Changes Afoot from the EPA

While certainly not staggering in scope, changes nonetheless continue to flow out of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

by Jay Collert, CHMM, CET

While certainly not staggering in scope, changes nonetheless continue to flow out of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Some only affect public entities while others will extend over a greater population of the regulated community, including industrial water and wastewater users.

LUSTs

• EPA Releases Draft Underground Storage Tanks Grant Guidelines - The agency announced on Jan. 24 the release of a draft grant guideline for states to report on the compliance of government underground storage tanks under the Energy Policy Act of 2005. States will have to report on the compliance status of underground storage tanks owned or operated by federal, state, and local governments. When final, EPA will incorporate the guidelines into grant agreements between EPA and states. Grants provide resources to help states implement the underground storage tank program.

Spill Prevention

• EPA Administrator Signs Final Rule to Amend the SPCC Rule - In December 2006, EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson signed a final rule to amend the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule at 40 CFR Part 112. The agency amended the SPCC rule to address a number of issues raised by its 2002 final rule, including those pertaining to facilities with smaller oil storage capacities, qualified oil-filled operational equipment, motive power containers, and mobile refuelers. It also removed sections of the rule not appropriate for facilities with animal fats and vegetable oils, and extended compliance dates for farms. The EPA has prepared references to help the regulated community understand and comply with the rule. It will also revise the “SPCC Guidance for Regional Inspectors,” as appropriate, to reflect the amendments to the rule and will post any changes on the website.

SPCC Compliance

• EPA Proposes to Extend SPCC Compliance Dates - The agency is proposing to extend the compliance dates (as of March 14, this rule is still proposed but may go final at any time after this date) for owners and operators of facilities to prepare or amend and implement SPCC Plans. This proposed rule would extend the dates by which a facility must prepare or amend and implement its SPCC Plan, until July 1, 2009. Since this is the third time for an extension after the new SPCC rules were published in 2002, don’t be surprised if another extension is contemplated by the agency.

Hazardous Waste

• EPA Issues Proposed Exemption to F019 Hazardous Waste Listing - The agency is proposing to amend the F019 hazardous waste listing to facilitate the use of aluminum in automobiles, light trucks and utility vehicles. This action will encourage the production of more fuel-efficient vehicles by reducing the barriers to producing vehicles using lighter aluminum parts. F019 is one of EPA’s F-code RCRA hazardous waste listings, which includes waste that is generated from common industrial and manufacturing processes. The proposed amendment exempts F019 waste generated in the auto manufacturing industry from regulation on the condition the waste is disposed of in a landfill unit that meets certain liner design criteria. The proposal was to be published in the Federal Register by the end of March.

In the next issue, I’ll summarize changes to the EPA Pretreatment Program that are impacting publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) and their effect on industrial users.

About the Authors: Jay Collert is a nationally recognized environmental trainer and consultant with the Aarcher Institute of Environmental Training LLC, based in Houston, TX. Since 1994, he has focused on helping companies understand and comply with the complexities of environmental regulations. Contact: 713-802-2928, training@aarcherinstitute.com or www.aarcherinstitute.com

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