Which "waters" are protected by the Clean Water Act? Does CWA regulate any discharges into most US tributaries and adjacent wetlands, or only direct discharges into larger "traditionally navigable" waters? The US Supreme Court is about to consider these questions in two landmark cases - and perhaps make as important a decision on environmental law as any ever issued by the court. This decision could significantly affect development, industry, and waste-management practices throughout the country.
The recently consolidated cases involve proposed commercial developments in Michigan wetlands adjoining streams that are tributaries of the Great Lakes. The court will hear one hour of oral arguments covering both cases on Feb. 21, 2006.
If the Supreme Court decides to interpret a broad scope for waters protected by CWA, many activities and projects that currently may not require CWA Section 404 permits (issued by the US Army Corps of Engineers) probably would require permits. áPrior to this decision, the Corps had defined "waters of the US" to include almost all of the nation's wetlands.
EPA Revises Policy on Environmental Management Systems
á The updated statement replaces the 2002 Position Statement on EMS. The Position Statement explains EPA's policy oná EMSs and the Agency's intent to continue to promote the voluntary wide-spread use of EMSs across a range of organizations and settings. EPA encourages organizations to implement EMSs that result in improved environmental performance and compliance, cost-savings, pollution prevention through source reduction, and continual improvement.
According to EPA, the Agency will continue to be guided by the principles of continual improvement and learning, flexibility, and collaboration.
The new policy is based on a "Statement of Principles," which includes
- Encouraging widespread use of EMSs with particular emphasis on adoption of EMSs to achieve improved environmental performance and compliance, pollution prevention through source reduction, and continual improvement. The Agency will support EMSs that use of EMSs as a means of integrating other facility management programs.
- To encourage voluntary adoption of EMSs, EPA will rely on public education and voluntary programs.
- Use EMSs to obtain stakeholder input on matters relevant to the development and implementation of an EMS and to demonstrate accountability for the performance outcomes of their EMSs through measurable objectives and targets. Additionally, the Agency will encourage organizations to share information on the performance of their EMSs with public and government agencies and facilitate this process where practicable.
- EPA will encourage the use of recognized environmental management frameworks, such as the ISO 14001 Standard.
EPA Finalizes Amendments to Air Toxics Regulations
á In the same action, EPA finalized its reconsideration of certain aspects of the final rule in response to a petition filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Environmental Integrity Project.
The final amendments allow facilities to use approved emissions estimates rather than conduct emissions tests for some hard-to-test units, and allow facilities to demonstrate they are low-risk at any time, either before or after the compliance date. The amendments will not affect the impact of the standards.
EPA also announced its response to comments from the environmental groups' petition which asked EPA to reconsider nine aspects of the final regulation. After carefully considering the comments that were submitted as a result of this reconsideration process, EPA has concluded that all reconsidered aspects of the final regulation are properly supported and justified and that no changes are warranted.
Since 1990, EPA has issued 96 standards covering emissions from 174 industry source categories. By 2007, these regulations will eliminate 1.7 million tons of air toxics every year.
EPA estimates that the July 2004 final regulation will reduce air toxics emissions from the manufacturing of plywood and composite wood products by 11,000 tons per year, a 58% decrease from 1997 levels. The final regulation also will reduce volatile organic compound emissions by 27,000 tons per year, a 52% decrease from 1997 levels.
The plywood and composite wood products industry manufactures plywood and veneer, particleboard, medium density fiberboard, hardboard, fiberboard, oriented strandboard and engineered wood products.
Failure to Report Ammonia Releases Results in Penalties for Several Companies
EPA Region 5 recently settled administrative cases involving hazardous chemical release reporting violations in Chicago and Antigo, Wis., and filed a new case against a New Ulm, Minn., company.
All three cases involved anhydrous ammonia, which is commonly used in commercial refrigeration systems. The chemical causes burns to the skin and irritation to the eyes, nose and throat and may be fatal if inhaled for long periods of time. Anhydrous ammonia releases greater than 100 pounds must be immediately reported.
"Federal law requires immediate notification to the National Response Center for chemical releases above certain thresholds," said Richard Karl, Regional EPA Superfund Division Director. "The NRC activates the appropriate response authorities. Responders need to know what they're dealing with so they can take steps to protect people living or working in the area."
Lang Ice Co., 3600 W. 59th St., Chicago, paid $34,918 to resolve EPA's notice of violations for failure to provide immediate notification to the NRC of a 4,791-pound release of anhydrous ammonia April 15, 2004. A required follow-up report was also filed late, 29 days after the incident. The release was caused by an ice-making machine malfunction, which caused a rupture in a refrigeration hot gas line. A Chicago Fire Department hazardous materials team responded to the incident.
Antigo Cheese Company, 201 Morse St., Antigo, paid $20,000 to resolve EPA's notice of violations for failure to immediately notify the NRC and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources of a 2,000-pound release of anhydrous ammonia Oct. 28, 2001. The release was caused by a broken compressor crank shaft on the company's refrigeration system. As part of the settlement, Antigo will also conduct an environmental project valued at $82,810. The company will install a system to control the amount and timing of acidic wastewater released to the municipal water treatment system.
In the new case, EPA proposed an $88,400 civil penalty against Associated Milk Producers, 315 Broadway, New Ulm. The company was cited for failure to immediately notify the NRC of a 3,873-pound anhydrous ammonia release during a fire at the facility Dec. 1, 2004. EPA alleges that the company did not contact the NRC for more than five hours after it knew of the release. A required follow-up report was also filed late, 80 days after the release.
EPA Authorizes Critical Uses of Methyl Bromide for 2006
á EPA also authorized those uses that will qualify for the 2006 critical use exemption. The exemptions for continued production and import of methyl bromide will honor the U.S. commitment to obtain methyl bromide for American farmers, in a manner consistent with the Montreal Protocol, while protecting the ozone layer.
This action is authorizing 8,081,753 kilograms of methyl bromide for approved critical uses during 2006. This amount totals 32% of U.S. 1991 baseline consumption levels, and amounts to approximately 90% of the U.S. request for 2006.
Critical use exemptions are anticipated under the Montreal Protocol for circumstances where there are no technically and economically feasible alternatives to methyl bromide. Further, the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 direct the EPA to issue regulations to implement the provisions of the Montreal Protocol within the United States.
Allowance decisions for 2007 were made at 17th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in Dakar, Senegal during Dec. 12-16, 2005. For 2007, the U.S. nominated 29% of baseline, and a total of 26.4% was authorized. EPA is beginning the notice-and-comment rulemaking process for the 2007 calendar year.
EPA Offers Earth Day 2006 Financial Help
Financial assistance to help communities celebrate Earth Day 2006 in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska is available from EPA Region 7. Earth Day 2006 is Saturday, April 22.
Region 7 is accepting proposals from local agencies, state agencies, environmental groups, and not-for-profit organizations. Proposals should range from $500 to $2,500 and can celebrate Earth Day throughout the year.
Denise Morrison is the contact for Earth Day. Ms. Morrison can also be contacted toll-free at (800) 223-0425
Proposals are due by Monday, March 6. Earth Day financial assistance notification will be made by late March to recipients only. Recipients will be required to submit a final report at the completion of the project summarizing their Earth Day accomplishments.
Transporter Fined for Hazardous Waste Exports to Canada
EPA Region 5 recently settled with Robbie D. Wood Inc., Dolomite, Ala., on two hazardous waste transport violations. A total penalty of $121,375 will be paid.
The administrative complaint and compliance order alleges that Robbie D. Woods Inc. failed to properly document 62 loads of hazardous waste leaving the U.S. and to return copies of manifests to the waste generators. The company transported 144 loads of hazardous waste into Canada, 138 through Port Huron, Mich. and six through ports in New York. Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, U.S. exporters are required to sign and date all manifests when crossing the U.S./Canada border.
Steelscape Fined for Hazardous Waste Violations
Under a settlement with the EPA for violating federal hazardous waste regulations at its plants in Rancho Cucamonga and Richmond, Calif., steel manufacturer Steelscape, Inc., will pay an $11,150 fine and donate $41,813 in emergency response equipment to the San Bernardino County Fire Department
In October 2004, the EPA inspected the Rancho Cucamonga facility, and in April 2005, the Richmond facility. Based upon those inspections, the EPA alleges that Steelscape committed the following violations of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act:
- Storing hazardous waste without a permit
- Failure to maintain adequate aisle space
- Failure to close containers of hazardous waste
- Failure to maintain an adequate training program
- Failure to maintain a contingency plan.
"This settlement sends a strong message to the regulated community and provides a benefit to the citizens of San Bernardino County," said Jeff Scott, director of the EPA's Waste Management Division for the Pacific Southwest region. "We are pleased that the facility has agreed to provide San Bernardino County funding to improve their emergency response capabilities. Steelscape is setting an excellent example by turning a negative situation into a positive one." Steelscape has since rectified the violations.
Environmental Appeals Board Approves Air Compliance Agreements with Animal Feeding Operations
Under these agreements, the AFOs will participate in a nationwide project to evaluate the air emissions from animal feeding operations and use this data to develop an effective regulatory program. EPA also is settling liability for certain past violations against AFOs.
Key to the agreements is an EPA-approved monitoring and research study conducted by independent researchers. The study is expected to begin later this year and will provide EPA with a much stronger and more complete body of air emissions science and data that can be used to develop a sound, reasonable and effective air emissions regulatory program. EPA will use data it gathers to develop emission estimates for farms that can be applied nationwide. EPA also may develop new compliance standards, guidelines and enforcement policies.
In the Jan. 31, 2005 Federal Register, EPA offered AFOs an opportunity to sign a voluntary consent agreement and final order to resolve potential violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA)-also known as Superfund, and the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA). Ultimately, 2,681 AFOs, representing more than 6,700 farms in 42 states, signed up to participate in the voluntary agreement by the Aug. 12, 2005 deadline.
The 20 agreements announced were submitted to the EAB on Nov. 9, 2005, and consisted of 10 swine-raising operations and 10 operations that raise egg-laying birds. The EAB determined that the agreements were consistent with applicable statutes and regulations under the federal Clean Air Act (CAA), including penalty provisions.
Based on its evaluation of the agreements thus far, EPA has determined that enough dairies, swine farms, egg-laying operations, and meat-bird operations have signed up to provide a representative sample for the monitoring program. However, EPA has not yet determined whether there are enough turkey operations for a representative sample. The EAB's approval allows the monitoring study to officially begin developing quality assurance and site-specific monitoring plans for the swine and egg-laying sectors. A nonprofit entity will contract with an independent monitoring contractor (IMC) to implement the monitoring study. The IMC must submit a detailed plan to EPA for review within 60 days of the respondent's receipt of the executed agreement. EPA will then have 30 days to review and approve or disapprove of the plan.
EPA Workshop to Cut Diesel Pollution from Northeast Ports
In an effort to slash tons of diesel pollution from ports throughout the Northeast, EPA is hosting a ports workshop in New York City. The workshop brings together key public and private port interests to find cost-effective strategies for reducing diesel emissions from everything from cranes to trains and more.
"We have consistently identified diesel emissions as a significant source of pollution and a risk to public health," said Alan J. Steinberg, EPA Regional Administrator. "The ports workshop provides a terrific opportunity to share how we reduce diesel emissions and adopt new technologies for cleaner diesel. By working together, the Northeast Diesel Collaborative enables us to maximize our resources and amplify this vital message in the region."
Conference topics include technical approaches to diesel reduction, best business practices and leveraging funding through grants and partnerships. The New York City metropolitan area is in non-attainment for ozone and fine particulate matter. Fine particle pollution is a mixture of microscopic solids and liquid droplets suspended in air. Particulate matter or PM refers to particles found in the air, including dust, dirt, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets. Particles can be suspended in the air for long periods of time. Some particles are large or dark enough to be seen as soot or smoke. Others are so small that individually they can only be detected with a microscope. They come from a variety of sources such as cars, trucks, buses, factories, construction sites, tilled fields, unpaved roads and burning of wood.
Working at both the local and regional levels, the Northeast Diesel Collaborative and its partners address the problem of diesel emissions using a variety of strategies, including: public education; linking and expanding the scope of existing programs; creating new partnerships, programs, regulations, and agreements to reduce emissions; and demonstrating new technologies. Some of the Northeast Diesel Collaborative's specific activities include: retrofitting, retiring, and replacing polluting engines, electrifying truck stops to enable truckers to shut down their engines, creating and enforcing measures to reduce engine idling, and measuring and assessing the effectiveness of diesel control activities.
Emissions from diesel engines are a primary source of air pollution in the northeastern United States. They pose a significant risk to public health, and impose a high cost on society. Twenty-five counties in CT, NJ, and NY fail to meet the health-based air quality standard for fine particles, and other urban areas in the Northeast only narrowly meet the standard. The Northeast has some of the highest asthma rates in the nation, including a childhood asthma rate above 10% in all six New England states and rates near 15% in areas of New York City.
EPA Cites Honeywell Analytics for Clean-Air Violations
EPA Region 5 has cited Honeywell Analytics for alleged clean-air violations at the company's laboratory equipment assembly and paper coating plant in Lincolnshire, Ill.
EPA alleges that Honeywell failed to apply for a state operating permit and used paper coatings with a volatile organic compound content that exceeded state limits. EPA discovered the alleged violations during a Nov. 22 inspection.
These are preliminary findings of violations. To resolve them, EPA may issue a compliance order, assess an administrative penalty or bring suit against the company. Honeywell has 30 days from receipt of the notice to meet with EPA to discuss resolving the allegations.
Volatile organic compounds contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone or smog. Smog is formed when a mixture of air pollutants is baked in the hot summer sun. Smog can cause a variety of respiratory problems, including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest pain. People with asthma, children and the elderly are especially at risk, but these health problems are important to everyone.
Hampshire Chemical Fined for Hazardous Waste Violations
Hampshire Chemical, in Nashua, N.H. will pay $32,000 to settle EPA claims that it violated federal hazardous waste laws by improperly diluting a hazardous waste.
According to EPA's New England office, the Hampshire Chemical Corporation, a subsidiary of Dow Chemical Co., violated the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act in 2004 by failing to determine the proper treatment for a waste 40% monomethylamine solution and by improperly diluting the chemical with water. EPA claimed that the company improperly diluted the solution, which is an extremely flammable substance, as a substitute for the required treatment standards.
"Failing to follow federal hazardous waste laws make it more likely that dangerous materials are improperly disposed,"said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "People working with hazardous substances should not improperly dilute wastes as a way to treat them before disposal."
Hampshire Chemical, which formerly made organic chemicals for use in shampoos and other personal care products, discontinued manufacturing in July 2004. The company notified EPA New England that about 800 gallons of the 40% monomethylamine solution remained in an on-site tank after the company had stopped manufacturing operations at its Nashua facility.
The company also said it had diluted the waste with water until it comprised about 19,000 gallons of a solution that was 1.68% monomethylamine. The company said that it had diluted the solution so that the chemical was no long ignitable, and planned to discharge the waste through its onsite wastewater treatment system. The plant's permit, however, did not allow this type of discharge.
Hampshire Chemical eventually sent the solution to a Clean Harbors facility in Baltimore, Maryland for proper disposal of the waste.
Anchor Glass Cited for Particulate and Air Permit Violations
EPA Region 5 has reached an agreement with Anchor Glass Container Corp. on alleged clean-air violations at the company's container glass manufacturing plant at 200 W. Belleview Dr., Lawrenceburg, Ind.
The agreement, which includes a $96,901 penalty, resolves EPA allegations that Anchor Glass failed to use its baghouses to control emissions of particulate matter (dust, smoke, ash) at the plant as required by the company's state operating permit.
Also resolved are allegations that the company failed to comply with a number of other requirements in its state operating permit. The alleged violations were discovered during a November 2004 inspection by EPA and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
EPA Cites Concast Birmingham for NSPS Violations
EPA Region 5 has cited Concast Birmingham Inc. for alleged clean-air violations at the company's bronze ingot production plant at 14315 state Route 113, Birmingham, Ohio.
EPA alleges that Concast violated New Source Performance Standards by failing to test one of its electric melting furnaces for opacity and for operating the furnace without determining that it meets opacity limits. The alleged violations were discovered through an EPA information request.
"EPA's mission is to protect public health and the environment," said Regional Administrator Thomas V. Skinner. "We will take whatever steps are needed to ensure compliance with the Clean Air Act."
These are preliminary findings of violations. To resolve them, EPA may issue a compliance order, assess an administrative penalty or bring suit against the company. Concast has 30 days from receipt of the notice to meet with EPA to discuss resolving the allegations.
Arkansas Proposes to Revise Wastewater Treatment Operator Regulations
The Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission will hold a public hearing at Little Rock March 30, 2006, to receive comments on proposed changes to Commission Regulation No. 3, Licensing of Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators in Arkansas. The hearing will begin at 2:00 p.m. in the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality's (ADEQ) Building D Training Room, 8101 Interstate 30.
Proposed changes to the regulation include establishment of a definite procedure for suspension or revocation of a wastewater treatment plant operator's license; addition of new requirements for an Apprentice Industrial Wastewater Operator license; removal of the Industrial Wastewater Conversion procedure; removal of outdated language related to the last previous revision of the regulation; clarification of requirements for correspondence courses; and clarification of the license examination process.
Pennsylvania to Provide Information about Wetlands, Stream Impact Issues
The PA DEP will meet later this month in McKean County to help local government officials, contractors and developers better understand how wetland- and stream-related issues can impact planned, or proposed, developments.
The session, which will share information about water resource protection laws and regulations focusing on wetland and stream impacts, will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 21, in the Foster Township Municipal Building, 1185 E. Main St., Bradford.
Presentation information will include:
- State and federal permitting related to wetlands, streams, ponds and more;
- Guidelines for maintenance or placement of culverts and bridge structures;
- Steps for developers to take when planning new development;
- Recommendations for commercial and industrial site development;
- Floodplains and what they mean for development; and,
- Guidelines for utility line stream crossings.
Reservations must be made by Feb. 16 with DEP's Jennifer Mongera, 814-332-6816, or Jeff Andrews at the Bradford Office of Community and Economic Development, 814-368-7170,
JELD-WEN Inc. Pays $1,600 Penalty for Air Quality Violation at Klamath Falls Facility
JELD-WEN has paid a $1,600 civil penalty to the Oregon DEQ for exceeding the annual emissions limit for particulate matter 10 microns or smaller (PM10). The violations occurred at the company's wood products manufacturing facility in Klamath Falls, Oregon.
JELD-WEN exceeded the annual allowable PM10 level by seven tons in 2004. The facility generates the fine particulate matter through use of a wood-fired boiler and rotary chip dryer for its planing, millwork and hardboard production operations.
The company's operating permit limits PM10 emissions at the facility to 58 tons per year and requires the company to monitor emissions monthly. On Nov. 30, 2004, JELD-WEN informed DEQ's Bend office that the facility exceeded its annual PM10 limit on Nov. 13, 2004. On March 15, 2005, DEQ received the company's annual report containing the final emission calculations for 2004. The report revealed that the company exceeded the annual allowable emissions as of Nov. 13 and continued operating through Dec. 31, emitting 65 tons of PM10 for that year.
State air quality regulations and permits limit PM10 to ensure that fine particulate emissions are kept to minimum levels. Klamath Falls is an area where fine particulate pollution can reach unhealthy levels. In the past, Klamath Falls exceeded national air standards for particulate matter due to emissions from woodstoves, open burning, industry and other sources. Currently, Klamath Falls is meeting these standards, but any excessive emissions could threaten continued compliance.
In December 2005, JELD-WEN installed an electrostatic precipitator that has significantly reduced PM10 emissions from its wood-fired boiler.
Delaware Adopts New Storm Water Regulations Effective Feb. 11
Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary John A. Hughes has signed an Order adopting revised Regulations Governing Storm Water Discharges Associated with Industrial Activities effective Feb. 11, 2006. The regulations were revised to include additional requirements. Major changes include:
- a conditional "no exposure" exclusion that allows facilities with industrial materials and activities entirely sheltered from storm water a simplified way to comply with permitting requirements by submitting a "No Exposure" Certification Form for exclusion from monitoring and Storm Water Plan requirements; and
- benchmark monitoring which requires facilities with high potential to discharge a pollutant at concentrations of concern to conduct semi-annual analytical monitoring of storm water samples for comparison with benchmark monitoring concentration values used for indications of potential impairment of water quality in water bodies receiving storm water discharges.
For further information, please contact Amber Moore, Surface Water Discharges Section, Division of Water Resources, (302) 739-9946.
Illinois Environmental Corps Summer Internships
Applications are now be accepted, through March 24, for this summer's 2006 IL Governor's Environmental Corps (GEC) internship program.á
"Since 1991, the GEC program has provided a true hands-on learning experience for more than 500 college undergraduate or graduate students," said Illinois EPA Director Doug Scott. "Students in such fields as engineering, geology, chemistry, biology, communications and law have gone on to careers in the environmental field and their contributions also energize our own staff mentors each summer."
The program is a unique partnership between state government and Illinois corporations whose sponsorship contributions pay the salaries and expenses of the college students who participate in the nine-week program, which will run this year from June 5 through August 4, with up to 40 participants expected. Salaries have been set at $1305 per month.
The majority of selected students will be matched with staff mentors in Springfield, where Illinois EPA's headquarters, organics laboratory and central regional office are located. However, limited positions will also be available in regional offices in Des Plaines, Rockford, Peoria, Champaign, Collinsville and Marion.
Students are assigned agency mentors in their area of environmental interest and are able to make meaningful contributions to the regulatory and compliance assistance operations of Illinois EPA. In addition to their work experience in a professional office setting and field operations, GEC interns also participate in regular field trips and workshops to gain first hand knowledge of current environmental challenges and solutions.
Interns stationed in the Springfield area who enjoy working children can also serve as volunteer instructors in the Junior Governor's Environmental Corps, an environmental awareness and education program that reaches hundreds of six-to-twelve-year olds in central Illinois each summer at camps and other venues.
Rental Properties in MD Must Comply with Lead Laws by Feb. 24
Rental property owners across MD are approaching a crucial deadline for proper leasing of their units built prior to 1950. By Feb. 24, all pre-1950 constructed units must have had at least one lead hazard risk reduction treatment. Failure to comply with this law may result in a fine of $250 per day.
"A decade ago, nearly 20% of Maryland children tested had elevated blood lead levels. In 2004, under 2% of all children tested had an elevated blood lead level," said Maryland Governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a father of two. "While we have made great strides, there is no reason for a single child in this state to suffer from lead poisoning, a preventable disease. The lead poisoning initiative I sponsored and signed into law last May will help eliminate childhood lead poisoning in Maryland by 2010."
Although the February 24, 2006 deadline - known as the 100% Rule - is part of Maryland's lead law that has been in effect for the last decade, Governor Ehrlich's initiative passed into law last year added the important measure of setting the standard for initiating intervention when a blood lead level of 10 micrograms per deciliter is found. Mandatory remediation of lead hazards in the home upon a single blood lead level test of 10 micrograms per deciliter is the most protective level in the nation, and - along with implementation of the 100% Rule - is intended to reduce the incidence of childhood lead poisoning while maintaining an acceptable stock of affordable housing.
Property owners who will not meet the Feb. 24 deadline may contact MDE and elect to enter into a settlement agreement, which does not waive penalties but offers other benefits.
In addition to having conducted lead hazard risk reduction treatments, pre-1950 rental property owners must annually register their unit(s) with MDE, perform risk reduction work each time there is a change in tenants and provide tenants with information on the lead status of their unit.á
MassDEP Fines Builder $15,000 for Hinsdale Solid Waste Violations
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has fined LD Builders, LLC of Dalton $15,000 for violations of the state's Solid Waste Management regulations.áá
LD Builders is the developer of property on Pine Cone Lane in Hinsdale, known as Ashmere Landings. During the construction of the condominium complex, wood waste generated by the clearing of the site, as well as other construction wastes, were buried in three distinct locations on the property. Land filling of wood waste and construction waste during land development projects is a violation of the laws and regulations governing solid waste management in Massachusetts.
In addition to the $15,000 penalty, LD Builders is required to excavate the solid wastes and manage them in a manner, which is consistent with the protection of public health, safety and the environment.á
"This is not the first time that this company has come to our attention. It is unfortunate that some very experienced developers either are not aware of, or choose to ignore their environmental obligations," said Michael Gorski, director of the MassDEP's Western Regional Office in Springfield.
Sheridan Ready Mix Resolves DEQ Enforcement Action
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently settled its enforcement action against Plentywood-based Sheridan Ready-Mix, Inc.
In September 2004, Sheridan Ready-Mix violated the Montana Opencut Mining Act at its Golterman gravel pit in Sheridan County when it expanded its opencut mining operation without first obtaining a permit amendment from the DEQ. The company submitted final application materials for the permit amendment to the DEQ in September 2005 and paid a $688 administrative penalty to settle the violation.
State law requires operators of opencut mining operations, such as sand or gravel pits, to obtain a reclamation permit from the DEQ prior to commencing mining operations. For more information about the reclamation and permitting requirements for opencut mining operations contact DEQ's Industrial and Energy Minerals Bureau at (406) 444-4964 or visit the DEQ web site at www.deq.mt.gov.
Mac's Market and Video Resolves DEQ Enforcement Action
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) received $1,300 in administrative penalties in settlement of its enforcement action against Mac's Market and Video, Inc. (Mac's) for violations of the Montana Underground Storage Tank Act at Mac's Market and Video located in Libby, Montana.
The DEQ cited Mac's for the failure to conduct monthly release detection monitoring and maintain records on the underground storage tank systems located at the facility.
In December 2004, the DEQ issued an Order assessing $1,300 in administrative penalties for the violations. Mac's fulfilled the requirements of the Order by paying the penalty and demonstrating compliance with release detection monitoring requirements.
The DEQ reminds tank owners to conduct monthly release detection monitoring on all underground storage tanks that contain more than one inch of fuel and to maintain the monthly monitoring records for at least one year. For additional information on release detection monitoring requirements, contact DEQ's UST Program at (406) 444-5300
Michigan DEQ Fines Diary and Requires it to Obtain NPDES Permit
Michigan DEQ Director Steven E. Chester announced that a settlement was reached with Hoffland Dairy LLC, formerly doing business as VanderHoff-Haley Dairy. The lawsuit was initially filed in August 2004, and supplemented in March 2005 after DEQ staff documented numerous discharges of agricultural waste to the Rice Lake Drain and other area waterways.
Hoffland, located in Lenawee County's Dover Township, houses approximately 680 cows and is a medium-sized concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) subject to regulation under both state and federal water quality protection laws. The dairy is located within the South Branch River Raisin Subbasin, part of the larger River Raisin Watershed which serves as the drinking water source for the downstream communities of Blissfield and Deerfield. The DEQ was primarily concerned by pathogen concentrations, specifically E. coli and Cryptosporidium, suspected to emanate from the dairy's production area.
"This settlement with Hoffland Dairy will be of benefit to Michigan's environment," said DEQ Director Steven E. Chester. "The DEQ is a supporter of agriculture in our state, and we must ensure that their operations are protective of the health and welfare of their neighbors."
As part of the settlement with the DEQ, Hoffland has agreed to undertake a number of corrective actions to ensure that future discharges of agricultural waste to waters of the state do not occur. These actions include:
- Obtaining a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit from the DEQ.
- Ceasing the land application of agricultural waste to snow or ice covered soil when the waste cannot be injected or incorporated.
- Evaluating existing waste storage structures and making improvements as necessary to ensure containment of production area waste (including sileage, leachate, and contaminated storm water).
- Installing a Press Treatment System for the stabilization of waste produced in the cow barns.
"The terms of the consent judgment provide needed controls to return the local waters to the high quality our citizens expect," said Attorney General Mike Cox. "This is yet another step in fulfilling my commitment to represent our citizen's interest in the protection of their water resources."
Hoffland will also pay to the state general fund a civil fine of $15,000 and partially reimburse the DEQ $5,000 for enforcement costs. This nominal fine was agreed upon in large part due to the cost of the Press Treatment System. Hoffland will be the first medium CAFO in the state of Michigan to install such a treatment system for its operation. Should violations of settlement terms occur, Hoffland has agreed to pay additional amounts to the general fund.
Ohio Arsenic Standard has Gone into Effect
Almost 90% of Ohio's public water systems -- including all those that draw from surface water -- are meeting the more stringent arsenic standard that went into effect January 1. Ohio EPA is working with more than 100 systems that need to demonstrate compliance.
A majority of the public water systems that have an arsenic concern are small ground water systems serving fewer than 500 people each. Any ground water system that detected arsenic in its most recent sample will be required to submit more results to Ohio EPA in 2006. Systems with elevated arsenic levels will sample quarterly for arsenic during this year, since arsenic compliance requires systems to demonstrate an annual average concentration of the chemical in the water. Options for systems that have an annual average of arsenic above the new limit of 10 parts per billion include:
- consolidating their system with another public water system;
- changing sources; or
- improving or installing treatment systems to remove arsenic.
Since 2002, 39 public water systems that had been providing water with arsenic levels above 10 parts per billion have improved their water quality by switching water sources, adding treatment or deactivating.
Ohio EPA is working with the remaining systems that will be out of compliance. Systems that are proactive in solving their arsenic issues will likely gain a bi-lateral compliance agreement with the agency, which is not a formal enforcement action, but is recognized by U.S. EPA. Those systems that have not contacted Ohio EPA will likely be issued a formal enforcement action which may include penalties.
Ohio rules were revised last August to bring state standards in line with national primary drinking water regulations. A National Academy of Sciences report concluded that the previous standard of 50 ppb was not protective enough of human health.
Costs for improving arsenic levels at public water systems will vary, but U.S. EPA estimates an increase in cost from between $38 and $327 annually per household for public water systems serving less than 10,000 people, and for systems serving more than 10,000, annual household increases are expected to range from $0.86 to $32.
Arsenic has been used in wood preservation and in paints, dyes, soaps, metals and semi-conductors. Consumption of food and water are the major sources of human arsenic exposure. Exposure to inorganic arsenic carries some health risks, and the amount of risk is related to the duration and levels of exposure. The drinking water standard is set to lower the risk from chronic, or long-term, health effects since exposure can be as long as a lifetime if arsenic is in your home water supply.
TCEQ Extends Consideration of Municipal Solid Waste Rules
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) extended the consideration of the adoption of amended, new and repealed sections of the state's Municipal Solid Waste rules, 30 TAC Chapter 330.
The three commissioners unanimously adopted a motion to give stakeholders until February 10 to submit additional written comments on the rules and will schedule a public meeting on February 10 for oral comments. Analysis of comments will be posted on the TCEQ Web site by February 17. Particular emphasis will be placed on the items, as designated by the commissioners, listed on the Web site. Commissioners will take up consideration of the rules on March 1.
EPA Region 3 Sponsors Cool Roofs Workshop
Commercial building representatives, energy managers, residential real estate representatives, roofing contractors, roofing consultants, and anyone who can benefit from learning about cool roof technology is welcome to attend the Cool Roofs Workshop 2006 titled Approaches for Energy Conservation and Financial Savings. The workshop will be held at PECO's office at 2301 Market Street, Philadelphia, Pa. on Feb. 7 from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Environmental Trivia Question of the Week
According to the EPA, how much of the original wetlands in the US have been drained or converted to other uses: