New EPA Action Aims to Improve Compliance with UST Rule

October 10, 2003

On Sept. 30, EPA issued revised performance measures for significant operational compliance with the Underground Storage Tank (UST) requirements to prevent and detect leaks. Operational compliance means that a facility not only has the required release detection and prevention equipment, but that the equipment is in use, functioning and properly maintained. This new measure will make it easier to determine compliance by storage tank owners and to evaluate the impact on human health and the environment.

In the past, EPA and states had focused on ensuring that UST systems, like those at gas stations, were upgraded with equipment to prevent and detect leaks. EPA created the Office of Underground Storage Tanks in 1985 to carry out a Congressional mandate to develop and implement a regulatory program for underground storage tank systems. In 1988, EPA issued UST regulations covering technical and financial responsibility requirements and state program approval objectives.

To obtain an electronic version of the revised performance measures, visit

CDC Names Chemicals for Future Research

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently provided a list of chemicals that may be included in future releases of the National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals. CDC published final selection criteria and solicited nominations for chemicals or categories of chemicals for research and possible inclusion in future reports last year. Based on that input, chemicals were placed in one of five priority groups.

While CDC officials say the listing of the chemicals does not mean the agency has determined that exposure to them causes adverse health effects, the effects of human exposure to these chemicals will be studied. According to CDC, chemicals in priority Group 1 are "more likely" but not guaranteed to appear in future releases of the human exposure report.

The Group 1 chemicals are:

1-Decanesulfonic acid, 1,2,2,3,3,4,4,5,5,6,6,7,7,8,8,9,9,10, 10, 10-heneicosafluoro, ammonium salt
Dichlorvos (DDVP)
Diesel exhaust
Ethylene dibromide
Methyl bromide
N-methyl perfluorooctanesulfonamidoacetate (M570)
Octabromodiphenyl ether (OBDE)
Pentabromodiphenyl ether (PeBDE)--congeners include BDE 82, 116, and 119
Perfluorinated carboxylic acid metabolites of telomer alcohol or telomer acrylate (n = 3)
Perfluorobutane sulfonate (PFBS)
Perfluorooctanoic acid fluoride
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) ammonium salt*
PFOA ethyl ester
PFOA free acid
PFOA methyl ester
PFOA potassium salt*
PFOA silver salt*
PFOA sodium salt*
Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) ammonium salt*
PFOS diethanolamine salt*
PFOS lithium salt*
PFOS potassium salt*
Trans fatty acids

*PFOA and PFOS measured as a consequence of exposure to any PFOA or PFOS salt.

A complete list of the candidate chemicals is available on the Internet at

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Kansas Refinery to Spend Over $339 Million to Settle CAA Violations

A Clean Air Act settlement that will reduce harmful air emissions from a refinery in McPherson, Kan., by more than 3,000 tons per year has been announced by EPA and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Justice.

The agreement is with the National Cooperative Refinery Association (NCRA), which owns and operates a petroleum refinery in McPherson that processes about 80,000 barrels per day.

Various breathing problems and aggravated cases of childhood asthma have been attributed to refinery emissions. Those are sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, and particulates. The agreement will also reduce carbon monoxide emissions, which can be harmful to the heart and blood circulation.

Jim Gulliford, EPA Region 7 administrator in Kansas City, Kan., said the settlement calls for NCRA to spend more than $339 million to install pollution control equipment, further reduce emissions from its heaters and boilers and implement a program for addressing flaring events. Flaring is a high-temperature process used to burn gases produced by refining operations.

“This settlement protects our air and water while allowing NCRA to continue its operations and continue meeting the public’s demand for fuel and increased production capacity,” Gulliford said.

NCRA will spend more than $1.5 million on a supplemental environmental project to reduce particulate emissions from the refinery’s cooling towers and mitigate chloride-contaminated ground water. It will also pay a $350,000 civil penalty, which will be shared by EPA and KDHE.

The settlement results from a voluntary self disclosure of Clean Air Act violations by NCRA. EPA and KDHE worked cooperatively with NCRA to resolve the violations and reduce emissions from the refinery. The settlement will be lodged with the U.S. District Court in Kansas for 30 days for public comment.

Minnesota Motorist Charged with Illegal Transportation of Hazardous Waste

Theodore John Beyer of St. Paul, Minn., was charged on Sept. 29 with allegedly violating Minnesota state law which requires a manifest to transport hazardous waste. When an investigator for the St. Paul Police Department stopped the defendant for allegedly failing to stop at a stop sign, he smelled chemicals emanating from Beyer's vehicle and observed numerous bottles with hazardous waste labels. Testing of the contents of the bottles reportedly indicated that they contained hazardous wastes including cyclohexane, xylene, mercuric nitrate, sulfuric acid, formic acid and ether.

Transporting these chemicals without a manifest interferes with the proper "cradle to grave" management of substances which have a potential to cause a variety of illnesses. Transporting them in a manner that allows the escape of fumes into a vehicle can impair an individual's ability to drive and, in the case of ether, can create an explosion and fire hazard, should an accident occur.

If convicted, Beyer faces a maximum penalty of up to three years in prison and/or a fine of up to $25,000. The case was investigated by the St. Paul Police Department with the assistance of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division (Chicago).

EPA and Continental Airlines Resolve Hazardous Waste Case at Los Angeles Airport

EPA announced it has settled a case with Continental Airlines over violations of federal hazardous waste regulations at a maintenance shop at Los Angeles International Airport.

Continental will pay a penalty of $20,950.82 to resolve five violations of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act discovered by EPA inspectors at the company's aircraft and vehicle maintenance shop in October 2002.

"This action has set in place measures that will make the facility safer for its workers and the surrounding community," said Amy Zimpfer, acting director of the EPA's Waste Management Division for the Pacific Southwest region. "All facilities, including airlines, have the responsibility to properly manage their hazardous waste. This facility owned up to these infractions and fixed the problems to comply with the law."

Continental was charged with the following counts:

  • Failure to determine if some waste being generated at the maintenance shop was indeed hazardous;
  • Failure to conduct weekly inspections where hazardous waste is stored;
  • Failure to properly maintain the facility's contingency plan in case of a hazardous waste spill;
  • Leaving a hazardous waste container open; and
  • Storage of hazardous waste without a permit.

Continental's maintenance shop is not accessible to the public and no passengers were put at risk.

EPA also announced it has taken a similar action against Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) for violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act at Los Angeles International Airport. The penalty in that case was $74,635.

The EPA inspectors found that LAWA:

  • failed to determine if wastes generated in the shooting range vicinity, the flammable product storage area, and the central utility plant were hazardous;
  • did not have some of the required training records and had not conducted required refresher training for the employees who managed hazardous waste;
  • had an incomplete contingency plan;
  • stored hazardous waste without a permit;
  • left containers of hazardous waste open; and
  • transported waste from the shooting range off airport property without an EPA identification number.