Tulsa Program Receives National Clean Air Award

April 25, 2005

A program to teach high school students how their driving decisions affect air quality was one of only 13 programs across the nation selected for EPAÆs Clean Air Excellence Award. The Indian Nations Council of Governments was honored for developing the Tulsa Air Quality Enhancement and Education Program.

The program taught 600 young drivers how to reduce pollution by car pooling, using other modes of transportation and driving ôgreenö cars.

In addition to education, Driving Towards Clean Air competitions challenged high school students to car pool, bike, walk or ride the bus to school. Prizes, including a Toyota Prius electric hybrid for the schoolÆs driverÆs education program and $40,000 in rebates for the purchase of EPA-designated ôgreenö vehicles, generated excitement about the contest with parents and teachers as well as student drivers.

During the six-week competition, Tulsa students saved nearly 2,000 gallons of fuel by driving almost 34,000 fewer miles. Pollution was reduced by 47 pounds of volatile organic compounds, 742 pounds of carbon dioxide and 49 pounds of nitrogen oxides. Reduced pollution means everyone breathes cleaner healthier air.

For more information about this program and the awards visit EPAÆs Clean Air Excellence Awards.

Ohio EPA Guidance on Waste Aerosol Cans and Laboratory Waste

The OEPAÆs quarterly newsletter includes updated guidance for Ohio hazardous waste generators on the management of aerosol cans, laboratory waste, and hazardous waste contingency plans. For details, see: http://www.epa.state.oh.us/dhwm/pdf/NotifierSpring05.pdf

TCEQ Issues Fines Totaling $986,139

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Wednesday approved penalties assessed at $986,139 against 43 regulated entities for air, water, and waste environmental violations.

Agreed orders were issued for the following enforcement categories: eight air quality, one Edwards Aquifer, one multi-media, seven municipal waste discharge, 11 petroleum storage tank, and four public water system enforcement cases. In addition, one water quality, one on site sewage facility, six petroleum storage tank, and three municipal solid waste default orders were issued.

Included in the total fine figure is a penalty of $656,397 assessed against Motiva Enterprises LLC in Port Arthur for air violations. The fine resulted from three investigations in 2003. Violations include failure to prevent unauthorized emissions and failure to properly operate pollution control equipment; opacity violations; failure to properly submit initial notification for reportable emission events; and failure to properly submit final reports for emission events. Half of the penalty amount will go to environmental projects in Jefferson County.

15 Organizations and Individuals Honored for Their Leadership in Protecting Children

EPA is honoring 15 organizations and individuals for their outstanding leadership in protecting children from environmental risks. The recipients will be recognized at the First Annual Children's Environmental Health Excellence Awards Ceremony on April 21 in Washington, D.C. EPA has steadily increased its efforts on protecting infants and children, who are more susceptible than adults to some environmental risks, because their nervous, immune, digestive and other systems are still developing.

This year's 15 winners demonstrate strong commitment to children's environmental health. The recipients include an intervention program in the Seattle area that showed that 90% of the families visited made behavioral changes and 87% of these families felt those changes improved their children's health and reduced asthma episodes; a Childhood Lead Action Project in Rhode Island where state-wide lead poisoning rates have dropped from 18 percent in 1994 to just 3% in 2003. Also included is a program in North Carolina where school buses were fitted with diesel oxidation catalysts and significantly reduced emissions with a 20% decrease in diesel particulate matter, a 20% decrease in carbon monoxide and a 40% decrease in unburned hydrocarbons.

The Children's Environmental Health Awards are designed to increase awareness, stimulate activity and recognize efforts that protect children from environmental health risks at the local, regional, national and international level. Excellence and Recognition are the two levels of awards. The excellence level is a competitive award for groups or individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in protecting children from environmental health risks. The recognition level is for groups or individuals who have demonstrated commitment to protecting children from environmental health risks. EPA is issuing 15 excellence awards and 113 recognition awards.

For a complete list of the award recipients and a description of their programs, go to: http://yosemite.epa.gov/ochp/ochpweb.nsf/content/2005_CEH_Awards.htm .

Valero Fined Almost $800,000 for Air Violations

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell and Attorney General Peter C. Harvey today announced an Administrative Consent Order (ACO) with Valero Refining Company - New Jersey settling air emission violations at its Paulsboro refinery that occurred between 2001 and 2004.

"New Jersey citizens have a basic right to breathe clean air," Acting Governor Richard J. Codey said. "Polluters need to stand up and take notice that we are serious about improving air quality and reducing the number of asthma cases throughout our state."

"Today's settlement is a tremendous victory for New Jersey and will significantly improve air quality," said Commissioner Campbell. "The controls being installed at Valero's Paulsboro refinery will reduce the public's exposure to hazardous air pollutants, such as carcinogenic benzene, and to sulfur dioxide that contributes to asthma and acid rain."

The company has agreed to pay $793,000 in fines as well as to install several emission controls that will significantly reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2).

"This settlement will remove hundreds of tons of noxious pollutants from the air and will protect the health of New Jersey residents, particularly children with asthma and seniors with respiratory ailments," said Attorney General Harvey. "It represents another significant step in our efforts to control air pollution from in-state sources. At the same time, we are aggressively pursuing enforcement actions against out-of-state pollution sources, as exemplified by our recent settlement with Ohio Edison concerning a huge coal-fired power plant on the Ohio River."

Under the ACO, Valero will install a $3.5 million, state-of-the-art air pollution control at the Paulsboro refinery waste water treatment system to reduce VOC emissions by 95 percent, including benzene and other hazardous air pollutants. Annual VOC emissions at the waste water treatment plant will decline by approximately 150 tons.

Valero also agreed to meet the enhanced requirements for benzene waste reduction at its Paulsboro refinery. By changing its management practices, the Paulsboro refinery will eliminate almost six tons of stray benzene emissions annually.

The Paulsboro facility will also implement the VOC enhanced leak detection and repair (LDAR) program. This will further reduce stray VOC emissions from the facility. The enhanced program cuts VOC concentration in half from what is now required under the current federal LDAR program.

Valero has already installed a state-of-the-art emissions control scrubber system at the Paulsboro refinery that is the first of its kind in North America and the second of its kind in the world. This system began operation in October 2004 and is reducing SO2 emissions by over 1,000 tons annually.

In addition, Valero has agreed to install still further technologies on its boilers and heaters at the Paulsboro facility to meet federal standards that are not currently applicable to these units. These technologies will reduce annual SO2 emissions by at least another 500 tons beyond the reductions already achieved

EPA Updates Manual for Certification of Laboratories Analyzing Drinking Water

This manual supersedes the fourth edition and describes the implementation of the Drinking Water Laboratory Certification program, including the procedures a laboratory follows and the criteria a laboratory meets to be certified to analyze drinking water compliance samples.

Manual for the Certification of Laboratories Analyzing Drinking Water is available online or
Hardcopies of this publication may be ordered from NSCEP. For more information, contact the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791.

Oregon Man Pleads to False Statements About Lead Disclosure Forms

Long Dang Bui, a landlord and manager of multiple properties in Portland, Ore., pleaded guilty on April 5, in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon in Portland to making false statements about lead paint disclosure forms. In July 2003, Bui falsely told inspectors from EPA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that lead paint disclosure forms he submitted for four of his tenants were accurate. In reality, the forms had false signatures and were back-dated. Not disclosing the presence of lead paint to tenants can expose tenants, and especially their children, to potential lead poisoning. When sentenced, Bui faces a maximum possible sentence of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. The case was investigated by the Portland Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the HUD Inspector General's Office. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office in Portland.

Pouring Acid Waste Down Drain Results in $700,000 Penalty

BEF Corp. of Allentown, Pa.; and BEF's founder and president, Elward Brewer of Englewood, Fla.; were both sentenced on April 1 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Allentown, Pa., for violating the Clean Water Act by discharging heavy metal-laden acidic waste water into sewers operated by the City of Bethlehem, Pa., and the City of Allentown, Pa.

In addition, BEF also pleaded guilty to violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and to making false statement to the government. BEF and Brewer were sentenced to jointly pay a $700,000 penalty, including a $50,000 Supplemental Environmental Project to the Wildlands Conservancy. BEF was also ordered to serve a five year period of probation. Elward Brewer was additionally sentenced to six months' house arrest, 36 months of supervised release, and 160 hours of community service in an environmental activity.

BEF buys used one-hour photo processing machines, refurbishes them and then resells them throughout the world. During the refurbishing process, BEF generated silver, lead, and chromium laden wastes and acidic wastes which were illegally discharged to the sewers. The other charges arose from BEF's illegal exportation of goods to Iran, and from BEF's practice of discounting the fair market value of its photo labs on Shippers' Export Declarations to help its international customers avoid paying import duties.

Unlawfully disposing of heavy metal laden and acidic waste water into sewers can damage sewage treatment equipment and can interfere with the proper treatment of sewage by sewage treatment facilities. The case was investigated by the Philadelphia Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Bureau of Immigration and Custom's Enforcement, the U.S. Commerce Department's Office of Export Enforcement, and the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Investigative assistance was provided by EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center and the Waste Water Treatment Departments of the Borough of Catasauqua, the City of Bethlehem, South Whitehall Township, and the City of Allentown, Pa. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office in Philadelphia.