EPA Action: As nation readies for Hurricane Rita, agency eases toxic reporting rules

Also in this report: Agency prepares for Hurricane Rita; Pollution Prevention Week activities support Hurricane Katrina victims; National Environmental Trust decries toxic spill rule shift with hurricane threats; EPA proposes burden reduction rule for the Toxics Release Inventory; Colo. man sentenced for false well monitoring reports; Pa. man pleads to altering wastewater samples; EPA, DOJ and Ohio settle with U.S. Steel; Chicago's Lake Calumet among seven final, five proposed Superfund sites...

Sep 24th, 2005

In other news below:
-- Agency prepares for Hurricane Rita
-- Pollution Prevention Week activities to support Hurricane Katrina victims
-- Alabama foundry to pay $4.25 million for RCRA, OSHA violations
-- Colo. man sentenced for falsifying well monitoring reports
-- Fla. man, two Pa. companies Plead Guilty in Hazardous Waste Case
-- Pa. man pleads to conspiracy to alter wastewater samples
-- National Environmental Trust decries toxic spill rules shift with hurricane threats
-- EPA proposes burden reduction rule for the Toxics Release Inventory
-- Ex-Ill. dairy manager indicted for discharging pollutants
-- EPA, DOJ and state of Ohio reach agreement with U.S. Steel
-- Chicago's Lake Calumet among seven final, five proposed Superfund sites

Agency prepares for Hurricane Rita
WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 23, 2005 (U.S. Newswire) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is working closely with the state of Texas to prepare for Hurricane Rita.

Pre-deployed EPA Personnel
EPA has pre-deployed three EPA response personnel and four contractors to the Regional Response Coordination Center in Austin, Texas. The pre-deployment team is co-located with other federal and state personnel to coordinate planning for Hurricane Rita response priorities.

EPA Incident Management Team
A full EPA Incident Management Team consisting of 18 EPA personnel will stage in Dallas, Texas, on Saturday, Sept. 24. The team will deploy to the impacted area as soon as the storm passes (anticipated to be Monday, Sept. 26). Additional response and contract personnel are standing by and will be brought to the scene once an initial needs assessment is complete.

Chemical and Petroleum Facilities
The Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and EPA have been contacting chemical and refinery industry along the hurricane's path concerning their plans to secure and shut-down their plants. The Risk Management Program (RMP) under the Clean Air Act requires facilities to develop an emergency plan and coordinate their activities with local officials.

Additional measures are being taken to prepare for response actions at chemical and petroleum facilities. EPA is currently mapping the facilities and sites expected to be impacted by Hurricane Rita. These maps will be used to conduct a Rapid Needs Assessment that will be conducted shortly after the storm passes. EPA has also listed these facilities in the Agency's Rapid Assessment Integrated Database (RAID) which prioritizes targets for the reconnaissance phase of the response. Chemical products stored at the larger facilities to assist responders are also being identified.

Superfund Sites
The EPA is currently mapping Superfund hazardous waste sites expected to be impacted by Hurricane Rita. Teams of project managers are prepared to deploy to affected Superfund hazardous waste sites as soon as the storm passes (anticipated to be Monday, Sept. 26). These teams will conduct thorough assessments and, if assessed necessary, they will also sample the sites to determine any impact.

Hurricane-Related Fuel Waivers
In the continued effort to minimize potential fuel supply disruptions caused by Hurricane's Rita and Katrina, on Sept. 22 EPA expanded the waiver to allow conventional gasoline (CG) to be sold and distributed in the Houston-Galveston reformulated gasoline (RFG) covered area to cover the Dallas-Fort Worth RFG area through midnight on Sept. 30. In a related action, EPA granted a third waiver to extend the Sept. 9 waiver to allow regulated parties to distribute and sell CG in the Richmond, Va., RFG covered area through midnight on Sept. 30. Retail outlets and wholesale purchaser-consumers will be allowed to continue selling or dispensing this fuel after Sept. 30, until their supplies are depleted. EPA and the Department of Energy will continue to monitor the situation closely and work with state and local governments to evaluate and respond to changing circumstances. More information on hurricane-related fuel waivers is currently available online at: www.epa.gov/compliance/katrina/waiver/index.html.

-- General information about hurricane preparation and recovery is at: www.epa.gov/naturalevents/hurricanes.html.
-- Information about EPA's response to Hurricane Katrina is at: www.epa.gov/katrina.
-- Data from the Sept. 10 samples from New Orleans are available on EPA's Web site at: www.epa.gov/katrina/testresults/sediments/index.html.
-- Additional information concerning fuel oils may be found on the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Agency's ToxFAQs for fuel oils: www.atsdr.cdc.gov/tfacts75.html.
-- For information on LDEQ's response to Hurricane Katrina, go to: www.deq.state.la.us/.

Pollution Prevention Week Activities to Support Hurricane Katrina Victims
WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 22, 2005 (U.S. Newswire) -- As part of the National Pollution Prevention (P2) Week celebration Sept. 19-24, the EPA is sponsoring a number of "Environmental Stewardship Begins at Home" employee-related events. EPA is conducting a Re-Use and Recycling Fair this week to collect used cell phones, eye glasses and hearing aids, batteries, printer cartridges, and children's books. The collected items will be used to benefits victims of Katrina. In addition, there will be demonstrations on Green Landscaping, Energy Star, and a number of other P2 initiatives. As part of its P2 Week Celebration, EPA is launching a newly created pollution prevention Web site -- www.epa.gov/pollutionprevention/ -- that will provide stakeholders and the public with one point of reference to the agency's pollution prevention programs. In addition, the agency is making available new information on the Green Suppliers Network, an innovative pollution prevention program. The Green Suppliers Network is a joint venture between EPA and the U.S. Department of Commerce to help small and medium-sized manufacturers improve their economic and environmental performance. EPA is also making available two Design for the Environment documents that assess alternative flame retardants for use in furniture foam (alternatives to pentabromodiphenyl ether) and assess the life-cycle of solders in electronics (alternatives to tin-lead solder). These documents were produced as part of cooperative partnership efforts between EPA and a wide range of stakeholders to compare and improve the performance and reduce human health and environmental risks, while also promoting alternative products, processes, and practices. For more information on pollution prevention tips, visit: www.epa.gov/oppt/p2home/p2week/.

Enforcement Action for the Week of Sept. 22
Alabama Foundry Sentenced to Pay $4.25 Million for RCRA and OSHA Violations -- On Sept. 7, Union Foundry Company of Birmingham, Ala., a division of McWane Inc., was sentenced to pay a $3.5 million criminal fine, perform a $750,000 environmental community service project and serve five years probation by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. The sentence resulted from Union Foundry's guilty plea to charges of violating both the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulation. The RCRA charge arose from Union Foundry's practice of allowing its employees to treat toxic dust containing lead and cadmium without a required permit. The dust came from an air filtration device that controlled pollution from scrap iron melting. The OSHA violation arose from the lack of a safety guard on a conveyor belt which caused the death of an employee in August 2000. The case was investigated by the Atlanta office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI. It was prosecuted by the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., and the U.S. attorney's office in Birmingham, Ala.

Colorado Man Sentenced for Violating the Clean Water Act -- Michael Eugene Cervi of Roggen, Colo., was sentenced on Sept. 9 in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado for violating the Safe Drinking Water Act by falsifying underground injection well monitoring reports. The court ordered Cervi to serve five months in prison followed by five months of home detention, pay $233,000 in restitution, pay a $30,000 fine and perform 50 hours of community service. Cervi owned Envirocycle, a business which recycled and disposed of wastewater from oil drilling operations. Disposal was done through injection into a deep well near LaSalle, Colo. The wastewater was a brine which contained a number of toxic chemicals including benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene. In the spring of 2001, Envirocycle employees found contamination in the well's leak detection system. Instead of fixing the problem, the leak detection system was sealed off and a false sampling point was created. Clean water was then poured into the false sampling point, and falsified samples were submitted to the Weld County Health Department. In August 2002, Cervi sold Envirocycle to Conquest Oil which discovered the altered leak detection system in December 2002. Conquest repaired the leak detection system and began a clean-up of contamination around the well. To date, the repair and clean-up has cost approximately $233,000. Two Envirocycle employees, Rande Bernal and James Bernal, were also convicted in this case and are awaiting sentencing. Allowing toxic chemicals to leak from injection wells can create a health hazard for both humans and wildlife. The case was investigated by the Denver Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with assistance from the Colorado Attorney General's Office and EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. It was prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office in Denver.

Florida Man and Two Pennsylvania Companies Plead Guilty in Hazardous Waste Case -- A guilty plea to charges of violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act by Joel D. Udell of Boca Raton, Fla., and two companies he owned in Ambler, Pa., Pyramid Chemical Sales Co., and Nittany Warehouse LP, was announced on Sept. 13 in Philadelphia. The plea agreement calls for the defendants to pay 1,017,557 Euros to the Netherlands for cleanup costs and to also reimburse the United States for approximately $150,000 in Superfund cleanup oversight costs at the Nittany Warehouse in Pottstown, Pa. Additional penalties may be ordered by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania at the time of sentencing. In June 2000, the EPA declared Nittany Warehouse a Superfund Site and ordered the defendants to clean up numerous containers of hazardous waste. Instead of cleaning up, the defendants illegally shipped some of the wastes to the Netherlands and sold some of it to facilities in the United States, falsely claiming it was new, unused product rather than hazardous waste. The government of the Netherlands and the American companies that received the waste wound up paying for its proper disposal. The case was investigated by the Philadelphia Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the Netherlands Ministry of the Environment, the Department of Homeland Security's Bureau of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, and the Borough of Pottstown, Pa. Investigative assistance was provided by EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania with assistance from criminal enforcement counsel from EPA Region 3.

Pennsylvania Man Pleads to Conspiracy to Violate the Clean Water Act -- James J. Bell of Glenshaw, Pa., pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to violate the Clean Water Act (CWA) on Sept. 6 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. The defendant was formerly the plant manager at the Iron City Uniform Rental Company in Pittsburgh. From about October 1995 to July 2000, Bell conspired with others to violate the CWA when he directed that required samples of wastewater from Iron City's laundry either be altered to yield false results or be taken from sampling locations not authorized in Iron City's CWA discharge permit. In addition, employees were ordered to delay inspectors while clean water was added to wastewater prior to sampling. In the process of cleaning used uniforms and other soiled items, the laundry discharged approximately one million gallons of wastewater each month into sewers operated by the Allegheny County Sanitary District. The wastewater contained benzene, toluene and oil. Discharging wastewater with higher than permitted levels of benzene, toluene and oil into sewers can create a hazard for sanitary facility workers and can prevent the proper treatment of sewage at treatment plants. When sentenced, Bell faces a maximum possible sentence of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. The case was investigated by the Philadelphia Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and is being prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office in Pittsburgh.

National Environmental Trust: Now not time for easing toxic spill reporting rules
WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 22, 2005 -- Warning of dozens of chemical plants that lie in Hurricane Rita's path around Houston and Galveston, Texas -- which includes 28% of the nation's petroleum refining capacity -- the National Environmental Trust (NET) warned of a potential environmental nightmare on a scale of Hurricane Katrina, underscoring the need for consistent reporting of toxic spills -- not easing such requirements as the Bush Administration proposed this week. Some complain the Administration is taking advantage of hurricanes to force through rollbacks of environmental rules... Click here for more.

EPA proposes burden reduction rule for Toxics Release Inventory
WASHINGTON, Sept. 21, 2005 (U.S. Newswire) -- EPA is proposing a rule to expand the use of a shortened reporting form (Form A certification statement) for some facilities. The proposal is expected to save 165,000 hours per year, while still ensuring full Form R (long form) reporting on over 99 percent of toxic releases and other waste management activities. The proposal also provides new incentives to facilities to emit less in order to be able to use the shorter form. This proposed action comes after an extensive evaluation by EPA, its stakeholders and reporting facilities to address the concerns expressed about TRI reporting burden.

"Since TRI began in 1986, EPA has learned a great deal about the power that public information has to influence corporate behavior and empower communities, and we also have found new ways to use technology to reduce costs for everyone involved, improve data quality and speed the release of the information collected," said Kimberly T. Nelson, assistant administrator for the Office of Environmental Information and Chief Information Officer for EPA. "Today's proposal would provide burden reduction for approximately 1/3 of TRI reporters while still requiring facilities to report on all chemicals that they report on today."

The proposed rule is part of an on-going effort to streamline TRI reporting. EPA issued a final rule in July 2005 that revised the TRI reporting forms to eliminate information not used, and to make use of data already available in existing EPA information systems.

In a separate but related action to the proposal being announced, EPA is notifying Congress, as required by the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) Section 313(i), that the agency plans to initiate a rulemaking to modify the frequency of reporting under the TRI program. As required by Section 313(i) (5), EPA will delay the initiation of such rulemaking for at least 12 months, but no more than 24 months, from the date of the notification. EPA is taking this step because we believe that alternate year reporting not only offers burden reduction, but also offers other potential advantages that merit consideration. Not only would alternate year reporting result in significant burden reduction for covered facilities, citizens would benefit from the redirection of federal and state taxpayer dollars to improve the quality, clarity, usefulness and accessibility of TRI information products and services.

Program savings during the non-reporting years would be reinvested to: 1) improve the TRI-Made Easy (TRI-ME) software, thereby improving data quality and further reducing burden on reporters, 2) conduct more analysis of the TRI data making it more useful to citizens and communities, and 3) invest in greater electronic reporting including a web-based TRI-ME for all reporters. Electronic reporting to EPA enables us to provide even greater taxpayer savings as processing time diminishes.

As the agency begins collecting information that will aid an analysis of the alternate year approach, we stand ready to consider all viewpoints on the issues and plan to convene meetings with TRI stakeholders to invite their views. Any changes that EPA may propose as a result of this notice will be done as part of a full notice and public comment rulemaking process.

For almost 20 years, EPA's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) has shown that the amount of toxic chemicals released into the environment by reporting facilities continues to decline. In this year's report, nearly 24,000 facilities reported on approximately 650 chemicals including toxics managed in landfills and underground injection wells as well as those released into water and the air.

TRI provides the American public with vital information on chemical releases including disposal for their communities, and is an important instrument for industries to gauge their progress in reducing pollution.

TRI tracks releases of chemicals and industrial sectors specified by the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act of 1986 and its implementing regulations. The Pollution Prevention Act (PPA) of 1990 also mandates that facilities report data on other waste management activities such as treatment, recycling and energy recovery. Together, these laws require facilities in certain industries to report annually on releases, disposal and other waste management activities related to these chemicals. In addition, since 1994, EPA has by rulemaking expanded the program by doubling the number of covered chemicals, adding seven new industrial sectors, and lowering reporting thresholds for persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic (PBT) chemicals. These rulemakings have provided valuable new information to communities but have also increased the burden on reporters.

EPA remains committed to an open process that will consider all viewpoints as we go forward. We will move deliberatively and evaluate options using our almost 20 years of implementation experience and data to consider the impacts of any potential action.

Additional information, a copy of the proposal and notification to Congress will be available to the public at: www.epa.gov/tri/tridata/modrule/phase2.

Illinois Man Indicted For Criminal Violation of the Clean Water Act
WASHINGTON, Sept. 21, 2005 (U.S. Newswire) -- An Illinois man was indicted by a federal grand jury for a criminal violation of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA), the Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency announced today. David Inskeep, who formerly managed and operated the Inwood Dairy, located in Elmwood, Illinois, is charged with one count of knowingly discharging pollutants into waters of the United States without a permit.

"Clean water is a valuable natural resource, and these allegations suggest a blatant disregard for the laws that protect them," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Kelly A. Johnson of the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "The Justice Department takes violations of the laws that protect our waters very seriously and will prosecute such violations to the full extent of the law."

According to the indictment, at the time of the alleged offense Inskeep managed the Inwood Dairy and its 1,250 dairy cows and operated a waste management system consisting of a lagoon designed at full capacity to hold approximately 40 million gallons of waste generated by the animals. The system used water to flush cattle manure and waste water from the barns to a central collection point; waste was then pumped to the lagoon for storage until it could be lawfully removed.

The indictment alleges that on February 14, 2001, an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) official observed that the waste level in the Inwood Dairy lagoon was three inches from the top of the berm wall and advised Inskeep to stop pumping waste into the lagoon. The following day, another IEPA official allegedly found the lagoon was completely full with the pump still operating. Despite the official's request to turn off the pump or face an overflow and discharge into a local tributary, and subsequent flow to the West Fork of Kickapoo Creek, Inskeep allegedly refused to turn off the pump. Later that day, the indictment alleges Inskeep refused to hire waste haulers to remove the waste, and indicated his possible intention to pump the waste from the lagoon to a tributary located on his property- despite the fact that he was told that such action was illegal.

"The defendant is charged with pumping over a million gallons of animal waste into the environment," said Granta Y. Nakayama, EPA's Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "The government will prosecute those whose illegal actions pollute our natural resources."

U.S. Attorney Jan Paul Miller said, "Crimes that impact our environment impact all of us. Federal laws designed to safeguard our land, water and air are not suggestions; they are mandates that will be enforced."

On February 16, 2001, an Illinois Circuit Court judge ordered the dairy to immediately stop discharging wastes into the lagoon. The indictment alleges that on February 16 and 17, 2001, Inskeep began pumping waste from the lagoon through a flexible hose to a tributary that flowed downhill from the dairy, discharging more than one million gallons of waste and manure and lowering the level of wastewater in the lagoon by nine inches.

If convicted, Inskeep could face up to 36 months in prison as well as a fine of up to $50,000 per day of violation. A summons will be issued for Inskeep to appear in federal court in Peoria, Illinois for arraignment at a date to be determined by the Clerk of the U.S. District Court.

This case was investigated by Special Agents of the EPA and IEPA and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). Trial Attorney Mary Dee Carraway of the Environmental Crimes Section (ECS) of the U.S. Department of Justice and Assistant U. S. Attorney Gerard Brost are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely a formal way of bringing charges against an individual. All persons charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

EPA, DOJ and state of Ohio reach agreement with U.S. Steel
CHICAGO, Sept. 21, 2005 (U.S. Newswire) -- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Justice and the state of Ohio have reached an agreement with United States Steel Corp. on alleged clean-air and clean-water violations by the former USS/KOBE Steel Co. at the steel plant at 2199 E. 28th St., Lorain, Ohio, that is currently owned and operated by U.S. Steel. As successor to certain liabilities of USS/KOBE, U.S. Steel will spend $294,000 on an environmental project and pay a $100,025 penalty, half of which will go to the state of Ohio.

The agreement resolves a complaint filed at the same time that USS/KOBE failed to comply with limits on particulate (dust, ash, smoke) emissions in the state's plan to implement the Clean Air Act. It also resolves allegations that USS/KOBE discharged pollutants in violation of limits in its effluent discharge permit issued by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

For its environmental project, U.S. Steel will remove and dispose of electrical transformers containing polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs. In addition to spending $294,000 to remove the transformers, the company will spend additional money to buy and install replacement transformers.

"The replacement of transformers by U.S. Steel as part of this agreement will protect the health of the company's neighbors in Lorain," said EPA Region 5 Administrator Thomas V. Skinner.

Inhaling high concentrations of particulates can affect children, the elderly and people with heart and lung diseases the most.

Exposure to PCBs can have adverse health effects including skin irritations and rashes. In addition, PCBs are considered a probable cancer-causing agent in humans.

The consent decree was lodged today in U.S. District Court in Cleveland, Ohio, and is subject to a 30-day comment period. Comments should be addressed to the Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources Division, U.S. Department of Justice, P.O. Box 7611, Washington, D.C. 20044-7611; and refer to United States v. United States Steel Corp. During the comment period, the consent decree may be examined at www.usdoj.gov/enrd/open.html.

EPA wants Chicago's Lake Calumet site on Superfund priorities list
CHICAGO, Sept. 16, 2005 (U.S. Newswire) -- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed Chicago's Lake Calumet Cluster site for addition to the National Priorities List. Sites subsequently named to the final NPL are eligible for cleanup under the Superfund program. A 60-day public comment period on the proposal to add the Cluster site to the list is now under way.

Nationally, EPA proposed five new sites and named seven sites as final additions to the NPL. The Cluster site is the only proposed or final site in EPA Region 5.

The 87-acre Cluster site, on Chicago's southeast side, is composed of four separate parcels. The area is bounded by the Land and Lakes Landfill to the west, 122nd Street. to the south, the Norfolk and Western Railroad right-of-way and the Indian Ridge Marsh to the east, and the Paxton I & II Landfills to the north.

A number of industrial and recycling businesses operated in the site area between the late 19th century and the late 1970s. Prior to this, the area was part of a larger expanse of wetlands, some of which remain today as polluted marshy areas with standing water. At present, portions of the area are covered by up to 30 feet of fill material, such as steel mill slag and industrial, chemical and municipal waste.

Environmental concerns at the Cluster site include contaminated soil containing pollutants, chemicals and heavy metals. Significantly, wetland areas near the site are known to be used by at least 14 different federal or state endangered or threatened species. Recreational fishing has also been observed in the area, with contaminants from the site likely affecting the nearby surface water and sediment areas where aquatic life is found.

Since the early 1980s, both EPA and Illinois EPA have conducted a series of short-term cleanup actions in the area, including disposal of drums and other debris. Next steps: EPA, in consultation with Illinois EPA, is negotiating with a group of potentially responsible parties to have them perform a comprehensive site investigation that will fully assess remaining contamination at the site.

There are now 1,245 final sites on the NPL. A total of 62 sites are proposed and await final Agency action; six of these are federal facilities. Altogether, there are 1,307 final and proposed sites on the list - with 942 having reached construction completion status, at which point only long-term monitoring or management of contained hazardous materials remains.

With today's publication in the Federal Register, a 60-day public comment period on the proposed NPL listing of the Cluster site begins. Comments on the proposed listing should be sent to EPA's headquarters docket (detailed information is online at the URL below).

Site information repositories have been established at the Hegewisch Public Library, 3048 E. 130th St.; the Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State St.; and EPA's downtown Records Center, Metcalfe Building, 7th Floor, 77 W. Jackson Blvd., in Chicago.

For Federal Register notices and supporting documents, see www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/current.htm.

Seven final, five proposed Superfund sites announced
WASHINGTON, Sept. 16 -- EPA is continuing to make progress in protecting public health, cleaning up the nation's hazardous waste and encouraging economic revitalization and land reuse by adding seven sites and proposing five additional sites to the National Priorities List (NPL) of Superfund sites. The sites were selected because of their degree of risk to human health and to sensitive environments.

A former chlorine manufacturer, a hard rock mine, a commercial grain elevator and an electroplating facility are among the seven new sites that will be added to the final list. With the addition of these seven sites, there are now 1,245 final sites on the NPL. With the addition of the five newly proposed sites, 62 proposed sites await final Agency action: 56 in the general Superfund section of the NPL and 6 in the federal facilities section. Altogether, there are 1,307 final and proposed sites on the list.

With all Superfund sites, EPA tries to identify and locate the parties potentially responsible for the contamination. Historically, on average, "Potentially Responsible Parties" (PRPs) held responsible for the contamination agree to initiate or pay for 70 percent of cleanups started each year. For these newly listed sites without viable PRPs, EPA will investigate the full extent of the contamination before starting significant clean-up at the site. While it may be several years before significant clean-up funding is required for these sites, designating these sites now helps ensure the public's safety.

Sites may be placed on the NPL through various mechanisms:
-- Numeric ranking established by EPA's Hazard Ranking System.
-- Designation by states or territories of one top-priority site regardless of score.
-- Meeting all three following requirements:
-- The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) of the U.S. Public Health Service has issued a health advisory that recommends removing people from the site;
-- EPA determines the site poses a significant threat to public health; and
-- EPA anticipates it will be more cost-effective to use its remedial authority (available only at NPL sites) than to use its emergency removal authority to respond to the site.

For the EPA's Superfund webpage, go to: www.epa.gov/superfund/.

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In earlier EPA reports, see:
-- "EPA Action: Federal, multi-state Cargill settlement secures major pollution reductions" (Sept. 1, 2005): Good Samaritan initiative unveiled at White House Conference on Cooperative Conservation; New handbook to help accelerate Watershed Protection Programs; Assistant administrator tours water efficient plumbing plant; Preliminary effluent guidelines plan for 2006; Adsorptive media technology for arsenic removal verified; Coca-Cola, Ford, 3M, 68 others commit to extra environmental improvements; Tetra Tech awarded $43 million EPA clean water, watershed protection contract; New York man pleads guilty to drinking water monitoring violation; Data sought for 26 drinking water contaminants...
-- "EPA Action: New tests to detect previously undetectable bacteria" (Aug. 11, 2005): New test methods proposed yesterday by the Environmental Protection Agency will lead to the detection of four types of bacteria in wastewater and sewage sludge. The EPA's proposal centers on culture-based approaches to detecting enterococci and Escherichia coli (E. coli) in wastewater. Additional tests will identify salmonella and fecal coliform bacteria in sewage sludge...
-- "EPA to change effluent limit guidelines, pretreatment standards for iron, steel industry" (Aug. 10, 2005): The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to amend certain provisions of the regulations establishing effluent limitations guidelines, pretreatment standards and new source performance standards for its Iron and Steel Manufacturing Point Source Category. Public comments must be received by Sept. 9...

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