The Fourth Assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released on February 2 in Paris, reflects the consensus views of hundreds of the world’s preeminent climate scientists who rigorously reviewed and synthesized vast amounts of the latest research to produce this initial summary report. The report notes, among other findings, that most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to increases in heat-trapping pollution in the atmosphere.
According to the report, without action to curb global warming pollution it is very likely that heat waves and heavy precipitation events will continue to become more frequent and hurricanes are likely to become more intense. The exhaustive review process used by the IPCC ensures that the report released is authoritative and cautious. Only research published in the scientific literature by the end of 2005 was fully considered.
“This new IPCC report makes it clear that global warming is here now, and we must take swift and effective action to stave off the most severe consequences,” said Dr. Dan Lashof, science director at the National Resource Defense Council’s Climate Center. “At this point, some warming is unavoidable, but there is a world of difference between 1 degree and 7 degrees. The good news is that the political climate in Washington is changing as well. Congress needs to enact comprehensive emission limits that will steadily reduce global warming pollution. We have an opportunity to fix this problem, but only if we act before it’s too late.”
“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations has just reconfirmed what we already know—that global warming is upon us,” said Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich.
U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman said, "The Administration welcomes the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which was developed through thousands of hours of research by leading U.S. and international scientists and informed by significant U.S. investments in advancing climate science research. Climate change is a global challenge that requires global solutions. Through President Bush's leadership, the U.S. government is taking action to curb the growth of greenhouse gas emissions and encouraging the development and deployment of clean energy technologies here in the United States and across the globe."
“I congratulate my colleagues at the IPCC for their years of research, and look forward to using their scientific findings as we continue America’s efforts to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions,” said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. “Through our commitment to sound science and innovation, the Bush Administration has built a solid foundation to address the environmental challenges of the 21st Century.”
Failure to Grind Seafood into Tiny Pieces Results in $10,000 NPDES Penalty
EPA has reached a $10,500 settlement with Deep Creek Custom Packing, Inc. (Deep Creek), an Alaskan seafood processor based in Ninilchik, Alaska, for violations of their National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System () permit.
Following an inspection by EPA and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation at Deep Creek’s facility on March 18 and 30, 2005, the company was cited for the failure to grind seafood waste to pieces less than one-half an inch, the unauthorized discharge of seafood waste near a State Critical Habitat Area, the failure to conduct all required monitoring, and the failure to keep its Best Management Practices Plan up to date.
“Seafood processing companies like Deep Creek need to follow permit requirements or face penalties,” said Kim Ogle, EPA’s Regional NPDES Compliance Manager. “Protecting Alaska’s water quality means enforcing the law when discharge permits are violated.”
EPA Wants Dairy Farm to Control Manure Discharges
U.S. Attorney Paula D. Silsby and EPA New England Regional Administrator Robert W. Varney announced that a civil complaint has been filed in U.S. District Court in Bangor, Maine, against Country Acres Farm, Inc., for violating federal Clean Water Act requirements while operating a dairy farm, in Dixmont, Maine. The EPA is seeking penalties and an injunction requesting the court to enforce requirements to cease the farm’s unlawful discharge of manure and contaminated wastewater into nearby waters.
“The vast majority of New England farmers manage their waste streams with care and operate in compliance with environmental rules”, Varney said. “However, in this case, where Country Acres Farm showed an egregious disregard for the law and failed to take necessary actions to stop its manure wastes from impacting nearby waterways, EPA has found that federal court oversight is warranted.”
“This enforcement action underscores the principle that everyone needs to follow the law and respect our natural resources," stated David P. Littell, commissioner of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
The case was brought after EPA, DEP, and the Maine Department of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Resources (DAFRR) made repeated efforts over several years to bring the farm into compliance with water pollution laws. The action originated from DEP and DAFRR observations last October, when investigators observed manure contamination coming from Country Acre’s 250–300 herd dairy farm discharging to Martin Stream. Water samples taken at the time showed highly elevated levels of contaminants, including ammonia, solids, and elevated biological oxygen demand, in the stream.
The complaint cites serious potential water quality impacts that may be caused by such contamination including: widespread mortality to fish populations; compromising the safety of receiving waters for contact recreation; impairment of the macroinvertebrate community (which is a critical source of food for the fish community); and potential loss of fish spawning habitat.
Over the last four months, DEP issued three separate state notices of violation; the farm’s provisional Livestock Operating Permit was revoked by DAFRR; and EPA issued a federal Administrative Compliance Order in December 2006.
The filing of the federal complaint comes as a result of close cooperation between EPA, DEP, DAFRR, and the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). State investigators documented several other occasions that storm water runoff, waste waters, and manure had not been adequately contained in the farm’s manure pits, and as a result contaminated Martin Stream and wetlands adjacent to the farm. Inspectors observed evidence of discharges and documented that the facility’s controls were inadequate to prevent runoff of manure and wastewater from the barns and lagoon.
Country Acres Farm is considered a “Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation” () that is regulated under the federal Clean Water Act. The farm was issued a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit by Maine DEP on Aug. 15, 2006, to regulate the discharge of manure and other pollutants that can be carried in the runoff from the farm and are known to contaminate streams, lakes, and ponds. Manure and wastewater from CAFOs have the potential to contribute pollutants such as nitrogen, phosphorus, organic matter, sediments, pathogens, heavy metals, hormones, antibiotics, and ammonia to the environment. Under the federal Clean Water Act, the facility faces fines of up to $32,500 per day of violation.
EPA Completes Second Step in Ongoing Ground-Level Ozone Air Quality Standards Review
The document, known as the "final staff paper," contains staff recommendations for the administrator to consider in upcoming decisions about revising the agency's ozone standards.
The Clean Air Act requires EPA to periodically review its air quality standards to ensure that they continue to protect health and the environment, and to update the standards if necessary. EPA last updated the standards for ozone in 1997.
The final ozone staff paper addresses a primary standard, designed to protect public health, and a secondary standard, set to protect the public welfare, including crop health.
- Primary standard: The final staff paper concludes that the current primary standard is not adequate to protect public health. Staff made this conclusion based on an expanded body of scientific evidence that shows significant ozone health effects occur even in areas with ozone levels below the current standard.
EPA staff recommends a range of levels for the administrator to consider in setting the ozone standard. That range extends from below 0.080 ppm down to 0.060 ppm. The previous draft of the staff paper identified options that included retaining the current standard of 0.084 ppm, along with a range of alternative levels down to 0.064 (the lowest level analyzed), with a focus on a level of 0.07 ppm. The final staff paper also recommends specifying the level of the standard to three decimal places. Ozone air quality measurements have advanced sufficiently to now reflect that level of precision.
- Secondary Standard: This includes damage to natural vegetation, forests, and commercial crops. Staff recommended a standard that is a cumulative, weighted total of daily 12-hour exposures over a 3-month period within the growing season. It would give greater weight to exposures at higher ozone concentrations. Staff also recommended a range for this standard, from 21 parts per million-hours to 7 parts per million-hours.
EPA made the final ozone staff paper available on the Web () on Jan. 31, 2007. Also this week, the agency will release technical documents used in developing the staff paper. These documents include a health risk assessment for meeting the current ozone standards along with potential alternative standards, as well as an assessment of the effects of ozone on vegetation.
The assessments, conclusions, and recommendations included in the staff paper are staff judgments. They do not represent agency decisions on the ozone standards. EPA will propose action on the ozone standards by June 20, 2007, and take final action by March 12, 2008. Under a court-ordered schedule, EPA must propose action on the ozone standard by June and take final action in early 2008.
EPA recently changed the process for reviewing the National Ambient Air Quality Standards to streamline future reviews to ensure the agency meets its five-year deadlines for reviewing the standards.
Emissions of the pollutants that contribute to ground-level ozone have decreased by nearly 50 percent since 1970, and EPA and state and local agencies have a number of programs in place to continue this progress.
San Francisco Company Fined $28,667 for Failure to Report Xylene and MEK on Form R
The EPA recently reached a $28,677 settlement with a San Francisco company over its failure to submit annual reports about its toxic chemical releases, a violation of a federal Community Right-to-Know law.
R.J. McGlennon Co., Inc., located at 198 Utah Street, manufactures finishes for wood and other surfaces at its facility.
“These annual reports provide communities with valuable information about the chemicals being released into their environment,” said Enrique Manzanilla, director of the Communities and Ecosystems Division in the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “This information is critical to protecting public health and the environment.”
The law requires companies using any of 650 listed toxic chemicals over certain thresholds to report their annual chemical releases to the EPA. The information is then compiled into a national database that is accessible to local emergency planning personnel and the general public.
$7,000 Penalty for Failure to Implement Storm Water Permit
Valente Construction Company, Inc., of Worcester, Mass., has paid $7,150 to settle EPA claims that it violated the federal Clean Water Act at a construction site located on Brooks Station Road in Princeton, Mass.
EPA discovered the alleged violations during a site inspection in March 2006. The inspection was in response to complaints made by the Princeton Conservation Commission and Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation regarding storm water discharges from the construction site.
The site in question consists of approximately 150 acres of land, the majority of which is forested. The company had set out to investigate the establishment of several single family house lots in the area. These violations are of particular concern because storm water from the site discharges into wetland areas and to Cobb Brook, which ultimately flows into to the Wachusett Reservoir, a public drinking water supply. However, at the time of the inspection, the site was frozen and there was no evidence of erosion, silt, or debris being carried to the wetland areas or to Cobb Brook.
American Mold Guard Ordered to Stop Distributing Pesticide
The EPA determined that American Mold Guard, located at 30200 Rancho Viejo Road, had been repackaging AMG-X40—a registered pesticide—into two-ounce containers and distributing them as samples to customers who received their mold remediation services. The samples were missing most of the pesticide's required labeling, including warnings against skin contact and first-aid directions in case skin contact occurred.
"Federal law requires that pesticide labels carry appropriate use directions and warnings," said Enrique Manzanilla, director of the Communities and Ecosystems Division for the EPA's Pacific Southwest Region. "Consumers need the correct information to ensure that they are applying pesticide products safely and correctly." American Mold Guard now faces possible fines of up to $6,500 per violation.
Producers, sellers, and distributors must ensure that pesticides are labeled with an EPA Registration Number, an EPA Establishment Number that identifies the production facility, information concerning the producer, directions for use, and other safety information necessary to protect consumers and the environment. This action was based on a December 2006 inspection conducted by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation at EPA's request.
Great Barrington Oil Facility to Pay Fine for Clean Water and Chemical Inventory Violations
John B. Hull, Inc., a Massachusetts fuel supply company, has agreed to pay $60,000 in penalties to resolve alleged violations of environmental laws at its oil storage and distribution facility in Great Barrington, Mass.
EPA cited the firm for a 2004 oil spill, for allegedly failing to adequately plan for and guard against oil spills at its facility and for late filing of a “Tier II Emergency and Hazardous Chemicals Inventory” form with state and local authorities.
The facility is located approximately 100 feet from the Housatonic River, and an unknown quantity of the discharged oil reached the river. The oil discharge prompted an emergency response from the local fire department and the Massachusetts Dept. of Environmental Protection. The spill was reported to the National Response Center.
EPA’s administrative complaint cited the company for violations of the federal Clean Water Act for the illegal discharge and for failure to have an adequate Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) plan in place at its facility, as required by the law. SPCC plans, which must be certified by a Registered Professional Engineer, specify spill prevention and response measures at facilities that store oil above threshold amounts.
The EPA complaint claimed that the facility’s most recent SPCC plan, completed in 1993, did not adequately address potential oil spill hazards. Specifically, the company failed to provide adequate oil containment measures for all of its aboveground oil storage tanks and oil transfer areas and had failed to complete a review and evaluation of its SPCC plan at least once every three years, as required by the regulations.
Recently the facility has taken steps to correct its SPCC plan and upgrade its oil storage tanks and secondary containment systems. The facility has cleaned out and removed its five largest bulk oil storage tanks and upgraded spill protection systems for the remaining oil tanks and transfer areas, and the company has prepared and fully implemented an SPCC plan that meets all federal requirements.
“Oil spills can do significant damage to the environment,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. “EPA will continue to ensure that facilities handling oils follow established procedures to minimize risks of oil spills.”
EPA filed an amended complaint on Jan. 16, 2007, alleging that the facility was required under Section 312 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) to file an Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory Form (Tier II form) with state and local authorities, and that the facility had filed its 2005 Tier II form more than seven months late. The threshold reporting quantity for oil or oil products under Section 312 of EPCRA is 10,000 pounds. EPA alleged that the facility used or stored more than 200 times the threshold reporting quantity of oil in 2005.
Remediation of Persistent Organic Pollutants
Environmental contamination by persistent organic pollutants (POPs) poses significant challenges due to their chemical stability, tendency to bioaccumulate, and ability to easily disperse. Of the 12 globally recognized POPs, 9 are pesticides and the remaining 3 are industrial chemicals (PCBs) or industrial byproducts (dioxin and furans).
Mercury Product Ban Comes to Ohio
Under a new law to reduce mercury in Ohio's environment, schools will not be permitted to buy mercury or mercury-added measuring devices for classroom use starting April 6, 2007. Six months later, Ohio will ban the sale and distribution of mercury-containing thermometers and novelty items. Beginning April 6, 2008, a ban on the sale and reinstallation of mercury-containing thermostats will go into effect.
The law states that no manufacturer can offer a mercury-containing thermometer or thermostat for sale or distribution in Ohio. Exceptions for thermometers include a device required to comply with federal law, or required as the only feasible tool available for purposes specified in the law. Exceptions for thermostats include residences with a visually impaired person or a manufacturing process where the device is used to sense and control temperature.
In addition, the law bans the sale or distribution of novelty items, such as games, figurines, toys, cards, ornaments, yard statues, candles, jewelry, decorations, footwear, and other apparel. This excludes items that only contain the mercury found in a button-cell battery. Novelty items with button-cell batteries will be added to the ban on Jan. 1, 2011.
The legislation creating the ban was originally sponsored by State Senator Bob Spada (R-North Royalton) and State Representative Jon Peterson (R-Delaware). It was later amended into House Bill 443, which puts Ohio EPA in charge of enforcing the new law.
EPA Fines Crane Composites $50,000 for Hazardous Waste Violations
EPA 5 has reached an agreement with Crane Composites Inc., 23525 W. Eames St., Channahon, Ill., on alleged violations of federal hazardous waste regulations. The company will pay a $50,000 penalty.
Crane, a manufacturer of fiber reinforced plastics, was cited for violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act requirements for managing hazardous waste.
According to EPA, Crane Composites is now in compliance with EPA regulations.
City of Ketchikan Agrees to Pay $39,000 Settlement to Resolve Federal Clean Water Act Violations
The City of Ketchikan, Alaska, has reached a $39,000 settlement for alleged Clean Water Act violations related to the city’s discharge of wastewater. The city owns and operates a wastewater treatment facility that discharges treated wastewater into the Tongass Narrows. The wastewater treatment plant is part of a sanitary sewer system that receives domestic wastewater from residential and commercial sources. The facility serves a population of approximately 8,000.
The discharge from the city’s facility exceeded the fecal coliform bacteria, copper, biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), total suspended solids (TSS), pH, and total residual chlorine effluent limits on numerous occasions. Between June 2001 and December 2005, the facility had 861 effluent limit violations.
“It’s our job to ensure protection of water quality in Alaska,” said Marcia Combes, Alaska Operations Office Director for EPA. “That’s why we make sure that cities like Ketchikan are following the requirements set forth by their discharge permit. We’re happy to see that the city is making strides to upgrade its facility.”
The NPDES permit program, a key part of the federal Clean Water Act, controls water pollution by regulating sources that discharge pollutants to waters in the United States.
South Dakota Contractor and Land Owner Pay EPA $34,900 for Storm Water Violations
The settlement obtained penalties totaling $34,900, with Gil Haugan Construction, Inc., paying $29,900 and Bethany Lutheran Home for the Aged paying $5,000. In addition to paying a $29,900 penalty, Gil Haugan Construction, Inc., also agreed to pay penalties for the next year ranging from $1,000 to $6,000 per day for future storm water violations the company incurs.
Gil Haugan Construction, Inc., was the general contractor for Bethany Lutheran Home for the Aged in building the Bethany Meadows senior living facility located in Brandon, S.D. The companies were cited for failure to obtain storm water permit coverage for construction and failure to follow the provisions of the storm water permit once one was obtained. The storm water permit requires that specific environmental management practices are followed, such as installing and maintaining Best Management Practices to control pollutants in storm water discharges. The Bethany Meadows construction site discharged to a tributary of the Big Sioux River. Construction on the project is now complete.
Storm water runoff can carry pollutants, such as fertilizers, pesticides, fecal matter, oil and grease, trash, and sediment from construction sites. Without proper management, these pollutants can enter nearby waters and adversely affect animal and plant life.
Developers, contractors, and other land owners who plan to conduct construction activities disturbing one acre or greater of land should contact the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources (SDDENR) to obtain storm water permit coverage. SDDENR can be reached at 1-800-SD-STORM (1-800-737-8676).
$950,000 Penalty for Using Chemical without TSCA Notice
The EPA has reached a $950,000 settlement with a Linden, N.J., company for using a new chemical in its auto products before the chemical had undergone a required review. Infineum produced and sold a new chemical in an auto product for several years without notifying EPA. When the company discovered the error, it informed the agency.
“The law is clear. Companies cannot make and sell products using a new chemical until EPA’s 90-day review has been completed,” said EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. “One of the agency’s most important mandates is to prevent the distribution and use of harmful new products that could damage people’s health and the environment.”
This agreement also settles other alleged TSCA new chemical notification and import certification violations, which Infineum disclosed to EPA. The agency issued a complaint against the company for these alleged violations last year. Infineum is a joint venture between the ExxonMobil Chemical Company (a division of ExxonMobil Corporation), the Shell Petroleum Company Limited, and the Shell Oil Company.
New Technology Cools Effect of Air Conditioners on Climate
The automotive industry has developed new technologies that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from car and truck air conditioning systems. Now electronic leak detectors and new recycling machines will help reduce emissions during automotive air conditioner repairs.
"EPA and its mobile air conditioning partners are driving toward cleaner air, a healthier economy, and a more secure energy future," said Bill Wehrum, acting assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation. "Car owners can make a difference by insisting on professional service of automobile air conditioners using the best available equipment."
These technologies, which are now commercially available, are technically as well as environmentally superior. New leak detector technology will help service professionals to identify and repair very small leaks in vehicle air conditioning systems. With current diagnostic technology, most refrigerant escapes into the atmosphere before leaks are detected.
New recycling machines can recover a higher amount of refrigerants from air conditioner systems, which will minimize the amount of refrigerant that leaks into the atmosphere during system repair. The equipment precisely recharges the AC system after it is repaired. A precise recharge is important because it helps avoid system failure due to overcharge, increases cooling capacity, and improves energy efficiency. The new technologies will help reduce emissions by 1 million metric tons of carbon equivalent from current levels, the equivalent of the annual emissions from more than 650,000 cars.
This equipment is now commercially available and is expected to be in widespread use in repair shops within several years. Leak-tight replacement parts and improved service procedures are currently under development and will further reduce refrigerant emissions in the future.
EPA's Mobile Air Conditioning Climate Protection Partnership is a team of 100 corporate, government, and environmental organizations working together to rapidly improve the energy efficiency of vehicle air conditioning system by at least 30 percent and reduce refrigerant emissions by at least 50 percent.
DOT Revises Requirements for Oxygen Cylinders and Oxygen Generators Carried by Aircraft
The new packaging standard will prevent compressed oxygen cylinders and oxygen generators from rupturing and venting their contents and potentially causing a fire, said Thomas J. Barrett, administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
“Preventing aircraft cargo fires is an ongoing focus of the department. This new rule revises regulations to further improve aviation safety when compressed oxygen cylinders and chemical oxygen generators are transported on aircraft,” said Barrett.
Previously, a limited number of oxygen cylinders were allowed to be carried in the cabin and cargo compartments of passenger-carrying aircraft, as long as each was placed in an overpack or outer packaging that met Air Transport Association (ATA) specifications. The new packaging standard exceeds the current ATA specifications.
As part of an ongoing effort that followed the 1996 crash of a ValuJet airliner, safety testing performed by the Federal Aviation Administration indicated that additional protection of oxygen cylinders is necessary for their safe transportation aboard aircraft.
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration regulates the transportation of all hazardous materials in commerce under authority provided by the 49 Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 171–180, (Hazardous Materials Regulations).
$31,230 Penalty for Asbestos Violations
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has fined Christopher Dillon and Dillon Environmental Services of 66 Ridgeway Terrace in Pittsfield, $31,230 for asbestos removal violations at a Pittsfield property.
On Aug. 23, 2006, a MassDEP inspector, together with an inspector from the state Division of Occupational Safety, inspected the basement of a Fasce Place building in Pittsfield and observed Mr. Dillon performing an illegal asbestos removal project. Mr. Dillon, whose asbestos licenses had expired, also had not received permits for the project. Mr. Dillon's activities resulted in the property owner having to retain a licensed contractor to decontaminate the entire basement.
"People with questions about asbestos including, notification requirements, proper removal and disposal procedures, or the asbestos regulations are encouraged to contact MassDEP for assistance," said Michael Gorski, director of MassDEP's Western Regional Office in Springfield.
Mr. Dillon was also the subject of a 2002 consent order with the MassDEP in which he agreed to a $5,000 penalty for failing to properly notify the MassDEP before performing an asbestos removal job in August of 2001.
MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills, and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.
Pennsylvania DEP Fines Great Wolf Lodge $833,349
The Department of Environmental Protection has fined the Great Lakes Companies, Inc., of Madison, Wis., $833,349 for water quality and odor violations associated with the company’s Great Wolf Lodge wastewater treatment plant in Pocono Township, Monroe County.
“This problem has caused considerable concern in the community due to the obvious stream pollution and sewage odors, and this penalty is a fair reflection of the severity of the violations,” DEP Northeast Regional Director Michael Bedrin said. “The company has acknowledged the problems and violations that led to the pollution of Scot Run and has agreed to pay this penalty.”
DEP issued water quality permits to Great Lakes Companies in 2003. The permits established stream discharge limits and authorized construction of a sewage treatment plant rated at 90,000 gallons per day with a spray irrigation system that would be used from April 10 through October 31.
DEP began receiving citizen complaints in early December 2005 about a sewage odor coming from the Great Wolf Lodge property. A Dec. 22, 2005, DEP inspection noted that the discharge was cloudy and an excessive amount of grease was entering the plant and inhibiting the plant’s ability to properly treat wastewater. Samples of the discharge were taken and violations were noted in the sample results.
Additional inspections of the plant in early March 2006 noted continuing violations of the company’s discharge permit and a Notice of Violation (NOV) was sent to Great Wolf Lodge on March 15 for the discharge violations.
An enforcement conference was held with the company on March 21 to discuss corrective action. That enforcement conference led to the company hauling its wastewater to another treatment plant off-site, installing a larger grease trap for its kitchens, and implementing plumbing changes to reduce the amount of flow reaching the treatment plant.
On March 15, 2006, prior to the enforcement conference, DEP conducted an aquatic survey of Scot Run and determined that approximately 3,600 feet of the stream had been impacted by the resort’s discharge. The biologist also determined that the stream could fully recover if Great Wolf took immediate corrective actions. DEP requested the company hire an aquatic biologist to conduct additional stream surveys and to conduct a comprehensive stream cleanup of all affected areas.
Immediately after the department’s enforcement conference, the sewage treatment plant was taken off line and totally cleaned and rehabilitated. The plant was allowed back in operation on March 29 but with the treated wastewater still being trucked off-site for disposal. Inspections of the stream cleanup indicated that permanent damage to the water resource had been avoided.
Samples taken in early April showed continued violation of the company’s discharge limits. As a result, DEP required the company to continue to truck their wastewater off-site and begin utilizing the spray irrigation system for some of the discharge to help stabilize the sewage treatment plant’s biology.
In April and May, DEP inspections found that the plant was operating in compliance and a July aquatic survey showed that the stream was showing signs of recovery.
However, odor complaints were again received on July 3 and DEP confirmed an off-site odor violation coming from the treatment plant. July and August discharge samples taken by DEP also noted violations. Additional violations were noted on August 2, including discharge to the stream when the spray irrigation system was to be used. A second NOV was sent to Great Wolf Lodge on August 17 followed by a second enforcement conference on August 30.
The company was required to cease stream discharges, continue spray irrigation only, and haul excess wastewater off-site. DEP also required the company to submit weekly progress reports and conduct quarterly groundwater monitoring for the next three years to ensure that the spray irrigation system does not adversely affect groundwater.
An inspection of the treatment plant on September 5 showed that the plant was in compliance and has continued to operate in compliance since that time. Negotiations for the civil penalty began in December 2006 once compliance was established.
Goodrich Settlement Reached on Violations at Spokane Plant
The Aircraft Wheel and Brake division of Goodrich Corporation will pay a total of nearly $510,000 in fines as part of two settlement agreements with environmental agencies over disputes relating to water quality, hazardous waste, and air quality violations.
The enforcement settlements between Goodrich and the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) and the Spokane County Air Pollution Control Authority (SCAPCA) will result in improved environmental operations at the Spokane aerospace supply contractor. Goodrich has been fully cooperating with the two agencies on carrying out the settlements. Goodrich manufactures airplane brake pads on Westbow Road, west of Spokane.
Ecology's water quality program issued a fine of $150,000, and Ecology's hazardous waste and toxics reduction program issued a fine of $110,000, for a total of $260,000. Some 75 percent of the Ecology fines may be funneled into local environmental improvement projects.
Ecology conducted several inspections in 2005 and 2006, finding that Goodrich had generated large quantities of hazardous waste and discharged some of it into the sewer collection system, avoiding proper treatment and disposal requirements.
"Reaching agreement on how to move forward to protect the environment is a major milestone, and we look forward to an improved working relationship between Goodrich and environmental regulators," said Grant Pfeifer, who manages Ecology's Spokane office.
SCAPCA fined the company $249,092 for air quality permit violations. In late 2005, SCAPCA learned that "process water" was being burned in the thermal oxidizer at Goodrich since 2001. Test results in 2006 showed cyanide concentrations were high enough to classify the water as a hazardous waste. The facility does not meet the rigorous requirements that apply to hazardous waste incinerators.
"Therefore, our settlement agreement with the company requires them to stop incinerating hazardous or dangerous waste," said SCAPCA Director Bill Dameworth. "However, results from an independent emissions stack test show that the cyanide emissions during the test met Washington state limits designed to protect human health."
A large portion of SCAPCA's penalty will be used to establish three new air monitoring sites in Spokane County. This additional data will help the agency assess the overall air quality throughout the county.
Goodrich discharged waste water to the sewer system from a floor sump in the primary manufacturing building that contained hazardous waste. Ecology requested that Goodrich stop this discharge in April 2005. The company also discharged wastewater that contained hazardous waste from its utility building. Ecology requested they stop this discharge in February 2006. Goodrich complied with both requests.
The wastewater that was discharged to the sewer system contained benzene and other regulated toxic chemicals. Ecology is not aware of any public exposure to the benzene at the Goodrich plant. The settlement ensures that the company will properly dispose of hazardous wastes in the future, notify Ecology and local authorities if any hazardous wastes are accidentally discharged, and comply with specific regulations that apply to companies that generate large quantities of hazardous waste.
In addition to the fines, Ecology is requiring Goodrich to complete engineering reports that will direct the company's environmental improvement operations, properly treat and dispose of all dangerous wastes, and work closely with Ecology on the facility's environmental improvements.
Ecolab to Pay $583,000 in Penalties and Correct Violations Concerning Improper Application and Control of Pesticides
Connecticut’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced a settlement with Ecolab under which the company will pay $583,000 in fines and penalties and take steps to bring its use of pesticides into compliance with state law.
Under terms of a Consent Order with DEP, Ecolab will:
- Take all steps necessary to comply with laws and regulations governing the application and control of pesticides
- Pay a civil penalty of $145,750
- Contribute $437,250 to fund three environmental education initiatives
DEP took action against Ecolab as the result of violations in the use of pesticides that occurred at restaurants and hotels across the state during 2005. The violations involved improper applications of various pesticides; failure to oversee the work of employees with properly certified supervisors; and inadequate or inaccurate recordkeeping. DEP said the violations did not result in significant health risks to the public due to direct or significant exposure of food to pesticides.
DEP Commissioner Gina McCarthy said, "Given the nature of pesticides and the risks they pose, our state laws and regulations carefully spell out how they must be used, how employees must be supervised, and what kinds of records must be kept. Ecolab did not comply with these requirements."
"This settlement with Ecolab makes it clear that the DEP is very serious about our responsibility to carefully regulate the use of pesticides,” Commissioner McCarthy said. "We will use much of the money from this settlement to improve practices in this industry and to build greater understanding of the need to handle pesticides with care. We appreciate the willingness of Ecolab to enter into this agreement with us and avoid costly litigation. We also recognize that the company is committed to improving its business practices and remaining in compliance with Connecticut’s regulations."
The $437,250 in contributions Ecolab will make to environmental education initiatives will consist of three programs estimated to cost $145,750 each. They include:
- Sponsoring and organizing no fewer than ten training sessions for people certified to apply or supervise the application of pesticides in Connecticut. Ecolab will arrange these sessions—to be held over a five-year period—which will consist of lectures and/or lab sessions focused on teaching modern methods of pest control with an emphasis on integrated pest management techniques. This method can reduce the total volume of pesticides used to keep pest populations at or below accepted levels.
- Sponsoring and organizing pesticide disposal days for schools, day care centers, municipalities, and farms over the next five years. Ecolab will arrange for a properly licensed business to assist these entities in disposing of outdated pesticides or pesticide that are no longer wanted. The funds will be used to promote and operate this disposal program.
- A contribution to the Invasive Species Fund maintained by DEP. This fund is used by DEP to study and develop appropriate strategies to combat the spread of nonnative plant species in Connecticut.
The Consent Order between DEP and Ecolab includes provisions for the company to report on its progress in implementing the programs it will be funding. The order also requires Ecolab to pay additional civil penalties if it fails to implement any of the three educational initiatives.
California Settles with Cummins Engine for $1.1 Million for Diesel Engine Emissions
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) announced today that Cummins Engine Company, manufacturer of heavy duty diesel engines, has paid $1,092,500 for allegedly violating its 1998 settlement agreement with ARB to perform clean air projects and certify its engines to reduce smog-forming emissions such as NOx (oxides of nitrogen).
"We are very pleased that Cummins is taking steps to reduce excess emissions from the heavy duty engines in question and that they are cooperating by instituting recalls and retiring emissions credits," said ARB Executive Officer Catherine Witherspoon.
Among the violations of the 1998 settlement agreement, ARB alleges that Cummins obtained state certification for 11,600 heavy duty engines equipped with emission control systems that did not meet emissions requirements, omitted 26,347 engines from eligibility for the Low NOx Rebuild (Chip Reflash) program, and failed to complete work on and to submit reports for agreed-upon emission reduction projects in a timely manner. ARB investigated these violations jointly with U.S. EPA, which entered parallel agreements to settle these violations.
In addition to paying more than $ 1 million in penalties, Cummins is required to recall the 11,600 engines nationwide that did not meet state emissions requirements. In addition, Cummins will retire emissions credits from further use. (Emissions credits are a market mechanism, created to help industries meet various emissions standards; they are bought, sold, and traded by refineries, power plants, and other emissions sources.) Cummins is reimbursing 979 NOx tons to the United States and to California through ARB to compensate for the excess tons generated by the prohibited emission control devices and 1,042 tons of NOx for its noncompliance with the earlier settlement agreement.
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