CLEAN AIR ACT (CAA)
- August 14, 2002 - Each producer, importer, or exporter of a Class
II controlled substance must submit a report to EPA providing
information on the production, imports, and exports of such
chemicals during the previous quarter.
- August 29, 2002 - Existing sources subject to organic hazardous
air pollutant emission controls under 40 CFR 63, Subpart G, for
synthetic organic chemical manufacturing industry production
processes must submit quarterly report to EPA.
TOXIC SUBSTANCES CONTROL ACT (TSCA)
- August 25, 2002 - Quadrennial reporting period begins for
chemical manufacturers and importers to submit current data on
the production, volume, plant site, and site-limited status of
certain substances listed on the TSCA chemical substances
FINAL RULE ISSUED ON SPCC PLANS
On July 17th, 2002, EPA issued a final rule amending the Oil Pollution Prevention regulation promulgated under the authority of the Clean Water Act. This rule addresses requirements for Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Plans (SPCC Plans) and some provisions may also affect Facility Response Plans (FRPs). The final rule includes new subparts outlining the requirements for various classes of oil; revises the applicability of the regulation; amends the requirements for completing SPCC Plans; and makes other modifications. The final rule also contains a number of provisions designed to decrease regulatory burden on facility owners or operators subject to the rule, while preserving environmental protection.
The final rule addresses proposed rules from October 22, 1991, February 17, 1993, and December 2, 1997 and will become effective on August 16, 2002. A copy of the final rule and may be accessed, in three parts, at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fedreg/a020717c.html
If you have questions about the final rule, please call the Call
Center at 1-800-424-9346 or locally within the Washington, DC
area at 703-412-9810.
EPA WILL HELP LOCAL GOVERNMENTS MEET ENVIRONMENTAL GOALS
EPA's Office of Water has selected eight organizations from across the nation to become Environmental Management Systems (EMS) Local Resource Centers where local governments can go to make their operations more environmentally friendly.
"What this means is local communities can treat their wastewater more effectively and efficiently and reduce costs to taxpayers," said G. Tracy Mehan, Assistant Administrator for Water. "EMS is a powerful management tool that in the end helps the local citizens enjoy a cleaner and healthier environment."
For years private industry has been using the EMS management tool to reduce pollution and protect public health and now local governments can use EMSs in the same way.
These EMS Resource Centers will be located in existing academic or other non-profit institutions that have a proven track record of providing high quality environmental assistance.
EPA will be working with the Global Environment And Technology Foundation to help local agencies adopt the EMS tool for their operations. Each center will also share information on its activities through a publicly available on-line National Clearinghouse of EMS information for public agencies. This clearinghouse is available at http://www.peercenter.net.
The local Environmental Management Systems Resource Centers are:
- Purdue University, Indiana Clean Manufacturing Technology and
Safe Materials Institute, School of Civil Engineering; West
Lafayette, Indiana; Phone # 765-463-4749
- University of Wisconsin Stout; Menominee, Wisconsin; Phone #
- University of Florida, Center for Training, Research, and
Education for Environmental Occupations; Gainesville, Florida;
Phone # 352-392-9570
- Georgia Institute of Technology, Center for International
Standards and Quality; Atlanta, Georgia; Phone # 404-894-0968
- University of Massachusetts at Lowell; Lowell, Massachusetts;
Phone # 978-934-2635
- Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, Small Business
and Environmental Assistance Division; Austin, Texas; Phone #
- Virginia Tech University, Center for Organizational and
Technological Advancement; Roanoke, Virginia; Phone #
The Zero Waste Alliance; Portland, Oregon; Phone # 503-279-9383
CANADIAN IMPORTS OF HAZARDOUS WASTE DECLINE
Canadian imports of hazardous waste for landfilling without pre-treatment declined for the second year in a row according to figures released by Environment Canada. Imports for landfilling without pre-treatment totaled 106,000 tonnes in 2001, down 34 percent from 2000 levels (160,000 tonnes), and down by 55 percent from 1999 levels, when they peaked at 235,000 tonnes.
Over the next 18 months, Environment Canada will introduce amendments to existing regulations and propose new regulations on the management of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable material. The proposed regulations will implement new powers under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) that authorizes the Minister of the Environment to develop criteria to ensure the environmentally sound management of wastes and recyclable materials, and to assess export and import permit applications based on these criteria.
Canada is also working with the United States and Mexico to develop a concerted North American approach for the management of hazardous waste. At the Ninth Regular Session of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) Council, held in Ottawa June 18-19, the three countries agreed to proceed with a pilot project to track hazardous waste movement between Canada and the United States, and to examine the feasibility of an electronic notification system between the United States and Mexico.
Nearly half of the hazardous waste imported into Canada is
recycled, including batteries and waste metal. Just over 20
percent of imported waste was destined for landfill, with the
rest being disposed of through physical or chemical treatment, or
US AND DELAWARE FILE SUIT AGAINST MOTIVA ENTERPRISES
The Justice Department, EPA, and the state of Delaware announced that the United States and Delaware have filed civil suits against Motiva Enterprises, LLC in connection with the July 2001 tank explosion at Motiva's oil refinery in Delaware City, Del. The federal action is being filed for violation of the Clean Water Act and other laws enacted by Congress to protect public health and the environment. The complaints allege that the explosion, which released more than one million gallons of sulfuric acid and hydrocarbons, was caused by gross negligence in the operation and maintenance of the tank.
The tank explosion resulted in one death and eight other people being hospitalized with serious injuries. In addition, tens of thousands of gallons of sulphuric acid entered the Delaware River, causing the death of thousands of fish, hundreds of blue crabs and other severe environmental damage.
"This explosion, resulting in a tragic death, injuries and environmental harm, should never have happened. The tank that exploded had a long history of corrosion, holes and other problems and should have been taken out of service long before the explosion," said Tom Sansonetti, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "By filing this suit, we aim to ensure that measures are taken to prevent such an incident from ever happening again."
When violations are caused by gross negligence, a court may triple the amount of possible civil penalty. The final amount will depend on a variety of factors including the seriousness of the incident, the degree of defendant's fault, whether the company made good faith efforts to comply with the law and whether the company has a history of violating environmental laws.
The complaints also allege numerous other environmental violations by Motiva at its Delaware facility, including failure to follow required safety measures to prevent and control spills of petroleum, failure to promptly inspect numerous other tank and repeated failures to promptly inform public agencies of potential releases of dangerous pollutants.
Delaware's complaint was filed by the state's Department of Justice on behalf of DNREC. It alleges violations stemming from unpermitted air discharges and operating a hazardous waste treatment site without a permit. The complaint also seeks to recover investigative and response costs incurred by the Department and to have the Court mandate that Motiva develop and implement an environmental management system in achieving compliance with environmental requirements.
On August 1, 2001, EPA ordered Motiva to take numerous steps to ensure the short and long term safety of the refinery. EPA has also been overseeing Motiva's work and monitoring the company's compliance with EPA's order. Furthermore, the lawsuit asks the court to impose additional safety requirements to prevent or minimize the possibility of any future risk to public safety and the environment from Motiva's operations in Delaware City. The filing of the civil action does not preclude the filing of any criminal actions.
The complaint was filed in the United States District Court for
the District of Delaware in Wilmington, Del.
ROCHE VITAMINS TO PAY MORE THAN $200,000 FOR AIR VIOLATIONS
Roche Vitamins has agreed to pay nearly $220,000 for past violations of the Clean Air Act at its manufacturing plant in Belvidere, New Jersey. The company failed to notify EPA that it had constructed and started up a new cogeneration unit, as required under federal air standards. Roche also violated requirements designed to reduce the risk of release of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) into the environment.
An April 1999 EPA inspection revealed that the Roche facility's cogeneration unit was operating in violation of Clean Air Act requirements. The inspection also revealed violations of stratospheric ozone protection regulations.
In June 1998, Roche installed a new cogeneration unit to supply heat and electricity to its entire facility and failed to notify EPA of the unit's construction and start-up as required for new cogeneration units. Although the cogeneration unit was equipped with a continuous emission monitor for nitrogen oxides (NOx), Roche was not following a specific requirement to monitor the nitrogen content of the fuel being burned each day.
The CFC provisions of the Clean Air Act are designed to prevent releases of CFC-containing refrigerant compounds, which cause depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer. The stratospheric ozone layer shields Earth from harmful solar radiation. Solar radiation contributes to the incidence of skin cancers, cataracts, and other health and environmental problems.
The Roche facility has large industrial process refrigeration units as well as comfort cooling units that are regulated by the Clean Air Act. The EPA inspection and subsequent inquiry regarding Roche's service records revealed that Roche had not conducted follow up repairs of one of its large industrial process refrigeration units. The failure to conduct leak repair verifications may have led to a failure to repair leaks and retrofit or retire the unit. In addition, because some of the service records were missing, there is no way to tell if and how much CFC might have leaked or been released.
After an initial meeting with EPA, the company conducted an environmental audit of the facility's compliance with environmental regulations. The audit uncovered a large release of the hazardous air pollutants methanol and chloroform, and a number of volatile organic compounds, as well as other related violations. This audit led to an October 31, 2001 civil settlement with the state of New Jersey that addressed these violations. In the agreement with New Jersey, Roche agreed to pay over $1.89 million in civil penalties and conduct nearly a million dollars' worth of environmental projects, including monitoring air for sulfur dioxide and toxic air pollutants, conducting an epidemiological study to explore any correlation between concentrations of air pollutants and asthma in school-age children, and forming a community advisory committee.
After continuing negotiations and discussions with EPA regarding
the company's cogeneration unit and CFC-containing units, Roche
overhauled the Belvidere facility's environmental management
system. Roche is now in compliance with the requirements relating
to the cogeneration unit, and is implementing a CFC leak
detection and repair program to comply with the CFC regulations.
It has also retrofitted the industrial refrigeration unit and has
agreed to pay a penalty for the past violations.
U.S. EPA FINES PARAMOUNT PETROLEUM $105,000 FOR HAZARDOUS WASTE VIOLATIONS
EPA fined Paramount Petroleum Refining $105,000 for hazardous waste violations at its Paramount, Calif. plant.
The company was cited after a fall 1999 inspection, conducted jointly by EPA, accompanied by inspectors from the California Department of Toxics Substances Control, revealed that the company had failed to comply with several requirements applicable to generators of hazardous waste.
Companies that handle toxic wastes need to manage them properly not only to protect the environment, but to ensure public safety," said Jeff Scott, waste management division director for the U.S. EPA's Pacific Southwest region. "This facility was quick to own up to these infractions and fix the problems to comply with the law."
Paramount Petroleum was cited for improperly labeling containers of hazardous waste, storing waste more than 90 days without a permit, failing to have a complete contingency plan and failing to cite to a Federal hazardous waste code in a report to the agencies. Containers of hazardous waste, which had been stored on site more than 90 days, were removed to a licensed facility and the labeling infractions were corrected. Paramount also updated its contingency plan and resubmitted a corrected report.
The EPA regulates the proper handling, storage, transportation and disposal of hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Companies who store hazardous waste on-site for more than 90 days are required to obtain permits to do so in order to ensure the proper oversight of such wastes during long-term storage. Up-to-date contingency plans ensure that facility personnel are able to respond effectively and efficiently to emergency situations. Proper reporting of hazardous waste is necessary to ensure that EPA, and the state and the public have accurate information about waste handling practices.