Foundry Fined for Hazardous Waste Violations

January 31, 2005

The Brost Foundry Company agreed to $20,820 in penalties as a part of a settlement with the Ohio EPA. The agency found violations regarding hazardous waste during an inspection at the company, which operates a copper and copper alloys casting business. The agency found the company stored spent foundry sand, which is a hazardous waste, for more than 90 days without a permit. There were other violations too, including failure to:

  • Label and date hazardous waste storage containers
  • Keep hazardous waste containers closed
  • Conduct and record inspections of the hazardous waste storage area
  • Provide all applicable waste codes on land disposal forms for spend foundry sand
  • Implement a personnel training program

The violations have been corrected, according to the Ohio EPA. The company will pay a penalty of $18,738 to Ohio's hazardous waste cleanup fund, managed by the EPA. In lieu of the remaining $2,082, the company agreed to recycle spend foundry sand for at least two years.

Regional Trading for Ozone Pollution a Model for Greenhouse Gas Markets

State-level action to reduce air pollution through emissions trading is working, according to a report released by the World Resources Institute (WRI). This success may point to the future for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions controls in the US and the effort to combat global warming.

Nine Northeast states and the District of Columbia set up a market for permits to emit nitrogen oxides (NOx), a gas that can lead to ozone pollution and a variety of health problems. The states worked through a regional Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) and launched the "OTC NOx Budget Program," which resulted in significant reductions of emissions.

The same steps and processes used to tackle NOx pollution could be used to reduce GHG emissions, the primary cause of global warming, according to the WRI report. "Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading in U.S. States: Observations and Lessons from the OTC NOx Budget Program" claims that the example of successful NOx emissions trading at the state level is likely to bolster state efforts to take the lead with GHG emissions controls. The authors conclude that GHG caps set by states or regions are "critical first steps toward an evolving, global solution" and "send economic signals for innovation and investment in low-emission technologies."

As noted by Tony Blair at the start of the Davos economic summit, the European Union initiated a GHG emissions cap this year, which will help European countries to meet their commitments under the international Kyoto Protocol treaty on global warming.

"With the Kyoto treaty coming into force in February, everyone is looking to see what the U.S. will do. Most of the action is at the state level," said Andrew Aulisi, coauthor of the report.

"The irony is that federal law drove the states to work together to deal with the NOx problem, but the absence of federal law on GHGs appears to be creating the same result. The states have shown that they can take the lead and serve as incubators for programs like emissions trading," Aulisi added.

In a "cap-and-trade" system, the government defines the total amount of pollution that regulated sources can emit over time, with the long-term goal of decreasing emissions. Under such a system, regulated firms have the options of reducing emissions or buying permits, called "allowances," from other firms. Companies with higher costs save money by buying allowances from firms with lower costs, and the firms with lower costs make money by reducing emissions and selling their excess allowances.

The WRI report notes that compliance was nearly perfect with the OTC NOx cap-and-trade program, and it appears that there was little if any displacement of emissions from the OTC-administered region to surrounding regions, a problem known as "leakage." In addition, the program had no discernable effect on economic vitality of the region, and the cost of reducing emissions was lower than the initial forecasts. The OTC program began in 1999 with nine states and the District of Columbia, but helped pave the way for a larger program that today covers nearly all of the eastern half of the United States.

"Once states and regions get started with emissions trading, an important question emerges about the expansion of those systems over time and their linkages to other trading programs," said Jonathan Pershing, coauthor of the report. "Northeast states are designing a cap-and-trade system, Northwest states are requiring new power plants to invest in emissions reductions, and Midwest states want incentives for projects that capture GHGs through improved agricultural practices. We will eventually need an integrated system that can bring all of those economic signals together."

Failure to Report Release Results in $22,500 Fine

Pfizer will pay the $22,500 to settle claims it violated two federal laws: the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA) and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA).

The agreement stems from an explosion and release of a hazardous substance in June 2002 at PfizerÆs Global Research and Development facility on Eastern Point Road in Groton, Conn. The explosion led to the release of about 1,400 pounds of tetrahydrofuran from a chemical warehouse. The release resulted in significant property damage, serious injuries to several employees and a major emergency response operation involving numerous federal, state and local organizations.

Under CERCLA, any release of 1,000 pounds or more of tetrahydrofuran must be reported. During a chemical accident investigation of the incident, EPA determined that Pfizer had failed to comply with the reporting and notification requirements of both CERCLA and EPCRA. Specifically, Pfizer failed to immediately notify the National Response Center of the release, in violation of CERCLA, and failed to immediately notify the State Emergency Response Commission in violation of EPCRA.

"By failing to fulfill its notification requirements, Pfizer deprived the emergency responders of critical information during the early stages of the response to the explosion," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "Those responding to an emergency need immediate information about a chemical release in order to know how to safely approach the scene and initiate proper mitigation procedures."

EPA's Chemical Emergency Preparedness and Prevention Office, along with its regional and state counterparts, has prepared and disseminated information related to EPCRA and chemical releases. To learn more about release reporting requirements, attend one of the nationwide SARA Title III workshops.

Builders Ordered to Restore Damaged Wetlands

Race Builders Inc. & MRM Marine, LLC were recently ordered to stop dumping dredged and fill material into wetlands bordering Magpie Creek in Sacramento, CA, a violation of the Clean Water Act. The EPA also ordered the companies to develop a restoration plan for the site, as well as a 5-year monitoring plan to ensure the restoration project succeeds.

The agency inspected the site in November 2004 at the request of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Inspectors found that Race Builders had used heavy equipment to re-contour a parcel of land, and to move dredged and fill material into a vernal pool adjacent to Magpie Creek.

In addition to requiring the companies to stop their unauthorized activities immediately, the EPA order requires the companies to develop a removal and restoration report to determine if the impacted wetlands can be restored. If restoration is feasible, the companies must restore and revegetate the wetland area and develop a 5-year monitoring program to measure the performance of the restoration project.

If it is determined that a restoration plan is not feasible, the company must identify and restore a similar wetland elsewhere in the Sacramento region. Failure to comply with the EPA order could result in penalties against Race Builders for as much as $32,500 per day per violation.

Vernal pools form in landscape depressions filled by rainwater, groundwater, or overland flows. These seasonal wetlands come alive during winter and spring with uniquely adapted wildflowers, insects, shrimp, and other wildlife many found nowhere else on earth. A number of the fairy shrimp species and plants are listed as threatened or endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act.

$80,000 Fine for SARA Title III Form R Violations

Indalex West, Inc. recently agreed to pay $80,000 for allegedly failing to accurately report the amount of toxic chemicals released by its Modesto, CA, facility.

The company allegedly failed to report air emissions of toluene and xylene from its facility to the EPA's annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) from 2000 to 2002. The company also failed to report the amounts of glycol ethers released by its facility in 2001 and 2002. Both failures to report are violations of the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.

Federal law requires that facilities using toxic chemicals over specified amounts file annual reports of their chemical releases with the EPA and the state. Information from these reports is compiled into a national database and made available to the public.

EPA became aware of the violations during TRI investigations looking at Central Valley facilities. The company has since submitted the required reports.

EPA publishes an annual report entitled the Toxics Release Inventory Public Data Release Report, which summarizes submissions from the prior years and provides a trend analysis of toxic chemical releases. EPA's environmental databases, including TRI data, can be accessed at

For more information on the program attend Environmental Resource CenterÆs SARA Title III workshop.

Toxic Chemical Disclosure Act Pending in Illinois

Illinois Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn and State Rep. John Fritchey (D-Chicago) urged legislative approval of the "Toxic Chemical Disclosure Act", the top environmental reform bill facing the General Assembly this session.

Sponsored by Rep. Fritchey, this legislation will require the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to use individualized notices, newspaper announcements and an easily-accessed web-based searchable database to warn citizens living within 2,500 feet of hazardous waste and toxic contaminants of their proximity to the deadly substances.

"Hazardous and toxic wastes threaten the health of Illinois residents across the state," Quinn said. "This is a serious public health issue. People have a fundamental right to know if there are deadly contaminants affecting the water they drink, cook with or bathe in."

Recent investigative reports showed that hidden toxins, hazardous materials and medical waste products often seep into groundwater without local residents knowing about it. "Unsuspecting Illinois residents send their kids out to play in soil that could cause leukemia or cancer. Often, federal or state bureaucrats know about the tainted sites, yet residents are kept in the dark," Quinn said.

"It is impossible for people to make informed decisions concerning the health and safety of their families if the State doesnÆt provide them with the necessary information," Fritchey said. "This is not about additional investigations by the EPA; it is about sharing information already in its possession."

"Under our Illinois Constitution, the people of our state have the right to live in a æhealthful environmentÆ. The Toxic Chemical Disclosure Act will help us carry out this fundamental constitutional mandate," Quinn said.

Indiana Permit Wizard

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management's Permit Wizard can help you determine what permits you need and obtain them. The Permit Wizard will help you to:

  • Determine licensing, permitting and regulatory requirements;
  • Obtain necessary application forms;
  • Identify who to contact with questions regarding environmental regulatory requirements;
  • Provide Web links to additional guidance, fact sheets, and pages in the IDEM Permit Guide.
  • Using the Permit Wizard

The Permit Wizard is easy to use. Simply answer the questions that appear on your screen, starting by selecting any of the three media areas: land, air, and water. If your facilities requires permits from two or more media categories, you can click on the first media area to begin, and continue forward until you answer all the questions.

After a series of questions, a "shopping list" of permits you may need will be prepared as you answer the questions. Continue until you have visited all three areas. Your customized information will be contained in a results page that can be saved, printed or bookmarked for future reference.

To determine if you need permits from the Department of Natural Resources, visit the DNR Water Permit Application web site.

Sources for Safe Management of E-Waste

Virtually anything with a circuit board in it can be considered e-waste: computers, telephones, pagers, etc. The lead solder as well as other constituents in these can result in the classification of e-waste as hazardous waste. Many states have classified e-waste as Universal Wastes, and the EPA is considering following the path. Therefore, you cannot throw these wastes in the trash. If you have some e-waste that can be recycled, consider the following sources:

Apple, IBM, Dell, Gateway, Lexmark

Many states have recycling initiatives. If your state is not listed below, let us know, and weÆll publicize it in a future Tip of the Week.

Virgina Department of Environmental Quality and the DEQ web site.
Delaware Solid Waste Authority - Electronic Goods Recycling
District of Columbia - Department of Public Works
Maryland Department of the Environment
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency - Waste
North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources - Managing Electronic Waste
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection - Electronic Discards
Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation - Computer & Electronics Recycling in Tennessee
West Virginia DNR - Environmental Resources - Recycling Program

Three Companies Cited for Violation of Architectural Coating Rules

Three related companies, one in Wisconsin and two in Ohio, have received EPA citations for alleged violations of federal architectural coating rules.

Architectural coatings are paints and similar coverings used on building exteriors, pavements and curbs. The cited companies are Rust-Oleum Corp., of Pleasant Prairie, WI, the Euclid Chemical Co. of Cleveland, OH, and their parent company, RPM International Inc. of Medina, OH.

Since January 2001, the agency alleges that the companies have made coatings that exceed limits on smog-producing volatile organic compounds. Together, the companies were allowed to produce a limited amount of these coatings. However, both Rust-Oleum and Euclid Chemical are alleged to have individually produced the limited amount allowed by the rules.

Volatile organic compounds contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, or smog. Smog is formed when a mixture of air pollutants is baked in the hot summer sun. Smog can cause a variety of respiratory problems, including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest pain. People with asthma, children and the elderly are especially at risk, but these health concerns are important to everyone.

These are preliminary findings of violations. To resolve them, EPA may issue a compliance order, assess an administrative penalty or bring suit against the companies. The companies have 30 days from receipt of the notice to meet with EPA to discuss the allegations and how to resolve them.