NASA Has First Federal Facility Using Landfill Gas as On-Site Energy Source

May 09, 2003
EPA Administrator Christie Whitman recognized the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as the first federal agency to directly use landfill gas to produce energy at one of its facilities. The federal space agency is using this renewable energy source to heat buildings at the Goddard Space Flight Center, located in Greenbelt, Md. The gas comes from the Sandy Hill Landfill owned by Prince George's County, Md.

NASA's decision to utilize landfill gas, a renewable energy source, will result in significant economic and environmental benefits. By reducing their use of fossil fuels, NASA will save taxpayers millions of dollars over the next 10 years. The switch to a cleaner fuel source will also prevent as much pollution annually as planting 47,000 acres of trees, or removing 35,000 cars from Maryland's roads.

The Goddard Space Flight Center landfill gas project is the culmination of a successful public-private partnership between Prince George's County, Md., Waste Management, Toro Energy, NASA and EPA's Landfill Methane Outreach Program in pursuing the economic and environmental benefits of landfill gas energy. Currently, more than 340 landfills in the United States harness landfill gas for energy. If the greenhouse gas reductions from these projects were combined, it would have the same annual climate change benefit as planting 17 million acres of forest, or eliminating the emissions from 12 million cars.

EPA's Landfill Methane Outreach Program is a voluntary assistance and partnership program that promotes the use of landfill gas as a renewable energy source. By preventing emissions of methane through the development of these energy projects, this EPA program helps businesses, states, and communities protect the environment and build a sustainable future. For more information on EPA's Landfill Methane Outreach Program, visit .

EPA & NOAA Join Forces to Enhance and Extend Air Quality Forecasts

EPA and the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) marked World Asthma Day this week by announcing a partnership to jointly develop a forecasting tool which will enhance the ability to predict air quality in our communities. The new model will create a consistent national, numerical system of forecasting ozone and particulate matter. This tool will provide the Air Quality Index in daily weather forecasts, and will report a more accurate warning of the days in which outdoor activities could prove to be a health risk.

Ozone is a clear gas that is formed when pollutants emitted from cars, power plants and other industrial sources react chemically in the presence of sunlight. At ground level, high concentrations of ozone can irritate the respiratory system, reduce lung function and aggravate asthma. Particulate matter is also associated with aggravated asthma, chronic bronchitis and increased hospital admissions and emergency room visits for people with heart and lung disease.

May 6 is World Asthma Day, and it coincides with the beginning of weather reports that will issue "ozone alerts" when the ground-level ozone (or smog) can exceed EPA standards because of a combination of hot, hazy weather and pollutants from vehicles and industrial activity. On days when ozone is predicted to be high, many communities take steps to reduce pollution.

In the first phase of the collaboration, EPA and NOAA will produce a model that provides daily forecasts for ozone in the northeastern U.S. by Sept. 2004. Within five years, following initial deployment and evaluation, the enhanced forecasting system will be used nationwide. The air quality forecasting model is projected to be able to forecast particulate matter and provide a four day forecast within 10 years.

The two agencies secured the arrangement announced today by signing two documents which identify research objectives and codify their long-standing relationship in the area of air quality and related health effects.

National Arbor Day Foundation Honors EPA's Brownfields Program

In recognition of its environmental restoration and preservation efforts, EPA's Brownfields program has received a 2003 National Arbor Day Foundation Project Award. The Foundation is a national, million-member, nonprofit educational organization dedicated to tree planting and environmental stewardship.

The EPA Brownfields National Program Manager, Linda Garczynski, accepted the award April 26 in Nebraska. City, Neb., during the 31st annual Arbor Day weekend celebration in the historic home of Arbor Day founder J. Sterling Morton.

Launched in 1995, the Brownfields program encourages redevelopment of America's 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites. Redevelopment approaches have included the conversion of industrial waterfronts to riverfront parks, landfills to golf courses, and rail corridors to recreational trails. Currently, more than 44 different Brownfields-to-"greenspace" projects (such as parks, trails and nature preserves) are in various stages of completion. The Brownfields program provides funding incentives, feasibility tools, and grants up to $1,000,000 to help States, tribes, communities and other organizations prevent, assess, safely clean up, and reuse Brownfields.

In January 2002, President Bush signed into law the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act, which expanded EPA's ability to provide grants for Brownfields assessment and cleanup. Since its inception in 1995, the Brownfields Program has awarded over 600 grants to assess Brownfields sites and to make loans to conduct cleanups.

Learn more about EPA's Brownfields program at and about the National Arbor Day Foundation and its programs at

FAA Proposes $60,000 Penalty Against Delta Air Lines, Inc. for Hazmat Violations

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Southern Region, has proposed to assess a $60,000 civil penalty against Delta Air Lines, Inc. of Atlanta, GA, for allegedly violating Department of Transportation hazardous materials regulations.

The FAA alleges that on June 16, 2001, Delta Air Lines improperly offered a fiberboard box containing a total of nine aerosol cans containing penetrating lubricant, spray grease, insecticide, and epoxy coating to Federal Express (FedEx) for transportation by air. Aerosols are flammable gas, a hazardous material. Ground handling employees at the FedEx sort facility in Ft. Lauderdale, FL discovered the shipment leaking.

Delta Air Lines offered the hazardous materials for transportation when they were not packaged, marked, classed, described, documented, or in condition for shipment as required by regulations. Delta Air Lines also did not make available at all times the required emergency response information.

Delta Air Lines has 30 days from receipt of the FAA notice to submit a reply to the agency.

Company Vice-President Receives 18 Months in Prison for CWA Violations

U.S. District Court Judge Cameron Currie imposed sentences in one of the most significant environmental crimes cases in South Carolina history surrounding the discharge of toxic wastewater that caused fishkill and shut down of a wastewater treatment plant in Lexington County.

Judge Currie sentenced Tin Products Vice President James Goldman to 18 months in prison, 100 hours of community service and a $100 special assessment. Melanie Purvis, who had served as environmental supervisor under Goldman, was sentenced to 5 months in prison, 5 months home detention, a $7,500 fine and $100 special assessment. George Metts, a wastewater operator who served under both Purvis and Goldman, was sentenced to 6 months home detention, 5 years probation, 100 hours community service and $100 special assessment. Judge Currie stayed the sentencing of Tin Products Corporation, a defunct entity.

On January 27, 2003, Goldman entered a plea of guilty for himself and on behalf of the corporation to violating the Clean Water Act. An Indictment had been returned in May, 2002 charging the defendants with conspiracy to violate the Clean Water Act and six substantive Clean Water Act violations. Melanie Purvis, the corporation’s environmental supervisor, pleaded guilty in June, 2002 to one count of conspiracy to violate the Clean Water Act. George Metts, a wastewater operator at the facility, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Clean Water Act in November, 2002.

Tin Products, Inc. owns a chemical plant located in Lexington, South Carolina, and produced chemicals, known as organotins that are used for plumbing pipes, glass coatings, and fixtures. Goldman pleaded guilty to knowingly discharging and causing Tin Products employees to discharge organotins wastewater to the Two Notch Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW) owned by the Lexington County Joint Municipal Water and Sewer Commission. The discharges occurred from July, 1999 until February, 2000 and were in violation of Tin Products’ industrial user discharge permit. Other organotins discharges occurred from March, 1999 until February, 2000. The organotins contamination eventually passed through the POTW into Red Bank Creek in mid-February, 2000, causing the death of nearly 1000 fish. The POTW was eventually forced to shut down due to the illegal discharges it was receiving from Tin Products.

The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office along with the Department of Justice, Environmental Crimes Section. The investigation was conducted by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control Office of Criminal Investigation and the Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigative Division.