During this period, drops caused the largest number of hazmat incidents (970); followed by human error (956); and loose closures, components, or devices (832). Forklift accidents caused 695 hazmat incidents and inadequate blocking and bracing caused 644. There were more than 8,000 incidents reported during the quarter, which lead to almost $3.5 million in damages and two fatalities caused by rollovers. The hazardous material involved in the greatest number of incidents was paint and paint-related materials. Interestingly, there were 393 hazardous material incidents reported involving fire extinguishers, which accounted for 3.63 percent of the total number of accidents reported. The largest number of injuries was caused by cresols (22), followed by sodium hypochlorite (9), and gasoline (4).
The largest number of hazmat incidents occurred in Ohio (701), followed by California (697) and Texas (657). Kentucky and Florida topped the list of states with the greatest amount in damages, at almost $3.3 and $3.5 million, respectively.
EPA Makes Toxics Release Inventory Data Available
EPA has made available the electronic-Facility Data Release () query tool for reporting year 2006 (RY06) toxic release inventory (TRI) data. This tool provides access to facility level, form-by-form TRI data but does not include TRI data analysis, such as national trend analyses. These trends will be available in the spring Public Data Release after undergoing extensive data quality checks.
The RY06 e-FDR incorporates the changes finalized in the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Rule (71 FR 32464; June 6, 2006) and the TRI Burden Reduction Rule (71 FR 76932; December 22, 2006). For example, the NAICS Rule requires facilities to report NAICS codes instead of Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes, and the Burden Reduction Rule expands the eligibility to use Form A in lieu of the more detailed Form R.
California Votes to Protect Endangered Condors by Banning Lead Ammunition
The California Senate recently passed legislation to ban lead ammunition that is poisoning endangered California condors. The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Pedro Nava, is designed to protect condors by requiring hunters to use nontoxic ammunition when hunting deer, wild pigs, and varmints, so that condors, which are scavengers, will not consume lead particles in any carcasses not recovered or left in the field. The measure also creates a program that would provide coupons to hunters venturing into condor territory that subsidizes the cost of lead-free, copper bullets.
“American Bird Conservancy applauds the California Senate’s action and urges Governor Schwarzenegger to sign the lead-ammunition ban into law to protect the California condor,” said Dr. Michael Fry, American Bird Conservancy’s Director of Conservation Advocacy who testified before the California Fish and Game Commission and advocated on behalf of the legislation. “With alternative ammunition now available for hunting that doesn’t use lead—there is no logical basis on which to oppose this ban.”
The California Fish and Game Commission held a hearing August 28 on the proposed ban. Commissioners indicated support for a public comment period before the commission’s November 1 meeting.
Recently, five condors were poisoned from acute lead contamination after the birds fed on a pig carcass killed by hunters near the Pinnacles National Monument; the monument is the site of an earlier condor release. An additional condor died of lead poisoning last week, after being discovered by biologists in a separate incident near Bittercreek National Wildlife Refuge in central California.
“There are less than 300 California condors in existence,” said Dr. Fry. “We can’t afford to lose even one—particularly when that loss is easily preventable.”
There have been 276 documented cases of lead poisoning of California condors not including this most recent example. In 2006, biologists trapped 11 condors at Pinnacles National Monument in California that were seen feeding on squirrels known to have been shot with lead ammunition. They were temporarily housed in captivity at the Los Angeles Zoo while their blood was tested for traces of lead and they were X-rayed to identify lead fragments in their digestive tracts. Any birds testing positive for lead were given calcium-EDTA to help them eliminate the heavy metal from their systems, and some underwent surgery to remove the lead pieces.
Although, lead shot is outlawed for the hunting of waterfowl, lead rifle bullets and .22 rim-fire ammunition are still permitted. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has identified lead in ammunition as a significant threat to condors.
EPA Issues New Technical Document on Using Load Duration Curves in the Development of TMDLs
EPA recently issued a new technical document called “An Approach for Using Load Duration Curves in the Development of TMDLs.” This document provides an overview on the use of duration curves for developing Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs). The duration curve approach allows for characterizing water quality conditions at different flow regimes. The method provides a visual display of the relationship between stream flow and water quality.
The EPA document describes basic steps needed to develop duration curves, which identify loading capacities, load and wasteload allocations, margins of safety, and seasonal variations. It is written for TMDL practitioners who are familiar with relevant technical approaches and legal requirements. The guide also discusses some considerations and limitations in using the approach and includes several case examples.
ASHRAE Publishes Energy Performance Comparison Standard
A common basis for reporting building energy use and comparison of energy performance is available in a new standard from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).
ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 105-2007, Standard Methods of Measuring, Expressing, and Comparing Building Energy Performance, provides a method of energy performance comparison that can be used for any building, proposed or existing, and that allows different methods of energy analysis to be compared.
This will help facilitate comparison, design, and operation improvements and the development of building energy performance standards, according to J. Michael MacDonald, chair of the committee that wrote the standard.
“ASHRAE is working to advance the development and understanding of these advanced building performance comparison methods,” he said. “This standard provides a framework for assuring access by all interested parties to performance comparison or rating methods that are developed.”
The biggest change to the standard, last published in 1999, is the inclusion of building energy performance comparison, which is vital for energy efficiency efforts worldwide, MacDonald said. Past versions of the standard provided a basis for reporting energy use but had limited ability to express or compare performance.
MacDonald notes that existing standards and building rating systems include requirements related to energy performance comparison. The guidance in the standard progresses from energy use index (total annual energy use per square foot) to other indexes, such as energy use per hospital bed, and then to performance comparison frameworks.
The standard also identifies key characteristics that users should consider reporting when performance comparisons are of interest, such as the number of workers, weekly hours of operation, and annual cooling and heating degree days.
EPA Reports on Treatment Technologies for Mercury in Soil, Waste, and Water
It describes the theory, design, and operation of the technologies; provides information on commercial availability and use; and includes site-specific data on performance and cost, where available. This information can help managers at sites with mercury-contaminated media and generators of mercury-contaminated waste and wastewater to:
Identify proven and effective mercury treatment technologies
Screen technologies based on application-specific goals, characteristics, and cost
Apply experiences from sites with similar treatment challenges
The technologies for soil and waste that are included in the report are solidification and stabilization, soil washing and acid extraction, thermal treatment, and vitrification. Technologies for water include precipitation/coprecipitation, adsorption, membrane filtration, and biological treatment. The report also includes information on ongoing research on mercury treatment, including applications using nanotechnology, phytoremediation, air stripping, and in situ thermal desorption.
EPA Settles With Polystyrene Manufacturer for $326,000 Over VOC Emissions
Premier Industries failed to limit the manufacture and storage of volatile organic compounds (VOC) used in their manufacturing process. The company also failed to adequately control emissions from their Chino facility located at 5635 Schaefer Avenue.
“Air emissions permits and regulations are required to ensure companies protect the health of surrounding communities,” said Deborah Jordan, EPA’s air division director of the Pacific Southwest region. “Facilities that use volatile organic compounds must comply with state and federal air quality regulations with respect to their use.”
Regulations adopted by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, which has jurisdiction over air pollution sources in the greater Los Angeles area, requires that manufacturing and storage of emissions be limited to no more than 2.4 pounds of VOCs per 100 pounds of raw materials used in the manufacturing process or be controlled through the use of an approved emissions control system.
According to the EPA, Premier Industries failed to comply with this federally enforceable requirement, thus violating the Clean Air Act. In addition to paying the $326,000 civil penalty, Premier Industries and its successor, Insulfoam LLC, agreed to operate an approved emissions control system and restrict the pentane content of raw material used in the manufacturing process.
Premier Industries manufactures expanded polystyrene foam blocks for use in the construction industry by expanding polystyrene resin that contains pentane, a VOC.
VOCs react with other pollutants such as nitrogen oxide and, in the presence of sunlight, can form ozone or smog. These compounds can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation and liver, kidney, and central nervous system damage.
Acetylene Trailer Safety Advisory
. In the advisory, DOT discusses recent acetylene incidents, requirements in the Hazardous Materials Regulations, national consensus standards issued by the Compressed Gas Association and National Fire Protection Association, operating procedures, fire mitigation and detection systems, and training of persons who operate, charge, and discharge mobile acetylene trailer systems. DOT is urging companies and workers to review their operating practices to ensure that filling and discharge operations are conducted in the safest possible manner. In addition, the department is requesting information on the effectiveness of current DOT regulations and industry best practices, as well as suggestions for enhancing the safety of these operations.
New Fuel Economy Stickers Now Required
To more clearly and fully convey fuel economy information to consumers, all new cars, light trucks, and SUVs produced after Sept. 1, 2007, will feature a newly redesigned window sticker. The new label will allow consumers to make more informed decisions by including the estimated annual cost for fueling the vehicle, how the vehicle's fuel economy compares to others within its class, and a website to go to for more information.
"EPA's updated fuel economy estimates will help Americans avoid sticker shock when filling up at the pump," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. "By considering fuel use when shopping for new cars and trucks, consumers are in the driver's seat to save money and protect our environment."
The changes coincide with the adoption of new methods to determine the miles per gallon (MPG) estimates that appear on the stickers. The new methods, which took effect for model year 2008 vehicles, will bring MPG estimates closer to a vehicle’s actual fuel use by including factors such as driving at high speeds, accelerating aggressively, air conditioning use, and driving in cold temperatures.
“From AAA's perspective, it is about a simple truth: Consumers want to know that the information they see on a government-sanctioned label reasonably reflects what they will experience on the road,” said Robert Darbelnet, president and CEO of AAA, which has more than 50 million members. “We believe that the new EPA labeling system will provide motorists a more realistic idea of their fuel performance. This is clearly a step in the right direction.”
Taking EPA fuel economy information into account when shopping for a vehicle can help consumers save money, as well as cut down on air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
Green Chemistry Bill Passes the House
The U.S. House of Representatives voted on September 5 to pass H.R. 2850, the Green Chemistry Research and Development Act. The legislation, introduced by Rep. Phil Gingrey, M.D., strengthens federal efforts to find safer alternatives to chemical products.
“Chemists can design chemicals to be safe, just as they can design them to have other properties, like texture and color,” said Gingrey. “The results are chemicals and processes that are better for our environment and safer for our citizens. Simply put, it’s better to prevent pollution than clean it up. The House has passed my legislation twice before, and today’s enthusiastic support further demonstrates the importance of developing cutting-edge chemicals that are safe for the environment. I hope the third time will truly be the charm for this bill, because the sooner we enact Green Chemistry legislation, the sooner companies across America can utilize this innovative development.”
Legislation similar to H.R. 2850 was introduced by Rep. Gingery and passed by the House in both the 108th and 109th Congresses. However, the Senate has failed to act on this issue. The bill:
Authorizes a coordinated research and development program using existing funds under the Environmental Protection Agency, National Science Foundation, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and Department of Energy
Encourages green chemistry research, development, education, and technology transfer
Facilitates the adoption of green chemistry innovations
Expands education and training for students, chemists, and chemical engineers in green chemistry science and engineering
Experts Contribute to California’s Green Chemistry Initiative
About two dozen of the nation’s top scientists and engineers will join California’s Department of Toxics Substances Control (DTSC) to build the state’s Green Chemistry Initiative—a new program to cut toxic chemicals in consumer products. The experts, including Nobel Prize winners, have agreed to serve on the Green Chemistry Science Advisory Panel. The panel will guide DTSC on scientific matters and provide the technical basis for the new regulatory initiative.
“These are the people who invent molecules (that) we will use in the future,” said Maureen Gorsen, director of DTSC. “If we want chemicals that will lead to environmentally sustainable products, these experts can tell us what policies will achieve that goal. Having these distinguished scientists on board is a big asset to the program. ”
Launched by California Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Linda Adams, the California Green Chemistry Initiative is Gov. Schwarzenegger’s response to reducing risks from industrial chemicals and waste while promoting innovation to build a robust economy.
Every day, the United States produces or imports 42 billion pounds of chemicals, and global chemical production is expected to double every 25 years through 2030, according to the U.S. EPA. Toxic chemicals in toys, pet food, clothing, baby bottles, and other items have led to a spate of headlines and product recalls in recent months.
The green chemistry initiative aims to expand California’s environmental leadership by eliminating toxic chemical hazards at the source before they reach consumer goods or hazardous waste dumps.
So far, 19 experts from across the nation are members of the Green Chemistry Science Advisory Panel. Gorsen, who formed the advisory panel, said more members may be added later. The group will advise her on scientific and technical matters in support of the initiative’s goal to significantly reduce public health and environmental impacts, as well as costs, through the redesign of product formulations and manufacturing processes. Members of the panel will help guide the green chemistry initiative in order for its strategy, and policy that it champions, to be based upon and governed by sound science. The volunteer group of scientists and academicians has been recruited from around the state and the nation based upon a distinguished record of dedication and success to the furtherance of science and technology.
The Green Chemistry Science Advisory Panel members include:
Dr. Paul Anastas, Professor in the Practice of Green Chemistry, Yale University
Dr. Nicholas Ashford, Director, Technology and Law Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Dr. John Balmes, Director, Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, University of California San Francisco and Berkeley
Dr. Eric Beckman, Professor of Chemical Engineering, University of Pittsburgh
Dr. William Carroll, Vice President, Occidental Chemical Corporation
Dr. Gail Charnley, Principal, Health Risk Strategies
Dr. Richard Denison, Senior Scientist, Environmental Defense
Dr. Daryl Ditz, Senior Policy Advisor, Center for International Environmental Law
Dr. Michael Dourson, Director, Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment
Dr. Ken Geiser, Professor of Work Environment and Director of Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
Dr. Lynn Goldman, Professor, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Dr. John Graham, Dean, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Dr. Robert Grubbs, Professor of Chemistry, California Institute of Technology
Dr. Neil Hawkins, Corporate Director, Sustainable Chemistry, The Dow Chemical Company
Dr. Vistasp Karbhari, Professor of Structural Engineering, University of California, San Diego
Dr. John Peterson Myers, CEO, Environmental Health Sciences
Dr. Barry Trost, Professor of Chemistry, Stanford University
Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry of Woburn, Massachusetts
Dr. Michael Wilson, Research Scientist, Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, University of California, Berkeley
$1 Million Penalty for Fish Kill in Kansas
Mid-America Pipeline Company pleaded guilty last week to negligently releasing 200,000 gallons of ammonia into a Kansas creek, requiring the evacuation of nearby residents and resulting in the killing of 25,000 fish. The company agreed to pay a $1 million criminal penalty.
In October 2004, a pipeline owned by the company ruptured approximately six miles west of Kingman, Kan., releasing approximately 204,000 gallons of ammonia into Smoots Creek. Two threatened species were among the fish killed. The company failed to provide correct information to the National Response Center and local responders about the magnitude of the release, delaying a more comprehensive response. The ammonia spread through at least 12 miles of the creek.
“Failure to accurately report spills of toxic chemicals weakens EPA’s ability to effectively respond to chemical incidents,” said Granta Nakayama, EPA’s assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance assurance. “The company’s negligence made the situation worse.”
As required by law, the company notified the National Response Center but incorrectly reported that only 20 gallons of ammonia had been released to the creek. For ammonia, companies must report any releases over 100 pounds, which is equivalent to approximately 15 gallons. The company did not submit a revised notification until about six weeks after the release.
“The ruptured pipe created a vapor cloud 40-feet high and caused a number of residents to evacuate their homes,” said U.S. Attorney Eric Melgren. “When liquid ammonia flowed into a 10-mile stretch of a tributary of Smoots Creek, more than 25,000 fish were killed.”
Anhydrous ammonia is a highly corrosive, toxic, and hazardous liquid, and it can be fatal to humans if ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin.
Once notified, the National Response Center engages federal support of state and local emergency response activities. EPA and other emergency responders use this information to evaluate the nature and extent of a hazardous substance release, prevent exposure, and minimize consequences.
The company pleaded guilty to negligently violating the federal Clean Water Act. The criminal penalty will be deposited into the Oil Spill and Hazardous Substances Clean-Up Trust Fund.
EPA Takes Innovative Approach to Clear the Air at Nation’s Ports
The EPA moved the nation’s supply chain closer to a cleaner, more fuel-efficient, and cost-effective future as EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson announced a project to develop and test a new EPA-patented technology on large equipment used to move goods and products from ships to trucks. These heavy-duty diesel machines, called yard hostlers, contribute to air pollution generated in ports throughout the world. EPA’s hydraulic hybrid technology, which is currently being tested in several UPS vehicles, is being readied for use in yard hostlers, the most common work vehicle used at loading docks. The hybrid vehicles will feature a unique hydraulic hybrid power train that can generate, recover, store, and reuse braking power with very little air pollution.
“EPA and our partners are working together to ensure that America’s ports become harbors of clean air,” said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. “Together, we are moving breakthroughs in hybrid technology from the labs to the docks—improving air quality while saving fuel. This technology is good for our environment, good for our economy, and good for our nation’s energy security.”
Port Authority Port Commerce Director Richard M. Larrabee said, “We’ve made tremendous strides toward becoming an environmentally friendly port, but we need to do more if we are to continue to be recognized as a national leader in this area. The new program we are announcing today—coupled with existing programs to preserve environmentally sensitive land, build new rail facilities that will reduce our dependence on trucks, and retrofit ferries with cleaner-burning engines—will allow us to maintain a sustainable port well into the future.”
The hybrid vehicles will use a diesel-hydraulic system that will combine the cleanest available diesel engine technology with components that use hydraulic fluid compression to store energy. The hostlers will feature hydraulic hybrid power trains, which are unique hydraulic hybrid propulsion systems that provide power to the drive axles. Hydraulic tanks are used to store energy, in contrast to the less efficient batteries used in electric hybrid vehicles. Like other hybrid systems, energy saved when applying the brakes is reused to help accelerate the vehicle.
The hydraulic hybrid technology is expected to improve the fuel efficiency of the yard tractor by 50 percent to 60 percent, reduce or eliminate emissions during idling, and decrease brake wear. The same hydraulic hybrid technology that has shown dramatic energy efficiency improvements in delivery trucks can be applied to other equipment used to move goods. The UPS hydraulic hybrid truck shows potential savings of 1,000 gallons of fuel per year where most delivery trucks are driven. This demonstration project will prove the effectiveness of hybrid hydraulic technologies on yard hostlers, and it has the potential for widespread domestic and international adoption because the technology is easily installed and requires no major changes to a vehicle’s operating system or fueling requirements.
Reducing diesel emissions is a goal of EPA’s National Clean Diesel Campaign. Replacing the current non-road certified diesel yard tractors with cleaner more efficient, on-road engines that will meet future certification standards will provide immediate and significant emission reductions. The goal is to develop a hybrid drive system that will include a diesel engine that meets the 2007 and 2010 on-road diesel standards. An engine meeting the 2010 standard also will achieve 93 percent reductions in NOx and 93 percent reductions in particulate matter compared to an ordinary diesel yard tractor. The hydraulic hybrid technology is expected to further reduce emissions by eliminating emissions from the internal combustion engine during idling.
One of EPA’s many responsibilities is to promote environmentally friendly trade practices and products related to the support of the U.S. Trade Representative in negotiating new international trade agreements. Recognizing the potential this project has to transform a key but relatively unknown element of the global supply chain, EPA has already provided $205,000 to fund this initiative and will also provide more financial and technical support next year.
Key partners in the project include the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, A.P.M. Terminals, Kalmar Industries, Parker Hannifin Corporation, and the Port of Rotterdam, with which EPA will share project information.
Meridian Fined $500,000 for Oil Releases
The Meridian Resource & Exploration LLC and Louisiana Onshore Properties LLC (Meridian) will pay a $504,000 civil penalty and enhance the pipeline monitoring and oil spill prevention program at its Weeks Island facility in Iberia Parish, La., to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Water Act, as announced by the Department of Justice and the EPA.
The settlement resolves claims related to five unauthorized discharges of crude oil into U.S. waters between November 2005 and November 2006 from two pipelines and one oil production well at Meridian’s facility. The complaint alleges that approximately 747 barrels of oil (approximately 31,000 gallons) were spilled into or along Weeks Bayou and the Intracoastal Waterway.
Under the consent decree, Meridian has agreed to expand and improve its pipeline monitoring, inspection, and maintenance program, which will include both internal and external corrosion prevention, and to retain an independent consultant to evaluate Meridian’s pipeline maintenance and monitoring efforts. Meridian also has replaced most of the six-inch diameter pipeline that was the source of three of the spills.
The Clean Water Act makes it unlawful for owners, operators, or any person in charge of onshore facilities to “discharge oil or any hazardous substance into or upon the navigable waters of the United States or adjoining shorelines.” Enforcement of these provisions supports the Clean Water Act’s objective “to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters.”
“Today’s settlement advances our enforcement mission to protect the environment and public health from oil spills into our nation’s waters,” said Ronald J. Tenpas, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.
The $504,000 penalty is in addition to the costs incurred by Meridian to respond to the oil spills as they occurred and to replace the leaking pipeline. The penalty paid for these spills will be deposited in the federal Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.
Nursery Agrees to $82,000 Penalty for Hazardous Waste Disposal in Landfill
The Washington Department of Ecology and L & L Nursery have announced an agreement that formally ends the nursery’s appeal of an $82,000 dangerous waste penalty it received last year.
In this uniquely designed settlement, L & L Nursery will donate $36,900 over three years to the Thurston County Health Department to increase the awareness and use of “integrated pest management” (IPM) options for controlling weeds and pests. Most of the funds will be used by the county to develop 10 “prescriptions” that consumers can safely use to treat common pest problems. The rest will be used to develop a conference to help local governments learn about and develop IPM policies. L & L will pay $20,500 of the fine, and the remainder of the penalty will be conditionally suspended by Ecology.
“The approach we have taken with this settlement is one that will benefit both consumers and our environment,” said Ken Zarker of Ecology's hazardous waste and toxics reduction program.
Ecology fined the wholesale nursery, located in Fife, in July 2006 for failing to properly manage and dispose of garden and pool chemicals it stockpiled. Box trailers used by the nursery to store discontinued products and chemical returns were sold to a buyer and then to Trailer Source in Sumner. Once the chemicals were discovered, Trailer Source hired a contractor to dispose of the chemicals at a local landfill. Shortly afterwards, a fire erupted at the landfill, exposing workers to toxic gases and forcing an evacuation.
Thousands more pounds of dangerous waste pesticides and chemicals were found at Trailer Source, and their proper disposal totaled $30,000.
Ecology investigated the fire and chain-of-ownership of the chemicals and issued the penalty to L & L Nursery in July 2006. The nursery appealed the fine. If the nursery doesn’t meet all settlement terms or receives another violation within two years, the suspended amount and yet-to-be donated funds will be paid to Ecology.
Solutia Inc. Assessed $17,235 Penalty for Environmental Violations
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has assessed a $17,235 penalty to Solutia Inc. of Springfield for violating the Commonwealth’s regulations governing air pollution emissions, monitoring, and recordkeeping.
As a result of required submittals sent to MassDEP in July 2006 and January 2007, Solutia reported violations of the terms of the facility’s Air Quality Operating Permit, which involved failure to follow internal procedures in the configuring of air pollution control equipment operation. This resulted in excess emissions of volatile organic compounds into the ambient air. Other violations were related to monitoring and recordkeeping requirements.
“Volatile organic compounds contribute to the formation of ground level ozone, or smog,” said Michael Gorski, director of MassDEP’s Western Regional Office in Springfield. “The proper maintenance and operation of a facility’s air pollution control equipment is key in reducing impacts to the public and the environment from air pollutants such as these.”
As part of an agreement with MassDEP, Solutia Inc. has agreed to pay $17,235 in penalties. The company also will institute corrections to its operating procedures to ensure future compliance with the air quality regulations.
MassDEP issued a $7,000 penalty to Solutia in 2006 for similar violations that occurred in April 2006.
EPA Issues Notice of Data Availability on Disposal of Coal Combustion Waste
In May 2000, EPA issued a Regulatory Determination on Waste from the Combustion of Fossil Fuels. Since EPA issued that Determination, additional information on the disposal of coal combustion waste (CCW) in landfills and surface impoundments has become available.
Hazardous Waste and Air Quality Violations Cost More Than $12,000
Prefinishing Specialists Inc., a wood finishing company in Avon, Minn., has agreed to pay $12,082 for alleged hazardous waste and air quality violations. The violations were discovered during Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) staff inspections in February 2007.
The hazardous waste violations include improper storage and labeling of wastes, insufficient cleaning of equipment, and failing to have a required alarm and communication system in the facility’s chemical storage area. The air quality violations include incomplete internal safety inspections and recordkeeping, as well as lack of a required equipment operation and maintenance plan.
In addition to paying the civil penalty, the company has already completed a series of actions to ensure that it is complying with the terms of its hazardous waste and air quality permits. Proper handling and storage of hazardous materials is important for protecting Minnesota’s land, water, and air quality. The MPCA offers training and other educational materials to businesses and local units of government so that they understand and can abide by environmental regulations.
When calculating penalties, the MPCA takes into account how seriously the violation affected the environment, whether it is a first time or repeat violation, and how promptly the violation was reported to appropriate authorities. It also attempts to recover the calculated economic benefit gained by failure to comply with environmental laws in a timely manner.
Pennsylvania DEP Fines Clarion County Landfill $10,000
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has fined County Landfill Inc. of Leeper, Clarion County, $10,000 for accepting waste from an unauthorized vehicle on five occasions, violating the Pennsylvania Waste Transportation Safety Act, or Act 90.
“Landfills are required to accept waste only from authorized haulers,” said Kelly Burch, DEP’s northwest regional director. “Doing so helps to ensure that waste is handled in a safe and responsible manner, reducing the potential for risk to citizens and the environment.”
During landfill inspections in April, DEP discovered a trash truck hauling material for disposal at the facility without an Act 90 sticker affixed to it and was without an interim written authorization. The hauler was prohibited from disposing of any material at the site.
County Landfill promptly conducted a review of its disposal records and found that it had accepted five loads of municipal waste from the same truck previously in March and early April. DEP issued a notice of violation to County Landfill and has collected $10,000 for the five violations.
DEP also is investigating the owners of the truck, Veolia ES Solid Waste of PA. Under Act 90, vehicles weighing more than 17,000 pounds that wish to haul municipal or residual waste to the commonwealth’s landfills must receive DEP authorization. An application form, fee, and compliance history are required before the department will review the application.
If approved, the haulers are issued stickers that are affixed to the trash trucks. Act 90 mandates a $2,000 penalty each time a landfill accepts a load from an unauthorized hauler or each time a truck is without the appropriate sticker or interim written authorization.
Bin Calculation Spreadsheets for Filtered Systems
Bin Calculation Spreadsheets can be used by filtered Public Water Systems to calculate and report their bin calculation that is required under the LT2 rule when the PWS has completed its source water monitoring. There are three spreadsheets, one for each of the possible scenarios for sampling frequency:
Each spreadsheet contains an instruction sheet and two example calculations.
Climate Change Research Congress
The Fourth Annual Climate Change Research Conference is being held Sept. 10–13 in Sacramento, Calif., at the Convention Center.
Although new registrations for the conference are no longer being accepted, it will be broadcast via webcast using WebEx (where the presentations can be viewed over the Internet and audio accessed by telephone). The audio also will be webcast using Real Player over the Internet.
Ohio Sets Limits for VOCs in Consumer Products
The Ohio EPA, under the authority of Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 3704.03(E), has adopted new Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) rules 3745-112-01 to 3745-112-08, “Consumer Products.” The rules set standards for the amount of VOCs used in consumer products, such as adhesives, aerosols, cosmetics, air fresheners, and automotive products sold in the state of Ohio after January 1, 2009. VOCs are a precursor to ozone formation. The new rules will be effective as of Sept. 15, 2007.
Federal Trade Commission Announces Updated EnergyGuide Label for Appliances
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced it has concluded a two-year review of the FTC’s Appliance Labeling Rule (16 CFR. 305) and, after substantial public comment and consumer research, has amended the Rule to improve the design and content of the EnergyGuide label required on most new appliances sold in the United States. The yellow EnergyGuide label, familiar to most appliance shoppers, helps consumers compare the operating costs of competing models and aids them in identifying high-efficiency models that will reduce their energy use.
The new EnergyGuide label has a streamlined look and will display estimated yearly operating costs prominently for most appliance types. This estimated cost information, which will appear on the labels in dollars per year, will provide consumers with a clear context to compare the energy efficiency of different appliance models. It also will help consumers assess trade-offs between the energy costs of their appliances and other expenditures. The new EnergyGuide label design will continue to display energy consumption information (e.g., annual electricity use) as a secondary disclosure for most labeled products.
Coca-Cola Enterprises Sets Goal to Recycle 100 Percent of Its Plastic Bottles
Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc., the world’s largest marketer, distributor, and producer of Coca-Cola products, announced the launch of Coca-Cola Recycling LLC. Based out of CCE’s Atlanta headquarters, Coca-Cola Recycling will focus on capturing beverage packaging materials in North America for recycling within the Coca-Cola system.
Earlier, The Coca-Cola Company announced plans to build the world’s largest plastic bottle-to-bottle recycling plant in Spartanburg, S.C., and revealed its goal to recycle and reuse 100 percent of its plastic packaging in the United States—a goal that Coca-Cola Recycling will play a large part in helping to achieve.
Coca-Cola Recycling is dedicated to recovering and recycling packaging materials used in North America—including polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic, aluminum, cardboard, and plastic film. The company will develop cost-efficient solutions for reclaiming used beverage containers and establish centralized recycling centers throughout North America with a goal of recycling 100 percent of the packaging materials generated by the Coca-Cola system.
“The launch of Coca-Cola Recycling marks an important milestone for CCE and the Coca-Cola system as we energize our efforts to reshape the recycling and sustainable packaging arena,” said John Burgess, president and chief executive officer, Coca-Cola Recycling.
While the primary beverage container materials aluminum and PET have high value as recyclables in the marketplace, not enough material is recovered to meet increasing demand. CCE formed Coca-Cola Recycling to help increase recycling rates in North America and ensure ready access to recycled material.
“Coca-Cola Recycling will perform a key strategic role in achieving our corporate responsibility and sustainability goals,” said John F. Brock, president and chief executive officer, CCE. “It will help CCE find effective solutions for sustainable packaging and recycling while conserving energy and resources, ultimately striving to reduce our carbon footprint.”
Recycling plastic and aluminum for reuse also yields financial benefits, requires less energy than producing bottles with new materials, and reduces waste and greenhouse gases. “Recycling makes perfect business sense,” Burgess said, “and it is the right thing to do.”
North Carolina Sets 12.5 Percent Renewable Portfolio Standar
. North Carolina is the first state in the Southeast to use this strategy to address climate change. North Carolina is the 25th state to set an RPS, which requires utilities to meet a certain percentage of energy demand with renewable sources and efficiency measures.
Ford to Turn Paint Fumes Into Electricity
FuelCell Energy, Inc., a manufacturer of ultra-clean power plants using a variety of fuels for commercial, industrial, and utility customers, announced that Ford Motor Co. will purchase a DFC300MA™ fuel cell for its Oakville, Ontario, facility to reduce paint solvent emanating from automotive painting operations by turning fumes from those compounds into 300 kilowatts (kW) of green electricity.
The Direct FuelCell® (DFC) unit can transform into fuel the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that emanate from enamel base paints and clear coat finishes used in manufacturing. The DFC power plant is being funded by Industry Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade to assist in deploying alternative energy sources.
“By using the end-products of enamel and clear coat operations, we are eliminating the exhaust of thousands of tons of nitrous and sulfur oxides as well as CO2—a major greenhouse gas,” said Andrew Skok, executive director, Strategic Marketing for FuelCell Energy. “As this application shows, the fuel flexibility of our DFC300MA opens up an entirely new, very large market for us.”
The DFC300MA unit is expected to start up early in 2008, and, over time, Ford and Detroit Edison, which jointly own the rights to the paint fume cleanup and separation technology, could roll the system out to Ford’s other plants or license it to other manufacturers whose operations include similar uses of paint compounds.
GM's Baltimore Transmission Facility Achieves Landfill Free Status
GM’s Baltimore transmission plant announced that it has officially achieved “landfill free” status—meaning it will no longer send any waste from its production operations to landfills. Changes at the plant—the new landfill-free manufacturing process and a new hybrid drivetrain—will provide significant environmental benefits.
“Our Baltimore facility is a great example of how GM is working to reduce the impact of both our operations and our vehicles on the environment,” said John R. Buttermore, GM Powertrain vice president of global manufacturing. “Many manufacturing plants generate waste along with their products, but, here at our Baltimore plant, fuel-efficient transmissions for our vehicles are our only output. All wastes generated here are recycled or reused in some way. We are very proud of the environmentally responsible work that has been done working jointly with the leadership of UAW Local 239 and our Baltimore employees that made this possible.”
As of May, the GM Powertrain Baltimore transmission facility has been operating with landfill-free status for waste materials generated directly from its daily operations. This year, approximately 97 percent of the waste materials from the site (7,300 tons) will be recycled or reused and 3 percent (215 tons) will be converted to energy at a waste-to-energy facility. In 2006, the plant was close to landfill-free status, with 99 percent of its waste recycled, reused, or converted to energy.
Items that are recycled or reused at the site this year will include approximately 510 tons of aluminum, 600 tons of steel, 10 tons of alloy metals, 360 tons of wood pallets, 3 tons of paper, 20 tons in empty totes and drums, 250 tons of used oil, 220 tons of waste water residual, and 5,400 tons of returnable packaging.
Part of the challenge in reaching landfill-free status is finding uses for recyclable materials. Today, even the tiniest scrap of trash is put to beneficial reuse. Aluminum is recycled by GM foundries that produce engine and transmission components. Steel, alloy metals, and paper are sent to recyclers for reconstitution into a variety of products. Used oil is reconditioned for use as a manufacturing fuel additive. Wood pallets are given to Baltimore area fire departments or sent to energy recovery. Empty drums