EPA announced on February 26 the availability of additional information on the electronic manifest (e-Manifest) project. EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) reports that it has made significant progress on the e-Manifest project since the publication of the April 18, 2006, public notice, which announced and requested comment on the agency’s intention to develop a centralized Web-based information technology (IT) system that would be hosted on EPA’s IT architecture. However, a few issues raised in the comment period require further analysis by EPA, as it makes decisions concerning the e-Manifest system.
EPA received strong support in response to the April 2006 public notice to establish a national Web-based system funded through user-fees. In addition, commenters generally supported EPA’s position that use of e-Manifests should be at the election of the users rather than mandatory. However, some commenters expressed concern that an optional system would create dual paper and electronic systems. Furthermore, industry and state comments in response to EPA’s position to allow confidential business information (CBI) claims for e-Manifests differed. The agency remains committed to finalizing a federal regulation, once the necessary legislation is enacted, that will authorize the regulated community to use electronic manifests as the legal equivalent of paper manifests, and it will consider the comments received on this notice, as well as other comments received from previous actions, before it makes a final decision.
11 Companies Fined for Failing to Provide Tier II Reports
EPA recently reached a settlement with 11 companies based in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island for failing to submit Tier II chemical inventory reports, which are triggered by the presence of certain threshold amounts of hazardous chemicals present at their facilities.
The fines are being assessed for previous reporting years in which the facilities failed to file the Tier II reports that were due for each facility. These settlements are not in relation to this year’s annual Tier II reporting deadline, which was March 1, 2008.
The settlements are between EPA and the following companies. Each company was assessed a fine of $2,000. The companies are:
- Bass Plating Co., Bloomfield, Conn.
- Fusco Brothers, Inc., Windsor, Conn.
- & W Heat Treat, Inc., South Windsor, Conn.
- Dixfield Discount Fuel Co., Peru, Maine
- Lisbon Fuel Co., Lisbon Falls, Maine
- Murray Oil Co., Turner, Maine
- TI Logistics, Inc., Worcester, Mass.
- Geib Refining Corp., Warwick, R.I.
- National Chain Co., Warwick, R.I.
- Technodic, Inc., Providence, R.I.
- M. Weisman Roofing Co., Warwick, R.I.
EPCRA Section 312 requires the companies to file hazardous chemical inventory reports (“Tier II” reports) that provide information on the nature, amount, location, and hazards of chemicals stored at the facility. The cases involved several different types of chemicals and businesses, including, among others, metal plating and treating operations that use acids and cyanides and fuel companies that have large amounts of oil on site.
“Chemical reporting is very important for the public-at-large, and it is essential for the safety of first responders if there is an accident at one of these facilities,” said Robert Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Regular reporting of hazardous chemicals helps first responders to protect themselves and protect the public if there is a fire or other dangerous event at a facility. Officials also use this information for disaster planning—for example, when simulating a response to a hurricane.”
Right-to-Know provisions help to increase the public’s knowledge and access to information on the presence of hazardous chemicals in their communities. Among the key provisions of EPCRA are requirements for annual submission of chemical inventory data (known as Tier II reports) by facilities to state and local planning officials for incorporation into ongoing emergency planning.
Under EPCRA, reporting of chemical inventory information is required under federal law each year. The 2008 reporting deadline for Tier II reports was March 1. Facilities storing hazardous chemicals are required to file a chemical inventory with several entities: the State Emergency Response Commission, the Local Emergency Planning Committee, and the local fire department. This is required to provide planners and first responders with information about the hazardous chemicals present in a community so that they can effectively prepare for and respond to chemical accidents. Facilities are subject to these requirements if they store hazardous substances on-site in amounts equal to or greater than 10,000 pounds at any one time during a reporting year, although there are lower thresholds for extremely hazardous substances.
EPA Celebrates One Millionth Mercury Auto-Switch Collection
EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson congratulated participants in the National Vehicle Mercury Switch Recovery Program (NVMSRP) for their collaborative work in collecting the one millionth mercury auto switch on Friday, Feb. 29, 2008, at Pull-A-Part in Conley, Ga. This milestone highlights the NVMSRP partnership’s progress toward reducing the amount of toxic mercury released into the air, water, and land from scrap vehicles before they are flattened, shredded, and melted to make new steel.
Mercury-containing convenience light switches were used in domestic cars built before 2003. The goal of the NVMSRP is to capture 80%–90% of available vehicle mercury switches by 2017, when most pre-2003 vehicles are expected to be off the road and the program is scheduled to end. EPA estimates that about 8 tons per year of mercury are emitted from electric arc furnaces that melt scrap metal from retired cars. The NVMSRP began in 2006 and is a collaboration between EPA, states, automakers, auto dismantlers, auto scrap recyclers, steelmakers, and environmental groups.
Maine DEP Study Prompts Revisions to Broken Fluorescent Bulb Clean-Up Guidelines
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has released a detailed study of broken compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs and has issued revised guidelines for consumers to use in order to properly clean up a broken CFL. All fluorescent light bulbs, including CFLs, contain a small amount of mercury. With growing public awareness of the potential but often unknown risk of exposure to toxic chemicals in consumer goods, DEP identified the need to understand the impact of the accidental breakage of a CFL in the home. With no scientific information available nationally on CFL breakages, the DEP designed this study to determine how best to respond to inquiries from citizens about broken fluorescent bulbs.
Many households are switching from incandescent light bulbs to CFLs because they are proven energy savers and have a very long service life. The use of CFLs contributes to less overall air pollution because they require less energy and, therefore, put less demand on power plants. DEP study results describe the best way to use CFLs and the safest way to clean up the debris in the event of breakage.
While the study identifies some recommendations and precautions with the use of CFLs, both the DEP and the Public Utilities Commission continue to encourage and recommend their use and recycling.
“Compact fluorescent light bulbs are important to use in order to reduce energy consumption and our impact on climate change,” DEP Commissioner David Littell said. “We strongly support the use of energy-efficient lighting and encourage consumers to use these bulbs, but it is important to properly recycle used bulbs in order to recover the small amount of mercury contained in each one. They should not be thrown in the trash where the mercury will end up in our air, water and environment.”
Recycling CFLs in Maine is easy. Each municipality has made arrangements for the collection and recycling of “universal waste,” which includes all fluorescent bulbs, and each municipal office will have information for consumers. In addition, the Efficiency Maine program has made arrangements with more than 200 hardware stores, retail stores, and supermarkets to accept CFLs at no cost for recycling. This program, developed cooperatively by the Public Utilities Commission and the DEP, is the first of its kind in the nation.
Cleaning up a broken CFL is straightforward. Because of the potential exposure to mercury, however, dealing with a broken fluorescent bulbs should be done using the following clean-up guidelines developed by DEP:
- Open windows and leave the room for 15 minutes so that mercury emissions from the broken bulb will be reduced to lower levels during cleanup.
- Use a glass jar with a screw top with a seal instead of a double plastic bag to contain the mercury emissions from the breakage debris.
- Remove the broken pieces of the bulb along with any cleanup material (contained in the glass jar) to a space outside of your living space as soon as practical.
- The study supported the current DEP clean-up advice not to vacuum CFL debris, an action that could contaminate the vacuum and further disperse mercury into the air. If the breakage occurs on a carpet, the homeowner should consider removing the portion of the carpet where the break occurred, especially in areas frequented by infants, young children, and pregnant women. As previously stated, the debris should be disposed of as a universal waste instead of regular waste, returning it to the universal waste facility for which each municipality has made arrangements.
Additional studies are being conducted on CFLs. Based on this study, which is the most comprehensive to date, DEP advises that the public should consider not using CFLs in areas where bulbs can be easily broken, as well as locations frequented by young children or pregnant women. The use of a drop cloth in carpeted areas is recommended when installing and removing fluorescent bulbs. This will catch routine dust and debris as well as any accidental bulb breakage and will reduce the need to consider carpet removal.
EPA Launches New Multimedia Portal on Website
The portal also includes interactive features such as “Ask EPA” and the Deputy Administrator’s blog, “Flow of the River.” Another feature called “EPA in Action” goes behind-the-scenes, following the diverse jobs performed by the EPA workforce and examining some of the most pressing environmental issues facing our nation.
Viewing video is integrated into the site using flash player, while photos of events and EPA work will be posted in a series of online galleries. Users may also subscribe to several podcast series or select from a number of individual podcasts featuring EPA experts and senior officials.
This new multimedia portal is an important resource for the public, journalists, academia, local governments, and the environmental community. The portal will help increase awareness of important news items through an intuitive, media-rich focus, rather than through traditional electronic print.
Grants Available in Kansas for Recycling Efforts
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), Bureau of Waste Management, has announced the availability of grants for purchasing playground cover and other products derived from waste tires.
Through these grants, KDHE intends to stimulate the production and sale of commercial products made from recycled Kansas waste tires. These efforts benefit waste reduction by removing material from the waste stream to conserve landfill space and reduce the need for new solid waste facilities.
This is the second year of the grant program following several years of grants to Kansas tire recyclers to purchase equipment to process the tires into a usable raw material.
Local units of government are eligible to apply for funding that will provide up to 50% of the total cost to purchase and install eligible products made from waste tires. Last year, 39 grants were awarded to local governments primarily to purchase playground cover.
Grant applications should be mailed to the KDHE Bureau of Waste Management, 1000 S.W. Jackson, Suite 320, Topeka, Kansas 66612-1366 and must be postmarked by Friday, May 16, 2008.
Prison Sentence for Illegal Removal of Asbestos
Cleve Allen George, the owner of the Virgin Islands Asbestos Removal, Co., has been sentenced to 33 months in prison for multiple violations of the Clean Air Act and false statements related to the demolition of a low-income housing neighborhood in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Justice Department announced.
George and co-defendant Dylan C. Starnes, of Atlanta, Ga., were both convicted after a two-week trial on June 30, 2005, on 15 counts involving the illegal removal of asbestos-containing material at the Donoe Housing Community (DHC) Project in 2001 and making materially false statements to federal agencies concerning air monitoring at the project. George was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and required to pay for baseline X-rays for exposed workers.
Starnes, the former president of Environmental Contracting Company (ECC) and a licensed and certified asbestos contractor/supervisor, was sentenced on July 27, 2007, to 33 months in prison and three years of supervised release.
“Both George and Starnes were knowledgeable of how to safely remove asbestos and chose (to) ignore those safe methods in lieu of a bigger profit,” said Ronald J. Tenpas, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “These sentences should serve as a warning to those in the industry that profiting at the expense of the community will not pay off and disregarding these safe removal methods will have serious consequences.”
The DHC, a low-income public residential community located on St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, was owned by the Virgin Islands Housing Authority (VIHA). George and Starnes were hired as contractors by the VIHA to remove asbestos in an old building scheduled for demolition.
The evidence at trial established that the defendants, who filed a work plan indicating that they would follow all applicable regulations regarding asbestos removal, did not follow the asbestos work practice regulations and violated federal law. The defendants were convicted of using a power washer to strip thousands of square feet of asbestos-containing material from ceilings. The asbestos material then washed out over the ground and into sewers.
According to the EPA, exposure to airborne asbestos may result in a potential health risk. Continued exposure can increase the amount of fibers that remain in the lung. Fibers embedded in lung tissue over time may cause serious lung diseases including: asbestosis, lung cancer, or mesothelioma.
Home Depot, Inc., to Pay $1.3 Million for Storm Water Violations
EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) have announced a $1.3 million settlement with Home Depot, Inc., to resolve construction storm water violations that were discovered at more than 30 construction sites in 28 states where new Home Depot stores were being built.
EPA conducted inspections and gathered information between 2002 and 2003 on the 30 sites. Violations at each site varied in severity, but generally included:
- Discharge of polluted storm water runoff to storm sewers or waterways without obtaining a permit
- Failure to develop an adequate Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) for minimizing the amount of sediment and other pollutants in storm water runoff from the site
- Failure to install or implement storm water controls or Best Management Practices (BMPs) required by the SWPPP (for example silt fences were not installed, storm drain inlets were not covered or protected, etc)
- Failure to adequately or routinely inspect BMPs to ensure proper maintenance
Home Depot has agreed to a settlement to resolve these violations.
Improving compliance at construction sites is one of EPA’s national enforcement priorities. Construction projects have a high potential for environmental harm because they cover large areas of land and have had a history of noncompliance with environmental regulations. Without on-site controls, runoff from construction sites can flow directly to the nearest waterway and can cause beach closings, swimming and fishing restrictions, and habitat degradation.
DEC Enters Into Agreement With Hess Over Storage and Tidal Wetlands Violations
Hess Corporation will bring 65 gasoline stations and oil storage facilities into compliance with state requirements and fund an important habitat restoration project in the Hudson River Estuary under an agreement announced by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis. The consent order also requires a penalty of $1.1 million for storage violations at the facilities, a portion of which will be deposited into DEC’s marine resources account, which helps support activities related to the improvement and protection of New York’s marine ecosystems.
“Because gas stations and oil-storage facilities can be found in nearly every neighborhood, it is critical they adhere to the stringent requirements the state has in place to protect the public and the environment,” Commissioner Grannis said. “This agreement will address Hess’s violations in New York City and the Hudson Valley, while also providing a valuable benefit to critical marine and freshwater ecosystems in the region.”
The agreement resolves more than 100 violations at Hess’s Brooklyn Major Oil Storage Facility, as well as 65 gasoline stations located in DEC’s New York City and lower Hudson Valley regions. The violations go back to inspections in the 1990s and early 2000s and involve non-compliance with storage violations as well as the repair of a bulkhead without proper DEC tidal wetlands permits.
Hess has been cooperating with DEC throughout the negotiations and already began addressing many of the non-compliance issues raised during the investigation. All the violations at the Brooklyn MOSF have been addressed to DEC’s satisfaction. The violations stemming from inspections of the gas stations—including inventory, records, and equipment maintenance issues—are more recent and are in the process of being addressed by Hess. To help further ensure all violations are addressed, the order requires Hess to perform an audit. If any violations are found as part of the audit, Hess is required to address them with DEC oversight.
The order includes $300,000 to be administered by The Nature Conservancy as part of an Environmental Benefit Project (EBP) agreed to by Hess and DEC. The EBP will focus on the restoration and management of rare freshwater tidal wetlands in the Hudson River Estuary.
During a three-year project, The Nature Conservancy will select restoration sites in freshwater tidal wetland sections of the estuary that have been impacted by invasive plants. Biologists will develop invasive species removal plans and monitor the anticipated improvements to the ecosystem. Public and private property owners along the river will also be approached to implement management strategies that will help ensure the continued success of the project.
TCEQ Approves Fines Totaling More Than $900,000
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has approved penalties totaling $900,081 against 70 regulated entities for violations of state environmental regulations. Orders were issued for the following enforcement categories: 1 agricultural, 15 air quality, 2 dry cleaner, 2 Edwards Aquifer, 3 field citations, 1 industrial hazardous waste, 1 industrial waste discharge, 3 licensed irrigators, 2 multi-media, 4 municipal solid waste, 7 municipal waste discharge, 1 on-site sewage, 5 petroleum storage tank, and 11 public water system with 1 for sludge and 4 for water quality. In addition, there were default orders as follows: 2 licensed irrigators, 3 petroleum storage tank, and 1 municipal solid waste.
Included in the total is a fine of $325,120 against ConocoPhillips Company for air violations at the Sweeney refinery in Brazoria County. The order indicates that the company failed to prevent and/or properly report unauthorized emissions of numerous agents during eight emissions events and one failed stack test in June, September, October, November, and December of 2006 as well as January of 2007. Of the total fine, $152,560 will be used to fund retrofitting of school buses with equipment designed to reduce particulate matter pollution through the Clean Cities/Clean Vehicles program in Brazoria County.
Rio Rancho, New Mexico, Fined $579,750 for Violations of Wastewater Permit
New Mexico Environment Department Secretary Ron Curry authorized a compliance order with a proposed penalty of $579,750 to the City of Rio Rancho, N.M., for violating its state permit by illegally discharging treated wastewater into ponds at Chamisa Hills Country Club.
The order alleges that the city violated its discharge permit by failing to inspect pond liners at the club, neglecting to submit to the department a corrective action plan detailing damage to pond liners, and illegally discharging wastewater from the city to those ponds.
“Rio Rancho—after months of discussions with the Environment Department that offered hope for a resolution to this problem—chose to delay cleaning up ponds at the country club by filing a lawsuit against the state,” Curry said. “Now the city will waste taxpayers’ money on substantial fines and legal fees that could have paid for the cleanup of the ponds.”
The department disagrees with Rio Rancho’s claim that it will cost millions to clean up ponds at the golf course.
The order, citing Rio Rancho’s 25-year-old permit obligations for wastewater effluent discharges to ponds at the club, states the city violated the New Mexico Water Quality Act and Water Quality Control Commission regulations. The order requires the city to submit a plan for the removal of sludge in west ponds at the club, investigate the removal of sludge in east and north ponds, submit a plan for the removal of harmful vegetation in all ponds, and submit a work plan determining the condition of liners in east and north ponds.
In addition, the order requires that no wastewater from the city be discharged into west ponds unless the city’s permit with the state is modified to include those ponds. The city has 30 days to respond and request a hearing, or it must pay the penalty.
The department issued a notice of violation to the city in January alleging Rio Rancho violated the city’s permit and state laws by illegally discharging treated wastewater to unpermitted ponds at the golf course.
Discharges from the city to the golf course have been permitted by the state since 1982. The city assumed responsibility for that permit in 1995. The permit requires that the city inspect effluent storage lagoons at the golf course for integrity and, if needed, submit a corrective action plan to the department. The city has not fulfilled that responsibility.
The department has been involved in this issue for more than two years because of environmental issues and citizen concerns. The department also formed a task force composed of city and state governments, homeowners’ associations, and residents to address problems with the ponds.
CHEMCENTRAL to Pay $400,000 for Fiery Explosion
CHEMCENTRAL Midwest Corporation of Kansas City, Mo., will pay a $225,000 fine to settle a civil complaint filed against the company by EPA Region 7 in connection with a massive fire and explosion that occurred a year ago. The company also agreed to reimburse EPA’s costs of $150,713 for responding to the blaze.
The explosion occurred when CHEMCENTRAL workers were transferring “Indopol,” a fuel additive used in sealants, coatings, lubricants, cling film, and adhesives. Indopol is a trade name for polybutene.
EPA’s investigation found that CHEMCENTRAL violated the Clean Air Act by failing to identify chemical hazards and failing to design and maintain a safe facility. EPA also found that CHEMCENTRAL violated the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA or SARA Title III) by failing to submit a chemical inventory form (known as a Tier II form) for Indopol to the State Emergency Response Commission, the Local Emergency Planning Committee, and the local fire department.
EPA filed the complaint in July 2007 for alleged violations at the industrial chemical distributor’s facility. Prior to the fire, CHEMCENTRAL Midwest Corporation distributed industrial chemicals from the facility.
The cost recovery part of the settlement is subject to a public comment period of no less than 30 days. EPA may modify or withdraw its consent to the settlement if public comments disclose facts or considerations that indicate the settlement is inappropriate, improper, or inadequate.
Region 7’s on-scene coordinators and staff oversaw a large-scale response to the fire. EPA provided assistance to emergency responders and conducted extensive air monitoring, including deploying the agency’s flying chemical detection system. EPA also took samples from locations outside of the site and at nearby schools.
Two Connecticut Recyclers Fined for Hazardous Waste Violations
Two closely-related Connecticut companies will pay a combined penalty of more than $325,000 for alleged violations of federal hazardous waste laws, according to a settlement filed by the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. EPA.
The companies, Bridgeport United Recycling, Inc., and United Oil Recovery, Inc., reached the settlement regarding their alleged violations of the “hazardous waste generator, treatment, storage, and disposal,” and “organic air emissions” requirements of RCRA. EPA initiated a single enforcement action against the sister organizations.
Bridgeport United Recycling Inc., of Bridgeport, Conn., and United Oil Recovery Inc., of Meridian, Conn., are closely related facilities that are permitted for hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal. In addition to accepting used fuels and other hazardous wastes for treatment and disposal, the facilities generate large quantities of hazardous waste and market hazardous waste fuel and “off-spec” used oil fuel. United Oil Recovery is also a transporter of hazardous and non-hazardous waste.
Under the settlement, Bridgeport United Recycling will pay a civil penalty of $205,798 and United Oil Recovery will pay a civil penalty of $119,392. Bridgeport United Recycling also will be required to automate and upgrade the device that controls organic air emissions at their facility, including installation of high-level alarms, automatic switching of the carbon beds, and increasing the operational rate of the blower. The facility improvements and other requirements of the settlement will ensure that hazardous wastes from both companies’ facilities are property treated and disposed, and that operations are conducted without harming the health and safety of neighbors and workers.
“It’s important that any facility storing or handling hazardous wastes follow established procedures to protect public health and our environment,” said Robert Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office.
EPA’s action is based on inspections of the two facilities conducted in 2003. The purpose of the inspections was to ensure compliance with federal and state RCRA requirements, which governs the management and disposal of hazardous waste.
EPA’s joint inspections with CT DEP revealed that both facilities failed to operate in compliance with applicable hazardous waste management standards, as well as regulations covering organic air emissions from tanks of hazardous waste. Violations at Bridgeport United Recycling were related to improper design and operation of the control device that is used to reduce organic air emissions. Violations at United Oil Recovery included failures in hazardous waste analysis and verification testing, acceptance of certain unpermitted wastes, and regulatory permitting and container management violations.
Presstek Inc. Faces $125,000 in Fines for Release of Hydrofluoric Acid
Presstek Inc., a manufacturer of digital plates for the printing industry, faces a combined fine of $125,678 for environmental violations related to a chemical spill at the company’s South Hadley, Mass., manufacturing facility.
In an administrative complaint filed recently, EPA alleges that Presstek Inc. violated the federal Clean Air Act (CAA) and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), due to a 2006 chemical release at the manufacturing facility it owns and operates in South Hadley.
On Oct. 30, 2006, 751 pounds of hydrofluoric acid, an extremely hazardous chemical, were released to the environment through a ventilation fan in the Presstek facility at about 8 p.m. The release caused the evacuation of approximately 90 residents living within a one-mile radius of the facility and required that the South Hadley public schools be closed as a precautionary measure the following day.
Presstek did not notify the National Response Center of the release, as required by CERCLA. Following the release, an unidentified caller notified the South Hadley Police Department of a visible plume leaving the facility.
“Late notification of a toxic release to state and federal authorities makes it much more difficult for public health and safety officials to respond effectively,” said Robert Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Timely reporting is especially important for facilities such as this one, where toxic materials are stored at a relatively close proximity to a residential area.”
In addition, the EPA alleges that Presstek failed to design and maintain a safe facility and did not minimize the consequences of an accidental release, violating CAA provisions. Insufficient safety controls and operator error were the likely cause of the release.
Hydrofluoric acid is identified by EPA as being both an extremely hazardous substance and a CERCLA hazardous substance. It has an assigned reportable quantity (RQ) of 100 pounds. Therefore, the full release reporting requirements of Section 304 of SARA Title III were applicable in the release event.
EPA Reaches Agreement With Dow Corning on Clean Air Violations
EPA Region 5 has reached an agreement with Dow Corning Corporation on alleged clean air violations at two of its production processes in Midland, Mich.
The agreement, which includes a $95,000 penalty, resolves EPA allegations that Dow Corning failed to meet several conditions that restrict emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulate matter in the manner required by its state operating permit and state regulations.
VOCs contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone or smog. Smog is formed when a mixture of air pollutants is baked in the hot summer sun. Smog can cause a variety of respiratory problems, including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest pain. People with asthma, children, and the elderly are especially at risk, but these health concerns are important to everyone. Inhaling high concentrations of particulates can affect children, the elderly, and people with heart and lung diseases the most.
Home Developer to Pay Penalty for Storm Water Violations
Wrenwood Holding Company has agreed to a $69,846 settlement with Ohio EPA for violating storm water control regulations at construction sites in Lucas County. The company will pay $15,000 in cash and could pay up to $54,846 more if it fails to comply with corrective measures by the deadlines stiplulated.
The company is the developer of Wrenwood and The Ridge at Wrenwood Estates, a 183-acre subdivision in Lucas County’s Monclova Township. The company obtained the required storm water control permits for each phase of the project, which began in 1999. Storm water flowed from the site drains to Swan Creek and Mollenkopf Ditch.
Construction storm water permits establish measures that will be used to keep soil, sediment, and debris from washing off construction areas into ditches and streams. Permits are required for any project disturbing one or more acres of land.
Multiple violations were cited during Ohio EPA inspections conducted between 2002 and 2007. The Lucas Soil and Water Conservation District also noted problems and advised the developer on compliance issues.
In one case, the company began construction before obtaining permit coverage. Other violations included allowing soil to discharge into state waters, failing to maintain and repair temporary and permanent sediment controls, failing to inspect storm water controls, failing to use temporary soil stabilization measures or prevent sediment from entering storm drains, and failing to permanently stabilize areas where final grading was complete.
Also, sediment settling ponds were not installed at the beginning of construction and kept operational, and post-construction storm water runoff controls were not implemented for several lots.
The settlement requires the company to revise its storm water pollution prevention plan, subject to Ohio EPA approval, and comply with state storm water regulations, including keeping detailed inspection records. Outstanding violations must be corrected, including temporarily stabilizing all disturbed areas at the site that will remain idle for more than 21 days and implementing centralized sediment and erosion controls to address runoff from multiple lots.
Of the cash penalty, $12,000 will be used to administer Ohio EPA’s surface water programs and benefit the Ohio Environmental Education Fund. The remaining $3,000 will be paid to Ohio EPA’s Clean Diesel School Bus Retrofit Fund.
EPA Fines Chiawana, Inc., $58,000 for Clean Air Act Violations
EPA has announced that Chiawana, Inc. will pay $58,000 for alleged federal Clean Air Act (CAA) emergency prevention and planning violations.
Chiawana, Inc., owns and operates a cold storage warehouse in Yakima, Wash., where it utilizes more than 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia for refrigeration purposes. At that level of use, Section 112(r) of the CAA requires Chiawana, Inc. to implement a Risk Management Program (RMP) at the facility.
EPA inspected the cold storage warehouse on Feb. 24, 2006, and found the facility had failed to comply with several RMP requirements from at least March 17, 2005. Chiawana, Inc. has since corrected all of the violations.
“The Risk Management Program is designed to protect public health and the environment from accidental releases of harmful chemicals,” said Kelly Huynh, EPA’s RMP Coordinator in Seattle. “Chiawana, Inc.’s emergency prevention program needed much more attention to achieve this goal.”
CAA Section 112(r) requires the development of a RMP and submittal of Risk Management Plans for all public and private facilities that manufacture, process, use, store, or otherwise handle greater than a threshold amount of a regulated substance(s). Toxic chemicals, such as ammonia and chlorine, are covered by the program.
The RMP requires, but is not limited to, the development of an emergency response or action plan; evaluation of a worst case and more probable case chemical release; operator training; review of the hazards associated with using toxic or flammable substances; and operating procedures and equipment maintenance.
Federal Facilities in D.C. and Maryland Are Fined for UST Violations
EPA has announced that six federal agencies in the Washington, D.C., metro area will pay fines for alleged violations of federal underground storage tank (UST) regulations.
The U.S. Postal Service, the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Architect of the Capitol, the National Park Service, and the Fort Myer Military Community have been cited by the EPA for primarily failing to test for fuel leaks from underground tanks.
With millions of gallons of gasoline, oil, and other petroleum products stored in USTs throughout the United States, leaking tanks are a major source of soil and groundwater contaminations (groundwater is the source of drinking water for nearly half of all Americans). EPA and state UST regulations are designed to reduce the risk of underground leaks and to promptly detect and properly address leaks that do occur, thus minimizing environmental harm and avoiding the costs of major cleanups.
The inspections performed by EPA at these facilities were required by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which mandated that all federal USTs, not inspected since December 1998, be inspected by the August 2007 deadline. In 2007, 11 UST violations at U.S. federal facilities were settled for a total civil penalty of $48,288. These enforcement actions prevented 72,775 gallons of contaminants from being released into soil and groundwater.
U.S. Secret Service—Edgewater Stable, Washington, D.C. EPA cited the Secret Service for failing to conduct release detection tests on its 10,000-gallon tank containing gasoline; for failing to report a suspected release when the monitoring system indicated a failure on April 2, 2007; and for failing to immediately investigate and confirm a release or suspected releases. The Secret Service will pay a $12,291 civil penalty.
U.S. Architect of the Capitol—Capital Grounds Garage, Washington, D.C. EPA cited the Architect of the Capitol for failing to conduct release detection on a 4,000-gallon tank containing gasoline. The Architect of the Capitol will pay a $5,078 civil penalty.
National Park Service and Guest Services, Inc.—Columbia Island Marina, Washington, D.C. EPA cited National Park Services and Guest Services for failing to provide release detection monitoring on two 5,000-gallon tanks. The National Park Services and Guest Services will pay a $14,564 civil penalty.
National Park Service and CASCO Marina Development, LLC—Washington, DC. EPA cited the National Park Service and CASCO for failing to perform release detection; failing to conduct leak-detector testing annually, and failing to conduct line tightness testing and monthly monitoring for two 10,000-gallon tanks containing gasoline and diesel fuel. National Park Service and CASCO will pay a $9,225 civil penalty.
National Park Service—U.S. Park Police facility, Washington, D.C. EPA cited the National Park Service for failing to perform release detection monitoring on a 6,000-gallon tank containing gasoline. The National Park Service will pay a $9,263 civil penalty.
Fort Myer Military Community—McNair, Washington, D.C. EPA cited the Fort Myer Military Community for failing to conduct leak detector testing annually on piping for three 10,000-gallon tanks containing gasoline and for failing to maintain release detection records at the facility. Fort Myer Military Community will pay a $26,106 penalty.
U.S. Postal Service—Capital Heights Vehicle Maintenance Facility, Capital Heights, Md. There are six USTs—one 20,000-gallon tank containing diesel fuel; one 10,000-gallon tank containing gasoline; and four 1,000-gallon tanks containing motor oil, ethylene glycol; waste motor oil; and waste ethylene glycol. EPA cited the Postal Service for failing to install equipment that would prevent spilling and overfilling when the material was transferred to the UST system. The violation involved one 20,000-gallon tank and two 1,000-gallon tanks. The Postal Service will pay a $16,624 civil penalty.
U.S. Postal Service—Delivery Annex, Silver Spring, Md. EPA cited the U.S. Postal Service for failing to perform release detection, failing to perform annual leak-detector testing, and failing to perform line tightness testing or monthly monitoring on a 10,000-gallon tank containing gasoline. The Postal Service will pay a $16,785 civil penalty.
In the resulting settlement agreements with EPA, the cited agencies neither admitted nor denied liability for the alleged violations, but they did certify compliance with applicable UST regulations.
Pharmacy Fined for Violating the Clean Water Act
In a settlement with Ohio EPA, a CVS pharmacy in Copley, Ohio, will pay a $38,950 penalty for discharging sewage to Pigeon Creek without a permit. The pharmacy has since connected to a publicly owned sanitary sewer system and is now in compliance with the Clean Water Act.
Between 2000 and 2005, Copley CVS, Inc., was permitted to operate an on-site, semi-public wastewater treatment system and discharge treated effluent to a storm sewer draining to Pigeon Creek, a tributary of Wolf Creek and the Tuscarawas River. However, on several occasions in 2006 and 2007, Ohio EPA inspectors found that the store discharged raw or partially treated sewage without a permit. The company failed to submit monthly operating reports required under a permit and apply for a permit renewal.
In December 2006, Copley CVS was notified that a publicly owned sanitary sewer line ran in front of the store and that it must abandon the on-site wastewater treatment system and connect to the sewer line. The company properly abandoned its plant and connected to the sewer line in June 2007.
Raw or partially treated sewage discharged to waters of the state often contains high levels of bacteria and can pose a risk to human health and the environment. Unauthorized discharges also violate the Clean Water Act.
The $38,950 penalty will help fund Ohio EPA’s water pollution control efforts, environmental education programs, and clean diesel school bus program.
Quaker Chemical Fined for Hazardous Waste Violations
Quaker Chemical Corporation (Quaker) has agreed to pay Ohio EPA a $34,160 penalty to settle hazardous waste violations at its specialty chemical manufacturing facility located in Middletown, Ohio. The company is now in compliance with Ohio’s hazardous waste laws.
During an April 2007 facility inspection, Ohio EPA discovered Quaker violated 16 separate areas of state hazardous waste law, including failure to:
- Properly store hazardous waste for less than 90 days
- Submit annual hazardous waste and other required reports
- Accurately complete hazardous waste manifests and retain them for at least three years
- Complete its contingency plan and provide copies to emergency authorities
- Close hazardous waste totes in two areas at the facility
- Properly label containers
- Complete weekly inspections for hazardous waste accumulation areas
- Evaluate waste fluorescent lamps to determine if they are hazardous waste
- Comply with hazardous waste land disposal requirements
The penalty will direct $27,360 to Ohio’s hazardous waste cleanup fund and $6,800 to Ohio EPA’s clean diesel school bus program for the purpose of installing diesel particulate filters on public school buses.
Hartwick & Hand, Inc. Fined $31,125 for Air Emission Standards
Hartwick & Hand, Inc. of Victorville, Calif., recently settled with the California Air Resources Board (ARB) for $31,125 for failing to properly inspect their heavy-duty diesel trucks for compliance with the state’s smoke emissions standards.
“California’s public health is a top priority that should not be jeopardized by uninspected trucks polluting our air,” said ARB Chairman Mary Nichols. “We will continue to catch and penalize violators of the state’s air quality standards.”
As agreed in the settlement, Hartwick & Hand’s staff responsible for compliance with periodic smoke and heavy-duty diesel vehicle inspection programs is required to attend courses at the California Council on Diesel Education and Technology. Further, all of their heavy-duty commercial vehicle operators shall comply with the state’s idling regulations, supply all smoke inspection records to ARB for the next several years, and have properly labeled engines to ensure compliance with the engine emission certification program regulations.
Diesel particulate matter can increase the number and severity of asthma attacks, cause or aggravate bronchitis and other lung diseases, and reduce the body’s ability to fight infections. Statewide in 2006, on-road diesel vehicles produced almost 17,000 tons a day of diesel particulate matter, which is 40% of the total emitted in California.
A fleet audit by ARB showed that Hartwick & Hand, Inc., failed to comply with mandated smoke emission standards. The ARB’s periodic smoke and heavy-duty diesel vehicle inspection programs require annual smoke opacity tests of California-based fleets. In conjunction with the roadside smoke inspection program, ARB uses these programs to ensure that all of California’s heavy-duty vehicles are properly maintained, unaltered, and free from excessive smoke emissions.
ARB will deposit $23,343.75 of the penalty into the California Air Pollution Control Fund, which was established to mitigate various sources of pollution through education and the advancement and use of cleaner technology. This fund uses compliance settlement fees to fund various pollution-related research projects and related programs. The additional $7,781.25 from the Hartwick & Hand penalty will be directed to the Peralta Community College District to fund diesel technology education programs.
Ohio EPA Fines Colgate-Palmolive Co. and GE Lighting, Inc., for Hazardous Waste Violations
The violations occurred at Colgate-Palmolive’s facility in Cambridge, Ohio. The settlement includes a $14,200 penalty, of which $11,360 will be deposited into the state’s hazardous waste cleanup fund. In lieu of paying the remaining $2,840 of the penalty, Colgate-Palmolive Company will contribute $2,840 to the Ohio EPA Clean Diesel School Bus Program.
The violations occurred at GE Lighting’s facility in Warren, Ohio. The settlement includes a $7,280 penalty, of which $4,655 will be deposited into the state’s hazardous waste cleanup fund. In lieu of paying the remaining $1,460 of the penalty, GE Lighting, Inc., will contribute $1,460 to the Ohio EPA Clean Diesel School Bus Program.
Milford, Ohio, Circle K to Pay $14,000 for Air Pollution Control Violations
Mac’s Convenience Stores, doing business as Circle K Midwest, has agreed to pay a $14,000 civil penalty to Ohio EPA for violating air pollution control regulations at one of its gas stations located in Milford, Ohio.
The company failed to maintain and operate its gasoline vapor control system and failed to keep proper records. The violations were found during a February 2006 inspection by the Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services (HCDOES), which serves as Ohio EPA’s contracting agent and conducts air inspections on the agency’s behalf in Hamilton, Clermont, Butler, and Warren counties.
Gasoline vapor contributes to ground-level ozone, which is a respiratory irritant.
On the day after the inspection, a representative from Mac’s Convenience Stores contacted HCDOES to say that the system was repaired. A subsequent test confirmed that the system was operating properly. Also, the company indicated that recordkeeping and reporting requirements were being followed.
The remaining $11,200 will be equally divided between Ohio EPA’s Environmental Education Fund and administrating air pollution control programs.
Massachusetts Municipality Fined for Clean Water Violations
The City of Malden, Mass., has been fined for violating the federal Clean Water Act (CWA).
Malden has paid a penalty of $10,000 for discharging storm water into several tributaries of the Pines River and the Mystic River, both of which flow into the Atlantic Ocean. The city discharged storm water without submitting an annual report, which is essential for state and federal authorities to monitor compliance with the Clean Water Act. The city also failed to respond to an EPA information request requiring that it submit its overdue 2006 report within 30 days of the request. Ultimately, the city submitted its overdue 2006 and 2007 reports in response to an EPA Administrative Order.
Cities and towns that are permitted to discharge storm water to U.S. waters are required to submit an annual report evaluating the status of permit compliance by May 1 of each year.
EPA New England has taken a series of enforcement actions to enforce the requirements of the General Permit for Storm Water Discharges from Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (Small MS4 Permit). A number of municipalities have paid penalties for violations of the Small MS4 Permit.
New Hampshire Municipality Fined for Clean Water Violations
The town of Atkinson, N.H. has been fined for violating the federal Clean Water Act (CWA).
Atkinson paid a penalty of $3,500 for discharging storm water into a number of tributaries of the Spicket River and Little River without submitting its annual report to EPA as required by an EPA-issued permit to discharge storm water. Both rivers ultimately flow into the Merrimack River. Atkinson submitted the overdue reports in response to an EPA Administrative Order.
New Jersey DEP Puts the Brakes on Construction Vehicle Idling
“Nearly one-third of all diesel vehicle emissions in New Jersey come from the construction industry,” Commissioner Jackson said. “This is a significant initiative given the fact that scientific studies consistently show a link between exposure to harmful diesel emissions and increased incidents of respiratory disease.”
Construction vehicles produce about 1,600 tons of the 5,700 tons of diesel particulate emissions that are generated every year in New Jersey. Beginning March 1, the DEP will work with construction trade organizations and interest groups throughout the state to raise awareness about the benefits of lower diesel emissions. Construction vehicle operators can save money in fuel costs and repair expenses from reduced idling.
The education and outreach campaign will continue for six months, followed by an enforcement sweep to ensure compliance with idling regulations. New Jersey law prohibits engines from idling for more than three minutes in most instances.
DEP has also announced that it distributed $750,000 in U.S. EPA grant money to fund the purchase of auxiliary power units, bunk heaters, and tailpipe retrofits for heavy-duty trucks. In September 2006, the DEP partnered with the New Jersey Motor Truck Association to purchase these devices to reduce harmful diesel emissions inside and outside truck cabins. Auxiliary power units and bunk heaters provide heating, cooling, and electrical power to truck cabins while the engine is shut down.
The construction sector anti-idling campaign and the DEP’s partnership with the New Jersey Motor Truck Association are part of a larger effort to reduce the public’s exposure to harmful diesel exhaust. In September 2005, New Jersey became the first state in the nation to pass legislation requiring emissions controls on diesel vehicles. The landmark program funds the installation of air pollution controls on transit buses, garbage trucks, and school buses with revenue generated from the state’s Corporate Business Tax.
Florida Renewable Energy Technologies Grants Program Awards $12.5 Million
The Florida Energy Act established the Renewable Energy Technologies Grants Program to provide renewable energy matching grants for demonstration, commercialization, research, and development projects for renewable energy technologies. The grant program is designed to stimulate capital investment in the state and promote and enhance the statewide utilization of renewable energy technologies.
The 2007 Florida Legislature appropriated $12.5 million for the grant program, for projects that generate or utilize other renewable energy resources, including hydrogen, biomass, solar energy, geothermal energy, wind energy, ocean energy, waste heat, and hydroelectric power.
Grant funds are available to Florida municipalities and county governments, established for-profit companies licensed to do business in Florida, universities and colleges in Florida, utilities located and operating within Florida, not-for-profit organizations, and State of Florida agencies.
16 Southeast Facilities Join EPA’s Environmental Performance Track Program
- Northrop Grumman, St. Augustine, Fla.
- Covanta Hillsborough, Tampa, Fla.
- Covanta Huntsville, Huntsville, Ala.
- Covanta Lake II, Okahumpka, Fla.
- Lehigh Technologies, Tucker, Ga.
- Stanley Tools, Cheraw, S.C.
- Covanta, Pasco, Spring Hill, Fla.
- Pull-A-Part, Conley, Ga., and Pull-A-Part, Norcross, Ga.
- Schering-Plough Healthcare Products, Cleveland, Tenn.
- Blue Ridge Paper Products, Canton, N.C.
- Frito-Lay, Orlando, Fla.
- Bay County Waste to Energy, Panama City, Fla.
- TOTO USA, Morrow, Ga.
- Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Georgetown, Ky.
- Smithfield Elon, Elon, N.C.
Performance Track recognizes facilities that have a strong record of environmental compliance, set three-year goals for continuous improvements in environmental performance beyond their legal requirements, have internal systems in place to manage their environmental impacts, engage in community outreach, and consistently report results. Performance Track facilities must meet all environmental regulatory requirements and typically set four goals for environmental improvement (facilities with less than 50 full-time employees set two goals). Individual facilities apply for membership in Performance Track. Companies may have multiple facilities in the program.
Since the 2000 launch of this facility-based program, Performance Track membership has grown to 538 members in 49 states and Puerto Rico, and those members have set more than 3,500 goals to benefit the environment in both regulated and unregulated areas. Through goals that have been set since the inception of the program, Performance Track members have reported greenhouse gas reductions of 310,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, reductions in nitrogen oxides of 13,000 tons, and reductions of hazardous waste of 52,000 tons.
New England Postal Facilities Help Boost EPA Performance Track Program Beyond 500 Members
Six additional U.S. Postal Service (USPS) facilities in New England are joining more than 500 facilities nationwide that have made voluntary commitments to exceptional environmental practices under EPA’s National Environmental Performance Track program.
Performance Track members come from a wide range of sectors, such as automotive, paper, food processing, pharmaceuticals, and government agencies. The new USPS members join 56 other New England facilities that are already Performance Track partners.
“EPA applauds the Postal Service—and all of our Performance Track partners—who are going above and beyond environmental requirements to produce real, measurable results,” said Robert Varney, regional administrator for EPA’s New England office. “By committing to conservation today, these leading companies are helping shape a healthier, more prosperous tomorrow.”
The Northeast Region of the USPS has long had two charter members of Performance Track, located in Hartford, Conn. USPS now has the third largest population of Performance Track facilities of any multi-facility organization. The new USPS facilities in New England include; Central Square Post Office, Cambridge, Mass.; Bulk Mail Center and Processing and Distribution Center, Springfield, Mass.; Vehicle Maintenance Facility, Waterbury, Conn.; Processing and Distribution Facility, Portsmouth, N.H.; Southern Connecticut Processing and Distribution Center, Wallingford, Conn.; and Vehicle Maintenance Facility, Manchester, N.H.
Performance Track recognizes facilities that have a strong record of environmental compliance, set three-year goals for continuous improvements in environmental performance beyond their legal requirements, have internal systems in place to manage their environmental impacts, engage in community outreach, and consistently report results.
Since the 2000 launch of this facility-based program, Performance Track membership has grown to 538 members in 49 states and Puerto Rico, and those members have set more than 3,500 goals to benefit the environment in both regulated and unregulated areas. Through goals that have been set since the inception of the program, Performance Track members have reported greenhouse gas reductions of 310,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, reductions in nitrogen oxides of 13,000 tons, and reductions of hazardous waste of 52,000 tons.
Focus Sheet for Washington State’s Electronic Product Recycling Program Now Available
This publication is intended to be used to provide the general public and other interested parties with some basic information about Washington’s Electronic Product Recycling Program. This program is scheduled to begin collecting computers, monitors, and televisions for recycling on Jan. 1, 2009.
Recycling Pays: Western Massachusetts Municipalities Paid $1.7 Million in 2007 for Recyclables, Saved $3.3 Million in Disposal Costs
In calendar year 2007, 78 communities in western Massachusetts received approximately $1.7 million from Waste Management Recycle America (WMRA) for delivering 43,375 tons of recyclables to the Springfield Materials Recycling Facility (MRF).
Communities are paid a flat rate of $15.67 per ton in addition to a revenue share when markets are good. These communities have also saved an estimated $3.3 million in solid waste disposal fees by recycling their newspaper, magazines, junk mail, cardboard, plastic, glass, and metal containers at the Springfield MRF.
“Western Massachusetts is truly realizing the economic and environmental benefits of recycling,” MassDEP Commissioner Laurie Burt said. “We hope that municipalities will set serious recycling goals in their communities and educate residents about the importance of recycling participation for the environment and their local economy.”
The MRF, owned by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and operated by WMRA, issues revenue payments every six months. The most recent payments for the period of July through December 2007 ranged from $899 for the Town of Middlefield to $86,326 for the City of Springfield.
As a member of the MassRecyclesPaper! campaign, the MRF has estimated how much recoverable paper is still in the waste stream in western Massachusetts. An estimated 25,000 tons of paper is thrown away in MRF municipalities each year. This costs municipalities approximately $1.5 million in disposal costs. At a current MRF revenue share of about $40 per ton for recyclables, municipalities could see close to $1 million in additional revenue each year if this paper were recycled. During this year, the MRF will look to set recycling goals with its member towns and implement paper-recycling and educational initiatives to help communities realize the economic benefits associated with recycling paper.
For the last six months of 2007, the 78 communities recycled 21,856 tons of materials at the MRF and received $894,434 in payments. MassDEP opened the MRF in 1990 to help reduce waste, divert material away from landfills and incinerators, and encourage the re-use of recyclable materials. Since that time, the MRF has processed more than one billion pounds of recyclables from western Massachusetts.