New Guidance on the Safe Transportation of Batteries

March 26, 2007

Air travelers flying with the kinds of batteries used in many cell phones, laptops, cameras, and other portable electronic devices should take precautions to reduce the risk of fires on aircraft, according to a new safety advisory released by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

“We’re determined to keep America’s airlines the safest in the world,” said PHMSA Chief Safety Officer and Assistant Administrator Stacey L. Gerard. “Airline passengers can help us do that by following simple precautions in packing and handling their batteries and battery-powered equipment.”

Passengers should, according to the advisory, keep spare batteries in their original retail packaging; keep loose batteries covered with insulating tape to protect them from contact with metal objects; place each battery in its own protective case, plastic bag, or package; and pack spare batteries in carry-on baggage rather than checked baggage. Also, passengers should use only chargers designed for the battery type and take steps to prevent crushing, puncturing, or dropping batteries.

The agency said it was concerned by two recent incidents on board commercial aircraft. On February 10, a fire broke out in the overhead baggage compartment on a JetBlue flight. Preliminary investigation results indicate one or more loose batteries may have been the source of the fire. On March 18, PHMSA received reports that a battery had overheated or ignited on board an American Airlines aircraft flying from Argentina. In each case, airline employees responded quickly, extinguishing the fire and safely landing the aircraft.

The agency noted that current regulations provide for the safe transportation of batteries and that it is moving forward with proposals to enhance the safety requirements, particularly with respect to testing, labeling, and packaging standards. The agency is working with the Air Line Pilots Association, in conjunction with the International Federation of Air Line Pilots Associations, to send a similar safety alert to their 60,000 member pilots. The agency is working with manufacturers to improve design and packaging for all batteries. It added that it also is working with the Federal Aviation Administration on the safe transportation of batteries on aircraft, and with consumer device manufacturers, testing laboratories, and other federal and state safety officials to help improve battery safety.


EPA’s TRI Reporting Software Won’t Work with Internet Explorer 7


Each year, EPA distributes software to ease the burden of submitting SARA Title III (Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know) Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Reports. 

If you have Internet Explorer 7 installed, TRI-ME will not work unless you uninstall Internet Explorer 7 and install Internet Explorer 6. . As of March 26, the EPA had not publicly released the RY 2006 version of TRI-ME, so we were unable to test it with Firefox or other browsers. Before uninstalling IE7, you could try an alternate browser. 

Windows Vista Delivers Significant Energy Savings


Innovative energy-saving solutions created with help from a top expert at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and built into the latest version of Microsoft Windows can save customers about $50 each year for every desktop computer equipped with the new software. Used widely, new power management tools in the Vista operating system could shave $500 million off the nation’s energy bill and eliminate 3 million tons of global warming pollution, according to NRDC.

“There are around 50 million computers out there in America’s offices, dens, and living rooms that are left on when they aren’t being used, often around the clock,” said NRDC’s Noah Horowitz. “Building better power management into new machines and making sure that it is activated at the factory can save users at least half a billion dollars each year and eliminate enough pollution to equal the emissions from 380,000 cars.”

The Microsoft partnership is one of several such initiatives by NRDC, which is fast emerging as the go-to environmental group for high tech companies looking to improve the energy efficiency performance of their products. NRDC also is pursuing energy-related projects with HP, Dell, Intel, AMD, and Sun Microsystems. NRDC played a central role in developing new Energy Star standards for monitors and computers, and is working to reduce the huge amounts of energy used by internet server farms.

“As the economy becomes more technology-intensive, these kinds of electronics make up a bigger and bigger share of the nation’s energy bill. That means they also account for a growing amount of pollution, too,” Horowitz said. “That’s why we are working with both hardware and software companies to deliver high performance energy-saving solutions. And everywhere we look we find new opportunities.”

The key to energy savings in the new Windows Vista is a new and improved ‘sleep’ mode that cuts energy use more than 95% by automatically shutting down the monitor and processor when they’re not in use. The system comes back to life in two seconds or less, exactly where the user left it, with the touch of a mouse. Laptops running Windows Vista will go into sleep mode as soon as the lid is closed.

“It’s simple common sense combined with good engineering,” Horowitz said. “Those savings can add up to some pretty impressive numbers.”

Not long ago, researchers simply turned on the power management functions on 75,000 computers and monitors running on earlier versions of Windows at General Electric. The company saved $2.5 million a year in electricity costs and enough energy to run 23,000 homes.

Vista’s energy-saving tools are far more seamless than earlier versions, making them easier and more attractive for consumers and office IT managers to use, whether they have two computers or 2,000.

“At Microsoft, our commitment to environmental sustainability can be seen in the approaches we take to preserve and improve the environment. We have built features into Windows Vista to make it more energy-efficient, and we are partnering with groups like the NRDC to draw attention to the importance of power consumption,” says Michael Rawding, vice president, Microsoft Corporate Affairs.

Recently, NRDC also has been involved in efforts to ‘green’ the Oscars, the Grammys, and several major league sports teams. The organization also helped negotiate a set of unprecedented environmental commitments as part of the record-setting buyout of the TXU electric utility company.

There are plenty of ways for computer users who haven’t switched to Windows Vista to save energy, too. For instance they can bid farewell to the floating logos, chasing pipes, or flying toasters used as screensavers.

“An idle computer running a screensaver consumes as much power as a computer in full use,” Horowitz explained. “Today’s machines simply don’t need screensavers. Even if you’re not running Windows Vista, you can save a few bucks just by turning off the screensaver.”

You also can save energy by upgrading from an old-style glass CRT monitor to a flat panel LCD. Besides offering a crisp picture and taking up less space, a flat screen uses two-thirds less power than its bulkier predecessor. And because they are designed to maximize battery life, most laptops are typically 50 percent more efficient than a comparable desktop. And as always, look for the Energy Star label when buying home or office electronics.

Rep. Waxman Introduces the “Safe Climate Act”


Rep. Henry A. Waxman, together with over 125 House colleagues, introduced the Safe Climate Act of 2007.

Scientists have concluded that the planet faces a grave risk of irreversible and devastating global warming if global temperatures increase by more than 3.6F. To protect against these catastrophic impacts, the Safe Climate Act sets greenhouse gas emissions targets that aim to keep temperatures below the danger point. The level of emissions is frozen in 2010, gradually reduced by 2% each year through 2020, and then reduced by 5% each year through 2050.

The Safe Climate Act would achieve these targets through a flexible economy-wide cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gas emissions, along with measures to advance technology and reduce emissions through renewable energy, energy efficiency, and cleaner cars.

According to Rep. Waxman, “In effect, the Safe Climate Act sets the targets and then unleashes market forces and American ingenuity to solve the climate problem.”

Rep. Waxman is the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

New Jersey to Double the Number of Facilities that Must Conduct Security Reviews

Governor Jon S. Corzine recently announced a new proposal to more than double the number of facilities required to conduct reviews for “inherently safer technology” as part of a proposal to increase chemical security throughout the state.


“We have a solemn responsibility to protect the people of the state,” said Governor Corzine. “As governor, I will continue to go to whatever lengths necessary to do just that.” Inherently safer technology reviews ensure that companies identify how they can reduce the potentially hazardous materials they use, substitute safer materials, use the least dangerous process condition or form, or use equipment and processes that reduce danger to public safety and to the environment.

"Protecting the state's critical infrastructure is one of my office's central responsibilities," said Richard L. Caas, director of the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness. "Today's initiative extends our efforts in working with the private sector to minimize vulnerabilities and the potential consequences of a terrorist attack or other disaster."

Standards adopted by New Jersey's Domestic Security Preparedness Task Force currently apply to 42 chemical manufacturers. With the newly proposed Toxic Catastrophe Prevention Act (TCPA) regulations, the number will be expanded to 94 facilities and will include petroleum refineries, water suppliers, major food distributors, wastewater treatment plants, pesticide and agricultural manufacturers, and other facilities covered by the TCPA.

"We have found that the technology reviews are not overly burdensome and have resulted in many facilities developing risk-reduction measures that will not only make them safer in the event of terrorism, but will lead to safer day-to-day operations,'' said Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson. "It makes perfect sense to expand the types of facilities that are covered to provide the greatest protection possible to New Jersey's citizens.”

In addition, Commissioner Jackson issued an administrative order this week to ensure that workers and union representatives are able to participate in DEP inspections of both TCPA and Discharge Prevention Containment and Control program facilities. These efforts will provide yet another mechanism for workers and union representatives to point out potential hazards and vulnerabilities to both management and government representatives.

The Department of Environmental Protection also will work with the chemical sector to establish and expand health, safety and security committees to help institutionalize a focus on worker training and participation to ensure strong working partnerships between managers and workers.

EPA Announces Clean Air Act Agreement Regarding Montana Power Plant


The EPA, the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, and six electric utility companies operating in Montana have reached an agreement to resolve alleged excess emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from the coal-fired Colstrip Power Plant near Colstrip, Mont. A consent decree was lodged with the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana. A notice of settlement will be published in the Federal Register, which will begin a 30-day public comment period.

Under the terms of the agreement, Avista Corporation, NorthWestern Corporation, PPL Montana, LLC, PacifiCorp, Portland General Electric Company and Puget Sound Energy, Inc., will pay a $50,000 civil penalty to the U.S. Treasury and will implement a residential energy efficiency project valued at $100,000 on behalf of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe. The settlement will require Colstrip Units 3 and 4 to reduce NOx emissions by approximately 55 percent, a reduction of more than 14,000 tons per year.

"This settlement will significantly reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides from this plant and greatly improve visibility on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation in Southeastern Montana.," said Granta Nakayama, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "We are committed to ensuring compliance with the Clean Air Act so that the environmental and public health benefits expected from the Act are achieved."

Emissions of NOx can cause the formation of haze, which reduces visibility. The companies estimate that achieving the reductions they've agreed to will cost approximately $29 million.

"This settlement will ultimately result in one of the largest reductions of NOx emissions ever realized in this region. This is a great example of what we can accomplish when a tribe, federal agencies and electric utility companies all work together toward a common goal," said Robert E. Roberts, EPA's Region 8 Administrator.

US and China Seek Uniformity in Energy Efficiency


. Labeling may lead to decreased energy consumption, improved air quality, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

"EPA and CSC agree that saving energy, saving money, and protecting the environment just make sense," said Bill Wehrum, EPA acting assistant administrator for Air and Radiation. "EPA, through the Energy Star program, has been working to change the way America powers its homes and businesses for 15 years, and it is a privilege to share our time-tested approaches with China."

China's rapid economic growth rate has been accompanied by large increases in energy demand. Improving the energy efficiency of common products also will help China meet its goal of reducing energy intensity 20 percent by 2010.

EPA has a long history of cooperation with China on clean air and clean energy issues, including voluntary energy efficiency labeling. With EPA's assistance on certification development, CSC has added 10 product categories to their certification and labeling program since 2001, including computers, monitors, televisions, office copiers, fax machines, and external power supplies.

EPA and CSC are now entering into a new stage of collaboration that has three principal goals:

  • Harmonizing key elements of Energy Star and CSC product endorsement labeling programs
  • Providing a more unified set of energy efficiency standards to manufacturers in both programs
  • Building China's capacity to manage an internationally recognized product labeling program


Specific activities towards achieving these goals will be initiated over the coming year. Activities will further the objectives of the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate's Buildings and Appliances Task Force, in which the United States and China are active partners.

Self-Disclosure of Failure to Submit Form R Cuts Fine in Half for Eastman Chemical


The EPA announced last week a $97,900 settlement with Eastman Chemical Co. after it voluntarily disclosed that it failed to submit toxic chemical reports for its former Lynwood, Calif. facility, a violation of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.

“Eastman Chemical not only voluntarily disclosed its violations, but also corrected them, bringing the company into compliance with federal law,” said Enrique Manzanilla, Communities and Ecosystems Division director for EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “By complying with EPA reporting rules, Eastman has now ensured that area residents and emergency response personnel will be informed of possible chemical hazards in the local environment.”

Eastman Chemical failed to submit timely, complete, and correct reports to the EPA on the amounts of chemicals released at the facility in 2001, including sec-butyl alcohol, certain glycol ethers, naphthalene, phthalic anhydride, and 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene. The firm also failed to submit to the agency the amount of cobalt compounds, certain glycol ethers, cumene, naphthalene and 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene released in 2002.

Eastman Chemical discovered the reporting violations in October 2004, voluntarily reported the violations to the EPA within 30 days and promptly corrected them. In keeping with the EPA’s policy of encouraging voluntary disclosure, Eastman Chemical’s $195,800 fine was reduced by 50% to $97,900.

Federal Emergency Planning and Right-to-Know laws require facilities processing more than 25,000 pounds of toxic chemicals to report releases annually to the EPA and the state. Although Eastman Chemical exceeded this threshold on 10 occasions in 2001 and 2002, it failed to submit reports to the EPA.

Eastman Chemical has since sold the Lynwood facility where it once manufactured print resins. The company also has taken steps to prevent the recurrence of this kind of violation at any of its other facilities.


Ohio to Combine Air Permit-to-Install and Operating Permits


The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Division of Air Pollution Control (DAPC) is proposing changes to the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) related to implementation of the permit-to-install and operate (PTIO) program. The PTIO program combines the current permit-to-install (PTI) and permit-to-operate (PTO) programs. Rather than requiring a source to apply for a PTI, which is issued with both installation and operation terms, and then apply for a PTO within a year of construction, the new program will require one application for both a PTI and PTO and both installation and operation requirements will be issued under one document.

The PTIO program was approved by Director Chris Jones in February 2004 after an extensive analysis of the current PTI and PTO programs by a team of DAPC staff members and public participation and review of draft documents and rule language.

The DAPC is offering the public the opportunity to comment on these rules before the division formally proposes them. The agency is requesting comments to the changes that have been recommended by Friday, April 13, 2007.

EPA Nabs Unpermitted Hazardous Waste Disposal Site


The EPA is charging Thermal, Calif. businessman George AuClair Jr. with violating the nation’s Resource Conservation and Recovery Act hazardous and solid waste law.

AuClair operates an un-permitted waste disposal site located near the exterior boundaries of the Torres-Martinez Indian Reservation in Riverside County. The EPA, the Torres Martinez Tribal Council, and a collaborative of state and local agencies have been working together to stop the illegal disposal of solid and hazardous waste on the reservation. This enforcement action is part of a larger effort to stop illegal dumping in the Coachella Valley.

“Mishandling and illegal disposal of hazardous and solid waste endanger the community and harm the environment,” said Jeff Scott, the EPA’s Waste Management Division director for the Pacific Southwest region. “This order sends a clear message that EPA will vigorously enforce all environmental regulations to ensure the protection of human health and the environment.”

The AuClair waste disposal site received large quantities of waste from the reservation, including household garbage, lead-acid batteries, tires, used oil, cleaning fluids, furniture, electronic equipment, green waste, and chromated copper arsenate (CCA)-treated wood waste. The EPA has already spent over $300,000 in cleaning up the toxic ash at the site from the burning of CCA-treated wood waste. The California Integrated Waste Management Board will be spending an additional $1 million to clean up solid waste at the site.

CCA-treated wood is treated with chromated copper arsenate to inhibit degradation. If burned, the smoke and the resulting ash may contain arsenic and chromium, which when inhaled, is hazardous for human health.

“When EPA cleans up toxic wastes, EPA pursues those responsible for the costs of the cleanup,” said Keith Takata, the EPA’s Superfund Division director for the Pacific Southwest region. "Companies that send their waste to illegal dumps on the reservation instead of lawful facilities are liable for the costs of any cleanup by EPA."

Tribal officials confirmed that there are no lawful facilities for disposing of solid or hazardous waste on the reservation. “We support 100% these efforts to stop illegal dumping and clean up illegal dump sites,” said Tribal Chairman Raymond Torres.

The EPA’s complaint alleges that George AuClair Jr. violated hazardous and solid waste laws by:

  • Open dumping of solid waste
  • Open burning of solid waste
  • Failing to notify EPA of its waste handling activity and to apply for an EPA identification number
  • Storage and disposal of hazardous waste without a permit
  • Failing to label containers of used oil


The EPA will be assessing a civil penalty of up to $32,500 per day, per violation.

EPA Reports Latest Inventory of Chemicals Released


The EPA released data from its Toxics Release Inventory (), providing information on toxic chemicals used and released in 2005 by utilities, refineries, chemical manufacturers, and other facilities across the nation. The data is available this year earlier than ever before for local communities and national analysis.

In EPA’s mid-Atlantic region, the 2005 TRI data indicates a small increase of 0.4% or 1.5 million pounds of on- and off-site chemical releases compared with 2004 data. A total of 383.3 million pounds of chemicals were released during 2005 to the air, water, or landfills by facilities in the mid-Atlantic region, which comprises Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Releases in this same geographic area totaled 381.8 million pounds in 2004.

Review of the last five years of TRI data for the mid-Atlantic region shows a 17.5% reduction in toxic pollutants based on the release of 464.7 million pounds in 2000.

“The TRI is a valuable resource for citizens and government alike,” said Donald S. Welsh, EPA’s mid-Atlantic regional administrator. “Getting this information out faster to the public is good for all communities.”

Data include information on releases and other wastes from more than 650 chemicals and chemical compounds that companies are required to report under EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory Program. The data include chemicals that were released at companies’ facilities and those transported to disposal facilities off site. TRI reporting has been credited for encouraging facilities to reduce their releases of toxic chemicals through source reduction or pollution prevention measures.

Some chemicals in TRI reporting are characterized as persistent bioaccumulative toxics (PBTs), including lead and lead compounds, and mercury and mercury compounds. PBT chemicals are long-lasting substances that can build up in the food chain to levels harmful to humans and the environment. The PBT data reflect a decrease in lead and lead compound releases from 8.7 million pounds in 2002 to 6.2 million pounds in 2005. Mercury and mercury compound releases decreased from 58,920 pounds in 2002 to 45,812 in 2005.

The reporting of data to the TRI is required under the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act passed in 1986. The TRI provides the amount, location, and type of releases to the environment from pollutants emitted into the air, discharged into the water, or released onto the land. It also includes information on waste shipped off-site for disposal or further treatment.

The chemical emissions reported under TRI to EPA and the states by industry generally reflect legal discharges of pollutants to the environment. It is also important to review the full data in context, since in many cases, changes from one year to the next are less important than longer term trends.

$24,280 Civil Penalty Against Jayhawk Fine Chemicals for RCRA Violations


The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has issued an administrative order requiring Jayhawk Fine Chemicals to pay a $24,280 civil penalty. The action is in response to 17 violations of hazardous waste regulations at the company’s facility located at 8545 S.E. Jayhawk Drive, near Galena.

The violations included, but were not limited to:

  • Failure to obtain a hazardous waste permit for wastes stored more than 90 days
  • Failure to segregate incompatible hazardous wastes
  • Failure to keep a hazardous waste container closed
  • Failed to mark two containers with the words “hazardous waste”
  • Failure to mark hazardous waste containers with accumulation start dates
  • Failure to conduct and document inspections
  • Failure to describe hazardous waste duties in job descriptions, and failure to retain employee training records
  • Failure to update the facility’s contingency plan, and to outline capabilities of emergency equipment in the plan


The company has 30 days from March 12 to pay the civil penalty, or 15 days from service of the order to file a written request for appeal of the order with the Kansas Office of Administrative Hearings. If the company does not file a request for appeal, the order will become final when the 15-day period expires.

EPA Cites Environmental Disposal Systems for Numerous Violations at Romulus Facility


EPA Region 5 issued an administrative order to Environmental Disposal Systems Inc. (EDS), Birmingham, Mich., for numerous violations at its hazardous waste disposal facility in Romulus, Mich. EDS operated two hazardous waste disposal wells.

In November, EPA inspectors discovered a number of potential violations at the facility. The administrative order cites the company for not complying with conditions of its permit by, among other things, failing to provide and keep adequate records, not conducting all required tests and monitoring, not having a trained well operator on site during injection, and not providing to EPA quarterly or annual reports.

The administrative order proposes that a penalty of $73,992 be assessed against EDS for the alleged violations.

The facility has not been operating since November 2006 by order of Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

EPA Requires Permit for Proposed Wastewater Well


EPA Region 5 has notified Kennecott Eagle Minerals Co., Marquette, Mich., that it must obtain an underground injection control permit before it can begin construction of a proposed wastewater disposal well.

Kennecott is proposing to begin a mining operation in northern Michigan. The well would be used to dispose of industrial process wastewater.

EPA requires permits in order to protect underground sources of drinking water. Based on the significant volume of wastewater to be discharged and the industrial nature of Kennecott's proposed well, permit conditions will be necessary to protect human health and the environment and to meet the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act and underground injection control regulations.

Property Owner Agrees to Clean Up Asbestos


The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has entered into a consent order with Pam Perullo, the current owner of 16 Scotia Street in Salem, due to waste site cleanup violations on the property.

The site is undergoing review for redevelopment specifically for residential use, and is in a neighborhood of other residential property.

"The cleanup of asbestos in soil is important, particularly in residential areas, because asbestos fibers could become airborne and present an unacceptable risk," said Richard Chalpin, director of MassDEP's Northeast Regional Office in Wilmington. "Asbestos is a known carcinogen and [this] agreement will ensure that the owner completes the appropriate cleanup actions promptly."

Previous construction and demolition activities at this location resulted in elevated levels of asbestos in the soil as first reported to MassDEP on July 23, 2002. However, a failure to submit clean-up status reports on time then prompted MassDEP to issue a notification of missed deadline, a warning, and ultimately enforcement action.

Under this agreement, Perullo will complete the cleanup, first through completion of immediate response actions at the site by July 1, 2007, and then through either a final closure document demonstrating that no further action is required, or an assessment of current conditions as to why additional cleanup actions are warranted.

If all terms of the order are met, MassDEP has agreed to suspend half, or $15,000, of the penalty.

MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills, and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.

Pennsylvania DEP Fines Mid-State Paving LLC $8,000 for Water Pollution


The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) fined Mid-State Paving LLC of Paxtonville, Snyder County, $8,000 for violating state dam safety and water management regulations during the summer of 2006 while working on a concrete wall repair project in Pine Creek Township, Clinton County.

“The violations DEP discovered last June were blatant and showed a complete disregard for the environment and the water quality of Chatham Run,” DEP Regional Director Robert Yowell said. “Contractors are aware of their responsibilities to obtain permits and to operate with care when working in waterways.”

DEP conducted an inspection of the Chatham Run concrete wall replacement project on June 13 after receiving several complaints from area residents. Inspectors found that Mid-State had excavated a trench into the left side of Chatham Run to construct a concrete footer 98 feet by 8 feet for a new stream retaining wall. The trench was being dewatered with a six-inch pump discharging sediment directly into Chatham Run.

DEP inspectors also discovered that Chatham Run had been relocated to the right side of the stream channel by a 310-foot long soil and rock cofferdam.

Mid-State had not applied for any DEP permits for these activities, which were a violation of the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law and the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act.

DEP immediately issued a field order to Mid-State Paving requiring it to stop all work until a complete restoration plan was submitted for department approval and a dam safety and encroachment permit was issued. The construction site was brought into compliance by Mid-State in late October 2006.

Arsenic in your Drinking Water?


Water systems with arsenic problems can use this fact sheet as part of their public education efforts. It is a useful supplement to (but not a replacement for) the annual Consumer Confidence Report or a public notice.

Washington Department of Ecology Fines Karcher Creek Sewer District $10,500


The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) has fined Karcher Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility $10,500 for applying and storing biosolids material without proper permits. Karcher Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility is managed by the Karcher Creek Sewer District and Annapolis Water District.

Biosolids, the residual solid material generated during the wastewater or sewage treatment process, are suitable for land application. Both the biosolids material and the land on which it can be applied are regulated and monitored by Ecology.

In November 2005 Ecology and the Kitsap County Health Department determined the biosolids being produced at the Karcher Creek facility are Class B biosolids. Class B biosolids cannot be stored or applied at non-permitted locations. Ecology notified plant manager John Poppe of the Class B determination and all handling requirements associated with Class B biosolids.

Between 2006 and 2007, Ecology was notified on three occasions of Karcher Creek biosolids being stored or applied at non-permitted sites, including a tree farm nursery, a topsoil operation, and a sand and gravel site. None of these sites are permitted to receive or apply this soil amendment material.

On each occasion, the district was notified in writing of the permit requirements for handling Class B biosolids. The last letter, issued in August 2006, specifically indicated that continued permit violations would result in formal enforcement and penalties. In January 2007 Karcher Creek biosolids were still being stored at three non-permitted sites.

"Along with the Kitsap County Health office, we have been working very hard to give Karcher Creek the opportunity to correct these problems," Marietta Sharp, Ecology's biosolids coordinator, said. "But Class B products applied in non-permitted areas could potentially cause health and environmental impacts. Ecology is working to prevent any such impacts."

In addition to the fine, Ecology's enforcement action requires the district to remove all material from non-permitted sites within thirty days.

A spokesperson from Karcher Creek stated, "The district recognizes the importance of proper handling of biosolids. We will address any and all communication failures as we comply with the requirements of the order."

DVD Explains how Local Governments Address Aging Sewers


The LGAC is an officially chartered federal advisory that provides advice and recommendations to assist the EPA in developing a stronger partnership with local governments.

Take an Eco-Friendly Vacation


It's that time of year—when a vacation never looked better. The green travel industry has exploded in recent years, and with a little research, you can do a lot to lessen your environmental footprint while traveling. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) offers several tips to being an eco-friendly traveler:

On Your Own:

  • Rent a car from an environmental rental car company, request a hybrid, use public transportation, bike or walk
  • Pack recyclable, reusable, and low-waste products in order to reduce trash on-site
  • Reduce the global warming impact of your trip by purchasing carbon offsets


With Some Help:

Not sure where to go? Eco-tours are available in Minnesota. The Living Green Expo, which is being held May 5-6 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, includes several exhibitors who can help you plan your trip:

  • Boreal Explorations EcoAdventures: Discover Voyageurs National Park
  • The Wild Institute: Wilderness trips for women
  • Wintermoon Summersun Adventures: Explore the Superior National Forest
  • Consider a volunteer or service-based vacation by contacting the Global Citizens Network or the Sierra Club Outings Department



New Jersey Demonstrates the Benefits of Pollution Prevention


New Jersey's industries are boosting economic output as they dramatically cut the amount of wastes they discharge to the environment, according to an analysis of pollution-prevention trends released by Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson.

"Pollution prevention encourages the reduction or elimination of industrial waste at the source through the use of better management practices,'' Jackson said. "This analysis provides quantifiable evidence that pollution prevention protects the environment and public health while fostering a productive industrial economy.''

New Jersey industries increased annual production by 25% while the amount of waste they generated, known as non-product output, declined by 45 percent, or 87 million pounds, according to the report entitled, “Industrial Pollution Prevention in New Jersey: A Trends Analysis on Materials Accounting Data 1994-2004.”

Meanwhile, the overall amount of waste released into the environment decreased from 12.5 million pounds to 2.5 million pounds continuing the trend indicated in a DEP analysis released three years ago.

"From the public's perspective, these trends show that New Jersey is clearly moving in the right direction," Jackson added. The report tracks the use, generation, and release of hazardous substances at approximately 550 facilities, including petroleum refineries, chemical plants, and major manufacturers.

New Jersey is one of only two states that require industries to provide a more detailed view of hazardous substances used in manufacturing than offered by federal Toxic Release Inventory reports. DEP uses a "production index" to calculate whether waste reductions are due to pollution-prevention measures or result from variations in production, such as those caused by process shutdowns or inefficient operations.

The overall use of hazardous substances dropped four percent, or about 500 million pounds. The report, however, notes that greater reductions have been difficult because petroleum refiners and metal fabricators are limited in their ability to reduce the amount of hazardous substances shipped in their products, compared to other types of industries.

The analysis tracks three separate groups of chemicals of concern: carcinogens, substances that persist in the environment, and extraordinarily hazardous substances. Tracking these substances individually allows DEP to prioritize resources in its enforcement and permitting programs and keeps the public informed about trends in the use of these chemicals.

Maryland Seeks to Challenge EPA Over Power Plant Emissions


Maryland Environment Secretary Shari T. Wilson recently announced that Maryland filed a motion to join a lawsuit with other state and municipal governments and environmental organizations challenging EPA’s regulations governing mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants. The lawsuit seeks a court order to overturn the rules and require EPA to establish tighter limits on mercury emissions from power plants.

The government petitioners assert that the cap-and-trade program established by the federal Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR) to regulate mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants violates the Clean Air Act and fails to sufficiently reduce mercury emissions. Under EPA’s mercury rule, power plants can elect to achieve compliance through the purchase of emission allowances rather than through installation of local pollution controls, which will result in increased mercury emissions and local “hotspots” of mercury deposition.

“State-of-the-art power plant controls must be installed on all power plants and in a faster time frame than required by EPA,” said MDE Secretary Wilson. “By enacting the Healthy Air Act, Maryland has demonstrated that significant reductions in mercury emissions from power plants can be achieved in a timely manner without causing power plants to shut down.”

The newly enacted Healthy Air Act marks an important step for Maryland toward reducing mercury emissions from its own coal-fired power plants. By 2010, coal-fired power plants subject to the act will be required to reduce mercury emissions by 80% from current levels, and in 2013, by 90% from current levels through the installation of pollution control technology. In contrast, the emission caps established by CAMR will only achieve a 21% reduction in mercury emissions by the 2010 phase one deadline and a 69% reduction when the phase two reductions are fully implemented.

“Maryland is the primary steward of the Chesapeake Bay. We have a new governor and new attorney general who concur that participation in this case is important to protect the State’s interests to safeguard its water resources and the health of its citizens,” said Wilson.

“Maryland remains adversely impacted by transport of mercury emissions from upwind out-of-state power plants,” said Wilson. “MDE strongly believes that a federal regulation is necessary to control mercury emissions in other states by requiring installation of state-of-the-art pollution control technology on all coal-fired power plants.”

As mayor of the City of Baltimore, Martin O’Malley was the first mayor to join states in this federal lawsuit to reduce dangerous mercury emissions and protect Maryland’s air quality.

According to the Maryland Department of the Environment, coal-fired power plants are the largest source of mercury emissions in the United States.

Ohio Reduces RQ for Nitrogen Oxide


The Ohio EPA, Division of Air Pollution Control (DAPC) on behalf of the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) is proposing amendments to OAC Rules 3750-1-02 and 3750-25-01. The proposal is designed to be consistent in scope, content, and coverage to the Federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). USEPA amended its 40 CFR 302.6 and 40 CFR 355.40 notification requirements by broadening the existing reporting exemptions for releases to the air, per 24-hour period, of less than 1,000 pounds of nitrogen oxide or less than 1,000 pounds of nitrogen dioxide, when the release(s) resulted from combustion or combustion-related activities.

The amended federal regulations are documented in the Federal Register, Volume 71, Number 192, October 4, 2006. DPAC also is amending rule language in both rules to correct minor typos and fulfill the requirements of ORC 121.72 for items incorporated by reference.

A public hearing on these rule changes will be conducted on Wednesday, April 25, 2007 at 10:00 AM, in conference room C at Ohio EPA, Lazarus Government Center, 50 W. Town Street, Suite 700, Columbus, Ohio.

 Questions regarding accessing the web site should be directed to Arunee Niamlarb at 614-728-1342; other questions or comments about these rules should be directed to Jeff Beattie at Ohio EPA, 614-644-2260, e-mailed to  or mailed to Jeff Beattie, Ohio EPA, Division Air Pollution Control, Lazarus Government Center, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, Ohio 43216-1049.

Trivia Question of the Week

Its tax time. The Energy Policy Act created several tax credits to encourage you to install energy saving equipment. Which of the following would not qualify for a tax credit on your 2006 tax return?

a. Solar swimming pool heater
b. Energy saving skylights
c. Efficient air source heat pumps
d. Energy Star qualified metal roof