RCRA In Focus: Construction, Demolition, and Renovation

October 25, 2004

If you are involved with building construction, demolition, or renovation, your company creates construction and demolition (C&D) debris. These materials can consist of three types of waste: (1) Inert or non-hazardous waste; (2) hazardous waste as regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA); and (3) items that contain hazardous components that might be regulated by some states. Most C&D debris is non-hazardous and is not regulated by EPA. Under RCRA, however, if you generate hazardous waste you are required to follow certain procedures when generating, storing, transporting, or disposing of it. HereÆs an EPA Guidance Document that can help.

Best Workplaces for Commuters from Fortune 500 Companies

Sixty-nine Fortune 500 companies have been designated as Best Workplaces for Commuters (BWC). These companies offer their employees outstanding commuter benefits and encourage switching from stressful drive-alone commutes to more environmentally-friendly options such as transit or telecommuting. As a result, they are helping improve air quality, reduce congestion, and enhance quality of life for their employees while saving millions of gallons of gasoline every year. EPA additionally recognized the BWC FORTUNE 500 employers with the highest percentage of U.S. employees eligible for these benefits by showcasing them in the inaugural "Top 20" list.

Penalty Proposed For Wastewater Treatment Violations

The EPA has proposed a $40,000 penalty against the city of Holyoke, MA, for failing to fully implement its EPA-approved industrial pretreatment program in accordance with its federal discharge permit and federal pretreatment regulations at the cityÆs wastewater treatment plant.

The cityÆs permit requires it to regulate industrial users which discharge wastewater into the cityÆs wastewater treatment plant. Water discharged to the cityÆs wastewater treatment plant is eventually discharged into the Connecticut River.

According to the EPA's Sept. 30 complaint, in the years 2000 through 2003, the city failed to:

  • Adequately inspect or document inspections of industrial users
  • Re-issue permits to all industrial users
  • Take enforcement action against violating industrial users
  • Publish a notice of an industrial user that was in significant noncompliance for exceeding a chromium discharge limit; and
  • Evaluate the need for industrial user slug discharge plans

The complaint was based on information obtained by EPA during a September 2003 inspection. Officials at the treatment plant were told of the violations during this inspection and in a follow-up letter, according to EPA staff. A report from the facility in August 2004 and an inspection in September 2004 indicates the city has corrected the violations.

Raleigh Awarded $400,000 In EPA Grants

The EPA has awarded Raleigh, NC, $400,000 in brownfields grants. These grants are designed to help communities clean up sites with environmental problems.

Officials want to turn those sites into thriving areas of development. EPA suggested that cleaning up abandoned contaminated waste sites will also help create local jobs and increase the community's tax base.

EPA Announces $1.475M In Diesel Reduction Projects

EPA helped kick-off the Lane Regional Air Pollution AuthorityÆs announcement of $1.475 million in diesel emission reductions investments for Oregon. The EPA is contributing $600,000 to these efforts.

The projects will fund efforts to reduce emissions from idling trucks up and down OregonÆs I-5 corridor, retrofit school buses throughout the state, and improve accessibility and affordability of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel. truck-idling reduction to school bus retrofits infrastructure to purchase, install and maintain small auxiliary engines that use up to 90 percent less diesel and emit 75 percent less air pollution than idling trucks. Trucks stop will eventually benefit from the project.

The event also helped kick-off efforts of the EPA and a consortium of government agencies, non-profits and businesses to reduce dangerous diesel emissions from trucks, ships, locomotives and other diesel sources along the West Coast.

The consortium, collectively known as the West Coast Diesel Emissions Reductions Collaborative ("Collaborative"), includes representatives of the governments of the U.S., Canada and Mexico, state and local governments, and the non-profit and private sector from California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and British Columbia.

The West Coast's numerous diesel sources - trucks, buses, ships and boats, locomotives, agricultural equipment, construction equipment and generators - expose West Coast residents to extremely unhealthy air. Some estimates suggest that up to 85 percent of the lifetime cancer risk citizens face from air toxins comes from diesel emissions. These emissions also contribute to unhealthy levels of fine particles and ozone, or smog. Fine particles have been associated with an increased risk of premature mortality, hospital admissions for heart and lung disease, increased respiratory symptoms and other adverse effects.

The EPA's new national diesel regulations dramatically reduce emissions from trucks, trains, construction and agricultural equipment, large-scale diesel generators, and marine vessels. When fully implemented, these new rules will reduce diesel emissions up to 99 percent. However, unlike other areas of the country, along the West Coast diesel emissions are the primary air pollutants of concern for regulators and health professionals.

The Collaborative builds on diesel emissions reductions targets in the EPA's on-road and non-road rules, and the success of EPA's Clean School Bus USA Initiative, California's Carl Moyer Clean Engine Incentive Program, Washington's Diesel Solutions Program, Oregon's Business Energy Tax Credit Program, and other voluntary emissions reductions programs. Many diesel emission reduction technologies can reduce emissions of fine particles and other pollution by over 90 percent. The ultimate goal of the Collaborative is to secure $100 million to promote voluntary efforts to reduce diesel emissions in California, Oregon and Washington further and sooner than the EPA's new, stringent national diesel rules mandate.

A total of eight grants were announced today along the West Coast, totaling over $7 million in funding from federal, state, local, non-profits and industry groups. In Oregon, Sacramento, San Diego and Los Angeles, several state and federal government agencies, along with numerous industry partners, are announcing similar idle-reduction projects which will enable truck operators to use electrical energy rather than idling their diesel engines to run in-truck appliances such as air conditioners and microwave ovens.

EPA Catalog of Hazardous and Solid Waste Publications

This catalog lists hazardous and solid waste documents from EPAÆs Office of Solid Waste is a select list of publications that are frequently requested. This edition of the catalog contains newly released publications and is current through August 15, 2004.