Template for Developing SWPPPs for the New Multi-Sector General Permit

December 01, 2008

Any industrial facility that is eligible for coverage under EPA’s 2008 Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) must first develop a stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP) before submitting its Notice of Intent (NOI) for coverage under the 2008 MSGP.

To assist industrial facilities in developing their SWPPPs, EPA is providing a template for facilities to use. The template provides step-by-step instructions for developing a SWPPP, which complies with the 2008 MSGP requirements. The template was created as a Microsoft Word document so that users can customize information to meet their specific needs, including any sector-specific permit requirements.

EPA Investigating Formaldehyde Emissions from Pressed-Wood Products

What are the possible risks of formaldehyde emissions from pressed-wood products? EPA is investigating this question and is asking interested parties to submit comments, information, and data to determine the extent of the problem and what to do about it.

Through this process, EPA will develop a risk assessment on potential adverse-health effects, evaluate the costs and benefits of possible control technologies and approaches, and determine whether EPA action is needed to address any identified risks. The call for comments follows a citizens’ petition received under the Toxic Substances Control Act in March 2008 from organizations and individuals concerned about risks from exposure to formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde is commonly used as a preservative and is found in certain pressed-wood products, where it is a component of glues and adhesives. It adds permanent-press qualities to clothing and draperies and helps preserve some paints and coating products.

Formaldehyde is both an irritant and a probable human carcinogen. Attention to the formaldehyde issue significantly increased after Hurricane Katrina when temporary housing for dislocated families in New Orleans allegedly caused illness in many people from formaldehyde emissions in pressed-wood components.

EPA Proposes to Authorize Changes in Wisconsin Hazardous Waste Management Regulations

Wisconsin has applied to EPA for final authorization of the changes to its hazardous waste program under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). EPA has reviewed Wisconsin’s application and has preliminarily determined that these changes satisfy all requirements needed to qualify for final authorization and is proposing to authorize the state’s changes. 

Wisconsin has responsibility for permitting treatment, storage, and disposal facilities (TSDFs) within its borders (except in Indian Country) and for carrying out aspects of the RCRA program described in its revised program application, subject to the limitations of the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments of 1984 (HSWA). New federal requirements and prohibitions imposed by federal regulations that EPA promulgates under the authority of HSWA take effect in authorized states before they are authorized for the requirements. Therefore, EPA will implement those requirements and prohibitions in Wisconsin, including issuing permits, until the state is granted authorization to do so.

The effect of this decision is that a facility in Wisconsin subject to RCRA will now have to comply with the authorized state requirements instead of the equivalent federal requirements in order to comply with RCRA. Wisconsin has enforcement responsibilities under its state hazardous waste program for violations of this program, but EPA retains its authority under RCRA sections 3007, 3008, 3013, and 7003, which include, among others, authority to:

  • Conduct inspections and require monitoring, tests, analyses, or reports
  • Enforce RCRA requirements and suspend or revoke permits
  • Take enforcement actions regardless of whether the state has taken its own actions

This action does not impose additional requirements on the regulated community because the regulations for which Wisconsin is being authorized are already effective and are not changed by this action.

If EPA receives comments that oppose this authorization, EPA will address these comments in a later Federal Register. EPA cautions that there may not be another opportunity to comment. If interested parties want to comment on this authorization, comments should be submitted by the deadline.

There are some differences in the Wisconsin program compared with federal RCRA program requirements. The differences include that underground injection practices (40 CFR Part 144) and land treatment (40 CFR 270.20) are prohibited in Wisconsin. The state will require that an annual report be submitted instead of a biennial report. Wisconsin does not provide for Permit by Rule (40 CFR 270.60), nor does it allow automatic authorization under the permit modification regulations found in 40 CFR 270.42(b)(6). Additionally, the 10-year Remedial Action Plan, or RAP, (40 CFR 270.79 et seq.) is replaced by a 5-year Remediation Variance (NR670.079).

Wisconsin will issue permits for all the provisions for which it is authorized and will administer the permits it issues. EPA will continue to administer any RCRA hazardous waste permits or portions of permits that were issued prior to the effective date of this authorization until they expire or are terminated. EPA will continue to implement and issue permits for HSWA requirements for which Wisconsin is not yet authorized.

Upcoming Watershed Academy Webcast: Using Rain Gardens to Reduce Runoff

. Many communities across the country are struggling to address impacts from stormwater runoff due to increased development. Green or low impact development practices, such as rain gardens, can help manage runoff effectively as well as provide aesthetic benefits. Rain gardens can increase property value, add beauty and habitat, reduce a community’s carbon footprint, as well as provide important water quality benefits.

Speakers for the webcast will include: staff from EPA’s Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds; RainScapes Program coordinator; Maryland Department of Environmental Protection; ASTRA Communications, Inc.; and Goin’ Green.


Draft of Landscape Water Budget Tool Released by EPA’s WaterSense

To assist home builders, landscape professionals, and irrigation partners in meeting the outdoor criteria of a future WaterSense specification for new homes, EPA has developed a tool to help guide them through the water budget calculations of the draft specification for water-efficient, single-family new homes. 

  • The amount of water the designed landscape is allowed (budgeted) based on EPA criteria
  • How much water the designed landscape requires based on climate, plant type, and irrigation system efficiency
  • Whether the designed landscape meets the budgeted amount


EPA is inviting all interested parties to provide comments on this new tool, specifically recommendations on data sources and sources of local reference evapotranspiration (ETo). The public comment period ends Friday, Dec. 19, 2008.

. EPA plans to issue a second draft of the specification in early 2009.

Extension of Comment Period for Underground Injection of Carbon Dioxide for Geologic Sequestration

EPA has extended the public comment period to comment on the proposed regulations for the underground injection of carbon dioxide for geologic sequestration for an additional 30 days. EPA must receive comments on the proposed regulations on or before Dec. 24, 2008.

EPA Awards Wetland Program Development Grants

“Protecting our nation’s wetlands is a top priority for EPA,” Region 7 Administrator John Askew said. “These funds will help to achieve environmental improvements in our local watersheds.”

EPA seeks to develop and refine effective, comprehensive programs for wetland protection and management. The Wetland Program Development Grants, initiated in 1990, provide state, tribal, and local governments an opportunity to conduct projects that promote the coordination of research to prevent, reduce, and eliminate water pollution.

Grant recipients include the following:

  • Curators of the University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo.—$399,995: This project will demonstrate the benefit of riparian buffers for aquatic resource health. It will assess buffer width and establish connectivity of the stream to the adjacent wetland.
  • Curators of the University of Missouri, Kansas City, Mo.—$80,600: The project will detect, map, and assess vulnerable wetlands in relation to impervious surface impact in major watersheds in the Kansas City metropolitan area based on satellite remote sensing and geographic information systems analysis.
  • Kansas Water Office, Topeka, Kan.—$177,400: The purpose of the project is to develop a comprehensive process for identifying, assessing, and prioritizing wetlands, streams, and riparian areas.
  • Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Jefferson City, Mo.—$266,600: The project will build a wetlands nutrient monitoring program and develop biologically based nutrient enrichment assessment tools.
  • Mid-America Regional Council, Kansas City, Mo.—$135,000: The project will provide a three-year training and policy development initiative in the Kansas City area on watershed planning and wetland conservation with an emphasis on the role of green infrastructure.
  • Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Okla.—$115,239: The project will evaluate the degree of pesticide contamination in the High Plains wetlands in Nebraska and Kansas and assess the effects of land-use practices, such as cropland agriculture, native grassland, and the Conservation Reserve Program, to prevent pesticide contamination.

EPA Grants Help New England

More than $380,000 is being awarded to New England programs, promoting ongoing environmental and public health initiatives. 

EPA’s Healthy Communities Grant Program joins resources from nine EPA programs. Funding is used to restore or revitalize the environment; provide education, outreach, and training; and organize and conduct community planning activities.

“Especially in these tough economic times, EPA is very proud to be able to help out local programs that are helping to improve peoples’ health and our environment,” said Robert Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Working together, we’re making great progress for a cleaner environment and healthier communities.”

Eligible projects must meet several criteria, including: (1) be located in and/or directly benefit one or more of the identified Target Investment Areas; and (2) identify how the proposed project will achieve measurable environmental and/or public health results in one or more of the identified Target Program Areas. In 2008, the Target Investment Areas included environmental justice areas of potential concern, places with high risks from toxics air pollution, sensitive populations, and/or urban areas. Target Program Areas included asthma, capacity-building on environmental and public health issues, clean energy, healthy indoor/outdoor environments, healthy schools, and/or urban natural resources and open/green space.

More Than 900 Mayors Join in Climate Protection Agreement

“With a new administration that has already committed to make climate protection a priority, we look forward to working with President-elect Barack Obama to help these 900-plus cities reach the goal set forth by the Kyoto Protocol,” said Conference President Manny Diaz, the mayor of Miami.

“As our nation and metro areas work to reduce carbon emissions, our determination will open new opportunities for clean energy and green jobs,” said Seattle’s Mayor Greg Nickels, vice president of the conference who launched the effort three years ago. The milestone of 900 mayors signing the agreement comes as President-elect Barack Obama issued a major policy statement on global warming. “For years, we have been asking for a strong federal partner to reduce carbon emissions,” added Nickels.

On Feb. 16, 2005, the day the Kyoto Protocol went into effect for 141 nations around the world, except for the United States, Mayor Nickels called on his fellow mayors across the country to meet the emission reduction goals outlined in the Kyoto Protocol.

The mayors of New Egypt, N.J., Savannah, Ga.; Lake Placid, N.Y., Springfield, Ill., and Redondo Beach, Calif., are among the latest to sign the agreement, in which cities pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 7% below the 1990 levels by 2012. The Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement now represents more than 81 million Americans.

In addition to the Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement, Seattle Mayor Nickels spearheaded an effort to create a larger federal climate policy framework in June 2007. This past year, Nickels championed a resolution establishing city priorities in a federal cap-and-trade system that embraced 80% reductions of global warming pollution from 1990 levels by 2050 as the appropriate and necessary national goal, and he urged the federal government to act quickly to enact cap-and-trade legislation.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are 1,139 such cities in the country today. Each city is represented in the conference by its mayor.

EPA Sponsors Climate Change Symposium for Tribes

EPA Region 5 is sponsoring a symposium on climate change in the Great Lakes basin for tribal officials and others from December 1 to 4 at the Forest County Potawatomi Bingo Casino in Milwaukee, Wis. The symposium will provide an opportunity to discuss health and cultural effects of climate change in tribal communities around the Great Lakes, such as its impact on water supplies and threats to native species that are important to indigenous cultures and economies.


Wal-Mart Makes Major Commitment to Renewable Wind Power

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., has announced its first substantial purchase of wind energy in the United States. The wind power will supply up to 15% of the retailer’s total energy load in approximately 360 Texas stores and other facilities. The renewable energy will come from a Duke Energy wind farm under construction in Notrees, Texas, and is expected to begin producing electricity for Wal-Mart by April 2009.

“We’re purchasing renewable power at traditional energy rates,” said Kim Saylors-Laster, vice president of energy for Wal-Mart. “The wind power purchase will result in a significant decrease of greenhouse gas emissions and aligns perfectly with Wal-Mart’s long-term goal of being supplied by 100% renewable energy.”

The project will provide roughly 226 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of renewable power each year, or the energy equivalent of washing 108 million loads of laundry—enough for every household in Austin, Texas, to do laundry for a year. By purchasing this amount of clean, renewable energy, Wal-Mart will avoid producing more than 139,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per year. This is equal to taking approximately 25,000 cars off the road or eliminating the CO2 produced by 18,000 homes annually.

“Wal-Mart’s action shows that low-carbon technology is increasingly competitive, and long-term sustainability is a winning business strategy,” said Andrew Aulisi, director of the markets and enterprise program at the World Resources Institute. “Wal-Mart’s smart and innovative approach should be used more widely.”

The wind purchase is another example of Wal-Mart’s ongoing commitment to become a more sustainable company and serves as a complement to its solar project announced last year. In May 2007, Wal-Mart announced that it would equip up to 22 locations in Hawaii and California with solar panels. Wal-Mart estimates the solar power systems are helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 6,500–10,000 metric tons per year.

By integrating wind power into its electricity load, Wal-Mart is building on its diversified energy portfolio and creating more opportunities for advancements in clean energy through research and innovations. This power purchase in the deregulated market territory in Texas is expected to support the creation of green jobs at the West Texas facility. Wal-Mart will use the results of its wind power purchase to explore additional ways to achieve its goal of being supplied by 100% renewable energy.

Owens Corning Increases Recycled Content in PINK Fiberglas™ Insulation

Owens Corning has announced that it has increased the certified recycled content in its flagship PINK Fiberglas insulation to a minimum of 40%. At this level of recycled content, the amount of waste glass diverted from landfills could form a two-lane glass highway that extends 1.3 times around the world. The certification, supplied by leading, independent third-party certifier Scientific Certification Systems (SCS), demonstrates a 5% increase over its prior level and maintains the product line’s status as the fiberglass insulation with the highest level of certified recycled content in North America.

In addition to the environmental benefits of utilizing post-industrial and post-consumer waste, the use of recycled content in PINK Fiberglas insulation also helps reduce Owens Corning’s energy use and C02 emissions by nearly 13%. Manufacturing fiberglass with recycled glass requires significantly less energy.

As a result of these efforts, Owens Corning is one of the largest users of recycled glass in the world. To continue to help the market find additional sources of recycled glass, Owens Corning is leading initiatives with regional recyclers and processors to invest in technologies that will reduce the amount of glass sent to landfills, either because no local recycling programs exist or due to technical limitations in recycling different types and colors of glass. One such program involves Strategic Materials Inc., a Texas-based processor of scrap glass collected from a diverse range of sources, including new curbside recycling programs. Once construction is completed, the glass the company will recycle at plants in Texas and Georgia will keep approximately 12,500 tons of glass per month from going to a landfill, and will be reused in products such as Owens Corning insulation.

“The leadership demonstrated by companies such as Owens Corning to continually increase the content of recycled material in their products is actually driving the creation of local and regional recycling programs,” said Curt Bucey, president of Strategic Materials Inc. “Glass recycling is very effective in reducing the need for natural resources and minimizing landfill waste. It’s also key to reducing energy use and decreasing harmful emissions, and should be a part of our nation’s energy policy.”

SCS approved the certification of PINK Fiberglas insulation, as well as the company’s commercial fiberglass products, after a rigorous four-step process that included a comprehensive audit of the company’s claims, including visits to manufacturing facilities to view the process and interview plant personnel. 

AstraZeneca Earns Top Billing for Green Buildings

EPA has presented AstraZeneca with two ENERGY STAR labels for its energy-efficient buildings in Wilmington, Del. Only the top 25% of energy-efficient buildings nationwide receive this distinctive label.

 LEED is the leading certification process for sustainable building design granted by the U.S. Green Building Council.

“As our nation is shifting to a green culture, our ENERGY STAR partners are leading the way,” said Donald S. Welsh, EPA’s mid-Atlantic regional administrator. “We commend each company and each employee for their insightful work and dedication in creating green buildings. ENERGY STAR and LEED certified buildings are a living commitment to a cleaner, greener, and healthier America.”

By developing meaningful partnerships with public and nonprofit organizations, including EPA and the U.S. Green Building Council, AstraZeneca is building on its efforts to serve patients by conserving energy and designing sustainable buildings. “We’re working to help make the world a healthier place, so people feel better inside and out,” said Kathy Monday, vice president of AstraZeneca’s U.S. Operations and Business Services.

Energy use in commercial buildings and manufacturing plants accounts for nearly half of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and nearly 50% of energy consumption nationwide. ENERGY STAR-labeled commercial buildings and manufacturing plants across the country have saved nearly $1.5 billion annually in lower energy bills and prevented carbon-dioxide emissions equal to the emissions associated with electricity use of more than 1.5 million American homes for a year, relative to typical buildings.


Koopers Joins EPA Voluntary Program to Reduce Chemicals

The program encourages public and private organizations to form partnerships with EPA and to commit to reduce the use or release of any of 31 priority chemicals.

As a new NPEP partner, Koppers Inc. has committed to reduce waste at its Follansbee, W.Va. plant and has voluntarily committed to a source reduction goal of 50,154 pounds of Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds (PACs) and 8,680 pounds of Benzo(ghi)perylene by December 2009. In addition, they have committed to a recycling and recovery goal of 13,049 pounds of PACs and 1,000 pounds of Benzo(ghi)perylene by December 2009. The Follansbee plant manufactures carbon pitch, refined tars, and specialty and soft pitch (roofing pitch) using crude coke oven tar as the raw material.

PACs are a group of chemicals that are formed during the incomplete burning of coal, oil, gas, crude oil, coal, coal tar pitch, creosote, and roofing tar. Benzo(g,h,i)perylene is one of a group of chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and, like PACs, Benzo(g,h,i)perylene is also created when products like coal, oil, gas, and garbage are burned but the burning process is not complete.

“Koppers has demonstrated its environmental leadership by enrolling in EPA’s National Partnership for Enviromental Priorities,” said Abraham Ferdas, director of the Land and Chemical Management Division in EPA’s mid-Atlantic region. “By enrolling in this voluntary national program, Koppers becomes a true industry leader by addressing chemical risks at its Follansbee facility.”

Working in conjunction with the public and various industries, EPA has set a goal to reduce the use or release of four million pounds of priority chemicals by 2011. These priority chemicals have been targeted because they can accumulate in living organisms or have high toxicity levels.

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Trivia Question of the Week

How many years does it take for glass to decompose?
a. 10,000
b. 100,000
c. 500,000
d. 1 million