CLEAN AIR ACT (CAA)
- September 5, 2002 - Owners and operators of flexible operation units not
designed as elastomer product processing units in accordance with national
emission standards for hazardous air pollutants for Group 1 polymers and
resins, 40 CFR 63 Subpart U, must perform annual applicability determination.
- September 12, 2002 - Owners or operators of flexible operation units not
designed as thermoplastic product processing units in accordance with
national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants for Group IV
polymers and resins, 40 CFR 63 Subpart JJJ, must perform annual
CLEAN WATER ACT (CWA)
- September 30, 2002 - Owners or operators of industrial facilities located in
EPA Region 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, or 10 subject to terms and conditions of
EPA's NPDES storm water multi-sector general permit must calculate average
concentrations for the pollutant parameter that it monitors.
TEXAS CHEMICAL PLANT MANAGERS SENTENCED FOR VIOLATING THE CLEAN AIR ACT
Jeffrey L. Jackson, former plant manager for the Huntsman Chemical Plant in Port Arthur, Texas, and Michael Peters, Huntsman's former environmental manager and a former regional manager for the Texas Air Control Board, were sentenced on Aug. 15 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in Beaumont for their previous conviction on charges of conspiracy, making a false statement to the EPA and violating the Clean Air Act.
Evidence presented at trial demonstrated that the defendants illegally allowed benzene to be emitted from a tank that held benzene-contaminated wastewater at the Huntsman facility. The defendants were also convicted of conspiracy to not inform EPA and the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission of the benzene releases from the tank, a damaged flare and leaking process equipment. Finally, Jackson and Peters were convicted of falsifying a document to EPA concerning their activities.
The emissions from the wastewater tank occurred after it had been struck by lightning on Nov. 2, 1995. The lightning caused a fire that damaged seals on the tank roof. The defendants failed to empty the tank or repair it within 45 days as required by law. They also did not keep the tank filled to the top, which is required to prevent benzene vapor pockets from forming in the tank. The result of their actions was the airborne emission of benzene, which is a cancer-causing chemical.
EPA's Criminal Investigation Division investigated the case with the
assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center, USEPA Region
VI personnel, the FBI, the Special Investigation Unit of the Texas Natural
Resource Conservation Commission and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
working in coordination with the Texas Environmental Crimes Task Force. It
was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's office in Beaumont.
KOPPERS INDUSTRIES PLEADS GUILTY TO CLEAN AIR ACT AND CLEAN WATER ACT CRIMES
Koppers Industries Inc., of Philadelphia, Pa., pleaded guilty on Aug. 22 to two felony violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and one felony violation of the Clean Air Act (CAA) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama in Birmingham. The convictions resulted from releases of hazardous air and water pollutants, which exceeded permitted limits, at the company's coke production and coal by-products facility in Dolomite, Ala. The facility was later dismantled in 1998.
Koppers operated a wastewater treatment plant at the Dolomite facility and also had a storm water discharge point source permit, which required it to limit the amount of ammonia in its water discharges. The company also was required to submit discharge-monitoring reports to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) indicating the level of pollutants contained in its water discharges based upon test results. Koppers admitted that its employees had allowed the discharge of wastewater that exceeded the permitted level of ammonia in January 1997. In March 1997, its employees knowingly submitted a false report to ADEM that understated the level of ammonia contained in the discharge to conceal the fact that Koppers had violated its permit limits. The CAA violation occurred when a gas blanketing system at the Dolomite facility was improperly operated from April 1-11, 1997.
If accepted by the court, the plea calls for Koppers to pay a $2.1 million
fine, pay $900,000 in restitution and community service and implement an
environmental compliance program at its plants in the United States. The
release of ammonia to surface waters can significantly harm fish and
wildlife and exposure to benzene is a known cause of cancer. Daniel Bell of
Birmingham, Ala., Koppers' former Environmental Manager, previously pleaded
guilty to a CWA felony charge. This case was investigated by EPA's Criminal
Investigation Division and the FBI and prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's
office in Birmingham and the Department of Justice's Environmental Crimes
US AND OHIO REACH CLEAN WATER ACT SETTLEMENT WITH CITY OF TOLEDO, OHIO
The Department of Justice, the EPA and the state of Ohio announced the federal court filing of a Clean Water Act settlement in which the city of Toledo, Ohio, agrees to make extensive improvements to its sewage treatment plant and its sewage collection and transportation system. The improvements are expected to cost at least $433 million over the next 14 years.
The settlement requires the city of Toledo to end its long-standing practice of discharging raw sewage into Swan Creek and the Maumee and Ottawa Rivers. Government experts concluded that these discharges, of up to a billion gallons a year of untreated sewage, may create unsafe conditions for swimmers and others, as well as causing severe biological problems like deformities in fish.
Under the settlement, Toledo will more than double sewage treatment capacity, build a basin to hold excess sewage and improve the sewage collection and treatment system. These activities, to be carried out under federal and state supervision, should eliminate most of the raw sewage discharges from the city's treatment plant and sewers, even during peak flow times. Because of the high cost of this work, the city held a special referendum on July 9, 2002 in which the voters overwhelmingly approved the settlement ¡ 78 percent voted in favor.
In addition to the sewer-system repairs, the city will pay a $500,000 penalty and spend at least $1 million to undertake two environmental improvement projects: restoring and providing public access to wetlands in the Duck Creek basin near the east bank of the Maumee River, and cleaning up contaminated properties near the Ottawa River to allow for further business development in an area of newly developed industrial enterprises.
The Justice Department and EPA, often joined by the states, are taking an active lead in municipal Clean Water Act enforcement and have already entered into settlements with numerous municipalities including Atlanta, Baltimore, Baton Rouge, Honolulu, Miami, New Orleans, San Diego, Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Ohio, Jefferson County, Ala. and Mobile, Ala.
The proposed consent decree was filed today in U.S. District Court for the
Northern District of Ohio and is subject to a 30-day public comment period.
P2RX ANNOUNCES NEW RESOURCES ONLINE
The Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange is a national network of regional centers dedicated to the improving the dissemination of pollution prevention information for the service provider community. Three new on-line resources are available through some of their centers.
An introduction to measurement of environmental performance is available from P2Rx center, Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center at http://www.pprc.org/hubs/toc.cfm?hub=1000&subsec=7&nav=7. This topic hub provides information on measurement concepts and different types of measures; basic steps and supporting information to develop a tailored measurement system; incentives and justifications for measuring environmental conformance and performance; actual measurement models, tools, and case studies to provide the reader with examples and opportunities for using measured information; and a full list of Environmental Measurement URLs, including case studies, fact sheets, checklists, guides and other useful resources.
Commercial/institutional food service establishments generate wastes in several areas of operation, including front of house operations (serving and dining areas), back of house (food preparation and kitchen areas), site exterior, and general operations. Waste Reduction Resource Center, a P2Rx information center, has prepared a topic hub detailing operations of commercial/institutional food service establishments, providing reasons for change, and P2 solutions. Energy use, wastewater, and environmental regulations are covered as part of the presentation. View the topic hub at http://wrrc.p2pays.org/p2rx/toc.asp?hub=448&subsec=7&nav=7. For more information on these and other P2Rx resources and programs, contact Jean Waters at 402-595-1826 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Agricultural teaching labs in high schools and colleges engage in several
activities that generate significant sources of waste and thus offer
opportunities for pollution prevention. Labs typically include activities
based on agriculture and power mechanics, construction and carpentry,
greenhouse and farm plots, metals and welding, and animal confinement. Peaks
to Prairies, a P2Rx information center has created a topic hub, P2 and
AgTeaching Labs to describe the operations, wastes, reasons for change, and
pollution prevention solutions for Ag teaching labs. View the hub at
EFFECTIVE DATE FOR NEW DOT INFECTIOUS WASTE SHIPPING RULES POSTPONED
On August 14, the Federal Register published a final Department of Transportation rule under Docket HM-226 entitled "Hazardous Materials: Revision to Standards for Infectious Substances." The rule was originally scheduled to become effective October 1, 2002; however, it has been determined that that deadline does not allow sufficient time for all affected parties to comply with the new rule. The new effective date is February 14, 2003.
The final rule makes the following changes to the hazardous materials regulations (HMR):
- New classification criteria for infectious substances based on defining
criteria developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and consistent
with standards contained in the United Nations (UN) Recommendations and the
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Technical Instructions.
- Revised packaging requirements for Division 6.2 materials consistent with
international performance standards.
- Revised materials of trade exceptions to include certain diagnostic
specimens, biological products, and regulated medical waste (RMW).
- New packaging and hazard communication requirements for shipments of
diagnostic specimens consistent with international requirements. Diagnostic
specimens transported in dedicated motor vehicles by private or contract
carriers are excepted from most requirements of the HMR.
- Modification of the current exception from requirements in the HMR for
biological products. The exception is limited to biological products,
including experimental products, subject to Federal approval, permit, or
licensing requirements, such as those required by Food and Drug
- New bulk packaging options for the transportation of RMW, based on
current exemption provisions.
- New hazard communication requirements for bulk shipments of RMW to assist
emergency responders to identify such shipments.
SEPTEMBER IS POLLUTION PREVENTION MONTH
For eight years, federal, state, and local government officials, nonprofit, businesses, schools and individuals across the country have taken part in the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable's annual National P2 (Pollution Prevention) Week in September. This year, EPA's Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances is sponsoring the first annual P2 Month.
P2 Month will kick off during P2 Week beginning September 16th and will continue for the rest of September and the first week of October. This year's P2 Month is designed as an outreach mechanism to spread knowledge about P2 practices, programs and ideas from around the country. The primary method of spreading the P2 word will be through EPA's website. A P2 Month web site will be available on EPA's home page at http://www.epa.gov. The P2 Month site will feature several different categories of P2 information. Aside from a general description of P2, its principles and importance in our society, the site will display P2 links and tips customized for everyone from individuals, to government, hospitals, schools and businesses. A P2 Profiles section will feature innovative individuals and programs from around the country that center on pollution prevention. A P2 Programs section will detail P2 activities run from EPA headquarters and a Regional section will show visitors what local EPA offices and other organizations are doing in their regions and local communities.
Since the site is not yet posted, the P2 Month organizers are still looking for P2 links, resources and descriptions of P2 programs from around the country to showcase and feature on this site. All material, including suggestions for what else could be featured on the site, should be submitted to Jesse Eaves, email@example.com no later than September 6th.