EPA Action: Pretreatment Streamlining Rule, Headworks Rule Exemptions revised
Also in this report: EPA revises exemptions for wastewater treatment; Update - Federal agencies respond to Hurricane Katrina/Rita health, environmental needs; Pennsylvania man sentenced for falsifying underground storage tank closure reports; Idaho developer convicted of Clean Water Act violations; Superfund website now available in Spanish; EPA celebrates National Estuaries Day; Business Roundtable launches new SEE Change initiative...
In other agency news:
-- EPA revises exemptions for wastewater treatment
-- Federal agencies responding to Hurricane Katrina/Rita health, environmental needs
-- Pennsylvania man sentenced for falsifying underground storage tank closure reports
-- Idaho developer convicted of Clean Water Act violations
-- Superfund website now available in Spanish
-- EPA celebrates National Estuaries Day
-- Business Roundtable launches new SEE Change initiative
Pretreatment Streamlining Rule revised
WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 29, 2005 -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced yesterday that it has finalized the Pretreatment Streamlining Rule, which revises how industrial and commercial facilities manage their wastewater discharges before sending it on to publicly owned treatment works (POTW) for final treatment.
The pretreatment program requires manufacturing dischargers to use treatment techniques and management practices to reduce or eliminate the discharge of harmful pollutants that could compromise municipal treatment plant processes or contaminate waterways. The new rule maintains that protection, but removes process requirements for industrial operations including sampling their discharges for pollutants that are not present at their facilities. This change will substantially reduce the costs to facilities, while still holding those facilities to the same federal discharge limits currently in place under Clean Water Act regulations.
POTWs will be granted greater flexibility to issue "general permits" for effluent to multiple industrial users within the same treatment district that have similar operations, discharges and requirements. EPA estimates the rule will save 240,000 employee hours or $10.1 million annually currently expended on pretreatment requirements.
The pretreatment streamlining rule updates the National Pretreatment Program which has been in place for more than 30 years.
Details about the pretreatment streamlining rule are at: www.epa.gov/npdes/pretreatment.
EPA revises exemptions for wastewater treatment
WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 28, 2005 -- The EPA announced that it has finalized revisions to the wastewater treatment exemptions for hazardous waste mixtures, an action also known as the "Headworks Rule Exemptions." The agency is taking steps to provide flexible and environmentally sound regulatory management through the following four revisions: 1) the addition of two solvents (benzene and 2-ethoxyethanol) to a list of solvents whose mixtures are exempted from the rules under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA); 2) the addition of an option to directly measure solvent chemical levels at the headworks of the wastewater treatment system to the current requirement; 3) a clarification in the preamble that scrubber waters generated from the incineration of spent solvents listed in the headworks rule would be eligible for the exemption; 4) the addition of listed hazardous wastes as eligible for the exemption, as well as the addition of non-manufacturing facilities to those that qualify for this exemption if certain conditions are met. Many of these changes are based on the public comments that EPA received during the public comment period. The headworks exemptions have been revised occasionally as new wastes have been added to the lists of hazardous wastes. For more information on the headworks rule, see: www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/id/headworks/index.htm.
Federal agencies responding to Hurricane Katrina/Rita health, environmental needs
WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 28, 2005 -- While criticism began to emerge regarding the federal response to Hurricane Rita ("Many Rita victims still wait for relief") and efforts to water down environmental rules in it and Hurricane Katrina's wake ("Gulf region groups oppose bill to waive environmental protections"), the EPA, FEMA and Department of Homeland Security continued to update efforts at relief and recovery. Estimates of insured losses rose to $8 billion. With no overall damage estimates available, it still broke into the top 10 of most expensive U.S. storms. This compares to $40-60 billion in insured losses for Hurricane Katrina -- the No. 1 most expensive storm -- and possibly over $200 billion in overall damages. No. 2, Hurricane Andrew in 1992 caused $21 billion in insured losses in today's dollars.
Enforcement Wrap-up for Week of Sept. 28
Pennsylvania man sentenced for falsifying underground storage tank closure reports: Michael Klusaritz of Whitehall, Pa., was sentenced on Sept. 15 by the U.S. District Court for Eastern Pennsylvania to serve 21 months in prison, pay $112,220.06 in restitution and serve 36 months supervised release. This sentence is the result of his June 2005 guilty plea to charges of filing false underground storage tank (UST) closure reports.
Between 2001 and 2003, Klusaritz prepared false UST closure reports while employed at Boyko's Petroleum Services, Inc., in Whitehall, Pa. As a result, Boyko customers were billed more than $110,000 for reports which contained falsified laboratory analyses and forged signatures. The false reports prepared by Klusaritz were submitted to the customers and to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Falsification of underground storage tank closure reports can prevent regulators from being aware of potential groundwater contamination.
This was not Klusaritz's first conviction for an environmental crime. In 1997, he was sentenced to one year in prison, ordered to pay $40,000 in restitution and sentenced to serve three years probation for his involvement in a laboratory fraud case involving Hess Laboratories in East Stroudsburg, Pa. The case involving Klusaritz's activities at Boyko was investigated by the Philadelphia Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the EPA Office of Inspector General. It was prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office in Philadelphia.
Idaho developer convicted of Clean Water Act violations: C. Lynn Moses, a developer from Eastern Idaho, was convicted by a jury in U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho on Sept. 15 on three counts of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA). The violations occurred from 2002-2004 as the defendant was involved in developing property adjacent to Teton Creek. While developing the land, he supervised a continuing effort to use heavy equipment to manipulate the stream bed of the creek, which is a tributary of the Snake River. Prior to undertaking steam modification, Moses refused to submit an application for a dredge and fill permit required under the CWA. In addition, he failed to comply with an EPA administrative order to stop all discharges of dredge and fill material into the creek. When sentenced, Moses could receive a maximum potential sentence of up to three years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $250,000 on each count. The case was investigated by the Boise Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with the assistance of the Army Corps of Engineers and the FBI. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office for the District of Idaho.
Superfund website now available in Spanish
WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 26, 2005 -- In its ongoing effort to reach out to the Hispanic community across the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico, EPA has now made its Website on the Superfund Program available in Spanish. The new site offers Spanish speakers who may live near Superfund sites information on the environmental clean-up process of hazardous substances covered under the Superfund Program, and the diverse technologies frequently used at Superfund sites, such as pump and treat systems, soil vapor extraction and capping, among others.
Through this site, EPA is providing Hispanics with the necessary information and tools that will enable them to have a meaningful community participation during the Superfund cleanup process. "Superfund en Espanol will benefit the health of individuals, communities and ecosystems around Superfund areas by developing strong partnerships with Hispanic stakeholders," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson.
The website also has documents in Spanish related to Superfund's community involvement program; Spanish fact sheets on the cleanup process and methods; information on technical assistance grants; a bilingual glossary of common terms used in EPA's Superfund Program; and 105 questions and answers on many Superfund topics.
Over the past three years, the Agency has been producing more Spanish language materials to offer Spanish speakers throughout the country valuable information on the steps they can take in their home, at school, and in their community to improve their environmental health. As part of these efforts, the agency launched a new consolidated Spanish portal covering a wide variety of environmental issues on January 19, 2005. Other EPA program and regional offices have launched similar sites and developed outreach materials to be more responsive to the Hispanic community by providing useful environmental information in Spanish. These websites are integrated into EPA's Spanish portal.
As evidenced by the 2000 Census, Hispanics are the fastest growing minority population in the country. Because of this growth, coupled with the fact that several Superfund sites are close to Hispanic demographic centers, the Superfund Program office saw the need to provide Spanish languages resources for use by Hispanic communities living near Superfund sites.
EPA celebrates National Estuaries Day
WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 22, 2005 (WaterNews) -- Sept. 24 is National Estuaries Day. This is an annual celebration to help educate people across the county about the importance of protecting the estuaries. To kick-off this event hosted by EPA's National Estuary Programs (NEP) and NOAA's National Estuarine Research Reserves (NERR) an interactive field trip "Estuarylive" to seven estuaries using the internet is scheduled on Thursday, Sept. 22 and Friday, Sept 23. Included on Thursday are New York New Jersey Harbor NEP, NJ; Jacques Cousteau NERR and Barnegat Bay NEP, NJ; as well as San Francisco Bay NERR, CA. On Friday, Sept. 23 the program will include Grand Bay NERR and Mobile Bay NEP, Alabama; as well as Tillamook Bay NEP and South Slough NERR, Oregon.
Classrooms across the country will tour these estuaries by asking questions of trained naturalists and educators leading the expeditions. For more information on each field trip and associated activities, and to find out how to participate, visit www.estuaries.gov and click on EstuaryLive. To find out about these programs, visit www.epa.gov/owow/estuaries.
Business Roundtable launches new SEE Change initiative
WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 22, 2005 (WaterNews) -- On Sept. 21, Benjamin H. Grumbles and other officials and executives attended the launching of the new Social Environmental, and Economic (SEE) Change program by the Business Roundtable in Washington, D.C. The SEE Change Initiative encourages Roundtable members to adopt sustainability principles as a business planning tool and to measure for accountability. Business Roundtable is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. corporations. The initiative is consistent with EPA's approach to sustainable infrastructure and water conservation. "We'll be looking for opportunities to provide incentives and remove potential regulatory barriers to water efficiency," according to Grumbles.
For more information visit their website at www.businessroundtable.org.
In earlier EPA reports, see: -- "EPA Action: As nation readies for Hurricane Rita, agency eases toxic reporting rules" (Sept. 23, 2005): Agency prepares for Hurricane Rita; Pollution Prevention Week activities to support Hurricane Katrina victims; National Environmental Trust decries toxic spill rules shift with hurricane threats; EPA proposes burden reduction rule for the Toxics Release Inventory; 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; 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...