Getting an Air Permit Just Got Easier in Michigan

June 24, 2005

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality recently added a new permit to the Michigan Timely Application and Permit Service (MiTAPS), MichiganÆs one-stop shop for businesses and industry to search for needed permits, and apply online. The new permit application is the Air Use Permit To Install application for new or modified sources of air contaminants.

ôThe DEQ commitment to expanding the MiTAPS program is a demonstration of our overall commitment to continually improving our permitting processes,ö said DEQ Director Steven E. Chester. ôBy eliminating unnecessary barriers and red tape from our programs, we are able to do our jobs as stewards of the environment more efficiently, while at the same time helping businesses and municipalities grow.ö

Ohio EPA and Ohio DOT Reach Settlement Over Storm water Runoff Violations

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) must comply with storm water runoff regulations and pay a $21,052 civil penalty through an Ohio EPA settlement associated with ODOT's 12.6-mile Lancaster bypass project. Storm water runoff from this construction project has discharged to Hunter Run, Little Walnut Creek, Big Walnut Creek, the Hocking River, as well as various tributaries of these water bodies. Ohio EPA received a complaint from the Friends of the Hocking River in October 2004 regarding storm water violations at the site.

ODOT has permits for this site from Ohio EPA that detail measures to prevent or minimize runoff from construction activities. However, numerous inspections by Ohio EPA revealed violations of the permits, which included:

  • failing to implement vegetative stabilization in certain areas
  • failing to have adequate numbers of sediment barriers and sediment settling ponds in numerous areas of the project
  • having sediment settling ponds smaller than required
  • discharging sediment-laden water directly into Big Walnut Creek without proper treatment; and
  • failing to install erosion control measures

ODOT has agreed to immediately take measures to demonstrate compliance with storm water runoff regulations. In addition, ODOT will develop a plan that addresses education and training for relevant ODOT staff and contractors; what ODOT and/or contractors will do in the event of runoff violations; and measures that can be taken with contractors to ensure compliance with storm water runoff regulations.

Medina County Manufacturer Agrees to Purchase and Install New Air Pollution Control Equipment

As part of a settlement for violating Ohio's air permitting requirements, Viking-Worthington Steel Enterprise, LLC, has agreed to purchase and install new air pollution control equipment at its facility located in Valley City. Viking-Worthington will add an additional scrubber and other equipment designed to reduce hydrochloric acid air emissions and wastewater discharges. The company also will recycle 100 percent of its spent acid by converting it into ferric chloride for use at wastewater treatment plants.

In addition to the on-site improvements, Viking-Worthington will contribute $2,560 to help retrofit diesel school buses and pay a $3,200 civil penalty to support environmental education and air pollution control programs. Viking-Worthington's steel processing facility uses hydrochloric acid to remove oxidation from rolled steel and applies a rust preventative oil to the steel prior to rerolling.

A settlement was reached after the Akron Regional Air Quality Management District and Ohio EPA cited the company for operating without the proper air permit and failing to submit required reports.

Additional Comments Sought on Parts of Hazardous Air Emissions Rule

EPA will reopen for public comment certain aspects of its National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Industrial, Commercial and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters, issued in September 2004. The agency is taking this action in response to a petition filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP).

Facilities may comply with the requirements of the September 2004 final rule by demonstrating that their emissions have minimal impact on human health. This approach, known as a health-based compliance alternative, is outlined in appendix A of the rule. In this reconsideration, EPA is requesting additional public comment on the approach a facility owner or operator may use to demonstrate eligibility for the health-based compliance alternatives.

The environmental groups' petition asks for reconsideration and requests a stay of the health-based alternatives. Although EPA is not granting the petitioners' request for a stay, the agency will provide a 45-day comment period, which begins with the reconsideration notice's publication in the Federal Register.

EPA estimates that this rule will reduce total annual air toxics between 50,600 - 58,500 tons per year at full implementation (in the 5th year after promulgation), with compliance costs estimated to total $1.4 billion - $1.7 billion in the same period.

EPA Cites Foundry for Failure to Test Air Emissions for Dioxins

EPA Region 5 cited Multi-Cast Corp. for alleged clean-air violations at the companyÆs aluminum in Wauseon, Ohio. EPA alleges that Multi-Cast failed to test for dioxins and furans at its 12 aluminum melting furnaces and failed to notify EPA of its compliance status. In addition, EPA said the company failed to comply with labeling and reporting requirements.

These are preliminary findings of violations. To resolve them, EPA may issue a compliance order, assess an administrative penalty or bring suit against the company. Multi-Cast has 30 days from receipt of the notice to meet with EPA to discuss resolving the allegations.

City Fined$157,500 for Violations at POTW

EPA announced it has proposed a fine of up to $157,500 against the city of Keene, New Hampshire for violations of federal Clean Water laws at its wastewater treatment plant and sewer collection system. These violations resulted in sewage overflowing from the system on dozens of occasions.

The penalty follows an administrative order issued in September by EPAÆs New England office that ordered the city to set a schedule for coming into compliance with the Clean Water Act. Since the issuance of the order, the city has been working toward achieving compliance.

In the complaint, EPA said Keene exceeded effluent limits for zinc in the cityÆs National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit; failed to develop appropriate local limits for industries that discharge wastewater to the system; and failed to properly operate and maintain its collection system. EPA claims that KeeneÆs violations led to more than 30 overflows of untreated sanitary sewage, some of which reached local waterways.

KeeneÆs public sewer system includes a secondary wastewater treatment facility that discharges 3.5 million gallons per day of treated wastewater into the Ashuelot River. The collection system is made up of about 86 miles of sewer, 2000 manholes, five city-owned pump stations and 10 privately-owned pump stations.

On September 27, 2004, EPA issued an enforcement order against the City of Keene, in part, to correct the violations that are the basis for this penalty complaint. The order required the city to establish a schedule for actions to better operate and maintain the system; eliminate sewer system overflows; and establish technically-based limits for certain industries discharging wastewater to the system.

Specifically, the city was required to develop and implement a plan to remove structural deficiencies; evaluate manholes and collection system accessibility; to put in place a plan to restore the capacity of its sewer system, including a preventative maintenance program; to prepare a report analyzing the appropriate effluent limits for local industries that discharge to the system, and to put appropriate local limits for industries into its sewer use ordinance.

TDMLs Announced in New Jersey

DEP proposed pollution limits, targeting fecal coliform and phosphorus that cause water quality impairments in more than 155 miles /550 acres of waterways across the state.

"This is one more tough action that continues New Jersey's commitment to safeguard water resources for residents and future generations," said Acting Governor Richard J. Codey. "Identifying sources and reducing pollutants is an important step in ensuring New Jersey has safe and healthy water for drinking, and recreational activities."

Total Maximum Daily Loads, or TMDLs, are developed for those waters of the state that do not currently meet water quality standards. In developing a TMDL, DEP identifies the maximum amount of a pollutant that a water body can contain and still meet New Jersey's water quality standards. The TMDL then assesses the existing pollutant load in the stream and identifies sources of that pollutant. The TMDL goes on to establish the reduction in pollution load for each source that is necessary to restore water quality to comply with state standards.

Lastly, DEP develops an implementation plan to achieve those reductions.

New Jersey now proposes strengthened pollution limits through additional 23 TMDLs aimed at reducing fecal coliform and phosphorus. The approved TMDLs that address more than 155 total miles and 550-acres are located in five watershed regions including: Atlantic Coastal, Lower Delaware, Northeast, Northwest and Raritan. Water quality will be restored with strict requirements for fecal coliform pollution reductions of 21 to 98 percent and phosphorus reductions of 50 to 53 percent. The DEP will achieve the targeted reductions by addressing the sources for fecal coliform and phosphorus including failing septic systems.

The federal Clean Water Act (CWA) established section 303(d) that requires states to prepare and submit a report that identifies waters that do not meet water quality standards. This list is known as the 303(d) list. The water bodies on the 303(d) list have impaired water quality and the state is required to develop a TMDL for each pollutant in these water bodies by priority. The DEP updates its 303(d) list of impaired waters every two years and submits the list to the EPA for approval. New Jersey then targets these water bodies to reduce and eliminate the source of both point source pollution and nonpoint source (NPS) pollution contributing to the degradation of water quality.

DEP has adopted 230 TMDLs during the last two years. In 2004, 27 TMDLs were successfully completed including 3 for fecal coliform, 9 for phosphorus, 6 for arsenic, and 9 for temperature. In 2003, 203 TMDLs were completed statewide; 168 for fecal coliform in streams and 35 for phosphorus in lakes.

Trade in Your Old Lawn Mower and Get Up to $150 from Illinois

Illinois EPA Director Renee Cipriano announced community events for IL residents to help clean the air by turning in their gas-powered lawnmowers for a rebate for the purchase of electric, rechargeable, or push lawnmowers, and exchanging old gas cans for new, cleaner models.

The rebates are funded through a special grant Illinois EPA received from the U.S. EPA last year. In 2004, participants turned in 691 mowers and exchanged 1,917 gas cans at 11 events around the state. Illinois EPA estimates that last year, the program reduced pollutants that contribute to smog by 12.26 tons û equivalent to removing 289 cars from the highway. The next event will be held in conjunction with Illinois EPA Household Hazardous Waste Collections, on Saturday from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. and those turning in a gas-powered mower will be able to get up to $150 in rebates towards purchase of an electric or manual mower. It will be conducted on June 25 in River Grove at Triton College, 2000 N. 5th Ave. On July 16, a separate event will be held in Chicago at the Dept. of Streets and Sanitation Ward yard at Goose Island, 1150 N. North Branch Street. This event is co-sponsored by the Chicago Dept. of Environment. Rebates at this event will be $75.

ôThe rebate program makes it easier than ever to make the transition from gas-powered lawnmowers,ö noted Director Cipriano. ôA wide-variety of zero or nearly zero emissions mowers is now available to fit a variety of lawnsùranging from simple push mowers to cordless mowers with long-lasting rechargeable batteries.ö

There are an estimated 2.9 million gas-powered lawnmowers in the six-county Chicago metro area alone. The exchange of 1,000 gas-powered lawnmowers for electric mowers has the potential of reducing pollutants that contribute to smog by 9.8 tons per year.

For those not ready to turn in their gas mowers, the use of new low-emissions gas cans will make a significant contribution toward cleaner air. The exchange of 1,000 conventional gas cans for the new and improved model will reduce pollution from volatile organic compound by 3.6 tons per year.

At each event, participants will be directed to separate lines for lawnmowers or gas cans. They will receive a form to be sent along with a receipt for their new, more environment-friendly lawnmower to mail in for the rebate. Participants will not have to get out of their cars. There is a limit of one mower rebate per family and two new gas cans, while supplies last.

The mower and gas can program is one of several IEPA efforts to partner with local governments and organizations and get residents personally involved in reducing pollutants. Other programs include Partners for Clean Air and Green Pays on Green Days programs.

Switch to Biodiesel and Get a Rebate from the State of Illinois

House Bill 931 will now allow rebates for drivers using fuels with a minimum 20 percent biodiesel blend. Until today, only 80 percent or higher biodiesel fuel blends had been eligible, and most diesel vehicles cannot use 80 percent blends without major modifications.

ôMaking 20 percent or higher biodiesel fuel blends eligible for Illinois EPA rebates is another important step by the General Assembly and the Governor and another reason why Illinois is a leader in producing and using alternative fuels,ö said bill sponsor Sen. Deanna Demuzio (D-Carlinville).

ôAlternative fuels are cleaner, greener and becoming more affordable. Expanding their use now provides economic, environmental and energy benefits for Illinois today,ö said Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg), the House sponsor.

Under the current Illinois EPA program, there are three types of rebates designed to reimburse consumers for the additional costs of:

  • purchasing an alternate fuel vehicle
  • converting a vehicle to run on an alternate fuel
  • consistently using an alternate fuel instead of gasoline or diesel

The maximum amount for any rebate is $4,000 per vehicle and may vary by fuel. The eligible fuels include biodiesel (B20 and higher blends), E-85, natural gas, propane, and hydrogen, a new addition. The expanded alternative fuels program will be funded with existing appropriations from the Alternate Fuels Fund. The bill goes into effect immediately.

$100,000 Penalty for Hazardous Waste Violations

Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens announced that Metco Metal Finishing has agreed to pay a $100,000 penalty for hazardous waste violations at the company's south Phoenix facility, where a toxic-gas release rendered two employees unconscious in late 2003.

A night-shift employee at the Metco facility mixed potassium cyanide with a tank of sulfuric acid, which caused a cloud of poisonous cyanic gas to erupt and leaving two employees unconscious. Both employees were hospitalized after being dragged to fresh air.

ADEQ inspected the facility after the incident and cited Metco for numerous violations, including improper storage, handling, and labeling of hazardous waste; treating, storing, and disposing of hazardous waste without a permit; and failing to protect against the release of hazardous waste that would endanger human health.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Announces California Greenhouse Gas Reductions

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets for California at the United Nations World Environment Day in San Francisco. The Governor signed Executive Order S-3-05 which establishes these GHG targets and charges the California Environmental Protection Agency secretary with the coordination of the oversight of efforts to achieve them.

"California will continue to be a leader in the fight against global warming and protecting our environment. Today I am establishing clear and ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our state to protect our many natural resources, public health, agriculture and diverse landscape," said Governor Schwarzenegger. "By working together we can meet the needs of both our economy and environment. Together we can continue California's environmental heritage and legacy of leadership in innovation in cutting-edge technology."

The targets the Governor announced today call for a reduction of GHG emissions to 2000 levels by 2010; a reduction of GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020; and a reduction of GHG emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. You can see the GovernorÆs speech without attending the meeting by clicking on this link.

Wood Mulch Classified as Hazardous Waste

EPA recently issued a clarification memo that indicates that wood mulch produced from CCA-treated wood is not exempt from regulation as hazardous waste under 40 CFR 261.4(b)(9). This is because the intended end uses of the CCA-treated wood products are as building materials, not for manufacturing mulch.

For example, CCA-treated wood waste generated during construction using CCA-treated wood, is generated by persons using the wood for its intended end use, and therefore would not be regulated as hazardous waste under this exemption (unless of course this wood waste is then used to produce mulch). In contrast, persons who shred or chip waste CCA-treated lumber into wood mulch for uses such as in landscaping applications are not using the treated wood for its intended end use. Therefore, the exemption at 261.4(b)(9) does not exempt wood mulch produced from discarded CCA-treated wood.

Lack of Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan Leads to Fines of up to $32,500 per Day

EPA ordered Millers Dismantler/Towing Services to comply with Clean Water Act requirements at its facility in Oakland, Calif. The company was cited for violations that could result in oil and other contaminants leaking into the San Francisco Bay. Fines of up to $32,500 per day per violation are possible.

In May, EPA inspectors observed non-storm water discharges flowing off Millers facility toward a municipal storm drain that flows to the Bay. EPA inspectors noted the company left vehicle batteries and parts exposed and without adequate pollution containment. The inspectors also observed oil stains and pools of oil under and around vehicles, and around loose parts such as tires, engines, and transmissions.

The company had not developed a storm water pollution prevention plan and did not have a monitoring program for the facility. In addition, Millers failed to respond to two EPA information requests sent on the matter in July and Nov. 2004. All of these actions are violations of California's storm water permit, which auto dismantlers are required to follow.

"Any storm water discharges from operations like Millers' must have pollution controls in place to protect coastal waters," said Alexis Strauss, the EPA's director for water programs in the Pacific Southwest region. "The company must properly manage its facility and have plans and monitoring in place to prevent any contamination from entering its storm water."

The company has 30 days from the date of the EPA order to

  • develop and submit a storm water pollution prevention plan and a monitoring program
  • provide a detailed explanation of how it has corrected the violations and a time schedule for correcting any remaining issues
  • implement practices to prevent pollutants from being discharged with the storm water
  • submit its last five annual reports

The EPA's storm water permit regulations require facilities to have the proper pollution prevention controls in place to prevent any contaminants from being discharged with storm water to protect coastal waters. The agency is focusing its efforts to ensure that auto dismantler facilities comply with their storm water permits and regulations.