New industrial wastewater control plans among recent EPA action
Others include: Agency, America's Clean Water Foundation encourage global water quality monitoring effort; New environmental research fellowship opportunities unveiled; New methods approved for determining compliance with uranium drinking water standards...
The following are recent actions taken by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):
EPA and America's Clean Water Foundation encourage global water quality monitoring effort
WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 1, 2004 -- To ensure that global citizens have clean water for domestic, agricultural, commercial and recreational uses, EPA and America's Clean Water Foundation are inviting people around the world to monitor the water quality of their rivers, lakes, streams, wetlands and coastal waters. This effort is to help engage civic groups, churches and other organizations to participate in the second annual World Water Monitoring Day on Oct. 18, 2004. Volunteers of all ages can obtain a test kit to measure their watershed for four basic indicators of health such as dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity or water clarity and temperature and then enter the results online. Information about participating in the event and receiving kits are available at: www.worldwatermonitoringday.org or by contacting America's Clean Water Foundation Coordinator Ed Moyer at 202-746-8493. A joint press conference was held at the National Press Club on Sept. 3 to demonstrate the water monitoring kits and to help kick off the public's participation in the activities associated with the event.
Weekly Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Wrap-Up
-- Waste disposal company owner sentenced for illegal dumping in Alabama: Don Milton White, a private contractor from Mobile, Ala., was sentenced to six months in prison, three years probation and $20,000 in restitution to the U.S. EPA. In May, White pleaded guilty to two counts of violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. White contracted with the Escambia County Utility Authority in Florida to transport and dispose of wastes from its wastewater treatment facility. White illegally dumped the wastes, which included oils, tar, paint wastes, hydraulic fluid, solvents and other mixed materials, at separate locations in Mobile and in Baldwin County in Southern Alabama. Of the hundreds of gallons of wastes White illegally discarded, some contained highly corrosive liquid that is regulated as hazardous waste under federal law. Dumping waste oils, fluids and solvents on the ground can create a contamination hazard for humans and wildlife. Sentencing took place on Aug. 19 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama in Mobile. The case was investigated by the Jackson, Miss., Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, EPA's Emergency Response Branch and the FBI. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Mobile and the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.
-- President of Pennsylvania laboratory convicted of mail fraud: Edward V. Kellogg, president, quality control officer and owner of Johnson Laboratories Inc., in New Cumberland, Pa., was convicted of 34 counts of mail fraud for billing customers for false environmental test reports from May 1998 to July 2000. Johnson Laboratories was in the business of providing analytical testing of environmental samples of water and wastewater. The charges claimed that Kellogg caused environmental test results for Volatile Organic Chemicals to be falsely prepared and that he billed customers $9,722 for the fraudulent test results. Submitting false laboratory results can prevent pollution control programs from being effective. The conviction was handed down on Aug. 17 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Allentown, Pa. The case was investigated by the Philadelphia Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the EPA Office of Inspector General, the Environmental Crimes Section of the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Bureau of Laboratories. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Allentown.
New environmental research fellowship opportunities announced
WASHINGTON, DC, Aug. 27, 2004 -- EPA announced approximately 100 new fellowships will be awarded for research in environmental fields of study through the Agency's Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program. The STAR program provides educational support for full-time masters and doctoral level students who plan to pursue environmental careers; with a focus on developing future leaders in environmental science, education, assessment, and restoration efforts. More than 1,300 applicants compete each year for approximately 100 fellowships through a rigorous merit review process. A 2002 National Academy of Science (NAS) report gave the STAR program an outstanding rating compared to other federal research grant programs. The NAS report also concluded that STAR research results have improved the scientific foundation for decision making at EPA since the program's inception in 1995. The deadline for preliminary applications is Nov. 23, 2004. Awards from this selection process should be made by July 21, 2005 for the fall 2005 term. Projects undertaken by previous fellows have included genetic approaches to biodiversity, environmental toxicology and research on watersheds and the impact of human behavior on the environment. Fellowships of up to $37,000 per year will be awarded, with masters degree candidates eligible for up to two years of support and doctoral candidates for a total of three years. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or be lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence. Information on STAR fellowships is available at: http://es.epa.gov/ncer/fellow
. Detailed application information can be found at: http://es.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/2004/2005_star_grad_fellow.htm.
Three new money- and labor-saving methods approved for determining compliance with uranium drinking water standards
EPA has approved the use of three additional analytical methods to measure the amount of uranium in drinking water in the final National Primary Drinking Water Regulations: Analytical Method for Uranium, that will be published in the Federal Register. The rule was proposed on June 2, 2004, in the Federal Register to allow for public comment. The new analytical methods could be more cost-effective, less labor-intensive or more sensitive than some of the technologies previously approved in the December 2000 Radionuclides Rule. The final rule does not affect approval of the 15 methods already specified in the federal regulations for compliance determinations of uranium. More information on this action is available on EPA's web site at: www.epa.gov/safewater/.
EPA plans four possible new and revised industrial wastewater controls
EPA plans to examine four industry sectors for possible new or updated wastewater controls. Under EPA's 2004 Effluent Guidelines Plan, airport de-icing operations and drinking water supply and treatment facilities are candidates for possible new regulations. In addition, EPA may update existing industrial wastewater regulations for vinyl chloride manufacturing facilities and producers of chlorine that use the chlor-alkali process. Effluent guidelines are national regulations that improve water quality by controlling the discharge of pollutants by specific industries ¿ from manufacturing and agriculture to service industries ¿ into U.S. waters. By having effluent guidelines, over the past 30 years, EPA has prevented the discharge of more than 690 billion pounds of pollutants a year. The Clean Water Act requires EPA to annually review and, if appropriate, revise effluent guidelines already in effect. Every two years, the Agency must also publish a plan and schedule for its annual review and revision of effluent guidelines that are currently in place. The plan also identifies and establishes a rulemaking schedule for industries not currently covered by effluent guidelines. More information about EPA's 2004 Effluent Guidelines Plan is available at: www.epa.gov/guide/plan.html.
Weekly Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Wrap-Up
-- Connecticut company to pay $10 million for Clean Water Act violations : Tyco Printed Circuit Group (TPCG) of Stafford, Conn., a subsidiary of Tyco International, was sentenced on 12 counts of violating the Clean Water Act. The plea agreement calls for TPCG to pay a total of $10 million in fines. Of that amount, $6 million will be paid as a federal criminal fine; $2.7 million will go to the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) natural resources fund; the Towns of Stafford and Manchester will receive $500,000 each to fund improvements in their sewer and water treatment systems; and $300,000 will pay for recycling deionized and other wastewater at the company's Stafford and Staffordville facilities. Between 1999 and June 2001, TPCG managers at the company's Stafford, Staffordville and Manchester facilities engaged in a variety of practices that caused the facilities to discharge wastewater with higher than permitted levels of pollutants into municipal sewage treatment systems. The illegal practices included, but were not limited to, diluting potentially non-compliant wastewater samples, discarding of samples with excessive levels of toxic metals, and omitting samples that were not in compliance for pH. Sentencing took place on Aug. 17 in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut in Hartford. The case was investigated by the Boston Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Connecticut DEP with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Hartford.
-- Colorado electroplating company and manager indicted in sewer dumping case: Luxury Wheels Inc. of Grand Junction, Colo., and Albert David Hajduk, Luxury Wheels' operations manager, have been indicted on charges of conspiracy and violating the Clean Water Act (CWA). According to the indictment, Luxury Wheels was an electroplating business that used various chemicals for its processes including acids and caustics, as well as chemical solutions containing metals. The indictment alleges that from May 1999 until September 2003, the defendants entered into a conspiracy and violated the CWA by attempting to treat wastewater at times when their treatment system was overburdened, by diluting wastes before treating them in violation of their discharge permit and by hiring a company to "hydrojet" the company's sewage service line to remove chemical sludge blockages in order to conceal evidence of illegal discharges. Illegally discharging chemicals, caustics and acids into sewers can create a danger to sewage treatment plant workers and can also prevent the proper treatment of sewage when it reaches the plant. Indictments were handed up on Aug. 11 in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado in Denver. The case was investigated by the Denver Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Denver.