Ohio EPA, Corporation Reach Air Pollution Violation Agreement

September 17, 2004

Ohio EPA and Glen-Gery Corp. of Shoemakersville, PA, reached an agreement to resolve violations involving the lack of air pollution control permits and failure to employ the required emission control equipment at the company's Caledonia, OH brick manufacturing facility. The company agreed to pay a civil penalty of $134,895.

The plant's operations include two raw material grinding lines that emit fine particulate matter into the air. The company violated state law and regulations when it installed and operated a grinding line in 1984 without first obtaining installation and operating permits from Ohio EPA. Further, the company did not use best available technology to control emissions during the first several years of its operation. These violations have been resolved.

The settlement includes a civil penalty of $41,209 to be paid to Ohio EPA. Equal portions of this penalty will benefit the Ohio Environmental Education Fund and air pollution control programs at Ohio EPA. Another $10,300 will be paid to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry's State Forest Fund to help fund urban area tree planting projects in Ohio.

The company is receiving credit for the remaining $83,386 for voluntarily venting the emissions from an older grinding line, whose emissions are unregulated, to the emission control system. Particulate emissions from this older grinding line, built in 1957, and a sand applicator, are being collected by the same air pollution control equipment serving the newer grinding line. In addition, the company has installed hooding equipment around the older grinding line and its shale conveyor to reduce fugitive emissions.

Infectious Waste Generators Fined by Pennsylvania DEP

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently announced that five north central Pennsylvania infectious waste generators were fined a total of $5,500 for manifest violations during the past three years.

The waste transporter in these cases, Stericycle Inc. of Montgomeryville, PA, was fined $224,765 by DEP in March for its role in the violations.

Infectious waste is municipal waste generated in the medical diagnosis and treatment of humans or animals, or in the production and testing of biologicals. It may include cultures and stocks, pathological waste, human blood and body fluid waste. Generators are usually hospitals, clinics and other facilities like nursing homes.

Infectious waste manifests list the type and quantity of medical waste being transported, and must be signed by the generator at the time the waste is picked up for disposal.

The DEP investigation determined that manifests were not signed at numerous facilities between 2001 and 2003. Those fined by DEP include two area hospitals, a retirement center, and a funeral home, as well as a private practitioner. All fines were paid to the Solid Waste Abatement Fund, which is used to address the improper management of solid wastes. The fund is an important financial resource for emergency cleanups.

For more information on infectious waste, visit the DEP web site at: www.dep.state.pa.us

Boiler and Process Heater NESHAP Goes Final

EPA issued national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP) for industrial, commercial, and institutional boilers and process heaters on September 13, 2004. The Agency identified process heaters and industrial, commercial, and institutional boilers as major sources of hazardous air pollutants (HAP) emissions. The final rule will implement section 112(d) of the Clean Air Act (CAA) by requiring all major sources to meet HAP emissions standards reflecting the application of the maximum achievable control technology (MACT). The final rule is expected to reduce HAP emissions by 50,600 to 58,000 tons per year.

The HAP emitted by facilities in the boiler and process heater source category include arsenic, cadmium, chromium, hydrogen chloride (HCl), hydrogen fluoride, lead, manganese, mercury, nickel, and various organic HAP. Exposure to these substances has been demonstrated to cause adverse health effects such as irritation to the lung, skin, and mucus membranes, effects on the central nervous system, kidney damage, and cancer. These adverse health effects associated with the exposure to these specific HAP are further described in this preamble. In general, these findings only have been shown with concentrations higher than those typically in the ambient air.

The final rule contains numerous compliance provisions including health-based compliance alternatives for the hydrogen chloride and total selected metals emission limits.

The final ruleis effective November 12, 2004.

Washington State Industrial Stormwater Permit Ready for Review

The Washington State Department of Ecology has proposed modifications to its industrial-stormwater general permit. These will be based on a hearings board ruling, the outcome of settlement negotiations, and recent changes in state law.

The proposal is the culmination of a four-year effort, with the goal of issuing a new industrial-stormwater permit to protect Washington's waterways from industrial pollution. Previous versions of the proposal, issued in 2000 and 2002, were appealed by environmental and business interests.

Approximately 1,200 businesses in Washington that discharge storm water into lakes, streams or marine waters will be covered by the proposal. These businesses are required to obtain and abide by the provisions of the permit to keep industrial pollutants from being carried away by stormwater runoff.

Stormwater runoff is considered to be the largest source of water pollution today. Many industrial sites have significant pollution potential; the proposed permit is intended to ensure that businesses are vigilant regarding stormwater runoff from their sites.

Several key changes have been proposed, including:

  • +Clarification of Ecology's stormwater management manuals usage under the permit
  • + Clarifying that water cleanup plans (TMDLs) completed after the permit is issued do not apply
  • - Presuming that a business is in compliance with water-quality standards if it is in full compliance with the permit and site-specific information does not demonstrate otherwise
  • + Elimination of standard mixing zones
  • +Using benchmark goals as opposed to effluent limitations for existing discharges into polluted water bodies
  • +Eliminating provisions that gave some permit-holders as much as 10 years to bring their discharges into compliance with permit requirements
  • +Clarifying what permittees must do when pollution levels in their runoff rise above certain thresholds

The draft permit and a related fact sheet are available online at: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/stormwater.