A case pending before the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality could affect how people dispose of electronic waste such as old computer monitors and television sets.
Members of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality rejected a staff recommendation to classify a specific electronic waste cache as special waste instead of as hazardous waste. In doing so, the commissioners barely avoided changing the definition of environmental waste. The ruling would have allowed the waste to be dumped at a private landfill in Austin. The commission directed the staff to return with a new recommendation.
The glass in most CRT picture tube and computer monitor screens contains lead. If they are in commercial quantities, they are classified as hazardous waste and cannot be dumped at a regular public or private landfill. However, there are residential exceptions for small quantities.
According to John Steib, director of compliance and enforcement for the agency in Austin, residents may continue to dump their old TVs and computer monitors at any regular city landfill for the time being. He added, however, that companies seeking to get rid of commercial quantities of such electronic waste must continue to check with local landfills to meet the requirements for permits and disposal.
The case involved electronic waste from a load of TVs spilled on a Texas highway during a 1997 wreck. The electronic waste was stored in 99 containers and mingled with regular garbage. Depending on the environmental agencyÆs recommendation, the trucking company which holds the lead-tainted garbage might have to remove it to a landfill for hazardous waste.
Robin Schneider, spokeswoman for the Texas Campaign for the Environment, noted that the ruling would have had ramifications for the entire state. She added that she felt that the state should ban all toxic e-waste from our landfills due to the high probability of leakage of lead and other toxic substances.
Asbestos Violations Lead to $67,500 Penalty
Licensed asbestos abatement contractor Environmental Enterprise & Associates (EEA) of Norwell, MA, has agreed to a $67,500 penalty following the results of a Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) inspection.
DEP personnel found violations at six of the companyÆs asbestos removal sites. These included a breech in an asbestos containment work area, failure to seal asbestos into leak-tight bags, failure to label containers and failure to notify DEP of changes in work dates.
DEP agreed to suspend $42,500 of that penalty if after two years the company does not violate any of the regulations for which it is cited in the consent order.
Illegal Hazardous Waste Disposal Results in Prison Sentence
An undercover investigation of suspected illegal hazardous waste dumping discovered by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) last year in Mobile, AL, led to the recent sentencing of Don M. White.
According to sentencing in the United States Federal Court for the Southern District of Alabama in Mobile, White will serve six months in federal prison. He was also imposed restitution of $20,000 resulting from cleanup costs associated with the illegal transport and disposal of hazardous waste in violation of state and federal laws. Upon completion of his incarceration, White will be subject to three years supervised release. As a final provision of his sentence, White will be required to pay for and place a quarter-page advertisement in the Sunday editions of the Mobile Register and the Pensacola, FL, News Journal no later than two weeks after sentencing, admitting his guilt in this case and urging the safe and legal disposal of all wastes.
Following a complaint, the ADEM Mobile Branch discovered 35 drums and several five-gallon containers of hazardous waste in an industrialized area of Mobile. One of the drums had a label affixed, identifying the materials as having originated from a single location in northwest Florida. The City of MobileÆs Hazardous Material Team and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was contacted by ADEM, due to the suspected criminal nature of the incident. They in turn contacted the U.S. Coast Guard, as well as the Mobile Office of the FBI. These agencies assisted in determining the contents of the drums, as well as using the agenciesÆ resources to ensure a prompt cleanup of the site.
The drumsÆ contents were analyzed, revealing solvents, caustic solutions, paints, waste oils, and other chemicals. Thanks to ADEMÆs investigation, an undercover operation, initiated by the EPAÆs Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI, was carried out to identify the party responsible for the illegal dumping. Law enforcement and EPA personnel observed White loading more drums of suspected hazardous material at the Florida location on November 6, 2003. They followed the suspect vehicle to a rural area of Baldwin County, AL, where White was observed trespassing and off-loading drums from the rear of a commercial vehicle. He was apprehended at the scene and provided a written statement to law enforcement officials.
At ADEMÆs request, the EPA has completed an environmental cleanup of the site. All drums and containers have been inspected and secured pending proper disposal at a licensed disposal facility.
Chilean Company Turns Pig Emissions Into Cash
Pork producer Agrosuper is using a global anti-pollution agreement to turn pig-manure fumes into cash by earning credits for collecting methane gas from the waste of its 110,000 pigs. For more on this story, please see the following link:
DTSC Issues Warning to EPA ID Number Holders
The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) is issuing a warning to all Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identification (ID) number holders. DTSC has become aware that a person falsely claiming to be a state employee is fraudulently collecting a fee for EPA ID numbers. This person is NOT a representative of the DTSC or any other state or federal agency.
There is no charge for applying for an EPA ID number. If you have been approached by this person, please contact your local police department. For more information on EPA ID numbers, please see the first five bullets under Frequently Requested Information on the DTSC website at www.dtsc.ca.gov.
Adhesives Company Pays Penalty for Hazardous Waste and Air Quality Violations
A Massachusetts company has agreed to pay a $25,050 penalty for failing to comply with Hazardous Waste and Air Pollution Control regulations.
Mace Adhesives & Coatings Company, Inc., of Dudley, MA, manufactures a variety of solvent-based resins, compounds and coatings, as well as low-volatile organic compounds and water-based materials. During compliance inspections conducted last year, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) personnel determined that the company was illegally storing hundreds of drums containing uncharacterized, unusable hazardous wastes.
DEP personnel also determined that the company had failed to comply with numerous other Hazardous Waste Management regulations. In addition, the company operated as a major source of air pollution without obtaining the appropriate permit, and had failed to maintain adequate operating records as required by Air Pollution Control regulations. One inspection was conducted in conjunction with the Dudley Fire Department due to the flammable materials many of the drums contained.
The company has agreed to comply with all applicable regulations, properly characterize all drums on site, and designate them for either re-use on-site or for proper disposal under the terms of an Administrative Consent Order with DEP. A tracking system will also be put in place to ensure the timely reuse or disposal of future off-specification materials or production overages.