PFOA is a processing aid in the manufacture of fluoropolymers, which are used in the manufacture of a wide range of non-stick and stain-resistant surfaces and products. PFOA may also be produced by the breakdown of fluorotelomers, which are used to impart water, stain, and grease resistance to carpets, paper and textile.
PFOA is persistent in the environment, it has been detected in low levels in wildlife and humans, and animal studies conducted have indicated effects of concern.
"The science is still coming in, but the concern is there so acting now to minimize future releases of PFOA is the right thing to do for our environment and our health," said Susan B. Hazen, acting assistant administrator of EPA's Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances. "EPA is pleased to provide companies the opportunity to step up to the plate and demonstrate their leadership in protecting our global environment."
Participating companies will commit to reduce by 95% facility emissions and product content levels of PFOA, PFOA precursors, and higher homologue chemicals, by no later than 2010, with the year 2000 as the baseline for measuring reductions. The program also calls for companies to commit to work toward eliminating these sources of PFOA exposure five years after attaining the 95% reduction but no later than 2015. Companies are being asked to meet these commitments in the United States as well as in their global operations.
Also, participants are being asked to provide their commitment to EPA by March 1, 2006, and to submit their year 2000 baseline numbers for emissions and product content to EPA by Oct. 31, 2006. Annual public reports on their progress toward the goals will be due in October of each successive year. To ensure comparable reporting of reductions, participating companies must commit to work with EPA and others to develop and agree upon analytical standards and laboratory methods for these chemicals. EPA will also initiate efforts to add PFOA and related chemicals to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) to help monitor the results of the stewardship program.
This stewardship program is a result of the Agency's on-going process with industry, stakeholders, consumer groups, and interested parties to identify and develop the scientific information needed to fully understand how people are being exposed to PFOA and what, if any, concerns those exposures may pose. Industry has responded by initiating new studies, including through enforceable as well as voluntary testing efforts, and this important data gathering effort will continue as an additional element under the Stewardship Program.
PFOA, also known as C8 or Ammonium Perfluorooctanoate (APFO), is used in the manufacturing process of fluoropolymers. Fluoropolymers impart desirable properties, including fire resistance and oil, stain, grease, and water repellency. They are used to provide non-stick surfaces on cookware and waterproof, breathable membranes for clothing. PFOA can also be found as an impurity in the production of some products.
Illinois EPA Announces Incentive for eDMR Program Registration
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has launched a new incentive for wastewater treatment operators to file their reports electronically by making available grants of $500 for Internet connections or computer equipment.
The project is being funded by $50,000 of total grant money received from the U.S. EPA and provides an incentive for new users of the online system for electronic submission of Discharge Monitoring Reports.
"We are hopeful this will particularly encourage more of our smaller systems with limited resources to take advantage of the efficiency of electronic reporting and reduce paperwork for them and the Illinois EPA," said Illinois EPA Director Doug Scott.
The IEPA will distribute $500 to 100 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) facilities that register to use the system during the first half of the calendar year 2006.á .á It can also be used for other costs associated with the operation and maintenance of the NPDES permitted facility.
All NPDES permitted facilities are eligible to receive the incentive payment provided they are first-time users who registered to use the eDMR system between January 1 and June 30, 2006.á In July 2006, 100 registrants will be randomly selected from the total number received during the six-month period.á Those selected facilities must agree to continue using the eDMR system for a minimum of two years.
The Electronic Discharge Monitoring Report (eDMR) system is a paperless Internet-based reporting system designed to assist with NPDES DMR reporting requirements.á There is no charge to use the eDMR system, and participation is voluntary.
The eDMR system reduces the amount of paperwork, and is more efficient with its improved speed and accuracy in reporting, and the convenient form completion.á The program, which began in April 2004, has seen over 1,000 new users since its inception.
Texas to Classify Mercury Containing Equipment as Universal Waste
The TCEQ has proposed to adopt the federal EPA's regulations that recently classified mercury containing equipment as universal waste. Comments on the proposal are due by March 13, 2006.
California Bans Disposal of Universal Waste in Trash
The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) announced that it will not extend the temporary disposal exemptions that allow households and Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Universal Waste Generators to dispose of some hazardous waste into the trash.
Until February 8, 2006, homeowners may dispose of universal waste batteries, electronic devices fluorescent lights and mercury thermostats in the trash.á After that date, households will have to take these wastes either to a household hazardous waste collection facility or to a recycling facility.
Until February 8, 2006, conditionally exempt generators may continue to dispose of their universal waste to the trash provided they do not dispose of more than thirty lamps or more than twenty pounds of batteries per month. Conditionally exempt generators are prohibited from disposing of mercury thermostats in the trash.
The temporary disposal exemptions allowing these wastes to be disposed in the trash were originally adopted in 2001 to provide time for the infrastructure to recycle these hazardous wastes to develop further.
New EPA Guidance for Protective Cleanups of Perchlorate
á EPA's guidance is derived from the agency's reference dose for perchlorate which is based on the 2005 recommendations and conclusions of the nation's foremost science advisory committee (National Academy of Sciences).
This preliminary goal is a starting point for an evaluation of site-specific conditions. Consistent with current practice, final clean-up determinations should take site-specific information into consideration. This action offers clear guidance to site managers to help ensure national consistency in evaluating perchlorate in light of widely varying state guidance. This decision was based on the best available science and will be updated as new information becomes available.
Perchlorate has been detected in groundwater or drinking water at approximately 45 of the 1,500 sites on the Agency's National Priorities List. Perchlorate salts were first produced in the United States in the mid-1940s, primarily for use by the United States military for explosives and rocket propellants. Perchlorate salts also have been used in other applications, including pyrotechnics and fireworks, blasting agents, matches, lubricating oils, air bags and certain types of fertilizers.
EPA Upholds Air Quality Designations
EPA denied petitions from five state and local governments and one private business requesting the agency to reconsider its decision on findings of "nonattainment" for EPA's health-based national air quality standards for fine particle pollution. The nonattainment designation applied to counties or parts of counties when monitors detected air quality that violates the fine particle, or PM2.5 standards. The petitions include:
- State of West Virginia - pertaining to the inclusion of part of Mason county in the Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH nonattainment area and to the inclusion of part of Pleasants county in the Parkersburg-Marietta, WV-OH area.
- State of Georgia - pertaining to the inclusion of Walker and Catoosa counties in the Chattanooga, TN-GA nonattainment area.
- State of Michigan - pertaining to including only Wayne county in the Detroit-Ann Arbor, MI nonattainment area.
- Oakland County, MI - pertaining to the inclusion of Oakland county in the Detroit-Ann Arbor nonattainment area.
- State of Ohio - pertaining to the inclusion of Scioto, Adams, Gallia, and Lawrence counties in the Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH area.
- Dynegy Midwest Generation - pertaining to the inclusion of the part of Randolph county Illinois in the St. Louis, MO-IL nonattainment area.
Areas designated as nonattainment can still receive federal highway funds.
In December 2005, EPA denied petitions for reconsideration from seven other state and local government petitioners requesting that the agency reconsider its decision to designate one or more full or partial county within their jurisdiction as nonattainment. EPA sent an eighth letter to a government/business coalition denying their request to stay the effective date (April 5, 2005) of the designations. Areas designated as nonattainment can still receive federal highway funds. To attain the air quality standards, nonattainment areas must reduce emissions that produce fine particles and the pollutants that form them.
In December 2004, EPA designated attainment and nonattainment areas for fine particle pollution as an important step toward making the nation's air healthier to breathe. The agency designated counties as "nonattainment" when monitors in that county detected air quality that violates the fine particle, or PM2.5 standards. EPA also included in a nonattainment area, nearby counties contributing to fine particle pollution problems based on a review of nine key factors (including air quality, emissions, population, commuting, and weather conditions).
Air Force and Whole Foods Top EPA's List of Renewable Energy Users
The 2006 Green Power Top 25 list includes a diverse set of U.S. companies, organizations and government institutions that have voluntarily bought the most renewable energy and are part of the EPA's Green Power Partnership. EPA also announced its Green Power Partners are now purchasing more than 4 million megawatt hours of renewable energy, an increase of nearly 100% since the end of 2004. The 2006
More than half of the Top 25 EPA green power purchasers are comprised of U.S. corporations, a number that continues to increase every year.
"EPA's partners continue to meet President Bush's call to diversify our nation's energy supply by promoting alternative and renewable energy sources," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. "These leaders in environmental stewardship are making the voluntary decisions to switch to green power - helping to decrease our nation's overall dependence on foreign sources of power."
The U.S. Air Force once again leads the green power Top 25 list, purchasing more than 1 million MWh annually for Air Force bases across the country. The Air Force has held the No. 1 spot since the Top 25 list started in September 2004. Whole Foods Market surpassed both Safeway, Inc., and Johnson & Johnson to lead all corporate purchasers after increasing their purchase to more than 450 thousand MWh annually of renewable energy. EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy follow the U.S. Air Force in purchase size for government institutions in the Top 25.
Green power accounts for nearly two% of America's electricity supply, but voluntary purchasing of renewable energy is accelerating renewable energy development. The list of Top 25 EPA Green Power Partners is as follows, listed in order of purchase size:
- U.S. Air Force
- Whole Foods Market
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Johnson & Johnson
- U.S Department of Energy
- The World Bank
- Safeway, Inc.
- U.S. General Services Administration (Region 2)
- HSBC North America
- City of San Diego, Calif.
- New Jersey Consolidated Energy Savings Program
- Advanced Micro Devices/Austin, Texas Facilities
- WhiteWave Foods
- Austin (Texas) Independent School District
- Mohawk Fine Papers, Inc. 18. The Tower Companies
- The Tower Companies
- FedEx Kinko's
- U.S. Amry/Fort Carson
- University of Pennsylvania
- Montgomery County, Md.
- Hyatt Regency/Reunion & DFW Airport Hotels
- Western Washington University
- Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
The Green Power Partnership is a voluntary EPA program that seeks to increase the use of green power among leading U.S. organizations. Partners in the program switch to green power for a portion of their electricity needs in return for EPA technical assistance and recognition. The Green Power Partnership currently has more than 600 Partners, including Fortune 500 companies, states, federal agencies, trade associations and universities.
Wastewater Treatment Plant Receives Regional Award for Environmental Performance
The EPA presented the Borough of Lititz, Pa. with a regional award for excellence in operation and maintenance of its wastewater treatment facility.
The award honors the staff involved in the day-to-day operations of the facility, and recognizes local officials for their commitment to maintain and protect their community's environment. The authority is receiving the award in the "medium-advanced" category, which consists of facilities that treat between one and 10 million gallons of sewage per day.
"Many significant improvements in our nation's water quality can be attributed to better wastewater treatment. This award recognizes the outstanding job that people at Lititz are doing in that regard to protect the environment," said Donald S. Welsh, regional administrator for EPA's mid-Atlantic region.
EPA reviews data and inspects the facilities to determine the winners of this award. Award recipients are selected for their performance in complying with wastewater discharge permits, maintenance management, laboratory practices, personnel training, and public awareness needs.
EPA Approves Clean Water Act Authority for Navajo Nation
The EPA announced its approval of the Navajo Nation's application to administer federal Clean Water Act programs.
The Navajo Nation is the 34th tribe out of 563 tribes nationwide to be approved to administer water quality standards and a certification program.
"We are pleased to celebrate this achievement with the Navajo Nation. We'll continue to work together to protect and restore vital water resources on tribal land," said Alexis Strauss, the EPA's Water Division director for the Pacific Southwest region.
The tribe will work with the EPA on a government-to-government basis to develop and adopt water quality standards which, once approved, will form the basis for water quality-based effluent limitations and other requirements for discharges to waters within the tribe's jurisdiction.
The tribe is also authorized to grant or deny certification for federally permitted or licensed activities that may affect waters that lie within the exterior borders of the Navajo Nation.
Under Clean Water Act requirements to receive such approval, a tribe must be federally recognized, have a governing body to carry out substantial governmental duties and powers, have jurisdiction to administer the programs within the boundaries of its reservation, and be reasonably capable of administering the program.
Construction in Waterway Leads to $25,000 Penalty
The City of Blackfoot, Idaho has agreed to pay a penalty of $25,000 for unauthorized in-stream excavation work in the Snake River. This settlement agreement between the City and the EPA is available for public comment through February 24, 2006.
In June 2002, the City discharged dredged and fill material into the Snake River below the ordinary high water mark while constructing a berm in the Snake River near the headgate of Jensen Grove Lake. In April 2005, the City again discharged in the same general area while building a temporary road crossing and a barb to direct flow to the headgate. The alleged discharges of dredged and fill material were not authorized by a Clean Water Act permit. Such unauthorized discharges are violations of the Act.
According to Jim Werntz, EPA's Idaho state director in Boise, performing work in wetlands and rivers is tightly controlled by permitting for good reasons.
"Anyone working in wetlands or near rivers and streams - for any reason - needs to obey the law," said Werntz. "EPA has always made protecting Idaho's shrinking wetlands and threatened natural resources a top priority. Local, state and federal permitting programs help ensure that projects like these are done in the least harmful way, or not done at all."
Lawsuit against New York City Involving the City's Underground Storage Tank Systems is Settled
Michael J. Garcia, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Alan J. Steinberg, Regional Administrator for the EPA announced that the United States has settled a civil lawsuit against the City of New York involving RCRA violations in connection with the City's underground storage tank systems. The settlement, filed in Manhattan federal court, requires the City to pay $1.3 million in civil penalties and to bring substandard tank systems into compliance with federal law. The Consent Decree also requires the City to undertake an additional environmental project to improve the City's ability to identify releases from its underground storage tanks.
The United States charged in the lawsuit that, from at least 1997, the City has been violating RCRA in connection with its underground storage tank systems. As alleged in the complaint, New York City owns at least 1600 underground storage tanks in at least 400 locations throughout the New York City metropolitan area, including all five boroughs. The complaint further explained that underground storage tanks store petroleum and other substances that can harm the environment and human health if these substances were to leak from the tanks. The complaint noted that Congress passed the subtitle of RCRA governing underground storage tanks in response to the growing number of groundwater contamination incidents caused by substances leaking from such tanks.
The lawsuit charged that New York City has for many years committed numerous violations of RCRA and the federal Underground Storage Tank regulations issued by the EPA, including that the City failed to: upgrade or close non-compliant underground storage tank systems; provide proper methods to detect releases of hazardous substances; and report, investigate, and confirm suspected releases of regulated substances.
As part of the settlement, which was submitted to the Court, the City agreed to pay a $1.3 million civil monetary penalty to the federal Government, and to spend additional hundreds of thousands of dollars to carry out environmental projects that will improve the City's ability to detect releases from its underground storage tanks. In particular, the City will undertake a multi-year project to monitor releases and suspected releases from a central location for the underground storage tanks owned and operated by the Police Department, the Fire Department and the Department of Transportation. In addition, the Consent Decree requires the City to comply with RCRA by upgrading or closing non-compliant underground storage tanks.
Pursuant to federal regulations, the Consent Decree will be lodged with the Court for a period of not less than thirty days before its entry to provide public notice and to afford members of the public the opportunity to comment on the Consent Decree.
"This innovative settlement demonstrates the federal government's resolve to protect the health and safety of this City's citizens through enforcement of our nation's environmental laws. The settlement will ensure compliance with federal laws and regulations," said Mr. GARCIA. "Proper management of underground storage tanks makes sense from both an environmental and economic standpoint. A leak of just one gallon from an underground tank can be costly and time-consuming to remediate. This settlement will improve the health and safety of our City's residents."
"I am pleased that the City of New York has agreed to fix the problems it has had in managing its underground storage tanks and take responsibility for the past violations," said Mr. STEINBERG. "Leaking underground tanks can pose a serious safety risk in densely populated areas, because they contain toxic components that can seep into the soil and into underground structures, such as basements and subways. This settlement will go a long way toward ensuring that the people of New York are protected from these risks." Mr. Garcia praised the investigative efforts of the EPA,
EPA Solicits Nominations for 2006 Environmental Quality Awards
The EPA is seeking nominations for its 2006 Environmental Quality Awards. Each year, EPA recognizes and honors those individuals and organizations who contributed significantly to improving the environment during the past year in New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The awards recognize achievement in six categories:
- Individual Citizen
- Non-Profit Organization, Environmental or Community Group
- Environmental Education
- Business and Industry
- Federal, State, Local or Tribal Government or Agency
- Press and Media
Nominations for the awards are solicited from both within and outside EPA.
"This April, we will again celebrate Earth Day, a day for us all to reflect on the importance of the environment," said EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. "What better way for us to mark this occasion than by honoring those organizations and individuals whose work has furthered the cause of the environment and whose dedication stands as an inspiration to us all."
The nomination deadline is March 6. Award recipients will be honored at a ceremony in late April at EPA's Manhattan offices.
It provides details on award categories, award criteria, prior winners and nomination instructions. Self-nominations are welcome. For additional information, please contact Chris Sebastian, Public Affairs Division at (212) 637-3597
Jewelry Finishing Company Agrees to Pay $12,932 for Clean Air Act Violations
A Rhode Island jewelry finishing company has agreed to pay $12,932 in penalties for violations of federal and state clean air rules that regulate the release of hazardous air pollutants. The company will also pay for an independent audit of its overall compliance with air pollution and waste management laws.
According to a complaint issued last year by EPA's New England office, Drew-Easton Manufacturing Company of Cranston, RI violated regulations designed to control hazardous trichloroethylene (TCE) emissions from machines that use TCE as a cleaning solvent. These machines, known as "degreasing" machines, often use solvents, such as TCE, to remove the grease from metal parts. Long-term exposure to TCE vapors poses a potential risk of nerve, kidney and liver damage. TCE is also a probable human carcinogen.
"Drew-Easton's violations were significant because they may have resulted in excess TCE emissions, which can pose serious health risks," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "Through active enforcement of clean air regulations, we are helping reduce health risks and ensure that workers and citizens breathe cleaner air."
EPA's complaint proposed a total penalty for Drew-Easton's violations of $215,273. EPA agreed to substantially reduce Drew-Easton's final penalty because the company documented that it was undergoing financial hardship and could not pay a penalty near the proposed amount.
EPA's complaint came on the heels of two previous compliance orders issued to Drew-Easton requiring the company to update its degreasing machines to comply with equipment and operating control requirements for TCE emissions.
Drew-Easton owned an outdated degreasing machine that violated federal and state equipment and operating standards. In June 2004, EPA issued a notice of violation and compliance order citing these violations, together with various monitoring, record-keeping and reporting violations. In response, Drew-Easton installed a new degreasing machine in August 2004.
EPA re-inspected the company in December 2004 and found that the new machine was still in violation of certain equipment and monitoring requirements. The following month, EPA issued a second compliance order requiring the company to install additional cooling coils to minimize TCE vapor emissions from the degreaser tank. The additional control equipment was installed and began operating in April 2005.
Sony Electronics Enrolls in Program to Reduce Use of Lead
á The Sony Electronics facility in Mt. Pleasant, Pa. (a manufacturer of television and other electronics) has enrolled in the NPEP program, committing to recycle lead-containing frit paste from their cathode ray tube manufacturing process instead of sending it to a hazardous waste landfill. The waste frit paste will be sent to a Sony sister facility across the street to be recycled and incorporated into their glass manufacturing process.
Recent Penalties are Part of EPA Push to Improve Storm Water Compliance by Builders
Four developers have agreed to pay the EPA a total of $41,025 in penalties for storm water-related violations that took place at construction projects in Framingham, Swansea and Topsfield, Mass. and Hudson, NH.
The settlements were negotiated under EPA's Expedited Settlement Offer program for storm water violations at New England construction sites. The settlements stem from construction projects that occurred without the necessary permits and pollution controls in place for curbing storm water runoff from construction sites. The violations were discovered during EPA inspections at the sites between August 2004 and July 2005.
"These cases make clear that EPA is serious about enforcing storm water regulations," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "We must control storm water runoff from construction sites to protect our vital wetlands and waterways."
EPA regulations require a permit for construction sites that disturb more than one acre of land. The storm water permit seeks to protect waters from harmful pollutants that typically run off such sites and discharge into nearby waters. The permit requires that operators of a construction site develop a detailed management plan for minimizing the effects of storm water runoff.
Contractors, developers and others who are responsible for day-to-day operations at a construction site are required to certify that they will properly implement these plans, called storm water pollution prevention plans. The permit also requires personnel who are on the sites to perform regular inspections of storm water controls and to employ management techniques that will minimize the impact of their activities on nearby waters.
McCarron Development Corp. in Lakeville, Mass. agreed to pay $14,600 to settle claims it did not apply for the necessary construction permit after starting construction in January 2003 at the Sunnyfield Farms site in Swansea, Mass. The project will disturb 30 acres of land. Storm waters from the site discharge to adjacent wetlands that drain through a series of brooks and ponds into the Cole River. Inspectors found that the developer: had not prepared a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan until September 2004; had failed to conduct and document inspections; and had not provided interim stabilization. Furthermore, storm water plans did not provide dates of major construction milestones. McCarron did not apply for a permit until August 2004, EPA said.
Albermarle Realty Corp. in Natick, Mass. agreed to pay $10,700 to settle claims it failed to develop and put in place a storm water plan at a construction site in Framingham that is the future home of 20 single family homes in the Brimstone Estates. The case grew out of an unannounced inspection Nov. 16, 2004. EPA found: the developer had not conducted or documented inspections; the site's entrance was not stabilized, leaving soils moving off-site and into a public way; catch basins at the site entrance did not have sediment protection barriers; soils for a certain detention basin and an adjacent embankment were exposed, and stabilization measures were not initiated before the ground froze. At the time, four acres of land were disturbed. The project will ultimately disturb 28 acres. Storm waters from this site discharge to an adjacent wetland that drains to Hop Brook and ultimately flows into the Sudbury River.
Thibeault Corporation of New England, based in Londonderry, NH, agreed to pay $8,650 to settle claims it failed to put in place storm water plans required at a construction site in Hudson, NH, that is the future home of 180 buildings and 400 residential units. According to EPA, Thibeault failed to fully develop and implement a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan required by its construction permit at its 60-acre development in Hudson. Thibeault also failed to document that it had done "best management practice" inspections at this site. It disturbed about 30 acres of land during construction. Storm water from the site drains into a brook along Route 111 and a pond across Kimball Hill Road. EPA discovered the violations during an August 2004 inspection. The company was also charged with discharging pollutants without a permit.
Spring-T Realty Trust of Topsfield, Mass. agreed to pay $7,075 to settle claims it violated its Storm Water General Permit for Construction Activities at the Skyview Estates construction site in Topsfield, future home of 40 residential, single-family townhouses.
EPA's New England office inspected the site on July 25, 2005 and found 2.5 acres of land had been disturbed. Eventually the project will disturb 21 acres. Storm waters from the site discharge to adjacent wetlands, which drain to an unnamed stream that in turn flows into the Putnamville Reservoir. EPA inspectors found that: the developer had not documented inspections; control measures were not installed according to the Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (the infiltration ponds were too deep, below the groundwater table); and two drainage ditches were blocked with sediment. Also, the site's storm water plan did not: describe controls that will be in place after construction ends; identify operators on the site; provide dates of major construction milestones, or contain a signature or certification. EPA's New England Office began implementing an Expedited Settlement Offer program for storm water violations associated with construction activities in 2004. The program is designed to supplement traditional administrative and judicial enforcement options. This program provides EPA with the authority to assess expedited penalties to developers for violating federal regulations for storm water discharges from their construction sites.
Rainwater running off construction sites can carry nutrients, sediments, oils and various other pollutants into nearby streams, ponds and rivers. If not properly managed, erosion from a one-acre construction site could discharge as much as 20 to 150 tons of sediment in one year. Sediments reduce the storage capacity of drains and waterways, causing flooding, and adversely affect water quality and fish habitat. Sediments and chemicals can also contribute to fish die-offs, toxic algae blooms, contaminated shellfish beds and closed swimming beaches.
EPA Approves Ozone Non-Attainment Redesignation Petition
Christian County, Kentucky received approval from EPA to be redesignated to attainment for the 8-hour ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard. Last year, the Commonwealth of Kentucky petitioned EPA for reclassification from nonattainment to attainment of the Christian County, Ky. 8-hour ozone nonattainment area. The interstate Clarksville, Tenn.-Hopkinsville, Ky. 8-hour ozone nonattainment area is comprised of two counties - Christian County, Ky. and Montgomery County, Tenn. "I approved their request and redesignated the area for ozone attainment because Christian County has shown it can achieve and maintain clean air standards under the Clean Air Act," said EPA Regional Administrator Jimmy Palmer. "Redesignation to attainment recognizes the hard work of state and local officials to implement emission control programs, thus ensuring our clean air goals are met." Additionally, EPA is approving the 8-hour ozone maintenance plan for Christian County. This approval is based on EPA's determination that the Commonwealth of Kentucky has demonstrated that Christian County has met the criteria for redesignation to attainment specified in the Clean Air Act, including the determination that the entire Clarksville-Hopkinsville 8-hour ozone nonattainment area has attained the 8-hour ozone standard. The State of Tennessee submitted a redesignation request and maintenance plan for the Montgomery County, Tenn. portion of this area last year. The redesignation of the Tennessee portion of the nonattainment area was effective on November 21, 2005. The docket number is EPA-R04-OAR-2005-KY-0001-200521(f).
New Tool for Determining Cause of Ecological Harm to Rivers and Streams
To improve the nation's waters, EPA has released a new web-based tool, the Causal Analysis/Diagnosis Decision Information System , which simplifies determining the cause of contamination in impaired rivers, streams and estuaries. An impaired body of water does not meet the state or federal water quality standards for one or more pollutants.
More than a thousand U.S. water bodies have been identified as impaired, and in many cases, the cause is unknown. There are many possible sources of pollution such as industrial waste, municipal sewage, agricultural runoff, naturally occurring minerals in rock and sand, and biological materials. Before restorative or remedial actions can be taken, the cause of impairment must be determined. By helping to find the source of contamination, state and local organizations will be better able to implement the Clean Water Act.
CADDIS provides a standardized and easily accessible system to help scientists find, use and share information to determine the causes of aquatic impairment. Causal analyses look at stressor-response relationships, meaning the effect of a specific substance or activity (stressor) on the environment. Typical water stressors include excess fine sediments, nutrients, or toxic substances.
CADDIS was developed by EPA scientists through partnerships with EPA programs and regions, as well as states and tribes.
"The development of CADDIS has been an impressive effort and a great example of customer focus by EPA's Office of Research and Development," said Michael Shapiro, deputy assistant administrator in EPA's Office of Water.
This version of CADDIS is the first of three. Future versions will include modules to quantify stressor-response relationships, and databases and syntheses of relevant literature on sediments and toxic metals.
EPA, ADEQ Launch Route 66 Initiative to Redevelop Abandoned Gas Stations, Clean Up Leaking Underground Tank Sites
Arizona contains more than 200 miles of original Route 66 roadway with approximately 350 leaking underground storage tanks sites along the route. In June 2004, ADEQ launched its Route 66 Initiative to investigate and clean up leaking underground tank sites. To date, 250 sites have been closed, with cleanup completed or not needed. Nearly 100 sites, or 28%, still need further investigation or cleanup.
Redevelopment at many sites has been slow and many abandoned gas stations remain idle. The EPA and ADEQ have partnered to explore viable options to stimulate redevelopment along Arizona's Route 66 corridor.
"ADEQ has done an excellent job of assessing and cleaning up many contaminated properties along Route 66," said Jeff Scott, the EPA's Waste Management Division director for the Pacific Southwest region. "The EPA is proud to join ADEQ to take the project one step further and explore ways to help local communities create more businesses where people can 'get their kicks' on Route 66."
"We have targeted resources along Route 66 to clean up contaminated properties and help communities put them back into productive use," Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens said. "We want to help these communities as much as we can."
"The Route 66 Initiative is an excellent example of how partnerships can make a significant difference in the underground tank cleanup program," said Cliff Rothenstein, the EPA's national director for the underground storage tanks program. "I am pleased that EPA Region 9 and Arizona, along with other stakeholders - tank owners, industry, and community members - will work together to identify viable cleanup options for historic Route 66's blighted sites and make them safe so communities can productively reuse them."
Since August 2004, ADEQ has focused on Winslow, Holbrook and Joseph City due to the high number of underground petroleum releases that have affected groundwater in the area. In May, ADEQ began investigations in other cities and towns along Route 66 west of Winslow.
U.S. Route 66 was the first highway connecting Chicago to Los Angeles. By 1938, the entire highway was continuously paved, and was in operation until 1970, when new four-lane highways bypassed most of the old segments. Many gas stations were needed to fuel vehicles along the way and many leaked into the soil and groundwater.
Arizona's State Assurance Fund provides monetary assistance for assessment and cleanup at leaking underground storage tank sites in small communities located along Route 66. Property owners must report releases and apply by June 30, 2006 to be eligible for state funding.
The meetings will be at from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Jan. 26 at La Posada Hotel 303 E. Second St. in Winslow; and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Jan. 27 at the Navajo County Fairgrounds, 404 E. Navajo Blvd. in Holbrook. For more information contact Maggie Witt, U.S. EPA Route 66 Project Manager, at 415-972-3370.
Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency
Beginning January 2006 through December 2007, anyone may claim a tax credit of up to $500 on their 2006 or 2007 tax return if they purchase select Energy Star items such as qualified Energy Star windows, insulation, roofing, and HVAC products.
Spill Tek Environmental Penalized for Hazardous Waste Violations
Ohio EPA reached a settlement with Spill Tek Environmental Services for past hazardous waste violations and issued an administrative consent order on November 4, 2005. á The settlement includes a $15,000 penalty of which $12,000 will be deposited into the state's hazardous waste cleanup fund.á In lieu of paying the remaining $3,000 of the penalty, Spill Tek Environmental Services will fund a supplemental environmental project (SEP) by making a contribution in the amount of $3,000 to the Ohio EPA Clean Diesel School Bus Program.
EPA Stops the Import and Sale of Three Illegal RepelleX Pesticide Products
The EPA announced more than 100 Stop Sale Orders nationwide to importers and distributors of unregistered pesticides manufactured by RepelleX Lawn and Garden Products, a Canadian company.
EPA has determined that three RepelleX products claiming to contain "quarternary ammonium salts" (correct spelling: quaternary) are pesticides and subject to registration requirements under Section 3 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The products are: RepelleX 14-2-2 ML2 Fertilizer Tablets, RepelleX Deer Repellent Concentrate, and Bulb Saver Concentrate.
Under FIFRA, EPA reviews and registers all pesticide products sold and distributed in the U.S. to ensure that, when used according to approved label instructions, they do not pose an unreasonable risk to people's health or the environment.
"Despite repeated warnings, RepelleX has continued to sell and distribute this product illegally," said Scott Downey, EPA's Pesticide and Toxics Manager in Seattle. "Consumers and business owners need to be aware that most pesticides must be registered with EPA. Unregistered pesticides have not been thoroughly tested and can contain unknown ingredients which may be a risk to the public or the environment."
The Stop Sale, Use or Removal Orders are being sent to all known importers and distributors that have purchased or sold RepelleX products in the last year. The Stop Sale Orders warn that any future imports, sales, or distribution of illegal RepelleX products may result in civil penalties of up to $6,500 per act. Importers and distributors are also instructed to remove the products from store shelves, record inventories, and dispose of the products in accordance with state and local laws.
These Stop Sale Use and Removal orders were issued after EPA attempted to work cooperatively with RepelleX for more than two years to help the company understand and comply with the U.S. laws and regulations.
EPA Bans Pesticide Research Using Pregnant Women and Children
These final new rules also establish stringent enforceable ethical safeguards to protect individuals who volunteer to participate in third-party intentional dosing research.
"These final rules will protect pregnant women and children from unethical human research involving pesticides and other environmental substances," said Susan B. Hazen, acting assistant administrator in EPA's Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances. "Pregnant women and children should never be involved in these types of studies. Now adult volunteers (non-pregnant) will have the highest level of ethical safeguards available if they choose to participate in research studies."
These final regulations adopt and implement many of the recommendations from the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, have benefited from public comments, and adhere to the legislation passed by Congress in August 2005. Under the new rules, the provisions of the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research (the Common Rule) are extended to cover all third-party intentional dosing studies submitted to EPA under the pesticide laws. Third party studies are those studies not conducted or supported by a federal agency. EPA is also establishing a Human Studies Review Board to obtain independent scientific and ethical review on whether to accept certain existing human studies as well as review all new study protocols before the studies are started.
This rule makes it clear that all pregnant women and all children are excluded from all such studies involving intentional exposure. For any new, intentional dosing studies with pesticides, this final rule requires researchers to do the following: (1) assure that pregnant women and children are not participants, (2) comply with the requirements of the Common Rule (current ethical standards for research conducted or supported by the federal government); (3) submit detailed study protocols to EPA prior to initiation so that EPA can review to ensure the study meets the new ethical protections and is scientifically sound; and (4) once the study is conducted, provide detailed information to EPA describing how the study met the necessary ethical protections.
The sweeping requirements of this final rule will lay the groundwork and provide an important foundation for the Agency to build upon in future actions that may be determined necessary to provide further protections to public health.
EPA Helps Schools and Child Care Facilities Reduce Lead in Drinking Water
á The "3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water at Schools and Child care Facilities Toolkit" contains materials to implement a voluntary Training, Testing, and Telling strategy.
"Our drinking water tools for schools teach lead prevention through action and awareness," said Benjamin H. Grumbles, assistant administrator for water. "This new and improved guidance will help students, teachers, and parents have confidence in the quality of their school's tap water."
Testing water in schools and child care centers is important because children spend a significant portion of their days there. The "3Ts Toolkit" explains how to test for lead in drinking water; report results to parents, students, staff, and other interested parties; and take action to correct problems. The toolkit also includes an update to a 1994 EPA technical guidance to help schools design and implement testing programs. Steps in the program include:
- Collecting information on school drinking water and identifying assistance to implement a school lead control program.
- Developing a plumbing profile.
- Developing a drinking water testing plan.
- Testing the facilities' drinking water for lead.
- Correcting problems when elevated lead levels are found.
- Communicating with the school community about a school lead-control program.
EPA developed the toolkit in conjunction with non-government organizations and several federal agencies including the U.S. Department of Education, whose Safe and Drug-Free School Coordinators will help promote and distribute the package to schools.
Deborah Price, assistant deputy secretary of the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools at the Department of Education, said, "An unhealthy school environment is a serious barrier to learning. This toolkit will help schools work with their community partners to understand and reduce children's lead exposure from drinking water."
Printed copies of the toolkit will be available through the Water Resource Center at 800-832-7828 and through the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at: 800-426-4791. EPA will also distribute toolkits at conferences attended by school officials and child care providers throughout 2006.
Hartford Conn. Schools Win National EPA Award for Indoor Air Quality Program
The Hartford School District in Connecticut is among six schools and districts nationwide recently recognized by EPA for their efforts to improve indoor air quality.
The Hartford School District has been chosen for an "Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools" 2006 Excellence Award. This recognition is EPA's most prestigious award for exemplary indoor air quality programs and commitment to providing a healthy learning environment for students and staff. The winners were selected from hundreds of schools and districts nationwide who have successfully initiated programs to improve indoor air quality.
"Children spend so much time in schools that we need to ensure they have a healthy environment to learn in," said Robert Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "This award recognizes those schools that are taking care of indoor environmental pollutants and irritants that may affect the health and productivity of students and staff." Poor indoor air quality can pose a variety of health risks, including headaches, nausea, exacerbation of asthma and other respiratory problems.
In 1995, EPA developed the voluntary Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Kit and Program in response to government studies highlighting the deteriorating conditions of schools across the country and the alarming rise in asthma cases, particularly among school- and preschool-age children. Today, one out of every 13 school-age children has asthma. Asthma alone accounts for 14 million missed school days each year.
The Tools for Schools Kit is designed to help school staff identify, resolve, and prevent indoor air problems and is available free to schools. About 26,000 schools and school districts across the country have adopted indoor air quality management practices consistent with EPA's guidance.
Hartford Public Schools believes in providing students with "Safe, Clean, and Healthy Schools." As an urban school district, the "Tools" program mobilized staff to address indoor air issues and established procedures that led to indoor air improvements.
By using this kit, the district was able to respond to Connecticut's new law requiring school systems to adopt indoor air quality programs by 2007. Each school has an established School Health and Safety Team trained to use information in EPA kit to identify indoor air problems. Teams include a school nurse, administrator, custodian, teachers, physical education instructors, and social workers. District mentors, who help teams, enhance the success of the program. In addition, indoor air quality management is now included in planning for new facilities and is a critical element of renovation.
"The Hartford Public Schools is extremely honored to receive the recognition from EPA and wants to acknowledge the hard work and participation by all staff members and collaborative agencies that help make this program a success," said Al Hinds, chief of building operations at Hartford Public Schools.
Landlords, Property Managers Face Penalties for Violating Lead Paint Disclosure Regulations
Failure by landlords and property management companies to disclose information to tenants about actual and potential lead-based paint hazards in housing built before 1978 has led to 25 enforcement actions filed in 2005 by EPA Region 7 in Kansas City, Kan., with penalties totaling $64,535.
The 25 companies were penalized amounts ranging from $250 to $15,400. The number of housing units managed and/or owned by each company ranged from one to 1,245. EPA Region 7 includes Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.
As part of their enforcement settlements, some of the violators agreed to undertake environmentally beneficial projects in exchange for reductions of the penalties. Such projects are known as supplemental environmental projects (SEPs). A SEP must improve, protect or reduce r