated with the lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards.”
The Breakwater Apartments are considered by the EPA and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to be "target housing," which includes most dwellings built prior to the 1978 Consumer Products Safety Commission ban on the manufacture and sale of lead-based paint. The federal lead-based paint and/or lead-based hazards disclosure rule requires sellers, owners and lessors, including property management firms, of pre-1978 rental housing to provide disclosures and other information to tenants prior to entering into a lease to enable the tenants to make informed decisions about protecting their children and themselves from lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards.
Lead is a highly toxic metal that was used for many years in products for homes. Lead can cause a range of health effects, from behavioral problems and learning disabilities, to seizures and death. Children six years old and under are most at risk because their bodies are growing quickly.
EPA and the Port of Tacoma Reach Settlement over PCB Violations
The Seattle office of the EPA announced last week that the Port of Tacoma will pay $7,676 for PCB violations. EPA cited the port for storing leaking electrical equipment contaminated with polychlorinated bi-phenyls (PCBs) in violation of the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
The violations were revealed by the Port of Tacoma following a 2004 EPA inspection of port property formerly owned by Kaiser Aluminum. The port acquired the property along with the electrical equipment in 2003. After the EPA inspector pointed out potential violations, the port began an exhaustive investigation and disposal effort. The port also submitted a PCB remediation plan and is continuing to work closely with the EPA.
According to Daniel Duncan, EPA’s Region 10 PCB program coordinator, "The Port of Tacoma went ‘the extra mile' to insure that any PCB contamination was recognized and cleaned up right away."
“Puget Sound marine mammals suffer from some of the highest PCB contamination rates in the world,” said Mike Bussell, regional enforcement director for the EPA. “Anyone with old transformers and other electrical equipment must ensure they are not leaking PCBs. To ignore that responsibility endangers the waters of Puget Sound. The Port of Tacoma violated the law, but they did the right thing in cleaning it up. I hope everyone else learns from their example.”
Water Efficiency Factoid
You’ve probably heard that a leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons of water per day. But did you know that wide-spread adoption of weather-based irrigation controllers could improve the health of our nation’s lawns and potentially save more than 11 billion gallons of water each year? This savings is equivalent to the amount of water from more than 3,200 garden hoses flowing continuously for one year.
Water-efficient technologies, such as smart irrigation controllers or soil moisture sensors water your plants only when they need it. This new voluntary partnership program helps identify water-efficient landscape irrigation technologies and irrigation professionals with demonstrated water efficiency knowledge. The website also includes water efficiency tips for business.
Developer to Pay over $3 Million for Golf Course Construction without a Water Permit
The U.S. Department of Justice and the EPA announced that they have reached a Clean Water Act settlement with Currahee Club, LLC, Lake Hartwell, Ga., (Currahee) for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act. Under the terms of the settlement, Currahee is required to pay a penalty of $600,000 and to restore off-site stream and wetlands properties in the upper Savannah River watershed to repair damage caused to the environment. The estimated cost is greater than $3 million. This requirement takes effect after a 30-day public comment period.
The federal government alleged that the company violated Section 404 of the Clean Water Act during the construction of a golf course and related facilities without a permit or authorization at the Currahee Club subdivision. The Currahee project is located in northeastern Georgia on the shores of Lake Hartwell, seven miles east of Toccoa. Construction and fill activities began September 7, 2000, prior to the current management of the project.
"Today's action emphasizes using the best available science, promoting innovation, and focusing on results which will help our nation meet EPA's ambitious wetlands goals under the Clean Water Act," said Granta Y. Nakayama, EPA's Assistant Administrator of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "We will partner with federal, state, local, and private entities to meet our goals of increasing the quantity and quality of wetlands nationwide."
“This enforcement action reflects the Agency’s commitment to ensuring compliance with the requirements of the Clean Water Act, thereby protecting human health and the environment,” said Jimmy Palmer, EPA Regional Administrator in Atlanta, Georgia. “It also demonstrates our steadfast commitment to preserve and protect the delicate balance of our ecosystems.”
The alleged violations are of major environmental significance, due to the quality and magnitude of streams affected and the project’s location adjacent to Lake Hartwell. Prior to the initiation of construction, the Currahee functioned as an important stream and wetland before flowing into Lake Hartwell, a nationally significant intrastate water. Lake Hartwell is used for fishing, boating, navigation and recreation, and is a source of drinking water. The affected streams were valuable spawning habitat and nursery areas. The proposed mitigation will take place in the same watershed and will offset impacts to the aquatic ecosystem.
Louisiana DEQ Offers Public Records Access on its Website
The public can now access Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) public records from anywhere they have Internet access. DEQ has developed a new Internet-based search tool, the Electronic Document Management System or EDMS, which allows access from outside of DEQ.
DEQ has launched a six-month EDMS pilot program. During this time, the public can search, display and print documents dated from July 1, 2005, to the present, with the exception of radiation-related documents.
Users who require access to all public records regardless of date or content may visit one of the public records centers at DEQ headquarters or DEQ’s Regional Offices. Printing from these locations requires a nominal fee.
Public users can search for documents by description, download documents, and e-mail links to documents. While searching, users have access to help guides and frequently asked questions. The public can also e-mail questions or comments to EDMS support staff.
“We’re excited to offer this pilot program to the public and look forward to receiving their feedback,” said Wendy McLain, DEQ records manager.
The records management staff is available to answer questions and assist with records searches Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
“Help from our staff is available, whether users access records at DEQ or at home,” said McLain.
MDE Proposes Emergency Power Plant Emission Regulations
The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) has taken the first step in implementing the Healthy Air Act, which was signed into law by Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., on April 6. The Healthy Air Act is the toughest power plant emission law on the East Coast. The Act closely mirrors the emission reductions proposed in 2005 under the Governor’s Clean Power Regulations. Once enacted, the final version of the regulations will constitute the most sweeping air pollution emission reduction measure in Maryland history.
On July 31, MDE submitted emergency regulations regarding power plant emissions to the General Assembly’s Joint Committee of Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review (AELR). The emergency regulations are the first step in implementing the Healthy Air Act.
The most important provisions of the regulations are the emissions caps placed on Maryland’s seven largest coal-fired power plants owned by Allegheny Energy Group, Constellation Energy Group, and Mirant Corporation. These caps will reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) by 75%, sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions by 85% and mercury emissions by 90%.
NOx is the most important pollutant contributing to Maryland’s ground-level ozone, or smog, problem and also contributes significantly to nitrogen pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. SO2 is the most important contributor to Maryland’s fine particulate air pollution problem and also has a significant role in creating regional haze that degrades visibility.
“These regulations are the key to bringing Maryland into compliance with new federal ozone and fine particulate air quality standards by 2010 and will also help clean up the Bay,” said MDE Secretary Kendl P. Philbrick. “We look forward making Maryland a national leader in air quality.”
The emergency regulations are intended to get the requirements of the Healthy Air Act in place quickly, but will have to be replaced by permanent regulations within six months. MDE will host several listening sessions in the late summer and fall with affected stakeholders, such as environmental groups and the utilities, to discuss the permanent regulations and other provisions of the Healthy Air Act that are due in June 2007.
Motiva Fined $30,000 for Failing to Cleanup Gas Station
Motiva Enterprises, Inc., the owner/operator of a Shell Service Station at 846 Concord Street in Framingham, Mass., has agreed to complete the cleanup of petroleum contamination at this property and to pay a $30,000 penalty due to its repeated failure to conduct the cleanup in a timely manner. Oil and hazardous material in the soil and groundwater was first reported at the site in November 1985.
Motiva was penalized $19,900 by MassDEP in January 2005 for failing to conduct the cleanup in a timely manner at this same property. At that time, Motiva agreed to finish the cleanup by the end of 2005. However, on December 14, 2005, Motiva notified MassDEP that additional contamination was discovered in a monitoring well.
MassDEP determined that Motiva had not defined the extent of contamination correctly, and this failure led to Motiva’s violating its agreement to complete the cleanup on time.
"MassDEP is going to make sure that the parties required by law to cleanup environmental contamination complete the cleanup on time," said Richard Chalpin director of MassDEP's Northeast Regional Office in Wilmington. "Contamination that is not promptly addressed can spread, and we know that the least expensive response in the long run – both in terms of environmental damage and financial costs – is to initiate and conduct timely response actions."
Motiva has now agreed to complete its cleanup no later than June 29, 2007. If additional contamination is found, it must notify MassDEP within 48 hours to avoid additional penalties.
Rehabilitative Resources, Inc. Assessed $28,489 Penalty for Asbestos Violations
MassDEP has assessed a $28,489 penalty to Rehabilitative Resources, Inc. of Sturbridge for violating asbestos regulations during a demolition and renovation project conducted at 1 Picker Road in Sturbridge. Rehabilitative Resources refurbishes structures to operate as assisted living residences.
MassDEP inspectors identified the violations during an inspection in January 2005. During the inspection, MassDEP personnel determined that vinyl asbestos floor tiles had been removed from the property without Rehabilitative Resources first providing notification to MassDEP and without having followed required removal, handling, packaging and disposal procedures. Dry fragments of shattered asbestos tiles were uncontained in stockpiles of demolition debris throughout the renovation areas.
Upon discovery of the violations, MassDEP required the company to hire an asbestos contractor licensed by the Massachusetts Division of Occupational Safety to properly remove, handle, package and dispose of all the asbestos waste materials and to decontaminate all affected areas of the property.
Massachusetts asbestos regulations require that notification be provided to MassDEP at least 10 working days prior to commencing removal of asbestos-containing materials, and that the materials be removed wet, and in a manner that minimizes breakage. The regulations also mandate that the asbestos waste be sealed, while wet, into leak-tight containers that have the appropriate asbestos warning labels affixed to them.
"Property owners must recognize their responsibility to ensure that asbestos removal in their building is done safely and in full compliance with the regulations," said Martin Suuberg, director of MassDEP's Central Regional Office in Worcester. "Improper removal and handling of asbestos materials is a serious matter that potentially exposes workers, tenants, and the general public to a known carcinogen. Failure to follow the required work procedures inevitably results in escalated cleanup, decontamination, and monitoring costs, as well as significant penalty exposure."
MassDEP Fines Golf Course for Failure to Complete Water Management Act Requirements
MassDEP has penalized Four B Development Corp., the owner of Cold Spring Golf Course in Belchertown, for failing to comply with the provisions of an earlier consent agreement and its Water Management Act water withdrawal permit.
In April, Four B Development agreed to the terms of a consent order issued by MassDEP for failing to comply with its Water Management Act water withdrawal permit conditions and failing to apply for a permit amendment for its irrigation pond source. The conditions of the order required Four B to apply for a Water Management Act permit amendment and perform required environmental monitoring and reporting. The order required Four B to pay a total of $6,000 in four quarterly payments of $1,500 each. MassDEP held an additional $19,000 in suspension, contingent upon Four B's compliance with the order.
In June, Four B failed to conduct the environmental monitoring and reporting required by the order and its permit. Consequently, MassDEP demanded $9,000 of the suspended penalty to be paid, and the monitoring and reporting to be completed.
Water withdrawal permits are required whenever withdrawals exceed an average of 100,000 gallons per day over three consecutive months for any purpose. Water Management Act permit conditions require permittees to monitor the impacts from their activities for, among other things, the protection of wetlands and other resource areas, endangered species, and the rights of other water users. Permit conditions also require implementation of conservation measures, integrated pest management practices, storm water controls, and metering of usage. Four B's permit allows it to withdraw 163,000 gallons per day on average over its operating season.
"Compliance with the monitoring requirements in water withdrawal permits is critical to ensure that users of large quantities of water do not adversely effect other water users, wetlands or other sensitive habitat," said Steven Ellis, acting director of MassDEP's Western Regional Office in Springfield.
Electric Motor Manufacturer Pays $20,000 Penalty for UST and RCRA Violations
Under two separate actions with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), a manufacturer of electric motors in Montevideo is working to clean up soil and ground water contamination at its facility and is correcting other hazardous waste management violations that resulted in a $20,000 penalty.
SL-Montevideo Technology Inc. has agreed to a long-term assessment and cleanup of contamination resulting from a leaking underground tank. The company also addressed separate hazardous waste violations identified by MPCA staff during an inspection in 2003.
Earlier, the company conducted an investigation of contamination at its facility during the removal of an 1,800-gallon underground storage tank used to store perchlorethylene. In September 2002, it reported a release from the tank to state authorities and worked with the MPCA's Voluntary Investigation and Cleanup program to ensure that any contamination was identified and cleaned up.
Current assessment activities at the site have identified volatile organic compounds and other chemicals in the soils and ground water below the tank in excess of limits set to protect human health and the environment. The company accepted the terms of a corrective action agreement that addressed the proper assessment and cleanup of contamination at the site.
The company also agreed to the terms of an unrelated and separate stipulation agreement that addressed the company's noncompliance with hazardous waste regulations identified during the 2003 inspection. That inspection revealed that the company had failed to comply with hazardous waste and used oil accumulation, management, recordkeeping and notification requirements. The company has since corrected all deficiencies and paid a $20,000 penalty.
A stipulation agreement is one of the tools used to achieve compliance with environmental laws. When calculating penalties, the MPCA takes into account how seriously the violation affected the environment, whether it is a first time or repeat violation, and how promptly the violation was reported to appropriate authorities. It also attempts to recover the calculated economic benefit gained by failure to comply with environmental laws in a timely manner.
Oregon DEQ Announces Penalties Totaling $30,790 in July 2006
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) announced eight penalties totaling $30,790 in July 2006. To date in 2006, DEQ has issued 95 penalties totaling $937,271.
The month’s largest penalty, totaling $10,200, was issued to Oregon Department of Human Services’ Oregon State Hospital, at 2600 Center St. NE, Salem, for two asbestos violations. The violations stemmed from a January 2006 excavation project in which new underground pipelines were installed on the hospital grounds. The new pipelines were to be laid beneath the existing old, asbestos-covered pipelines.
On Jan. 18, DEQ received a call from the hospital’s asbestos coordinator about possible mishandling of asbestos-containing material at the excavation site. DEQ staff inspected the site that day and learned that the original work plan called for excavating the area around the old water pipelines, intersecting the new pipelines with the old underground steam and water pipelines, and laying the new pipelines under the old ones. However, after excavating the area, the contractor, Emery & Sons Construction Inc., instead cut through the old lines with a cut-off saw, removing about nine linear feet of old piping and pipe insulation that contained high levels of asbestos. DEQ requires that construction work which will disturb asbestos-containing materials be performed by licensed asbestos abatement contractors; Emery & Sons is not licensed to perform asbestos abatement projects.
Oregon State Hospital had completed an asbestos survey of its facilities in 1990 that revealed the high percentage of asbestos content in the pipe insulation on the old pipelines. The hospital failed to inform Emery & Sons that the old pipelines were insulated with asbestos-containing materials.
At the work site, DEQ discovered the high levels of asbestos and noted that the old lines were already severely deteriorated even before the excavation work began. DEQ staff also saw asbestos insulation from the old pipelines in a pile of excavated dirt and debris next to the excavation pit, as well as asbestos insulation material still attached to old pipelines in the excavation pit itself. Insulation materials are considered “friable,” which means they will likely release fibers into the air when disturbed.
Asbestos is a danger to public health and a hazardous air contaminant for which there is no known safe level of exposure. Inhalation of asbestos fibers is proven to cause lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. Amosite asbestos, the form of asbestos found in the old pipe insulation along with chrysotile asbestos, is a particularly hazardous form of asbestos because it is difficult to minimize amosite fiber release when the material is disturbed.
DEQ fined Oregon State Hospital $5,100 for allowing the asbestos-containing material from the old pipeline to openly accumulate. The material should have been labeled and packaged in leak-tight containers to prevent the release of asbestos into the air and limit the risk of public exposure to asbestos fibers. DEQ also fined the hospital $5,100 for allowing an unlicensed asbestos abatement contractor to perform asbestos abatement work.
In conjunction with the incident, DEQ penalized Emery & Sons $3,600 for conducting an asbestos abatement project without being licensed.
Oregon State Hospital has until Aug. 18 to appeal the penalty; Emery & Sons has an Aug. 17 appeal deadline.
B&G Farms Fined $69,000 for Hazardous Waste Violations
Mike Brown and several corporations he owns, including B&G Farms Inc. of Grant County, have reached a settlement with the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) on how a 2005 penalty will be paid.
The $69,000 fine was issued in May 2005 because the company had mishandled hazardous waste and used oil on a decommissioned missile site located on 50 acres northwest of Royal City.
The new settlement, signed this week, requires B&G Farms to pay $14,400 of the original fine, pay $34,000 in an "innovative settlement" and comply with the original order to clean up the property and keep it clean.
Another requirement in the settlement is that B&G Farms will initiate a cleanup under Washington's Model Toxics Control Act – the state's "Superfund" law, to remove contamination from soil on the site.
If the company does not comply with the order, it will be required to pay another $20,600, the remainder of the original fine. The fine was conditionally reduced by that amount so long as B&G Farms complies with the regulations and order for three years, stops storing hazardous waste and used oil, and secures and regularly inspects the missile site.
Approximately $34,000 will be considered an “innovative settlement” and will pay for a new fire truck for the Grant County Fire District. B&G Farms also has agreed to participate in a Grant County Solid Waste Department event to collect discarded appliances and scrap metal. B&G Farms will help promote the event, staff the event, and properly dispose of items brought in by the public.
In the fall of 2004, Ecology investigators found several containers on the site partially filled with petroleum products, pesticides and paint. Some were leaking their hazardous contents onto the ground.
Other wastes with hazardous components included computer monitors, lead-acid batteries and refrigerators with compressors.
During the past year, B&G Farms properly disposed of all the used oil, hazardous wastes and pesticides. The company also established operating practices to properly manage waste in the future.
"Farmers have safe, readily available options other than illegally disposing of these materials," said Lisa Brown, who manages Ecology's hazardous waste program in Spokane. "Some of these options are free. These programs help growers, and they also help protect people and the environment."
Missouri Department of Natural Resources Receives EPA Award for Flexible Air Permits
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources recently received a Performance Track Appreciation Award from the EPA for its innovative approach to flexible air permitting techniques. The department was able to accommodate business manufacturing flexibility needs while ensuring environmental protection and encouraging pollution prevention.
The department’s Air Pollution Control Program helped the 3M Company facility in Nevada obtain a new flexible air permit. The permit is designed to enable 3M to make rapid operational changes in response to shifting market demands in the graphics industry. The permit allows 3M to make changes without reopening the permit for modifications, while ensuring that 3M meets all applicable regulatory requirements.
According to EPA, the Department of Natural Resources was particularly helpful, responsive, creative and willing to explore innovative permitting approaches as part of this pilot project. 3M aims to use the permit to continuously improve the facility’s operational efficiency and to facilitate additional activity as part of the company’s Pollution Prevention Pays program. The 3M Nevada facility is one of three Performance Track members in Missouri.
Member facilities are encouraged to continuously improve environmental performance while involving the public.
Performance Track debuted five years ago and has approximately 400 members nationally ranging in diversity from manufacturers, colleges, municipal operations, utilities, medical, transportation and retail facilities.
The Department of Natural Resources’ Missouri Environmental Management Partnership (MEMP) is a similar program designed to raise environmental performance beyond compliance through the voluntary application of environmental management systems.
Now is the Time to Apply for the PA Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence
Governor Edward G. Rendell is seeking businesses and organizations that take on environmental challenges in ways that create new economic opportunities, enhance the bottom line and engage residents in a renewed commitment to investing in their communities.
Applications are now available for the 2007 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence. The award is open to any Pennsylvania business, governmental agency, educational institution, nonprofit organization, individual or farm that has created or participated in the development of a project that promotes environmental stewardship and economic development in the state.
“By focusing on environmental protection as an engine that drives technological innovation, enhanced efficiency and increased productivity, Pennsylvania is turning its challenges into opportunities for economic growth,” Governor Rendell said. “This award honors those who have worked hard to improve the quality of life in Pennsylvania, as well as those who are helping to make clean energy the cornerstone of the commonwealth’s new economy.”
Eligible projects for the 2007 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence must have been completed between Aug.1, 2005, and July 31, 2006. The project categories for consideration include, but are not limited to:
- Environmental Technology Innovation
- Pollution Prevention and Resource Efficiency
- Community Revitalization
- Environmental Education and Outreach
- Watershed Stewardship
- Mine Safety
- Clean Energy Innovations and Environmental Market Development
Projects will be evaluated on the following criteria: environmental protection, teamwork, public service, environmental education and outreach, pollution prevention, economic impact and innovative technology. The awards program is administered by the Department of Environmental Protection.
Winners of the 2007 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence will be presented with a unique award at a press event at the winner’s location. In addition, the winners’ projects will be showcased in numerous DEP publications and editorials and highlighted on the department’s website. The deadline to submit projects for the 2007 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence is Monday, Oct. 30.
Metal Plater Pleads Guilty to Hazardous Waste Violations
The former president and operator of a metal plating company pleaded guilty to charges that he illegally stored and transported hazardous waste and discharged pollutants into a Worcester, Mass., body of water.
Paul Brunell, 49, of Worcester pleaded guilty before the Worcester Superior Court to seven counts of violating the Massachusetts Hazardous Waste Management Act and one count of violating the Massachusetts Clean Water Act.
Judge John S. McCann imposed a sentence of supervised probation for ten years. As a condition of probation, the defendant is required to pay partial restitution to the MassDEP in the amount of $11,000, is required to perform 500 hours of community service, and is prohibited from working or acting in any capacity in a metal plating business throughout the entire 10-year probationary period. He must also pay all pertinent court fees. The commonwealth had recommended a sentence of two and one-half years in prison, six months to serve and the balance suspended for five years.