Harvard's web site has good example of labels for hazardous waste containers at laboratory satellite accumulation points. Browse through their Web site at http://www.uos.harvard.edu/ehs/env.shtml to benchmark your hazardous waste management procedures with the theirs.
FMCSA Proposes Establishing Hazardous Materials Safety Permit Program
To enhance the safety and security of hazardous materials shipments, the U.S. Department of Transportation's (USDOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has proposed requiring all motor carriers, including Canadian and Mexico-domiciled motor carriers in the United States, to have a hazardous materials safety permit when transporting four types of hazardous materials in interstate or intrastate commerce.
"Hazmat cargo represents a large segment of the freight being transported daily across America, and the Department is committed to ensuring its integrity and security," U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta said. "This proposal would coordinate the resources of two DOT agencies to enhance the safety and security of hazardous materials being transported by motor carriers."
Materials in the hazardous materials safety permit program are highway route-controlled quantities of radioactive materials; more than 55 pounds of Class A or B explosives; more than one quart of hazardous material designated as extremely toxic by inhalation; and a package of 3,500 gallons or more of liquified natural gas. The safety permit would be valid for two years. Motor carriers would need to have a copy of the safety permit in the vehicle transporting a designated hazardous material.
"This rulemaking builds on our continuous efforts to ensure the safety and security of the more than 800,000 shipments of hazardous materials hauled by motor carriers on U.S. highways every day," FMCSA Administrator Annette M. Sandberg said.
Implementation of the safety permit requirement would be phased in beginning Jan. 1, 2005. For motor carriers already transporting these materials in interstate or intrastate commerce, there would be a two-year phase-in period to obtain the safety permit. A motor carrier that is not involved in the transportation of a permitted material on Jan. 1, 2005, would need to apply for and receive a safety permit before transporting hazardous materials.
To obtain a safety permit from FMCSA, the proposal requires that motor carriers have a satisfactory rating, a satisfactory security program, and be registered with the Department's Research and Special Programs Administration. An intrastate carrier would be required to apply for a USDOT number as a "new entrant" and undergo a compliance review. An intrastate carrier would not become subject to other requirements in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) unless they already apply.
The FMCSA is also proposing that a safety permit be suspended or revoked if a motor carrier fails to maintain its satisfactory rating, fails to comply with an out-of-service order, does not comply with the FMCSRs, hazardous materials regulations, or compatible state requirements, or fails to pay a civil penalty.
The rule would also require a pre-trip inspection of a commercial motor vehicle transporting a highway-route-controlled quantity of radioactive material. The pre-trip inspection would need to be performed by a government inspector employed by or under contract to a federal, state, or local government.
Under this proposed rule, the FMCSA would not require states to use uniform forms and procedures for intrastate transportation of hazardous materials nor would it require states to register those transporting hazardous materials intrastate.
Additionally, the FMCSA proposes to add "acute" and "critical" regulations to fully assess a rating of carriers that transport hazardous materials. Acute regulations would be those needing immediate corrective action by a motor carrier. Critical regulations would be those where noncompliance relates to management and operational controls. These regulations include failing to provide security awareness training, failure to adhere to a required security plan, and failure to make copies of a security plan available to hazmat employees.
Written comments on this supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking should be sent by Oct. 20 to the USDOT Docket Facility, ATTN: Docket No. FMCSA-97-2180, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20590-0001; fax (202) 493-2251. This notice of proposed rulemaking was published August 19, 2003 in the Federal Register. The rule also is posted on the Internet and can be viewed after searching at http://dms.dot.gov/. Comments may be submitted at http://dms.dot.gov/submit.
Recycled Used Oil Management Standards Final Rule Issued
On July 30, 2003, EPA issued the Recycled Used Oil Management Standards Final Rule (68 FR 44659). The rule eliminates drafting errors and ambiguities in the used oil management standards in 40 CFR Part 279. EPA clarifies three separate issues in this rule. First, EPA clearly defines when used oil containing PCBs is regulated under the RCRA used oil management standards and when it is regulated under TSCA. Secondly, the agency clarifies that mixtures of conditionally exempt small quantity generator waste and used oil are subject to the RCRA used oil management standards regardless of how the mixture is recycled. Finally, EPA explains that initial marketers of on-specification used oil only need to retain records of used oil shipments to the facilities to which the initial marketers deliver used oil, but they do not need to retain records of any subsequent transfers of the oil.
The effective date of the rule is September 29, 2003. A copy of the final rule can be found on the Internet at the following URL: http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/usedoil/uopcbrul/uopcbidx.htm
If you would like to learn more about the amendments to the used oil management standards, attend Environmental Resource Center's Hazardous Waste Management, The Complete Course.
Guide Available to Assist in Hazardous Waste Determinations
The State of Connecticut has published a plain-English guide to using generator knowledge (as opposed to testing) when performing hazardous waste determinations. The guide refers exclusively to the federal regulations, so it would be helpful in most states. The guide recommends that hazardous waste determinations be updated annually or whenever there are changes in the waste. It also provides guidance as to when the use of generator knowledge is unacceptable. The guide is available on the Web at http://dep.state.ct.us/wst/hazardous/hwd.htm.
Hospital Takes Advantage of EPA's Environmental Self-Audit Program
Taking advantage of EPA's self-audit program, Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center in New York City, will conduct a comprehensive environmental audit of its facilities. This agreement covers 53 buildings located throughout its two main campuses and numerous other owned or affiliated operations. In exchange for the self audit, EPA will reduce or waive penalties for violations discovered and corrected.
“This agreement will benefit the environment, the hospital and its patients,” said EPA Regional Administrator Jane M. Kenny. “By reviewing its environmental practices, Bronx-Lebanon will ensure that it is being a good environmental steward and a good neighbor.”
“We at Bronx-Lebanon have continually strived for and achieved excellence,” stated Miguel A. Fuentes Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer, Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center. “This agreement will enable us to further extend our healthcare leadership position into the environmental area as well as, most importantly, reinforce Bronx-Lebanon’s essential role as an economic anchor and an engine for positive change in the community.”
The agreement continues EPA’s regional initiative to help hospitals comply with environmental regulations. Under the agreement, signed July 15 by EPA Regional Administrator Jane M. Kenny; Sheldon Ortsman, Vice President, Operations/Human Resources; Bruce Peckman, Senior Vice President, Ambulatory/Managed Care & Regulatory Services; and Octavio Marin, Vice President & Executive Director, Bronx-Lebanon Special Care Center; Bronx-Lebanon is undertaking a comprehensive environmental audit. It will self-report any violations, correct deficiencies in its environmental management processes and take steps to prevent further recurrence of violations. The audit began last week, and the hospital will submit three disclosure reports to EPA between October 15 and November 30, 2003. Wherever possible, Bronx- Lebanon will correct discovered violations within 60 days of discovery. EPA has agreed to waive the portions of any “gravity-based penalties,” those that are dependent on the seriousness of the violations, for self-disclosed violations.
The agreement covers all major federal environmental programs including air, water, pesticides, solid and hazardous wastes, hazardous substances and chemicals, environmental response, emergency planning, community right-to-know and toxic substances control. It stems from EPA’s Healthcare Compliance Initiative to help hospitals comply with environmental regulations, which is part of a larger EPA Voluntary Audit Policy.
The Agency established the policy to encourage prompt disclosure and correction of environmental violations, safeguarding human health and the environment. Many hospitals were not aware of their responsibilities under various environmental laws or had failed to implement effective compliance strategies. As part of the initiative, EPA sent letters to 480 hospitals in New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and held free workshops to help hospitals comply. In addition, the Agency established a Web site that provides information about their duties under the law, and warned hospitals that EPA inspections of their facilities – with the risk of financial penalties – were imminent. Hospitals can take advantage of the Agency’s Voluntary Audit Policy, through which they can investigate and disclose environmental violations to EPA and, as a compliance incentive, receive a partial or complete reduction in financial penalties.
This is EPA’s fifteenth self-audit agreement and the sixth with a hospital in this region. Agreements have been signed with Rutgers University, the State University of New York (SUNY), Syracuse University, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, The City University of New York (CUNY), Clarkson University, Canisius College, Pace University, Hofstra University, Winthrop University Hospital, St. Francis Hospital, New Island Hospital, Wyckoff Heights Medical Center and Northern Westchester Hospital. Additional agreements are expected.
Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center is the largest voluntary, not-for-profit healthcare system serving the South and Central Bronx, with 833 beds at two major hospital divisions (the Concourse and Fulton) a specialized nursing facility for AIDS and geriatric patients; and an extensive “ BronxCare” network of more than 30 ambulatory medical practices throughout the community.
Flooring Company Uses Landfill Emissions to Power Plant
The City of LaGrange, Ga., EPA, and Interface Flooring Systems announced the formation of a partnership to convert naturally occurring methane gas from the local landfill into a green energy source to fuel two heaters and a boiler at Interface’s Kyle plant. On hand to sign the agreement were LaGrange Mayor Jeff Lukken and John Wells, president of Interface Flooring Systems.
"We believe this is a first for the American carpet industry," said John Wells. "By turning waste into fuel for our manufacturing process, we are eliminating harmful emissions and increasing the use of renewable energy. We are not only reducing our negative footprint, we are moving towards our goal of being a restorative company." Interface estimates it will reduce natural gas consumption at the plant by 20 percent, but the offset of greenhouse gas emissions is more substantial.
"The magnitude of this project is such that it offsets the greenhouse gas emissions for all of Interface’s North American carpet manufacturing facilities, making them all climate neutral," said Wells, explaining that unburned methane is 21 times as potent as carbon dioxide in its contribution to global warming.
"EPA commends Interface and the city of LaGrange for their leadership in initiating this renewable energy project. By preventing emissions of methane, voluntary projects like Interface's help businesses and communities protect the environment and build a sustainable energy future," said Chris Voell, Southeast Manager, EPA Landfill Methane Outreach Program. Additionally, the World Resources Institute facilitated the project and confirmed its environmental value.
Landfill gas is generated when organic materials in the landfill decompose, and is approximately 50 percent methane and 50 percent carbon dioxide. When methane escapes into the atmosphere, not only does it contribute to global warming, it creates odors, contributes to local smog, and creates a safety hazard. The City of LaGrange Landfill will be modified with a system to collect the gas and deliver it through a pipeline to Interface’s Kyle plant, located 10 miles away. There it will be burned and converted to heat, just like natural gas. The City of LaGrange is retrofitting the landfill for gas collection, and the pipeline is being added incrementally to an existing city project to upgrade natural gas pipelines. Interface is retrofitting two natural gas heaters and a boiler to run on the converted methane.
Interface Flooring Systems is the flagship company of Atlanta-based Interface, Inc., a leading global manufacturer of floorcoverings and other textiles. The landfill gas project in LaGrange, Ga., is part of a global effort to find renewable sources of energy to power the company’s operations and to reduce harmful emissions. Interface leads the industry in the application of renewable energy through on-site solar energy generation and green energy contracts, including wind and bio-mass. The company is a charter partner in the U.S. EPA Climate Leaders Program, a voluntary partnership challenging businesses to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and is also a founding member of the Green Power Market Development Group (GPMDG), a partnership of leading multinational corporations, the World Resources Institute, and Business for Social Responsibility. Interface Flooring Systems is one of 20 founding partners in the Green Power Partnership, a U.S. EPA program aimed at boosting the market for renewable energy alternatives that reduce the environmental and health risks of conventional electricity generation.
For more information on Interface’s environmental initiatives, visit http://www.interfacesustainability.com.
EPA Fines Hot Tub Manufacturer for Toxic Chemical Release Reporting Violations
EPA fined a hot tub manufacturer $21,250 for failing to report the amount of toxic chemicals it processes at its Anderson, Calif. facility, a violation of federal emergency planning and community right-to-know laws.
Phoenix Spas Corp. failed to submit timely, complete and correct reports indicating the amount of styrene and diisocyanates processed at its plant in 1999, 2000 and 2001. The facility processes styrene and diisocyanates in its hot tub manufacturing operations. Styrene is a suspected carcinogen, and diisocyanates are suspected respiratory hazards.
EPA inspectors discovered the violations during a routine inspection in 2002.
"Facilities that use, store and release hazardous chemicals owe it to the neighboring community and their employees to inform the EPA and the state of their chemical releases and transfers," said Enrique Manzanilla, the EPA's Cross Media Division director for the Pacific Southwest. "This penalty should remind others that we are maintaining a close watch over chemical reporting practices and are serious about enforcing community right-to-know laws."
Federal law requires certain facilities using chemicals over certain amounts to file annual reports of chemical releases with the EPA and the state. The reports estimate the amounts of each toxic chemical released to the environment, treated or recycled on-site, or transferred off-site for waste management. Information is then compiled into a national database and made available to the public.
Each year the EPA publishes the Toxic Release Inventory, which summarizes the prior year's submissions and provides detailed trend analysis of toxic chemical releases.