New Web-Based Tools Provide Public Access to Local Brownfields Information

June 25, 2004

EPA introduced two new interactive Brownfields web tools that will give the public access to interrelated information about local Brownfields properties. The tools allow residents to locate Brownfields in their area and provide access to new detailed information about the individual Brownfields grants.

Grants are awarded to communities across the United States for assessment planning, cleanup and job training. EnviroMapper combines interactive maps and aerial photography to locate and display those Brownfields properties that have received EPA grants. The public can locate properties by a variety of means, such as zip code, city, county, tribe, state or congressional district. Envirofacts provides other detailed information on properties, such as property profiles, grant profiles, performance reports and contact information. Users can also search parts of Envirofacts directly by providing certain key details such as a grant name or number. The two new tools identify and provide information on those Brownfields that have received EPA grants, but do not show all Brownfields in the country, such as those funded solely by state and local governments.

Brownfields are real estate properties where expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. Users can access the Brownfields Envirofacts or EnviroMapper on the new Find EPA Brownfields Projects Where You Live page at

Don't Top Off Your Gas Tank

Do you top off your gas tank and overfill it? When the gas pump nozzle clicks off automatically, do you add a little more gas to round off your dollar sale? Topping off your gas tank is bad for the environment and your wallet. Here's why:

Topping off the gas tank can result in your paying for gasoline that is fed back into the station's tanks because your gas tank is full. The gas nozzle automatically clicks off when your gas tank is full. In areas of ozone nonattainment, gas station pumps are equipped with vapor recovery systems that feed back gas vapors into their tanks to prevent vapors from escaping into the air and contributing to air pollution. Any additional gas you try to pump into your tank may be drawn into the vapor line and fed back into the station’s storage tanks.

Gasoline vapors are harmful to breathe. Gasoline vapors contribute to bad ozone days and are a source of toxic air pollutants such as benzene. Evaporation from the spillage of gas from overfilling can occur, contributing to the air pollution problem. Remember you pay for the gas that evaporates or is spilled on the ground.

You need extra room in your gas tank to allow the gasoline to expand. If you top off your tank, the extra gas may evaporate into your vehicle’s vapor collection system. That system may become fouled and will not work properly causing your vehicle to run poorly and have high gas emissions.

Topping off your gas tank may foul the station's vapor recovery system. Adding more gas after the nozzle has automatically shut off can cause the station's vapor recovery system to operate improperly. This contributes to the air pollution problem and may cause the gas pump to fail to work for the next person.

Hot and hazy weather in the summer increases the possibility of ground level ozone pollution. Overfilling contributes to this problem. If you're an offender, make the effort now to break this habit.

2002 Toxics Release Inventory Released

EPA issued its 15th annual Toxic Release Inventory (TRI), the annual report on the amount of toxic chemicals released into the environment by reporting facilities, for calendar year 2002.

Almost 25,000 facilities reported on nearly 650 chemicals. While the TRI Public Data Release will show that there was a 15 percent decrease in total disposal or other releases into the environment from 2001 to 2002, that decrease is largely attributable to a court decision that affected reporting by the metal mining sector. Without metal mining, there was a 5 percent increase from 2001 to 2002, primarily due to increases reported by one facility. Looking at the overall history of TRI, trends analysis shows chemical releases decreased 49 percent since the inception of TRI in 1988.

EPA provides the American public with data on chemical emissions and releases in many formats from many different databases. TRI tracks the chemicals and industrial sectors specified by the Emergency Community Right to Know Act of 1986 and its amendments. EPA's efforts to improve TRI data quality and to make data publicly available sooner has been made possible by increased electronic reporting from the TRI community. Over 23 percent of TRI reports this year were submitted electronically through EPA's Environmental Information Exchange Network, a substantial paper burden reduction for industry.

The TRI data and background information are available to the public at Communities can identify local facilities and chemical releases by using the TRI explorer mapping tool available at

EPA Opens Comment on the ERP of NSR and Updates Regulations to Reflect Court Stay

EPA has granted a request to reconsider several aspects of the equipment replacement provision (ERP), which were adopted as part of regulatory changes to the New Source Review (NSR) Clean Air Act permitting program.

In response to petitions to reconsider portions of the ERP, EPA is soliciting additional public comment on the following three issues: 1) the basis for determining that the ERP was allowable under the Clean Air Act; 2) the basis for selecting the cost threshold (20 percent of the replacement cost of the process unit) that was used in the final rule to determine if a replacement was routine; and 3) a simplified procedure for incorporating a Federal Implementation Plan into state plans to accommodate changes to the NSR rules.

In a separate action, EPA is updating the Code of Federal Regulations and restoring the Routine Maintenance Repair and Replacement (RMRR) exclusion that was in effect prior to the adoption of ERP in order to reflect an appeals court stay of the final ERP rule. On December 24, 2003, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit stayed implementation of the ERP based upon a challenge by environmental groups, public interest groups and several states. The stay was granted until the rule could be thoroughly reviewed by the court. The regulatory update is administrative in nature and will require no change in implementation of the RMRR, which is currently in effect.

EPA sought extensive public input throughout the NSR reform process. The reconsideration and stay present an opportunity to continue to work with stakeholders on the rule. Granting reconsideration opens a 60-day public comment period and will provide another opportunity for the public to participate in this effort.

The text of the actions announced and fact sheets summarizing them are available at

PVC Manufacturer Agrees to Plead Guilty and Pay $4.3 Million Fine

Keysor-Century Corporation, a defunct company which manufactured polyvinyl chloride at its facility in Saugus, Calif., agreed on June 17 to plead guilty to a series of felony charges and pay $4.3 million in criminal and civil penalties for violations of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, for committing mail fraud, defrauding the United States and for civil violations of the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act.

Specifically, Keysor-Century was charged with knowingly releasing toxic wastewater into the Santa Clara River, illicit emission of air pollutants, falsifying emission reports to state and federal agencies, illegally storing and handling hazardous waste and maintaining its facility in a way that posed a threat of release of hazardous substances into the environment. These substances included vinyl chloride, a flammable gas known to be carcinogenic when inhaled by humans.

The case was investigated by the Los Angeles Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, the Los Angeles County Sanitation District, the City of Santa Clarita and the Los Angeles County Fire Department's Health Hazardous Materials Division with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles.