You’re Using Disinfectants Wrong. Here’s What You Actually Need to Do

June 29, 2020
Sure, you’ve got a product that says “kills germs” under your sink, but will it really destroy the new coronavirus on surfaces? Turns out that if you’re using a disinfectant the same way as a regular cleaner, you might not actually be disinfecting at all. To make sure you’re destroying 99.9% of viruses and bacteria, doing these three things is critical:
NIOSH Hazard Communication and Protective Measure Guidance for Disinfectants
According to NIOSH, many chemical disinfectants can be harmful to workers if they are unsafely handled and/or improperly used. Therefore, it is important that disinfectants are selected and used properly to ensure effective disinfection and avoid harm to individuals and damage to surfaces.
NIOSH recently published information about health hazards associated with disinfectants recommended for use against viruses and suggestions for how we can protect ourselves against these hazards while using the products.
For each chemical, the NIOSH guidance identifies the GHS pictograms, health and flammability hazard statements, recommended glove barriers, and recommended personal protective equipment.
Free Amazon HD 10 Tablet with RCRA and DOT Training
Annual hazardous waste training is required for anyone who generates, accumulates, stores, transports, or treats hazardous waste. Learn how to manage your hazardous waste in accordance with the latest state and federal regulations. Learn how to complete EPA’s new electronic hazardous waste manifest, and the more than 60 changes in EPA’s new Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule. Environmental Resource Center’s Hazardous Waste Training is available via live webcasts. If you plan to also attend DOT hazardous materials training, call 800-537-2372 to find out how you can get your course materials on an Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet at no extra charge.
EPA Takes Action to Restrict Certain Uses of PFAS
As part of EPA’s  Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Action Plan, the agency issued a final rule giving the agency the authority to review an expansive list of products containing PFAS before they could be manufactured, sold, or imported in the United States. This action, issued under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), means that EPA is prohibiting companies from manufacturing, processing, or importing products containing certain long-chain PFAS, which persist in the environment and can cause adverse health effects, without prior EPA review and approval. As part of the agency’s review, EPA could place restrictions on these products to protect public health.
“As EPA marks the 4th anniversary of amendments to TSCA, this new rule gives the Trump administration a powerful new tool to protect public health,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “The regulation can stop products containing PFAS from entering or reentering the marketplace without our explicit permission. EPA is committed to aggressively addressing these chemicals of concern under the PFAS Action Plan.”
This final rule strengthens the regulation of PFAS by requiring notice and EPA review before the use of long-chain PFAS that have been phased out in the U.S. could begin again. Additionally, products containing certain long-chain PFAS as a surface coating and carpet containing perfluoroalkyl sulfonate chemical substances can no longer be imported into the United States without EPA review.
This action means that products like ski wax, carpet, furniture, electronics, and household appliances that could contain certain PFAS chemicals cannot be manufactured, imported, produced, or sold in the U.S. unless EPA reviews and approves the use or puts in place the necessary restrictions to address any unreasonable risks.
This action also levels the playing field for companies that have already voluntarily phased-out the use of long-chain PFAS chemicals under EPA’s PFOA Stewardship Program by preventing new uses of these phased-out chemicals from starting up again. Before this action, the use of these PFAS could have started again at any time without EPA’s approval.
Since issuing the PFAS Action Plan in February 2019, the most comprehensive cross-agency plan ever to address an emerging chemical of concern, EPA has made significant progress to help states and local communities address PFAS and protect public health. For a summary of the actions EPA has taken under the PFAS Action Plan:
PFAS Chemicals Added to TRI Reports
EPA has added 172 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to the list of toxic chemicals subject to reporting under section 313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) and section 6607 of the Pollution Prevention Act (PPA). EPA is also setting a manufacture, processing, and otherwise use reporting threshold of 100 pounds for each PFAS being added to the list. These actions are being taken to comply with section 7321 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 enacted on December 20, 2019. Because this action was being taken to conform the regulations to a Congressional legislative mandate, EPA is not accepting comment and this rule went into effective immediately.
California to Require Zero Emission Trucks
The California Air Resources Board has adopted a first-in-the-world rule requiring truck manufacturers to transition from diesel trucks and vans to electric zero-emission trucks beginning in 2024. By 2045, every new truck sold in California will be zero-emission.
This bold and timely move sets a clean-truck standard for the nation and the world, and marks the Newsom administration’s most important air pollution regulation to date. It zeroes in on air pollution in the state’s most disadvantaged and polluted communities.
"California is an innovation juggernaut that is going electric. We are showing the world that we can move goods, grow our economy and finally dump dirty diesel," said Jared Blumenfeld, California’s Secretary for Environmental Protection.
Many California neighborhoods, especially Black and Brown, low-income and vulnerable communities, live, work, play and attend schools adjacent to the ports, railyards, distribution centers, and freight corridors and experience the heaviest truck traffic. This new rule directly addresses disproportionate risks and health and pollution burdens affecting these communities and puts California on the path for an all zero-emission short-haul drayage fleet in ports and railyards by 2035, and zero-emission “last-mile” delivery trucks and vans by 2040.
“For decades, while the automobile has grown cleaner and more efficient, the other half of our transportation system has barely moved the needle on clean air,” said CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols. “Diesel vehicles are the workhorses of the economy, and we need them to be part of the solution to persistent pockets of dirty air in some of our most disadvantaged communities. Now is the time – the technology is here and so is the need for investment.”
Trucks are the largest single source of air pollution from vehicles, responsible for 70 percent of the smog-causing pollution and 80 percent of carcinogenic diesel soot even though they number only 2 million among the 30 million registered vehicles in the state.
This requirement to shift to zero-emission trucks, along with the ongoing shift to electric cars, will help California meet its climate goals and federal air quality standards, especially in the Los Angeles region and the San Joaquin Valley – areas that suffer the highest levels of air pollution in the nation. Statewide, the Advanced Clean Truck regulation will lower related premature deaths by 1,000.
The rule drives technology and investment, phasing in available heavy-duty zero-emission technology starting in 2024 with full transformation over the next two decades. This sends a clear signal to manufacturers, fleet owners and utilities that the time to invest in zero-emission trucks – and the economy – is now. It builds on California’s leadership as a manufacturer of zero-emission transportation.
In the coming months, CARB will also consider two complementary regulations to support this action. The first sets a stringent new limit on NOx (oxides of nitrogen), one of the major precursors of smog. This will require that new trucks that still use fossil fuels include the most effective exhaust control technology during the transition to electric trucks. There is also a proposed requirement for larger fleets in the state to transition to electric trucks year over year.
The action was preceded by multiple CARB regulations to transition to zero-emission passenger cars, cleaner diesel fuel and improved technologies to limit diesel emissions for all trucks and buses. Over the past few years, CARB has also set rules to electrify buses used by transit agencies and shuttles at the state’s largest airports by 2030.
Expanded Online Permitting Options to Assist Pennsylvania Businesses
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced a new online permit application tool that will help permit applicants submit their permit applications electronically. The new tool, OnBase-DEP Upload Form, will allow applicants to submit applications for all DEP authorizations.
“Online permit applications will allow for faster processing and more focus on parts of the permit application that relate to the environment and public health,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Paper applications will still be accepted, but applicants are strongly encouraged to use this new electronic permit application submission tool to improve the efficiency of the permit application submission and review processes as DEP employees continue to telework to help control the spread of COVID-19.”
DEP had previously developed several online permit applications in its e-Permitting system under the Wolf administration and has reduced the backlog of permits under review by nearly 90 percent. Payment for application fees is not a part of the tool, and applicants will still need to submit payment under separate cover. Applications for permits that are included in DEP’s e-Permitting system should only be submitted in the e-Permitting system.
“As we begin to recover from the impacts that COVID-19 has had on Pennsylvania, improving the permit application process will help businesses get back on their feet and people back to work,” said McDonnell. “Electronic permitting is an important new tool for applications, and will continue to allow DEP staff still under telework orders to efficiently review applications.”
Benefits of the online tool include:
  • Lower costs for DEP and applicants – no paper and mailing envelopes
  • Better efficiency for DEP staff; applications can more easily be moved between staff to prevent backlog
  • Allows DEP staff to continue to process applications without going into an office, ensuring continued operations through pandemic conditions
“These applications will still be scrutinized for impacts to the environment and public health – but we can cut down on needless back and forth letters between DEP and applicants over missing information or incorrectly submitted applications,” said McDonnell.
Guidance for the new permit application tool can be found here. Instructions for applicants to submit permit fees can be found here. More information on the online permitting tool can be found here.
New Ohio EPA General Permit for Impacts to Ephemeral Streams
Ohio EPA announced the availability of a general permit that will be available to applicants for projects that impact ephemeral streams. The state agency developed the general permit as a mechanism for authorizing impacts to ephemeral streams from fill activities in response to U.S. EPA’s recently finalized Navigable Waters Protection Rule. The new federal rule removes certain waters from federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act, including ephemeral streams and certain isolated wetlands. States retain the authority to determine oversight of these non-jurisdictional waters in ways that best protect their natural resources and local economies.
The general requirements that have historically been applicable to projects that impact ephemeral streams when these resources were under federal jurisdiction are included under the state permit, including pre-notification, site restoration and mitigation requirements for permanent impacts. The general permit does not include new or additional requirements for ephemeral streams. In addition, the draft general permit will serve as a streamlined and efficient permit mechanism for applicants.
It is estimated that there are more than 36,000 miles of ephemeral streams throughout Ohio. While they do not flow continuously, these streams are important to aquatic ecosystems because they help control run-off and erosion, reduce flooding potential and help filter pollutants. Channel-like features on the land surface created by water erosion that are not tributaries, such as agricultural ditches, roadside ditches and grass swale waterways would not meet the definition of ephemeral streams.
Ohio EPA has historically used state permitting authority to regulate impacts to isolated wetlands and will continue to maintain an isolated wetland permitting program.
The new general permit, along with responses to public comments Ohio EPA received during development of the permit, are available on Ohio EPA’s website.
Issuance of final permit can be appealed to the Ohio Environmental Review Appeals Commission (ERAC). Appeals generally must be filed within 30 days of issuing a final action; therefore, anyone considering filing an appeal should contact ERAC at 614-466-8950 for more information.
New Study: Health Risk Behaviors Among Construction Workers
New research from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) suggests that several behaviors that contribute to higher health risks are more prevalent among construction workers than workers in other industries. This new study was recently published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
Construction workers are in physically demanding jobs and exposed to many chemical and physical workplace hazards, with falls remaining the leading cause of work-related deaths in construction, accounting for about one-third of the total number of fatalities in this industry. Previous studies suggested that construction workers who exhibit certain health risk behaviors may be more likely to experience work-related injuries. NIOSH researchers were interested to explore how common health risk behaviors are among this workforce.
The study looked at six health risk behaviors among construction workers compared to workers in other industries. The main findings showed:
  • Smoking, smokeless tobacco use, binge drinking, no leisure-time physical activity, and not always using a seatbelt were significantly more prevalent among construction workers than in the general workforce.
  • A sixth health risk behavior, getting less than seven hours of sleep a day, was significantly less prevalent among construction workers as compared to the general workforce.
  • Construction managers had elevated prevalences for smoking, smokeless tobacco use, binge drinking, and not always using a seatbelt.
  • Because of their important leadership roles, behavior changes among construction managers could have positive effects on the safety and health culture in the construction industry.
  • Carpenters, construction laborers, and roofers all had significantly elevated prevalences for five of the six behaviors (all except short sleep).
  • Roofers, as well as electrical power-line installers and repairers, had significantly elevated prevalences for binge drinking.
  • Operating engineers, who operate and maintain heavy earthmoving equipment, had very high rates for smokeless tobacco use.
The survey covered 38 different construction occupations, including laborers, project managers, those in construction trades, and contractors, and was conducted by telephone across 32 states, from 2013 to 2016.
Due to the high prevalence of some health risk behaviors, researchers emphasize that construction workers may benefit from targeted interventions and health programs specific to their particular occupation to reduce these behaviors, particularly since they are also potentially exposed to workplace-specific hazards.
To access the study, please click here. To find out more about NIOSH research in construction, please visit this page.
Environmental Resource Center Update
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have combined our Safety and Environmental Tips of the week. This issue includes some of the latest recommendations for you to keep safe at work and at home in this evolving event.
The health and wellbeing of our employees, customers and our communities is what matters most to all of us. To continue to serve you, our seminars have been converted to live online webcasts. You can find a list of upcoming live webcasts at this link.
If you have enrolled in a seminar in July, in many cases the seminar will be held on approximately the same dates and at the same times via online webcast. We will contact you by phone or email regarding the details on how to attend the class. On-site training and consulting services are proceeding as usual. If you wish to convert these to remote services, please call your Environmental Resource Center representative or customer service at 800-537-2372.
Because many of our live and on-site training sessions have been postponed or canceled, we have staff available to assist you in coping with COVID-19 as well as your routine EHS requirements. If you have EHS staff that have been quarantined, we can provide remote assistance to help you meet your ongoing environmental and safety compliance requirements. For details, call 800-537-2372.
NY to Address Environmental Justice and Support Disadvantaged Communities
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced new and advanced initiatives to help address environmental justice and support disadvantaged communities. NYSERDA made available more than $10.6 million to help underserved New Yorkers access clean, affordable and reliable solar, representing the first step in implementing New York's Social Energy Equity Framework.
Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, grants provided through the Affordable Solar and Energy Storage Predevelopment and Technical Assistance Program will help offset predevelopment costs to address system installation barriers as part of the State's efforts to jumpstart the reopening and recovery of New York's economy. In May the New York Public Service Commission approved a $573 million expansion of the NY-Sun Program including a total of $200 million projected to help activities focused on low- and moderate-income New Yorkers, affordable housing, environmental justice and disadvantaged communities. These efforts support Governor Cuomo's goal to install 6,000 megawatts of distributed solar by 2025, as adopted by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA).
In addition, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced the appointment of the nine members of the Climate Justice Working Group to help guide the implementation of the CLCPA. The CLCPA Climate Action Council (Council) is co-chaired by DEC Commissioner Seggos and Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA.
Multiple barriers unique to serving low-to-moderate income (LMI) communities hinder financing, procurement, marketing/outreach, and other components of solar and/or energy storage project development. Community organizations and affordable housing providers are critical partners in developing locally driven solutions to these barriers and achieving equitable access to the benefits of solar and/or storage for LMI households in New York. This funding opportunity aims to provide these on-the-ground allies with the resources to get solar projects off the ground and deliver clean power where it matters most.
As part of Governor Cuomo's signature NY-Sun initiative, NYSERDA will provide grants up to $200,000 to affordable housing providers, community organizations or entities, and technical service providers to address market barriers to install solar and energy storage systems benefitting LMI households and other disadvantaged communities. Individual awards will be evaluated on project scope/feasibility, market potential, and project benefits and economics and help to reduce costs for predevelopment and technical assistance work needed to implement solar and/or energy storage installations.
Applications will be accepted on a rolling, quarterly basis through December 31, 2024. NYSERDA is hosting a webinar on July 14, 2020 to launch this funding opportunity and provide application information. To register, or for more information visit NYSERDA's website.
Under the previous predevelopment and technical assistance program which closed in August 2018, NY-Sun awarded more than $2.75 million to 21 predevelopment projects across the state. As of May 2020, these projects have resulted in the installation of over three megawatts of solar energy that will benefit over 1,000 LMI households in New York, with a much larger pipeline of projects in the development process. A total of 40 percent of New York State households have incomes considered low to moderate. That is, they earn less than 80 percent of the median income for the community where they live.
Under the State's CLCPA, signed into law by Governor Cuomo last July, New York made a landmark commitment for agencies to invest 35 percent with a goal of 40% of clean energy program resources to benefit disadvantaged and environmental justice communities. As directed by the CLCPA, this announcement advances approaches to ensure that the State's renewable programs provide substantial benefits for disadvantaged communities, including LMI customers. The steps being taken through the NY-Sun Program will not only make accessing solar more affordable but markedly reduce fossil fuel-fired generation and air pollution in the state, including the downstate region where clean energy can provide significant health benefits to disadvantaged communities. In addition to the relaunch of this program, NYSERDA will offer expanded incentives to offset the cost of installing solar for LMI homeowners and affordable housing. Multifamily affordable housing also may now receive a higher incentive than previously designed as well as receive incentives for larger projects.
The Climate Justice Working Group is comprised of representatives from Environmental Justice communities statewide, including three members from New York City communities, three members from rural communities, and three members from urban communities in upstate New York, as well as representatives from the State Departments of Environmental Conservation, Health, Labor, and NYSERDA.
The CLCPA requires the State to achieve a carbon free electricity system by 2040 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, setting a new standard for states and the nation to expedite the transition to a clean energy economy. The new law will drive investment in clean energy solutions such as wind, solar, energy efficiency and energy storage.
Prevent Heat Illness During Period of High Heat
Cal/OSHA reminded employers with outdoor workers to review high heat advisories in effect across California this week and to take steps to prevent heat illness. The National Weather Service has issued heat advisories this week for Monday through Saturday due to a period of high temperatures in many interior parts of the state from Shasta to Kern counties.
California’s heat illness prevention standard applies to all outdoor workers, including those in agriculture, construction, landscaping and those that spend a significant amount of time working outdoors such as security guards and groundskeepers, or in non-air conditioned vehicles such as transportation and delivery drivers.
While taking steps to protect their workers from heat illness, employers must also have a plan to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at each worksite. Employers should be attentive to allow enough space and time for employees to take breaks as needed in adequate shade while also maintaining a safe distance from one another. For many employers this will require staggered breaks or increased shaded break areas, or both. Extra infection prevention measures should be in place such as disinfecting commonly touched surfaces, including the water and restroom facilities.
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, employers should provide cloth face coverings or allow workers to use their own. Cloth face coverings may help prevent the spread of the disease. Employers should be aware that wearing face coverings can make it more difficult to breathe and harder for a worker to cool off, so additional breaks may be needed to prevent overheating. Workers should have face coverings at all times, but they should be removed in outdoor high heat conditions to help prevent overheating as long as physical distancing can be maintained.
Supervisors and workers must be trained on the signs and symptoms of heat illness so that they know when to take steps that can prevent a coworker from getting sick. Employers must also evaluate each worksite and make sure their workers know their procedures for contacting emergency medical services, which includes directing them to the worksite if needed.
Employers with outdoor workers must take the following steps to prevent heat illness:
  • Plan – Develop and implement an effective written heat illness prevention plan that includes emergency response procedures.
  • Training – Train all employees and supervisors on heat illness prevention.
  • Water – Provide drinking water that is fresh, pure, suitably cool and free of charge so that each worker can drink at least 1 quart per hour, and encourage workers to do so.
  • Shade – Provide shade when workers request it or when temperatures exceed 80 degrees. Encourage workers to take a cool-down rest in the shade for at least five minutes when they feel the need to do so. They should not wait until they feel sick to cool down.
Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention special emphasis program includes enforcement of heat regulations as well as multilingual outreach and training programs for California’s employers and workers. Details on heat illness prevention requirements and training materials are available online on Cal/OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention web page and the informational website. A Heat Illness Prevention online tool is also available on Cal/OSHA’s website.
Florida Roofing Contractor Cited for Repeatedly Exposing Employees to Fall Hazards at Boca Raton Worksite
OSHA has cited Action Roofing Services, Inc. – based in Pompano Beach, Florida – for exposing employees to fall hazards at a worksite in Boca Raton, Florida. The roofing contractor faces $51,952 in penalties.
OSHA initiated the inspection as part of the Regional Emphasis Program for Falls in Construction. The agency cited the company for allowing employees to engage in roofing activities without a conventional fall protection system. It is the third such citation that OSHA has issued the contractor in the last three years.
“Employers must take necessary steps to identify and eliminate workplace hazards. Failure to do so places their employees at severe risk for injuries and fatalities,” said OSHA Acting Area Director Beatriz Cabrera, in Fort Lauderdale. “Employers can reach out to OSHA for compliance assistance to ensure their worksites are free from recognized hazards.”
OSHA’s Fall Protection in Residential Construction webpage provides resources on various residential activities, including roof sheathing and installing tile roofs, as well as questions and answers about OSHA standards related to fall protection.
Sunscreen Ingredient Used to Turn Waste Carbon Dioxide into Useful Material
The technology to convert carbon dioxide into industrial precursor chemicals could be retrofitted to coal-fired power plants. Chemical engineers from UNSW Sydney have developed new technology that helps convert harmful carbon dioxide emissions into chemical building blocks to make useful industrial products like fuel and plastics.
And if adopted on a large scale, the process could give the world breathing space as it transitions towards a green economy.
In a paper published in the journal Advanced Energy Materials, Dr Rahman Daiyan and Dr Emma Lovell from UNSW’s School of Chemical Engineering detail a way of creating nanoparticles that promote conversion of waste carbon dioxide into useful industrial components.
The researchers, who carried out their work in the Particles and Catalysis Research Laboratory led by Scientia Professor Rose Amal, show that by making zinc oxide, a frequent sunscreen ingredient, at very high temperatures using a technique called flame spray pyrolysis (FSP), they can create nanoparticles which act as the catalyst for turning carbon dioxide into ‘syngas’ – a mix of hydrogen and carbon monoxide used in the manufacture of industrial products. The researchers say this method is cheaper and more scalable to the requirements of heavy industry than what is available today.
“We used an open flame, which burns at 2000 degrees, to create nanoparticles of zinc oxide that can then be used to convert CO2, using electricity, into syngas,” says Dr Lovell.
“Syngas is often considered the chemical equivalent of Lego because the two building blocks – hydrogen and carbon monoxide – can be used in different ratios to make things like synthetic diesel, methanol, alcohol or plastics, which are very important industrial precursors.
“So essentially what we’re doing is converting CO2 into these precursors that can be used to make all these vital industrial chemicals.”
In an industrial setting, an electrolyser containing the FSP-produced zinc oxide particles could be used to convert the waste CO2 into useful permutations of syngas, says Dr Daiyan.
“Waste CO2 from say, a power plant or cement factory, can be passed through this electrolyser, and inside we have our flame-sprayed zinc oxide material in the form of an electrode. When we pass the waste CO2 in, it is processed using electricity and is released from an outlet as syngas in a mix of CO and hydrogen,” he says.
The researchers say in effect, they are closing the carbon loop in industrial processes that create harmful greenhouse gases. And by making small adjustments to the way the nanoparticles are burned by the FSP technique, they can determine the eventual mix of the syngas building blocks produced by the carbon dioxide conversion.
“At the moment you generate syngas by using natural gas – so from fossil fuels,” Dr Daiyan says. “But we’re using waste carbon dioxide and then converting it to syngas in a ratio depending on which industry you want to use it in.”
For example, a one to one ratio between the carbon monoxide and hydrogen lends itself to syngas that can be used as fuel. But a ratio of four parts carbon monoxide and one part hydrogen is suitable for the creation of plastics, Dr Daiyan says.
In choosing zinc oxide as their catalyst, the researchers have ensured that their solution has remained a cheaper alternative to what has been previously attempted in this space.
“Past attempts have used expensive materials such as palladium, but this is the first instance where a very cheap and abundant material, mined locally in Australia, has been successfully applied to the problem of waste carbon dioxide conversion,” Dr Daiyan says. Dr Lovell added that what also makes this method appealing is using the FSP flame system to create and control these valuable materials.
“It means it can be used industrially, it can be scaled, it’s super quick to make the materials and very effective,” she says.
“We don’t need to worry about complicated synthesis techniques that use really expensive metals and precursors – we can burn it and in 10 minutes have these particles ready to go. And by controlling how we burn it, we can control those ratios of desired syngas building blocks.”
While the duo have already built an electrolyser that has been tested with waste CO2 gas that contains contaminants, scaling the technology up to the point where it could convert all of the waste carbon dioxide emitted by a power plant is still a way down the track.
“The idea is that we can take a point source of CO2, such as a coal fired power plant, a gas power plant, or even a natural gas mine where you liberate a huge amount of pure CO2 and we can essentially retrofit this technology at the back end of these plants. Then you could capture that produced CO2 and convert it into something that is hugely valuable to industry,” says Dr Lovell.
The group’s next project will be to test their nanomaterials in a flue gas setting to ensure they are tolerant to the harsh conditions and other chemicals found in industrial waste gas.
Researchers Uncover New Environmentally-Friendly Approach to Water Treatment
The Matrix Assembly Cluster Source, a newly invented machine used to design a breakthrough water treatment method using a solvent-free approach.
A newly invented machine, called the Matrix Assembly Cluster Source (MACS), has been used to design a breakthrough water treatment method using a solvent-free approach.
The research, from The Institute for Innovative Materials, Processing and Numerical Technologies (IMPACT) within the College of Engineering at Swansea University, was funded by the EPSRC and led by Professor Richard Palmer.
Professor Richard Palmer explained, “the harmful organic molecules are destroyed by a powerful oxidising agent, ozone, which is boosted by a catalyst. Usually such catalysts are manufactured by chemical methods using solvents, which creates another problem – how to deal with the effluents from the manufacturing process. The Swansea innovation is a newly invented machine that manufactures the catalyst by physical methods, involving no solvent, and therefore no effluent. The new technique is a step change in the approach to water treatment and other catalytic processes.”
“Our new approach to making catalysts for water treatments uses a physical process which is a vacuum-based and solvent free method. The catalyst particles are clusters of silver atoms, made with the newly invented MACS machine. It solves the longstanding problem of low cluster production rate – meaning, for the first time, it is now possible to produce enough clusters for study at the test tube level, with the potential to then scale up further to the level of small batch manufacturing and beyond.”
The clusters are approximately 10,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair and have been of significant interest to researchers because of their unique properties. However, due to the inadequate rate of cluster production, research in this area has been limited.
The new MACS method has changed this – it scales up the intensity of the cluster beam to produce enough grams of cluster powder for practical testing. The addition of ozone to the powder then destroys pollutant chemicals from water, in this case nitrophenol.
On the future potential of this breakthrough technology, Professor Palmer summarizes:
“The MACS approach to the nanoscale design of functional materials opens up completely new horizons across a wide range of disciplines - from physics and chemistry to biology and engineering. Thus, it has the power to enable radical advances in advanced technology – catalysts, biosensors, materials for renewable energy generation and storage.
It seems highly appropriate that the first practical demonstration of Swansea’s environmentally friendly manufacturing process concerns something we are all concerned about – clean water!”
The research was published in Applied Materials and Interfaces.
Del Monte Fresh Fruit Cited for Industrial Wastewater Discharge Violations
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) announced it has assessed a $26,407 penalty to Del Monte Fresh Fruit Produce for Surface Water Discharge violations involving the improper disposal of industrial wastewater at its Canton facility. Additionally, through a consent order, Del Monte is required to submit a plan within 60 days to address the containment and proper disposal of waste in liquid form.
On May 16, 2018, the Canton Board of Health notified MassDEP that large amounts of liquid waste from a dumpster located at Del Monte’s 105 Shawmut Road facility were discharging a rancid flow, associated with decomposing fruit and vegetable waste, into a tributary of the Neponset River.
MassDEP sampled the wastewater during an inspection and after collecting samples, found significant concentrations of pollutants, including Total Suspended Solids and Biochemical Oxygen Demand.
“The facility had been trying to address odor complaints from nearby businesses regarding the waste disposal of organic and other byproducts of its operations,” said Millie Garcia-Serrano, director of MassDEP’s Southeastern Regional Office in Lakeville. “Unfortunately, their efforts have been inadequate to date, but under today’s consent order with MassDEP, the plant has agreed to provide a plan with clear actions and an implementation schedule that will bring the facility into compliance.”
Cambria Company to Pay $10,200 Penalty for Environmental Violations
Cambria Company, a producer of natural stone surfaces for countertops and other uses, has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $10,200 to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) for environmental violations at its Le Sueur facility. The facility must also take corrective actions to prevent future violations.
A state inspection and file review found that the company had violated its air emissions permit. MPCA permits are designed to protect human health and the environment by limiting pollution emissions and discharges from facilities. When companies do not fully comply with permit requirements, the resulting pollution can be harmful to people and the environment.
Violations at Cambria included not properly operating air-emissions control equipment, failing to submit emissions testing plans and reports on time between 2013 and 2018, and submitting equipment certifications and evaluations late.
When calculating penalties, the MPCA considers how seriously the violations affected the environment, whether they were first-time or repeat violations, and how promptly the violations were reported to authorities. The agency also attempts to recover the economic benefit the company gained by failing to comply with environmental laws in a timely manner.
Safely Get Your EHS Training at Home or in Your Office
To help you get the training you need, Environmental Resource Center has added a number of dates to our already popular live webcast training. Stay in compliance and learn the latest regulations from the comfort of your office or home. Webcast attendees receive the same benefits as our seminar attendees including expert instruction, comprehensive course materials, one year of access to our AnswerlineTM service, course certificate, and a personalized user portal on Environmental Resource Center’s website.
Upcoming hazardous waste and DOT hazardous materials webcasts:
DOT Hazardous Materials Update – July 8, July 29
OSHA and CDC Interim Guidance to Protect Seafood Processing Industry Workers
OSHA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in consultation with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), have released joint coronavirus-related interim guidance for employers and workers performing seafood processing operations in onshore facilities and aboard vessels offshore. The guidance includes recommended actions employers can take to reduce the risk of exposure to the coronavirus.
“It is imperative that workers in the seafood processing industry are protected from coronavirus exposure in their workplace,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt. “OSHA collaborated with the CDC and FDA to provide this guidance, which outlines steps employers can take to provide a safe and healthful workplace for workers in this vital industry.”
While the seafood products these workers handle do not expose them to the coronavirus, their work environments – processing stations and other areas in busy facilities where they have close contact with coworkers and supervisors – may contribute to their potential exposures.
The interim guidance includes information regarding:
  • Modifying the alignment of workstations, so that workers are at least 6 feet apart in all directions;
  • Staggering workers across shifts to limit the number of employees on site at any given time;
  • Adding additional clock in/out stations, or staggering times for workers to clock in/out to reduce crowding in these areas;
  • Providing temporary break areas and restrooms, or staggering breaks, to avoid crowding in these areas;
  • Analyzing sick leave and incentive program policies to ensure that ill workers stay home and are not penalized for taking sick leave if they have the coronavirus; and
  • Screening and monitoring workers, and creating a system for workers to alert their supervisors if they have signs or symptoms of the coronavirus or had recent close contact with a suspected or confirmed case.
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