New Emergency Response Guidebook

May 02, 2016


PHMSA will distribute more than 1.5 million free copies of the guidebook to firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and law enforcement officers across the nation. 

“We take the safety of this nation and its emergency responders very seriously,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Our goal is to make sure that these first responders have the most current and accurate safety guidelines possible for use during that initial phase of a hazmat incident.”

The ERG contains an indexed list of dangerous goods and the associated 4-digit United Nations identification numbers. The ERG also identifies the general hazards those dangerous goods pose and recommends safety precautions in remediating a hazmat incident. For example, if emergency first responders arrive at the scene of an overturned tractor-trailer displaying a USDOT hazardous material placard, they would use the guidebook to identify the material associated with the placard and how best to respond.

“The ERG is an invaluable tool during the initial stages of any hazmat transportation emergency. Taking the proper action during those critical first minutes impacts the safety of both the first responders and the people they serve,” said PHMSA Administrator Marie Therese Dominguez.

The 2016 version of the ERG includes general revisions, expanded sections and added guide pages for absorbed gases. Updated every four years as a collaborative effort of the USDOT, Transport Canada, and Mexico’s Secretariat of Transport and Communications, the ERG2016 is available free to public safety agencies in all states, territories, and Native American Tribes through designated state emergency management coordinators’ offices.

PHMSA has also partnered with the National Library of Medicine (NLM) to provide a free Smartphone version of the ERG2016. NLM also develops and distributes the Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders. The mobile application will be available this spring.


Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule

In the first major modification to the hazardous waste regulations in over 10 years, EPA plans to modify and reorganize the hazardous waste generator rule. When adopted, the rule will provide greater flexibility in how hazardous waste is managed and close important gaps in the regulations.

Attend Environmental Resource Center’s live, online session on April 18 to learn:

  • New requirements for documenting hazardous waste determinations
  • Revised requirements for when and how to submit the Notification of Generator Status form to EPA
  • How to take advantage of the episodic generation exclusion to avoid reclassification to a larger generator status
  • Definitions of important new terms – “Very Small Quantity Generator” and “Central Accumulation Area”
  • How to mark containers, tanks, and containment buildings with new information required at central accumulation areas and satellites
  • New conditions under which containers can be left open at satellite accumulation areas
  • Updated time and volume limits for satellite accumulation areas
  • New documentation requirements for contingency plans and biennial reports
  • New requirements for shipping hazardous waste from a VSQG to another facility owned by the same organization


New Exclusions for Solvent Recycling and Hazardous Secondary Materials

EPA’s new final rule on the definition of solid waste creates new opportunities for waste recycling outside the scope of the full hazardous waste regulations. This rule, which went into effect on July 13, 2015, streamlines the regulatory burden for wastes that are legitimately recycled.

The first of the two exclusions is an exclusion from the definition of solid waste for high-value solvents transferred from one manufacturer to another for the purpose of extending the useful life of the original solvent by keeping the materials in commerce to reproduce a commercial grade of the original solvent product.

The second, and more wide-reaching of the two exclusions, is a revision of the existing hazardous secondary material recycling exclusion. This exclusion allows you to recycle, or send off-site for recycling, virtually any hazardous secondary material. Provided you meet the terms of the exclusion, the material will no longer be hazardous waste.

Learn how to take advantage of these exclusions at Environmental Resource Center’s live webcast on July 8 where you will learn:

  • Which of your materials qualify under the new exclusions
  • What qualifies as a hazardous secondary material
  • Which solvents can be remanufactured, and which cannot
  • What is a tolling agreement
  • What is legitimate recycling
  • Generator storage requirements
  • What documentation you must maintain
  • Requirements for off-site shipments
  • Training and emergency planning requirements
  • If it is acceptable for the recycler to be outside the US


Orlando RCRA and DOT Training


Hilton Head RCRA and DOT Training


Baltimore RCRA, DOT, and IATA Training


EPA Fines Kawasaki Rail Car for Improper Storage and Handling of Hazardous Waste

As part of the agreement, Kawasaki will come into compliance with all federal hazardous waste laws and pay a $71,120 penalty.

“Companies that generate hazardous waste must store and dispose of them properly or obtain the proper permit to ensure these wastes are properly stored,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck.

A number of containers of hazardous waste were corroded and leaking.


EPA Installs New "Village Green" Air Monitoring Bench at Connecticut Science Center in Hartford

EPA recently unveiled a new, state-of-the-art tool to protect people's health and provide real-time air quality data to people, in the form of a "Village Green Station"—a wind- and solar-powered air monitoring bench that has been installed in the park abutting the Connecticut Science Center in downtown Hartford.

EPA's Village Green Stations are park bench structures with built-in air monitors, which measure ozone and particle pollution along with weather conditions. The bench is made from recycled materials and features solar panels and a wind turbine.

Community-based monitoring technology such as the Village Green station provides new ways for Americans to participate in science and learn about local air quality. The real-time data measured by the stations can be used in projects by citizen scientists, students, community organizations, and researchers to understand air quality and how events such as weather changes or nearby sources of air pollution can change local conditions. This site provides reliable readings every minute on levels of fine particle pollution also known as particulate matter (PM), ozone, wind speed and direction, temperature, and humidity.

"EPA is very proud to install a Village Green Station here in downtown Hartford. This exciting resource will help students and other visitors to the Science Center learn about local air quality issues," said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "Giving people accurate information about the air they breathe helps them make informed decisions about protecting their own health and that of their family and community."

"The Village Green project is a community-based initiative to provide the benefits of new, real-time monitoring technology so residents and citizen scientists can learn more about local air quality," said Robert Klee, Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. "The goal of the project is to provide people with information about local air quality and engage them in greater air pollution awareness."

"The American Lung Association applauds the EPA for its efforts to educate the public about air quality and health," said Jeff Seyler, President & CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast. "The Village Green Station will be an important educational tool for local residents especially on days with high pollution. According to the Lung Association's recently released State of the Air Report, every county in Connecticut received a failing grade for high ozone levels. For the millions of Connecticut residents who are at risk from poor air quality, this initiative is a breath of fresh air."

The Hartford bench is one of seven Village Green Stations installed by EPA in the U.S. to help people learn more about local air quality issues. The other locations for Village Green stations are in Durham, North Carolina; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Washington, D.C.; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Kansas City, Kansas; and Chicago, Illinois.

More information:


Port Orchard, Washington, Construction Project Fined $53,000 for Water Quality Violations



The general permit requires builders to prevent pollution during construction, which exposes bare earth to rainfall and causes a high potential for erosion and runoff. Thousands of developers and contractors help protect Washington’s waterways from stormwater pollution by complying with these requirements.

The homebuilder allowed muddy water to flow off the site into city storm drains and into a creek that enters Sinclair Inlet, about one mile away.

Muddy water can damage the delicate membranes in fish gills and cause other harm to aquatic life. Stormwater is considered Puget Sound’s leading water quality threat.

“This is a steep, sloping site, making it all the more important to follow the general permit requirements in order to prevent the problems we’ve seen at this site,” said Heather Bartlett, who manages Ecology’s Water Quality program. “We advised, then ordered the company on repeated visits to put the needed practices in place.”

Ecology inspectors observed violations in November and December 2015 in which Mike Paul Construction failed to:

  • Develop and implement a stormwater pollution prevention plan—a basic requirement of the general permit
  • Sample stormwater at all discharge points
  • Install and maintain stormwater runoff control measures within 10 days
  • Protect slopes on the steep site from stormwater runoff
  • Prevent vehicles leaving the site from tracking mud or dirt onto the roadway
  • Protect storm drain inlets on the adjoining roadway from muddy water

The company also violated an Ecology order, issued December 17, 2015, to cease discharging stormwater until it met the permit’s water quality requirements.

The city of Port Orchard—which had issued a temporary stop work order in October 2015—assisted Ecology with the investigation.

The company has addressed some of the violations, such as sampling all the discharge locations, but remains out of compliance with the December 17 order.

Mike Paul Construction may appeal Ecology’s penalty within 30 days to the Washington State Pollution Control Hearings Board.

Honolulu Wood Treating Fined $33,750 for Producing and Selling Mislabeled Pesticide


The Hawaii Department of Agriculture conducted inspections for EPA at the company’s facility in 2014 and 2015 and referred this case to EPA for follow-up enforcement. During the inspections, the Department found that Clear-Bor F.T., a product used to protect wood from termites and wood decay fungus, did not meet federal label requirements. Specifically, the first aid information and EPA Establishment number were incorrect. The company has since fully corrected the product label.

“Mislabeled pesticides put people at risk,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Every company must ensure its products are properly labeled to protect the health and safety of those who use them.”

EPA requires companies to revise the first aid statements on their pesticide product labels to include medically up-to-date language. The instructions on the non-compliant containers of Clear-Bor F.T. would have likely interfered with proper medical treatment, as the label instructed the user to “induce vomiting by touching back of throat with finger” in case of ingestion. Current medical first aid instructions no longer recommend inducing vomiting.

The required EPA Establishment number was also found to be incorrect for the product. This number is used to identify where the product was last produced. It is crucial to maintaining product integrity, as production includes formulating, packaging, labeling and any alteration of the product prior to sale.

Louisiana Man Arrested for the Illegal Disposal of Waste Tires

Investigators within the Criminal Investigation Division of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality arrested a Chalmette man for the illegal disposal of waste tires based upon an outstanding arrest warrant.

Mohammad Mahmoud Allan, 33, owner of Affordable Wheel Covers is alleged to have abandoned a large number of waste tires at a building he was renting at 10920 Chef Menteur Blvd. in New Orleans. Allan and his business were evicted from the building in February 2015. The owner of the building contacted DEQ in April 2015 complaining of waste tires left behind by Allan. Inspectors and criminal investigators with DEQ visited the building and found more than 500 waste tires located outside the building. Under DEQ regulations, abandonment of waste is considered disposal.

“Abandonment of waste tires continues to be a problem not just in New Orleans, but in all parts of the state,” said Dr. Chuck Carr Brown, DEQ Secretary. “A couple of months ago, our criminal investigators arrested a man twice for doing a similar thing in Avoyelles and Pointe Coupee parishes. DEQ will not tolerate illegal dumping of any kind, and will aggressively prosecute those found to be engaging in such activity.”

If convicted of the crime of knowing illegal disposal of waste tires, Allan faces possible imprisonment for not more than one year, or a fine of not more than $25,000, or both.

EPA Proposes Clearer Air for National Parks


The Clean Air Act’s Regional Haze program sets a national goal of clear, natural views in national parks and wilderness areas so visitors may take in the magnificent vistas as they breathe in clean air. The Regional Haze Rule, which EPA first adopted in 1999, includes a national goal of eliminating human-caused visibility impairment in national parks, wilderness areas and other “Class I areas” by 2064. The Rule requires states to adopt enforceable plans to limit haze-causing pollution from power plants, factories and other sources.

The pollutants that cause haze in our national parks are the same pollutants that contribute to heart attacks, asthma attacks and emergency room visits. Health related costs from hospital admissions, lost work days and premature death are the hidden price of continued pollution.

While there have been improvements in air quality and clarity under the existing Regional Haze Rule, haze still poses a serious threat. A recent report from the National Parks Conservation Association reveals 48 National Parks that are supposed to be protected by the rule are currently plagued by significant air pollution.


Statement from David Baron, Earthjustice managing attorney who represents individuals and allied organizations in fighting for clear air in our most treasured wild places and national parks:

“EPA says that today’s proposed rulemaking is intended to provide greater clarity to states about how and when they need to act to protect clean air in iconic parks and wilderness areas. We support clearer guidelines provided they strengthen protections against haze pollution and expedite cleanup. Without stronger measures, the air in some of our most iconic national parks will stay polluted for hundreds of years."

“We are pleased to see that EPA is proposing to require earlier involvement of the National Park Service and others in the development of haze control plants. At the same time, we oppose EPA’s proposal to delay the next round of plans to clean up dirty air in our parks and wilderness areas. A stronger Regional Haze Rule requiring measurable and timely pollution reductions will help provide much-needed and long-awaited clear views and cleaner air to everyone who visits our most treasured landscapes.”


EPA Administrator McCarthy Announces 2016 Safer Choice Partner of the Year Awards

The EPA is recognizing 24 Safer Choice Partner of the Year award winners across 12 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada for outstanding achievement in the design, manufacture, promotion, and use of a range of cleaning and other household products that carry the Safer Choice label. Administrator McCarthy announced the winners at an event at a local hardware store in San Francisco.

“Everyone wants products with ingredients that are safer for their kids, pets, communities and the environment,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Using technology and innovation to turn challenges into profitable opportunities makes our businesses stronger and more competitive, our families and workers healthier, and our environment cleaner.”

The Safer Choice standards were developed through a multi-stakeholder process, with a range of businesses and public interest groups, including environmental and health advocacy organizations. EPA assesses ingredients for the Safer Choice program based on a full chemical identification. Where necessary, EPA requires studies to prove safety of the chemicals used, and applies the expertise of chemists and toxicologists who have assessed thousands of chemicals.

These stringent human and environmental health safety standards mean that consumers can know with certainty that a product’s safety claims are backed by science. Safer Choice currently has around 500 formulator-manufacturer partners who make more than 2,000 products for retail and institutional customers.

The 2016 Partner of the Year award winners represent a wide variety of leadership organizations. Participants include Fortune 500 companies, small- and medium-sized businesses, and non-governmental organizations. The winners fall under the following categories:

  • Safer Formulator-Manufacturer: Boulder Clean (Boulder, Colorado), BISSELL (Grand Rapids, Michigan), Case Medical, Inc. (South Hackensack, New Jersey), Clean Control Corporation (Warner Robins, Georgia), The Clorox Company (Pleasanton, California), Futurescape, Inc. (Port Orange, Florida), Jelmar, LLC (Skokie, Illinois), Osprey Biotechnics, Inc. (Sarasota, Florida), RB (Parsippany, New Jersey) and Seventh Generation, Inc. (Burlington, Vermont)
  • Safer Chemical Innovator: BASF Corporation (Florham Park, New Jersey), Ecolab (Eagan, Minnesota), Osprey Biotechnics (Sarasota, Florida) and Virox Technologies, Inc. (Oakville, Ontario, Canada)
  • Purchaser/Distributor: Solutex, Inc. (Sterling, Virginia)
  • Retailer: Albertsons Companies (Pleasanton, California) and Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. (Rochester, New York)
  • Program Supporter: American Sustainable Business Council (Alexandria, Virginia), The Ashkin Group (Los Angeles, California), Consumer Specialty Products Association (Washington, D.C.), Environmental Defense Fund (New York, New York), Federal Sustainable Acquisitions and Materials Management Practices (SAMM) Working Group (Washington, D.C.), Healthy Schools Campaign (Chicago, Illinois), ISSA, the Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association (Northbrook, Ill.), Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families (New York, New York)

When companies demonstrate a commitment to the health of their customers and the planet, consumers respond. Not only does the Safer Choice program put the power of choice into the hands of consumers, it actually incentivizes manufacturers to change the ingredients in their products—so they can meet the strict safety criteria the Safer Choice label demands.

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Trivia Question of the Week

According to a recent study surface waters near oilfield wastewater releases contain high levels of which toxic chemicals?

a) Lead

b) Ammonium

c) Selenium

d) All of the above