EMS Handbook for wastewater treatment among recent EPA action

Others include: EPA recognizes 13 leaders for pesticide stewardship; Minnesota auto shop owner guilty in discharge case; Fourth defendant charged in Minnesota plating case; Compliance Assistance Centers survey users; Louisiana company and former acting plant manager sentenced for violating Clean Water Act...

Sep 19th, 2004

The following are the latest developments at or actions taken by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

EPA recognizes 13 leaders for pesticide stewardship

WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 15, 2004 -- Thirteen members of the Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP) were to be recognized for outstanding efforts in pollution prevention and pesticide risk reduction. The 2004 "PESP Champions" used most or all of the following integrated pest management (IPM) strategies to reduce the human health and environmental risks associated with pesticide use:

1. Sampling to accurately determine pest population levels,
2. Training and demonstrating IPM practices,
3. Employing cultural practices such as crop rotation or removing food and habitat for structural pests,
4. Controlling or managing pests through biologically based technologies,
5. Applying less toxic or reduced-risk pesticides such as insect growth regulators, and
6. Using conventional pesticides only when absolutely necessary.

The 2004 "PESP Champions" are: Almond Board of California, Modesto, CA; Aquila, Pueblo, CO; Artichoke Research Association, Salinas, CA; Central Coast Vineyard Team, Templeton, CA; Fischer Environmental Services Inc., Mandeville, LA; Gerber Products Company, Fremont, MI; Glades Crop Care Inc., Jupiter, FL; International Cut Flower Growers Association, Haslett, MI; IPM Institute of North America Inc., Madison, WI; Lodi-Woodbridge Wine Grape Commission, Lodi, CA; New York Power Authority, New York; U.S. Department of Defense, Washington, DC; and U.S. Hop Industry Plant Protection Committee, Moxee, WA.

Established in 1994, PESP is a voluntary program that forges partnerships with pesticide users to implement pollution-prevention strategies and reduce the health and environmental risks associated with pesticide use. PESP began with 16 charter members and now has 147 members. More information on the accomplishments of the 2004 PESP Champions is available at: www.epa.gov/oppbppd1/PESP/.

Weekly Enforcement & Compliance Assurance Wrap-Up -- Sept. 15

Minnesota auto shop owner pleads guilty in discharge case -- Robert Steinmetz of Prior Lake, MN, pleaded guilty on Sept. 7 in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota in Minneapolis of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA). Steinmetz is the former owner of Riverwood Auto, an auto repair firm, and Diamondback Bedliner, an applicator of automotive bedliner coatings. Both businesses are located in Bloomington, MN. Steinmetz violated the CWA in November 2003, by knowingly discharging wastewater containing petroleum-based chemicals into a storm sewer that connects with the Minnesota River. Discharging petroleum-based chemicals into storm sewers can create a fire hazard and can harm fish and wildlife in areas where the sewer connects to surface waters. The case was investigated by the Minneapolis Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Hennepin County Department of Environmental Services. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minneapolis.

Fourth defendant charged in Minnesota plating case -- James K. Meissner, a former employee of Prime Plating of Maple Grove, MN, was charged on Sept. 2 in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota in Minneapolis with conspiracy to violate the Clean Water Act (CWA). Previously, Prime Plating, Scott Hanson, Prime Plating's owner; and two other individuals, Sam Opare-Addo and Arlynn Hanson were also charged with CWA violations in this case. Prime plating is in the metal finishing business. The charges allege that the conspiracy took place in June and July of 2003, when the defendants allegedly conspired to discharge industrial wastewater from the Prime Plating facility in order to allow the business to continue operations even thought it did not have a functioning pre-treatment system for its waste as required by the Metropolitan Council. The defendants allegedly discharged untreated wastewater directly into sewers using pumps and garden hoses. In addition, Prime Plating, Hanson and Opare-Addo allegedly conspired to hide the illegal discharges from state and federal regulators. Discharging plating wastes into sewers can prevent the proper treatment of sewage at sewage treatment facilities. The case was investigated by the Minneapolis Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service, the FBI, the Metropolitan Council's Environmental Service Division for the St. Paul/Minneapolis Area and the Hennepin County Department of Environmental Services with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center and the City of Bloomington, Minnesota's Fire Department, Police Department and Emergency Response Division. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minneapolis.

Compliance assistance centers survey users -- The EPA has sponsored partnerships with industry, academic institutions, environmental groups, and other agencies to launch 13 sector-specific Compliance Assistance Centers. Each EPA-funded Center addresses real world issues in language that's used by the regulated entities. Through Internet websites, telephone assistance lines, fax-back systems and email discussion groups, the centers aim to help businesses, local governments, and federal facilities understand federal environmental requirements and save money through pollution prevention techniques. Once a year, the centers survey their users -- even first-time visitors -- on how well they're meeting that goal. Survey results help them provide resources for environmental compliance. You can click on the center sites at: www.assistancecenters.net and take a short survey. Surveys should not take more than three minutes to complete. The Centers are offering incentives to respond to the survey. The Centers' surveys are also accessible at: www.assistancecenters.net/2004survey.

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EPA works with external groups developing handbook for wastewater organizations

WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 9, 2004 -- To help utilities better manage their water and wastewater operations, the EPA has developed the first Environmental Management System (EMS) Handbook along with a steering committee of wastewater industry representatives and other experts. The EMS Handbook describes a set of management processes and procedures that allow a utility to examine, control and reduce environmental impacts of its facility operations. The handbook also describes how an EMS can help utilities function with greater efficiency and encourage environmental performance. The handbook provides a systematic approach for utility managers to improve environmental performance, establish effective environmental policies, comply with legal requirements and identify needed resources such as training. This handbook contains experiences and advice from utility managers who have adopted and developed successful Environmental Management Systems. While several wastewater utilities have successfully implemented such systems and have seen significant benefits, until now there has not been a comprehensive guide to help other utilities understand the steps necessary to put an effective EMS in place. The handbook provides a step-by-step, user-friendly guide for utilities to follow as they develop an EMS for their utility operations. The book also contains numerous examples, tips and other important information that make the EMS process understandable for utilities of all sizes. EPA developed this handbook through a cooperative agreement with the Global Environment and Technology Foundation in coordination with a steering committee of wastewater industry representatives and other experts. The EMS Handbook is available at: www.epa.gov/ems/, www.wef.org, www.amsa_cleanwater.org and www.peercenter.net.

Weekly Enforcement & Compliance Assurance Wrap-Up -- Sept. 9

Louisiana company and former acting plant manager sentenced for violating Clean Water Act -- Industrial Zeolite Ltd., a corporation that operates in LeCompte, LA, and Emanuel Drouin of Marksville, LA., former acting plant manager for Industrial Zeolite, were each sentenced on Sept. 1, in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana in Alexandria, LA, for violating the Clean Water Act. Industrial Zeolite manufactures a product used in the production of detergents and other products. In February 2004, the company was charged with releasing 1.1 million gallons of wastewater exhibiting a high pH into a ditch that flows into the Callahan Bayou. Releasing water with a high pH can harm fish and wildlife which live in and use the bayou. The company was fined $1 million and required to pay $457,441.36 in remedial payments. The remedial payments will be used to offset the cost of the prosecution and provide local government agencies with training and equipment to deal with hazardous material spills. The company also was required to remediate damage caused by the spill. Drouin will serve five months in prison and five months in home confinement. He must also pay a $10,000 fine. Both defendants were also sentenced for the same offenses in the 9th Judicial District Court of the State of Louisiana. The defendants received the same sentences that were imposed in federal court and the sentences will be served concurrently. The case was investigated by the Baton Rouge Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Rapides Parish District Attorney's Office. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Western District of Louisiana and by state prosecutors in Rapides Parrish.

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