New York Law Requires Stricter Regulations on Children's Products Containing Harmful Chemicals

February 10, 2020
On February 7, NY Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation (S.501B / A.6296A) to protect children's health by better regulating the use of chemicals in children's products. The bill requires manufacturers to disclose the use of chemicals in children's products and requires the Department of Environmental Conservation to make this information public to consumers. The legislation was signed pursuant to a chapter agreement, which will reorganize the regulatory framework for DEC to designate chemicals of concern and high-priority chemicals, establish a children's product safety council charged with providing DEC with making recommendations on additional chemicals which should be considered for future prohibitions on use in children's products, establish timelines for future regulatory actions, incorporate a standard by which chemicals should be reviewed by the department for future prohibitions as well as other technical changes.
"I remember full well the worry and apprehension felt every time my daughters left the house, but the potential dangers lurking in the home create another level of fear for a parent," Governor Cuomo said. "With these tough new standards, New Yorkers will finally have the peace of mind knowing their children are not being unwittingly exposed to toxic chemicals." 
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "Governor Cuomo has made New York State a national leader in strengthening protections against harmful chemicals that threaten public health and pollute the environment. Strictly regulating the use of chemicals in children's products is responsible public policy. DEC is excited to undertake this important initiative which will prevent potentially hazardous chemicals from harming our children and the environment."
Under the law, DEC will promulgate a list of chemicals of concern, which will define chemicals that have a specific hazard profile. Chemicals that have a specific hazard profile includes chemicals that have been identified by a government entity and/or identified on the basis of credible scientific evidence as a carcinogen, asthmagen, or reproductive or developmental toxicant. Within 12 months of a chemical being identified as a chemical of concern, manufacturers will be required to disclose the use that chemical, and the bill will allow DEC to share this information with an online database used by other states that have similar programs. DEC will promulgate a list of chemicals of concern within two years and the bill contains a list of chemicals that should be considered by the department.
The law also creates a category of high-priority chemicals, and includes criteria for the department to add to the list of high-priority chemicals that will also be subject to disclosure.  High-priority chemicals will be reviewed periodically to determine if such chemical should be subject to a prohibition and manufacturers which use high-priority chemicals in their products would be required to notify retailers that the chemical is contained within a product.
The law creates a children's product safety council that will advise DEC on additional chemicals that should be added to a list of high-priority chemicals and chemicals that should be prohibited from use in a children's product based on the potential for exposure to such chemical. 
As part of New York's aggressive and extensive initiatives and investments to protect the public's drinking water supplies, Governor Cuomo recently signed a new law to help prevent the emerging contaminant 1,4-dioxane from contaminating New York's water systems. The EPA identified 1,4-dioxane as a likely carcinogen to humans and this new law prohibits the sale of household cleaning products containing 1,4-dioxane at certain levels and limits the sale of cosmetic and personal care products with certain levels of 1,4-dioxane.
Governor Cuomo has also launched New York's Household Cleansing Product Information Disclosure program. New York State is leading the nation by requiring manufacturers to disclose information about all of the chemicals that might be found in household cleaning products, including byproducts (such as 1,4-dioxane) and other impurities. This initiative will help the state better understand public exposure to chemical hazards.
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Drinking Water Treatment Units Must Now Meet Stricter Requirements for Lead Reduction Certification
The joint committee governing the American National Standards for drinking water treatment units recently lowered the maximum allowable concentration of lead in treated drinking water to 5 parts per billion.
Standards 53 and 58 now require drinking water treatment units to reduce the lead in drinking water to 5 ppb or less—a 50% drop from the previous 10 ppb—and a threshold that matches Health Canada’s new maximum allowable concentration level of 5 ppb.
The new lead pass/fail criteria of 5 ppb has been published for NSF/ANSI 53: Drinking Water Treatment Units - Health Effects and NSF/ANSI 58: Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Treatment Systems. Previously, a water treatment system could be certified if it reduced lead to 10 ppb or lower and met other requirements set by the standard, such as material safety and structural integrity. These other requirements remain unchanged.
Updates to both standards were published in December and are effective immediately for any new filter or filtration device claiming to reduce lead.
To be certified by NSF International, drinking water filters and treatment devices are tested with challenge water containing 150 ppb lead, 10 times the U.S. Environmental Protection agency’s action level of 15 ppb.
In March 2019, Health Canada lowered the national regulatory maximum allowable concentration of lead in drinking water from 10 ppb to 5 ppb. The European Union has also proposed a revision to its Drinking Water Directive to lower lead concentrations to 5 ppb.
The World Health Organization and other public health organizations have concluded there is no safe level of lead, and that even low concentrations can cause adverse health effects, especially for infants and children.
The primary source of lead in drinking water is from use of lead pipe or lead-containing alloys in supply lines and premise plumbing, fixtures, fittings and solder. Given this widespread use, the cost of replacement and repair with non-lead contaminating materials can be cost prohibitive.
“Lead contamination of drinking water remains a critical issue, and regulations continue to be put into action to reduce the allowable level of lead in drinking water. Establishing this new pass/fail criteria of 5 ppb for NSF/ANSI 53 and NSF/ANSI 58 will further limit health risks associated with lead ingestion and provide an additional measure of public health protection,” said Jessica Evans, Director of Standards Development at NSF International.
Residential water treatment industry products have demonstrated the ability to reduce lead concentrations to a level at or below 5 ppb when tested by NSF in accordance with standard protocols.
NSF/ANSI 53 and NSF/ANSI 58 and their updates are developed following the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) process designed to ensure openness, balance, consensus and due process for all stakeholders. The Drinking Water Treatment Units Joint Committee is comprised of stakeholders representing consumers, the water industry, and state and federal health and environmental agencies in the U.S. and Canada. The joint committee includes 28 voting members and 80 observers who offer input and expertise during the standard development process and is facilitated by NSF International’s standards development group.
As the final step in the standards development process, the standard is ratified by NSF’s Council of Public Health Consultants, which includes representatives from the EPA, Health Canada and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Company President Jailed and Ordered to Pay $4 Million for Illegally Storing Hazardous Waste at Former Glassboro Drum Reconditioning Company
The former President and owner of a Glassboro, New Jersey, drum reconditioning company was sentenced to 30 days’ imprisonment for illegally storing hazardous waste, U.S Attorney Craig Carpenito, and Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jean E. Williams of the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, announced.
Thomas Toy, 75, of Elmer, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before Judge Renee M. Bumb to one count of storing hazardous waste at Superior Barrel and Drum Company, Inc.’s Glassboro, New Jersey, facility, in violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Judge Bumb imposed the sentence in Camden federal court.
According to court documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
  • Superior received drums from various industrial customers, cleaned and processed those drums, and then resold them. As the President and owner of Superior, Toy’s responsibilities included making decisions about the storage and disposal of waste, including hazardous waste, at Superior’s facility. Superior did not have a permit to store hazardous waste at Superior’s facility.
  • Between on or about September 27, 2013, and on or about September 25, 2014, the EPA conducted a removal action of waste stored at Superior’s facility. In total, approximately 1,800 containers of waste were removed from Superior’s facility. Much of the waste was found to be hazardous. The direct cost to EPA of the removal action was over $4.2 million.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Bumb sentenced Toy to three years of supervised release, with a special condition of 30 days’ home confinement. She also ordered him to pay $4.2 million in restitution.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the EPA, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Tyler C. Amon, with the investigation leading to the sentencing.
The Government was represented by Senior Environmental Counsel Kathleen P. O'Leary and Special Assistant United States Attorney Jason Garelick of the U.S. Attorney's Office Government Fraud Unit in Newark, and Trial Attorney Adam Cullman of the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice.
All Things Considered, Wooden Pallets Are More Eco-Friendly Than Plastic Pallets
Weighing in on a debate that has raged for decades, Penn State researchers, after conducting a series of ultra-detailed comparisons, have declared that shipping pallets made of wood are slightly more environmentally friendly and sustainable than those made of plastic.
"Few people realize the significance of this issue -- there are about 700 million pallets produced and recycled each year in the United States alone," said Chuck Ray, associate professor of ecosystem science and management in the College of Agricultural Sciences. "There are 4 billion pallets in use in this country."
Researchers compared the long-term performance of treated wooden and plastic pallets through a detailed, cradle-to-grave life-cycle assessment, and conducted an analysis of treatments required to kill pests such as insects. They investigated and evaluated the environmental impacts of resources consumed and emissions released by wooden and plastic pallets throughout their life cycles.
In the study, the environmental impacts of the pallets were compared on a one-trip basis and 100,000-trips basis, under nine impact categories chosen by researchers because of their environmental relevance. The categories included influence on ozone layer depletion, respiratory organics, aquatic ecotoxicity, terrestrial ecotoxicity, land occupation, aquatic acidification, aquatic eutrophication, global warming and non-renewable energy.
In findings published on Feb. 3 in the Journal of Industrial Ecology, the researchers show that on a one-trip basis, wooden pallets treated with conventional kiln heating and as-yet novel, radio-frequency heat treatment incur an overall carbon footprint that is slightly lower than plastic pallets during their life cycle. For the 100,000-trips comparison, the differences are even more significant, they reported.
"It should be noted that wooden pallets that are heat-treated to kill pests incur a carbon footprint 20% to 30% lower than those treated with methyl bromide fumigation," Ray said. "Methyl bromide gas has been blamed for depleting the Earth's ozone layer. And theoretical calculations of the resource consumption and emissions of radio-frequency treatment of pallets suggest that the new dielectric technology may provide a lower-carbon alternative to both conventionally treated wooden pallets or plastic pallets."
Molded plastic pallets, typically, have a much longer life cycle than wooden pallets because plastic pallets are usually not broken or damaged and normally can travel more than 200 round trips before being taken out of service, Ray noted. Plastic pallets are made of sturdy, hardened material and are built to last longer. But they are typically derived from petroleum or natural gas products, which greatly increases their carbon footprint.
"What was lacking in this whole arena was a comprehensive life-cycle analysis, and that is what this study provides," Ray said. "More than a decade ago, other studies were commissioned by the wood pallet industry and by the plastic pallet industry, and of course those results favored the funders. This is the first academic, peer-reviewed study related to pallets, and it was funded entirely by Penn State and is unbiased."
With current concerns about climate change and in view of the massive amount of resources consumed to make many millions of pallets, assessing their carbon footprint is important, Ray believes. With 40% of all hardwood produced in the United States going into pallet production, he added, it is critical to know if wooden pallets are ecologically acceptable.
"Because I have worked my whole career in the wood products industry, I have gained a special appreciation for the benefits of wood as an environmentally friendly product," said Ray. "The topic interests me. It did not occur to me to do this research until the plastic pallet industry started talking about their products as environmentally superior. I questioned that statement and decided to do life-cycle analyses."
Also involved in the research were Sebastian Anil, now with Microsoft; Junfeng Ma, now with Mississippi State University; Gul Kremer, now with Iowa State University; and Shirin Shahidi, a graduate student in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management when the research was conducted.
New Requirements Proposed for Pipeline Shutoff Valves
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would revise federal pipeline safety regulations by requiring the installation of remotely controlled or automatic shutoff valves – or equivalent technologies – on certain newly constructed or entirely replaced natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines.  The proposed rule would enhance safety by mitigating the consequences of large-volume pipeline releases and establishing minimum standards for rupture detection.
“This rule will improve critical safety requirements for the next generation of energy pipelines as U.S. energy production continues to grow,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
The NPRM requires that remote-control or automatic shutoff valves be installed on new or replaced pipelines greater than six inches in diameter.  Leak detection systems must be capable of closing valves to isolate a ruptured pipeline segment within 40 minutes.
The rule would address Congressional mandates from the Pipeline Safety Act of 2011, and recommendations from both the National Transportation Safety Board and a study conducted by the Government Accountability Office.
“This proposal is backed by extensive research that supports the use of remotely controlled and automated valves as both cost-effective and capable of minimizing potential delays between the identification and isolation of a pipeline release,” said PHMSA Administrator Skip Elliott.
The proposed rule published in the Federal Register on February 6, 2020.
New Jersey DEP Begins Reform of Environmental Regulations in Response to Climate Change
One week after Governor Phil Murphy and Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe announced a comprehensive effort to modernize New Jersey’s environmental regulations, the Department of Environmental Protection is moving forward  with a collaborative rulemaking process, holding several stakeholder events throughout February and March, to make the New Jersey Protecting Against Climate Threats (NJ PACT) reforms a reality.
The DEP has scheduled a series of stakeholder sessions to gather input from residents, businesses and advocates on the development of new greenhouse gas reduction and environmental land use regulations aimed at reducing the impact of climate change and adapting to the realities of certain impacts, like sea-level rise.
“New Jersey is extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, from sea-level rise that threatens our coastline to air pollution that harms our most vulnerable communities,” said Governor Murphy. “We are moving swiftly to enact the regulations outlined in NJ PACT to reduce fossil fuel emissions and ensure investments in our innovation economy and communities. These policies, which will make New Jersey a global leader in the clean energy transition and fight against climate change, will help propel New Jersey to 100 percent clean energy by 2050.”
“In New Jersey, we take seriously the science of climate change. We are heeding the warnings about risks like sea-level rise and acting with the urgency that these threats demand,” said Commissioner McCabe.  “As we work to modernize our environmental regulations to reflect the best available science, DEP is committed to a thoughtful and collaborative approach that engages stakeholders from across all sectors of our economy, non-governmental organizations, academia, and local government. We are all in this together.”
On Jan. 27, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order 100, directing the DEP to make targeted regulatory reforms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change through the NJ PACT initiative. New Jersey is the first state to embark on a such an ambitious framework of measures targeted to both reduce emissions of climate pollutants and reform environmental land use policy to adapt to climate realities and ensure long-term resilience.
With Governor Murphy’s leadership, New Jersey has been implementing a number of initiatives to both mitigate against future climate change and adapt to its certain effects, including releasing a clean-energy focused Energy Master Plan and ordering the development of a Statewide Climate Resilience Strategy, making New Jersey a national leader in the fight against climate change.
NJ PACT is the next evolution of these efforts, modernizing air quality regulations that will limit emissions of climate pollutants that exacerbate global warming, as well as environmental land use regulations that equip DEP, local governments, residents and businesses with tools to effectively respond to current climate threats. They are also forward looking, seeking to reduce future climate damages through rules for green infrastructure and resilient building that will help New Jersey fight risks like sea-level rise and extreme weather.
Soliciting feedback from the public and stakeholders for proposed environmental regulations is the first step in the rulemaking process that will conclude by January 2022. In advance of that date, DEP will consider all input it receives during its public stakeholder process as it formulates rule proposals. Once proposals are finalized, they will be published in the New Jersey Register for public comment and, after careful consideration of any comments received, finalized for adoption.
The DEP will hold initial stakeholder sessions on the following potential rules: 
  • Friday, Feb. 21 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., focusing on periodic monitoring and reporting of statewide greenhouse gas emissions, hosted by the DEP Air Quality, Energy and Sustainability program.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 25 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., focusing on ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, hosted by the DEP Air Quality, Energy and Sustainability program.
  • Monday, March 2 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., to discuss rules to better plan for sea-level rise, extreme weather events and flooding, hosted by the Land Use Management program.
All sessions for both programs are open to public comment. They will be held at the DEP’s First Floor Public Hearing Room, 401 East State Street, Trenton 08625.
Due to space limitations, the DEP is requesting attendees to RSVP. For more information, including session details, RSVP deadlines and contacts, visit
Multi-Agency Task Force Tackles Illegal Dumping in Sam Houston National Forest
Several individuals will be participating in a clean-up effort following their charges of illegal dumping in the Sam Houston National Forest (SHNF), announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick and Montgomery County District Attorney Brett W. Ligon.
On Aug. 1, 2019, area law enforcement formed a multi-agency task force comprised of federal, state and local agencies to attempt to curb illegal dumping in the SHNF. Dumpsters are placed in the forest and people are encouraged not to litter, but the ongoing problem warranted further action.
During the initial enforcement period, task force officers identified and charged a number of people for illegally dumping materials in SHNF. These individuals were typically found to be illegally discarding furniture, tires, construction materials, bottles, rags and various other forms of trash in the forest. A number of state and federal prosecutions are now pending for the illegal dumping, and multiple arrests have occurred. In an effort to remedy the immediate problem, a number of the individuals charged are scheduled to take part in a clean-up effort in SHNF Saturday, Feb. 8.
“Dumping on National Forest land is illegal and goes against the conservation mission of the property,” said Patrick. “With federal and state land set aside for parks and conservation throughout Montgomery and surrounding counties, this was the perfect joint partnership. District Attorney Ligon has been fantastic, and his involvement was key in bringing local law enforcement to the project.”
“People need to think twice about dumping their garbage on forest land that belongs to all of us,” said Ligon. “This behavior is not harmless, it will not be tolerated, and there will be consequences when we catch the people who are involved.”
Both Ligon and Patrick commended the dedicated enforcement efforts of game wardens, agents and deputies from Texas Parks and Wildlife, U.S. Forest Service and Montgomery County Precinct One Constable’s Office in addressing illegal dumping in SHNF.
Assistant District Attorneys Michael Ghutzman and Nathan Alsbrooks handled the state charges, while Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin Epley is handling the federal matters.
Arizona’s Pool Water Products Inc. to Pay $800,000 Penalty for FIFRA Violations
EPA has reached a settlement with Pool Water Products Inc. to address alleged violations of federal pesticide laws at its facility in Phoenix, Arizona. The company now has 30 days to pay $800,000.
This penalty is part of EPA’s 2018 action ordering the company to stop selling an improperly registered pesticide, ALL Clear 3” Jumbo Chlorinating Tablets. That action, which applied to nationwide distribution, transport and sales of the product, followed a statewide stop-sale order issued in 2018 by the Arizona Department of Agriculture. State inspectors discovered the unregistered pesticide, which is used to disinfect pools, during an inspection of the company’s warehouse.
“Unregistered pesticides can pose a significant risk to consumers, children, pets, and others,” said Amy Miller, EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Division Director for the Pacific Southwest region. “This settlement emphasizes how critical it is for companies to follow federal pesticide laws to protect human health.”
Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), companies must provide formulation and production data to EPA in registering a pesticide product. This ensures the efficacy and integrity of products for consumers. Until recently, the registered ALL Clear 3” tablets were made only in the United States, and the product’s formula and data demonstrating its effectiveness were evaluated by the EPA. However, Pool Water Products was found to be selling and distributing an unregistered version of the product made in China. After EPA issued the stop sale order in 2018, Pool Water Products worked with EPA to register the products made in China and the company is now in compliance with the applicable federal pesticide laws.
FIFRA requires registration of pesticide products and pesticide-production facilities, as well as proper pesticide labeling and packaging. These requirements protect public health and the environment by minimizing the risks associated with the production, use, storage and disposal of pesticides.
Treating Wastewater with Ozone Could Convert Pharmaceuticals into Toxic Compounds
With water scarcity intensifying, wastewater treatment and reuse are gaining popularity. But some methods for killing microbes in wastewater create disinfection byproducts (DBPs) that could be harmful to human health. Now researchers have found that ozone treatment and subsequent chlorination can convert trace amounts of some pharmaceuticals in wastewater into DBPs called halonitromethanes. They report their results in Environmental Science & Technology.
The combination of ozone and chlorine kills most bacteria and viruses in wastewater. Compared with chlorine treatment alone, ozone also reduces the formation of many DBPs. Recently, however, scientists have discovered that ozone can increase the formation of potentially toxic halonitromethanes, such as chloropicrin, in chlorine-treated wastewater. Jiaming Lily Shi and Daniel McCurry wanted to determine which molecules in the wastewater were being converted to chloropricin and how.
To find out, the researchers collected wastewater samples from three treatment plants in Southern California. The team discovered that ozone treatment produced nitromethane, which could have been formed from some nitrogen-containing drugs in the wastewater, including stimulants such as ephedrine and methamphetamine and certain antidepressants. Then, chlorination transformed the nitromethane into chloropricin. The pharmaceuticals, which enter wastewater through sewage, are not removed completely by conventional wastewater treatment. Future work should address how effectively processes that occur after ozone treatment can remove the nitromethane intermediate, the researchers say.
PJ Keating Co. Cited for Air and Water Violations
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) has issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) to PJ Keating Company for environmental violations arising from the mining and processing of rock, sand, and gravel and the manufacture of concrete at its facility in Cranston. The company operates the quarry mining and processing facility at 875 Phenix Avenue and leases a portion of the property to Cullion Concrete, which operates the concrete facility.
The NOV charges PJ Keating Company with violations of Rhode Island’s Water Pollution Act, the Water Quality Regulations, RI Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (RIPDES) Regulations, Fugitive Dust Regulation, and Emissions of Air Contaminants Detrimental to Person or Property Regulation. The enforcement action includes a $66,250 penalty.
"DEM is committed to holding accountable any entity that fails to comply with state laws and regulations protecting clean air and water,” said Terrence Gray, Deputy Director for Environmental Protection. “The company’s actions have created a major impact on the air quality and water quality of the surrounding community. They need to take the measures required by our enforcement action and come back into compliance as soon as possible.”
While conducting air compliance inspections of the facility in 2018, DEM observed violations of the fugitive dust and emissions regulations on five separate occasions. Specifically, dust was observed traveling onto Phenix Avenue as trucks exited the property on July 31 and August 1, and although a water truck was in use, it was ineffective in preventing dust from migrating beyond the property. Dust was observed at the entrance to the property and on Phenix Avenue on August 8 and August 9, and trucks exiting the property were observed carrying material in the grooves of their tires onto Phenix Avenue. On August 28 dust was observed at the entrance to the property and on Phenix Avenue; although the water truck was watering the inside of the property and the sweeper truck was sweeping up and down Phenix Avenue, these measures were ineffective in preventing dust from migrating beyond the property.
During another inspection on March 26, 2019, dust from the processing equipment was observed blowing onto the Cranston Department of Public Works facility located nearby. DEM’s inspector noted a light accumulation of dust on the armrest and windshield of his vehicle about an hour into the inspection. The dust irritated the inspector’s eyes and he began to feel and taste the dust on his teeth and in his nose and mouth. The inspector also observed a sporadic plume of dust coming from the top of the conveyor belts of the stone processing equipment that was heading toward the Cranston DPW facility. On July 10, 2019, DEM observed dust at the entrance to the facility and on Phenix Avenue and noticed that trucks exiting the property were carrying material in the grooves of their tires onto Phenix Avenue.
At each inspection, DEM notified the company that adequate measures to control air pollution and fugitive dust were not being taken. DEM issued a Notice of Non-Compliance and Requirements for Corrective Actions the company for each inspection date, thus putting it on notice that it had failed to comply with fugitive dust and emission regulations.
In addition to the air pollution violations, DEM has cited the company for failure to comply with its RIPDES permit. The RIPDES permit authorizes the company to discharge process water and stormwater from its facility to an unnamed tributary to Furnace Hill Brook. The company is required to meet limits for monthly average and maximum daily concentrations for suspended solids (TSS) of 25 parts per million and 45 parts per million, respectively. PJ Keating Company discharged water with TSS levels that exceeded the permit for five consecutive quarterly periods from December 2017 through December 2018.
DEM’s enforcement action orders the company to take immediate necessary corrective actions to ensure that airborne matter or fugitive dust is not migrating beyond the property’s boundary from all operations conducted at the facility; and within 30 days submit a comprehensive Particulate Matter Control Plan to DEM that identifies all potential sources of airborne particulate matter associated with the facility operations and the best management practices and other actions that can be taken to prevent dust from migrating beyond the property. The company is required to implement the plan within 20 days of DEM’s approval and complete corrective work within 60 days.
PJ Keating Company is entitled to request a hearing before DEM’s Administrative Adjudication Division within 20 days of receipt of the NOV.
Criminal Charges for Asbestos Violations
On February 3 Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh announced the filing of criminal charges against William Anthony Culler, II, operating under the trade name Culler Group, for the unlawful demolition of the historic St. Vincent Infant Asylum buildings, located at 1411 Division Street, in Baltimore City.
The charges, filed in an eight-count Criminal Information, include, among other things, failure to obtain the proper permit and approval for the demolition of the property from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE); failure to properly inspect the property for the presence of asbestos; failure to notify MDE of the intent to engage in an asbestos project; and, failure to take reasonable steps to prevent asbestos from becoming airborne. Each charge is punishable by up to one year of incarceration and a fine of up to $25,000.
“We allege Culler illegally demolished these buildings without proper notice and authorization, and without the required safeguards in place,” said Attorney General Frosh. “Asbestos is an extremely hazardous substance and can become airborne during demolition, endangering the health of workers and the surrounding community, including children.”
Demolition of the property began on or about February 12, 2018 and continued until February 26, 2018. MDE inspectors collected several samples of demolition debris to test for the presence of suspected asbestos-containing material. The samples were subsequently analyzed by the Department of Health’s Air Quality Laboratory and analysis confirmed the presence of regulated asbestos-containing material in one of the samples collected.
In July 2019, Attorney General Frosh also filed a civil complaint against Culler for similar charges.
$14,000 Penalty for UST Violations
O’Day Equipment LLC, a storage tank service and supply company based in Fargo, N.D., has agreed to pay a $14,000 civil penalty to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) for violations related to installing, repairing, removing, and testing underground storage tanks. The violations occurred at locations in Mountain Iron, Two Harbors, Cloquet, Grand Rapids, Bemidji, and Duluth.
In addition to the civil penalty, O’Day Equipment has also agreed to corrective actions, including increased training for its employees.
Contractors that install, remove, or service underground storage tanks that hold petroleum products or other chemicals must follow specific rules and standards to ensure tank equipment functions properly and does not release harmful substances into the environment.
The MPCA cited O’Day for violations that include failing to install automatic shutoff overfill devices and secondary containment and removing a tank without oversight from properly certified personnel. The company also provided the MPCA with test results from testing equipment that was not repaired by a qualified technician. The company failed to provide required notifications to the MPCA on multiple occasions.
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