Register today for MCIC's 2002 North Carolina Environmental, Health and Safety School to be held on August 19-20, 2002, in Research Triangle Park. For additional information about the School, or to register on line goes to: http://www.environmentalinsight.com/env_school/.
The 2002 School provides an ideal opportunity for environmental, health and safety (EHS) professionals to keep current on the latest issues affecting their businesses in North Carolina.
The School offers four concurrent tracks addressing current issues in Air Quality, Water Quality, Solid and Hazardous Waste, and Occupational Health and Safety. Within each track there are five separate classroom courses ranging from very basic topics for those just starting out to more advanced topics for the more experienced practitioner.
Attendees may choose any combination of five classroom courses to attend. This unique format allows each attendee to select a personalized schedule from a menu of twenty informative classroom courses.
In addition to the twenty concurrent classroom sessions, the
School begins with a general session on Monday, August 19, 2002.
This session will feature presentations by The Honorable Cherie
Berry, NC Commissioner of Labor, and Bill Ross, Secretary of NC
DENR. The School closes on Tuesday, August 20 with a luncheon
featuring a keynote speaker.
US SECURES PLEAS TO 10 FELONY COUNTS IN UST CASE
Tanknology-NDE, International, Inc. has agreed to plead guilty to 10 felony counts of presenting false claims and making false statements to federal agencies. The guilty pleas were for false underground storage tank (UST) testing services performed by Tanknology employees at federal facilities in 10 different federal districts. Tanknology also has agreed to pay a $1 million criminal fine and restitution of $1.29 million to the United States.
Tanknology has admitted in a plea agreement that from January 1997 until December 1999, Tanknology testers performed false tests at federal facilities across the country, including U.S. Postal facilities, military bases and a NASA facility. Tanknology is the largest UST testing company in the United States, with four regional offices and six field offices located across the country. Its corporate headquarters are in Austin, Texas.
Underground storage tanks contain petroleum products, including gasoline, and all UST owners and operators are required by law to have their tanks tested to ensure that their systems are not leaking any petroleum into the soil or groundwater. Leaking USTs can present other health and environmental risks, including the potential for fire and explosion.
The pleas arise from an extensive investigation carried out by several federal criminal investigative agencies, in which agents observed Tanknology testers at federal facilities across the country. The false tests ranged from failing to follow required test protocols to "drive-by" tests, where a Tanknology tester was videotaped driving up to a federal facility, driving away after a few minutes and then submitting false data.
In agreeing to plead guilty, Tanknology admitted that the investigation of the corporation produced evidence of a number of improper and/or fraudulent practices carried out by employees. These included:
- Tanknology regional managers set schedules for testers that
caused some testers to be unable to always conduct valid tests
and stay on schedule;
- a corporate bonus system rewarded testers in part for the
number of tests they performed;
- testers knowingly reported test results when, in fact, no tests
had been performed; and
- quality assurance personnel complained to corporate and
regional personnel that testers were inadequately trained and
were performing invalid tests, but the corporation failed to
implement quality assurance that could have prevented invalid
testing practices by testers.
In addition to paying the criminal fine and restitution, Tanknology will serve a term of probation for five years. Tanknology also will implement a quality management system to ensure that false and improper testing practices do not occur again.
EPA has extensive information on underground storage tanks and
federal requirements at http://www.epa.gov/swerust1/overview.htm.
FORMER VIRGINIA TREATMENT PLANT OPERATOR SENTENCED TO PRISON
Richard M. Anthony, formerly of Henry County, Va., was sentenced on July 10 to serve one year in prison and pay over $31,000 in restitution for violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) by discharging sewage without a permit.
Anthony, who was President and owner of Sanville Utilities Inc., constructed and operated the Fairway Acres sewage treatment plant that serviced the Fairway Acres subdivision near Bassett, Va. The defendant failed in 1996 to renew the CWA discharge permit for the plant, which had a capacity of approximately 40,000 gallons per day. In 1999, the defendant failed to pay the plant's electric bill and after repeated attempts to get Anthony to pay the bill, the electric company cut off electric power and partially-treated sewage was then discharged into Blackberry Creek. Virginia's Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) subsequently determined that the creek had a fecal coliform bacteria level of 160,000 colonies, which is 160 times the maximum allowable limit.
Bacteria from sewage can cause infections and intestinal diseases
in people who come in contact with contaminated surface waters.
EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and VDEQ investigated the
case. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's office in Roanoke.
DOT OFFERS ELECTRONIC NOTIFICATION ABOUT REGULATORY ACTIVITIES
DOT now offers electronic notification to people who want an easier way to follow U.S. transportation regulatory activities.
The department's current docket management system (DMS) serves as a federal government model. It makes rulemakings, adjudication documents and public comments on the rulemakings electronically accessible to the public. The initiative announced this week adds to that system by providing an option to be notified every time a substantive, government document is posted in the department's docket. Users will be able to select specific rulemakings or adjudicatory proceedings by their regulatory identification number (RIN), docket number or operating administration. Users also will be able to select regulatory documents that have a federalism, tribalism or small business or entity impact.
The President's Management Council in October selected the U.S. Department of Transportation to lead the Online Rulemaking Initiative. The objective of the initiative is to make it easier for the public to participate in the rulemaking process, establishing a foundation for electronic democracy as envisioned by the Bush administration. The department's new process takes the burden of looking for new regulatory activities at the Department off citizens and replaces it with a more citizen-friendly response to requests to be notified when something new is available.
People who want to use the new service may sign up for it by
going to http://dms.dot.gov/ and selecting "List Serve." The
system will then prompt users to enter their email address. Once
the system verifies a user's email address, he or she may then
select an "agent" which is an automatic document hunter. The user
tells the "agent" what to look for and, every 24 hours, the agent
will retrieve a list of documents matching the criteria selected
by the user.
EPA REGULATES RECYCLING OF FERTILIZERS CONTAINING ZINC
EPA has issued a final rule for zinc micronutrient fertilizers made from recycled hazardous wastes. A micronutrient is an element essential to the growth of plants in very small amounts.
In 1997, EPA launched a major effort to assess how hazardous wastes are used by the fertilizer industry, what types of contaminants are generally found in fertilizer products and the potential risks associated with exposure to contaminants in a wide variety of fertilizers. EPA's study concluded that: 1) fertilizers are generally safe; 2) by volume, fertilizers made from recycled hazardous waste account for less than one-half of one percent of the total fertilizer market in the United States; and 3) nearly all fertilizers made from hazardous waste ingredients are zinc micronutrient fertilizers, which farmers have routinely blended in small amounts with other fertilizers to grow crops such as corn, rice, potatoes and fruit trees.
This new regulation is designed to strengthen and streamline the
federal regulatory system that governs this recycling practice.
The rule will reduce pollution by ensuring that all zinc
fertilizers made from hazardous wastes and secondary materials
are clean, high quality fertilizers. It also encourages recycling
and recovery of valuable zinc resources from materials that might
otherwise be disposed of in landfills. In addition, this action
is designed to make industry more accountable for its recycling
activities and should result in lower prices for farmers who buy
quality zinc fertilizers. The rule will appear in the Federal
Register. For more information, see EPA's web site at:
CLEAN AIR ACT (CAA)
- August 14, 2002 - Each producer, importer, or exporter of a Class II controlled substance must submit a report to EPA providing information on the production, imports, and exports of such chemicals during the previous quarter.
- August 29, 2002 - Existing sources subject to organic hazardous air pollutant emission controls under 40 CFR 63, Subpart G, for synthetic organic chemical manufacturing industry production processes must submit quarterly report to EPA.
TOXIC SUBSTANCES CONTROL ACT(TSCA)
- August 25, 2002 - Quadrennial reporting period begins for chemical manufacturers and importers to submit current data on the production, volume, plant site, and site-limited status of certain substances listed on the TSCA chemical substances inventory.
NATIONAL ACTION PLAN DEVELOPED TO FIND SUBSTITUTES FOR ALKYL-LEAD IN AVIATION AND RACE CAR FUELS
EPA has developed a final National Action Plan for alkyl-lead under the Persistent, Bioaccumulative and Toxics (PBT) program. PBTs are toxic chemicals that persist in the environment and bioaccumulate in food chains, thus posing risks to human health and ecosystems. Alkyl-lead compounds are one of the 12 substances on the Agency's PBT strategy list, for which action plans are created to reduce the use of these chemicals and to develop safer alternatives. Alkyl-lead compounds are used as a fuel additive to reduce engine "knock" and to help lubricate internal engine components. Currently, the only significant uses for these compounds in the United States are in gasoline for general aviation (piston-engine) aircraft and racing gasoline.
One key action outlined in this plan is a new voluntary effort led by the National Association for Stock Car Automobile Racing to work jointly with their primary fuel supplier to identify safer alternatives to alkyl-lead fuel additives. EPA will provide technical assistance. Work will continue with the Federal Aviation Agency and appropriate private parties to identify substitutes for alkyl-lead compounds in aviation gas.