Five new hazardous waste sites are being proposed to be added to the National Priorities List (NPL). Generally, a site is proposed for the NPL if preliminary investigations indicate that it warrants further action and final listing on the NPL. Proposed sites must go through a public comment period before they can be finalized on the NPL. Currently, there are a total of 67 proposed sites and 1,229 final sites on the NPL nationwide.
The five proposed sites are: Cooper Drum Company, South Gate, Calif.; Quanta Resources, Edgewater, N.J.; Griggs & Walnut Ground Water Plume, Las Cruces, N.M.; Shenandoah Road Ground Water Contamination, East Fishkill, N.Y.; and Barbar Orchard, Waynesville, N.C.
This action appeared in the January 11, 2001 Federal Register,
with a public comment period on the proposed sites until March
12. Further information about these sites and the Superfund
program is available at
FREE WORKSHOP ON STRATEGIES FOR GOVERNMENTAL EMS OFFERED IN NC
You are invited to attend a workshop on Wednesday, January 31, 2001 - Strategies for Governmental EMS Workshop. This workshop is targeted to governmental agencies and will describe the basics of an EMS using the ISO 14001 model. Departments within the cities of Gastonia, NC and Charleston, SC have adopted an EMS and staff will share their experiences with EMS and benefits including improved employee awareness, increased operation efficiencies, better environmental performance, and greater understanding of compliance responsibilities. In addition, Jim Horne from the Office of Water, U.S. EPA will speak on a new EMS initiative with the National Biosolids Partnership.
The half-day workshop will be held in Gastonia, NC (near
Charlotte). There is no charge for this class. For more
information, you may contact Beth Graves, NC Division of
Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance at 800-763-0136
or 919-715-6506 or Beth.Graves@ncmail.net or go to the web site
at http://www.p2pays.org/iso/main/hot_topics.htm. We ask that
folks register so that we have an adequate number of handouts for
METAL PRODUCTS & MACHINERY EFFLUENT DISCHARGE GUIDELINES PROPOSED
On Jan. 3, EPA proposed effluent limitation guidelines for wastewater discharges into waterways from the metal products and machinery industry. When implemented, the proposals are expected to reduce the discharge of 20 pollutants by 170 million pounds per year, improving water quality in more than 1,100 streams.
EPA's proposal for the metal products and machinery industry would establish technology-based effluent limitations and pretreatment standards for wastewater discharges in a number of industries, including aerospace, electronic equipment, hardware, railroad, ship, and stationary industrial equipment. The guidelines would apply to both new and existing facilities that manufacture, rebuild, or maintain finished metal products, parts or machines.
Under the Clean Water Act, EPA develops effluent guidelines
specific to individual industries in order to control discharge
of pollutants into surface waters and publicly-owned treatment
facilities. The effluent guidelines program has reduced the
public health and environmental impacts of pollutant discharges
from over 50 industrial categories since the program's inception
in 1974. Additional information on the metal products and
machinery industry effluent guidelines are available at
DRAFT REPORT REVEALS INCREASE IN U.S. GLOBAL WARMING EMISSIONS
U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions rose 0.9 percent from 1998 to 1999, according to a draft EPA report recently released for public comment.
Total GHG emissions of the six main greenhouse gases (weighted to reflect equivalent emissions of carbon dioxide or CO2), rose from 6,689 to 6,748 million metric tons. These gases include: CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride. The CO2 from fossil fuel combustion at power plants and factories is the largest source of all greenhouse gases, accounting for 80 percent of all emissions in 1999. Fossil fuel combustion was responsible for 88 percent of total greenhouse emission growth from 1990 to 1999. The study also shows that from 1990 - 1999, GHG emissions from cars, trucks and buses rose 21 percent, while total highway miles traveled climbed 13 percent.
The report, "Draft Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990 - 1999," is required of the United States under its responsibilities as a party to the Framework Convention on Climate Change, which was signed in June 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit. Under the Framework Convention, the United States and other developed countries agreed to submit greenhouse gas emission reports annually to the Secretariat of the Convention.
The report is available at
Federal Register notice announcing a 40-day public comment period
on the report was published Jan. 9. To receive a hard copy of
this document, fax a request to the Agency at 202-260-6405, or
write to the following address: U.S. EPA, Office of Atmospheric
Programs, Market Policy Branch (MC: 2175), 1200 Pennsylvania
Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20460. For technical information, call
Wiley Barbour of EPA's Office of Air and Radiation at
CHEMICAL SAFETY ALERT FOR LIQUID STORAGE TANK OWNERS
Owners of liquid storage tanks ranging from 500,000 to 1.5
million gallons in size are being advised to take precautions to
prevent sudden ruptures. Over the past few years, ruptures of
these large, industrial-sized storage tanks have resulted in
significant damage to the environment and private property from
fertilizer runoff into soil and waterways. EPA's alert encourages
tank owners to inspect their tanks for erosion, as well as to
check the manufacturer's records for a history of rupture
problems. EPA is issuing this alert as part of an ongoing effort
to protect human health and the environment and to prevent
chemical accidents by increasing awareness of possible hazards.
More information on this alert will soon be available at
http://www.epa.gov/ceppo/p-small.htm#alerts or call David Chung
at (202) 564-8942.
PUBLIC COMMENTS SOUGHT ON HAZARDOUS WASTE, SUPERFUND OMBUDSMEN PROGRAMS
EPA published a notice in the Federal Register Jan. 3 announcing the availability of draft guidance for the national ombudsmen programs for Superfund and hazardous waste, and requesting public comment.
The National Hazardous Waste and Superfund Ombudsmen and the Regional Superfund Ombudsmen help the public in resolving issues and concerns raised about these programs. The announcement explains the Ombudsmen's role, and provides guidelines under which they carry out their responsibilities. The guidance seeks to improve the effectiveness of the program by providing a clear and consistent set of operating policies and expectations.
Congress established a National Ombudsman in 1984 as part of
amendments to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
In 1991, the National Ombudsman's scope of activity was broadened
to include the Superfund program; in 1995, EPA created the
Regional Superfund Ombudsman function. Superfund Ombudsmen are
now in each EPA regional office. The draft guidance is available
at http://www.epa.gov/swerrims/whatsnew.htm or by contacting the
Superfund Docket Center at (703) 603-9232 or (800) 424-9346.
Comments must be submitted by March 5.
PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT POLICY PROPOSED
An internal policy is being developed to guide and direct EPA
officials on ways to effectively involve the public in Agency
decisions on activities such as rulemaking, permits, and waste
site cleanups. Public comments on this proposal are solicited
through April 27. When final, the policy will apply to all EPA
programs. It will supplement public participation requirements in
existing laws or regulations, and enable the best possible
implementation of them. The draft policy updates the Agency's
Policy on Participation issued in 1981. Further information on
the draft policy is available at
http://www.epa.gov/stakeholders/policy.htm. For a printed copy,
call Loretta Schumacher at 202-260-3096. E-mail requests for
copies should be addressed to: email@example.com. Public comments
should be addressed to Patricia Bonner, USEPA (mail code 1807),
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20460.
ADMINISTRATION TAKES ACTION TO PROTECT THE NATION'S WETLANDSEPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are addressing a regulatory loophole in the Clean Water Act by clarifying the types of activities that can harm wetlands, streams, and other waters, and are subject generally to Clean Water Act regulation. The new wetlands rule is expected to improve protection for tens of thousands of acres of wetlands from destruction each year. In addition to realizing no net loss of wetlands through the Clean Water Act regulatory program, federal environmental and natural resource agencies have already committed to an annual net gain of 100,000 acres of wetlands beginning in 2005 through voluntary and incentive based wetlands restoration programs. Wetlands are a collective term for marshes, swamps, bogs and similar wet land areas generally located between dry land and bodies of water. They are an invaluable part of the ecosystem, filtering and cleansing the nation's waters, helping to retain flood waters, harboring emerging fish and shellfish populations and supporting a diverse array of wildlife. Destruction of wetlands can increase flooding and runoff potential, harm neighboring property, cause stream and river pollution, and result in the loss of valuable habitat. Since the late 1700s, over half the nation's wetlands have been lost to development and other activities. These losses are widespread as well--almost half of all states have lost more than 50% of their historic wetlands resources. Under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, the Corps makes permit decisions after it completes a careful environmental review of the impacts of proposed discharges, including the potential adverse effects on wetlands. This permit program is designed to avoid and minimize the environmental impact on wetlands, while also requiring off-setting actions, such as restoring other wetlands. The new rule ensures improved environmental protection consistent with Clean Water Act authorities and increases regulatory certainty in a manner in keeping with the recent District of Columbia Circuit court decision. The new rule modifies the definition of "discharge of dredged material" in order to clarify what types of activities EPA and the Corps believe are likely to result in discharges that should be regulated. The Corps and EPA regard the use of mechanized earth moving equipment to conduct landclearing, ditching, channelization, in- stream mining, or other earth-moving activity in waters of the U.S. as resulting in a discharge of dredged material, unless project-specific evidence shows that the activity results in only "incidental fallback." The rule also provides a definition of what constitutes non-regulable incidental fallback that is consistent with the recent District of Columbia Circuit court decision. To protect wetlands, EPA and the Corps first clarified in August 1993 that Clean Water Act permits were required for any redeposits of dredged material associated with activities in wetlands and other jurisdictional areas. Referred to as the "Tulloch" rule, that definition was challenged by a number of trade associations and overturned in January l997 by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Affirmed in June 1998 by the U.S. Court of Appeals, the Court's decision resulted in a loophole in the wetlands regulatory program, leaving certain forms of environmentally destructive activities essentially unchecked, if conducted so as to result in only "incidental fallback" (described by the Court as material that falls back to substantially the same place as the initial removal).
Since the 1998 Court decision, there has been confusion as to what activities are likely to result in discharges regulated under the Clean Water Act. After the Court decision, upwards of 20,000 wetland acres were targeted for ditching, draining, and destruction and approximately 150 miles of streams channelized. Some of these activities involved more than incidental fallback and were conducted without obtaining Clean Water Act permits, and thus environmental safeguards were lacking. This final rule seeks to address these losses in a manner fully consistent with the Court's decision by clarifying the scope of activities that typically produce discharges subject to environmental review under the Clean Water Act. There is no regulatory action that can fully close the loophole in the Clean Water Act that has led to this type of wetlands destruction. The Administration has repeatedly called on Congress to strengthen the Clean Water Act and close this loophole completely.
The final rule to change the definition of dredged materials will
be published in the Federal Register soon. Additional information
is available on EPA's Office of Water home page at
http://www.epa.gov/ow. Click on "What's New" or contact the
wetlands helpline at 800-832-7828.
EPA EXPANDS THE RIGHT TO KNOW ABOUT LEAD
EPA has taken action to dramatically expand the information available to the public about lead emissions in their communities by lowering the reporting threshold for lead on the TRI.
The new rule will require significantly more reporting of environmental releases of lead under EPA's public right-to-know program, the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). The reporting threshold previously required that facilities report lead and lead compound emissions to the air, water and land if they manufacture or process more than 25,000 pounds annually or use more than 10,000 pounds annually. That reporting threshold now will be lowered to 100 pounds or more annually for each facility emitting lead and lead compounds. The TRI is an annual collection of data on toxic emissions that is made available to the public through several sources, including the Internet at http://www.epa.gov/tri.
Young children and developing fetuses are known to absorb lead more readily than adults. Once in the body, lead is distributed to the blood, soft tissue, and bone. Lead exposure can lead to damage to the brain and central nervous system, slow growth, hyperactivity and learning problems. Adults exposed to lead can suffer difficulties during pregnancy, high blood pressure, nervous disorders, and memory and concentration problems.
The new requirements for lead and lead compound emissions will apply to 2001 emissions. The reports on those emissions will be submitted in 2002.
The rule is part of the Agency's effort to better educate the public about toxic chemicals-particularly persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic chemicals. Such chemicals are of significant concern, not only because of their toxicity, but also because they persist in the environment for long periods of time and build up or accumulate in body tissue.
Under the Clinton Administration, TRI requirements have been dramatically expanded. In 1994, the Agency nearly doubled the number of toxic chemicals which must be reported under TRI, and in 1997 seven new industries were required to report their releases. This brought the total reported releases for 1998 to 7.3 billion pounds-nearly triple the number reported prior to 1998.
Toxic chemical emissions data reports are required under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986. EPA issues an annual report on the collected TRI data as part of the Agency's continuing effort to provide access to toxic chemical releases information.
A broad description of the TRI program including chemicals and
relevant industry sectors, guidance in reporting and other
information is available at http://www.epa.gov/tri. Questions
about TRI reporting can be directed to the hotline at
1-800-424-9346 or 703-412-9877.
EFFLUENT GUIDELINES PROPOSED FOR IRON AND STEEL MANUFACTURING
On Dec. 27, 2000, EPA proposed to revise guidelines and standards
for wastewater discharges into waterways from the iron and steel
manufacturing industry, potentially reducing annual discharge of
toxic and nonconventional pollutants by 210 million pounds. The
proposal would establish technology-based effluent limitations
guidelines for discharges into waterways and into publicly owned
treatment works from the operation of new and existing iron and
steel mills. The action reflects many recent advances in water
conservation practices, waste management and wastewater
treatment. Additional information is available at
AIR QUALITY GUIDANCE ISSUED TO STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
In response to increasing interest from state and local planners and government officials, new guidance, called "Improving Air Quality Through Land Use Activities," is now available to help states develop strategies to improve air quality while their communities grow. This type of growth, often referred to as "smart growth," helps foster community development that is both profitable while also being clean, healthy and livable.
The guidance describes options for areas experiencing air quality problems to account for the benefits of their local land use choices. States can account for reductions in vehicle miles traveled and pollution from motor vehicles due to certain land use activities in their State Implementation Plan that show how states will reduce air pollution. Examples include infill projects, urban or "brownfield" redevelopment and mixed-use development. The guidance also demonstrates that EPA recognizes innovation and creativity by allowing states to account for land use activities as voluntary measures.
The guidance is available at EPA's web site at http://www.epa.gov/otaq/traq.