Brownfields cleanup, airline water quality newsgrabbers in recent EPA action
Among advisories: New report details Brownfields progress; Brownfields grants available for small business, low-income communities; Agency releases passenger aircraft water testing results; new EPA Environmental Research Annex dedicated; two sites added to Superfund priority list, 14 proposed; DuPont case proceeds before EPA judge; Ship's captain arrested on ocean dumping charges; Idaho man sentenced in paint waste case; Virginia joins pollution prevention program for health care industry...
The following are the latest developments at or actions taken by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):
EPA reminds pesticide retailers Diazinon 'stop-sale' date approaching
WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 30, 2004 -- EPA has issued a notice to remind retailers of a Dec. 31 stop-sale date for all outdoor diazinon home, lawn and garden products. It will be unlawful to sell diazinon outdoor non-agricultural use products in the United States after the end of this year. This is part of an agreement between EPA and diazinon registrants to phase out and eliminate all residential uses of the insecticide diazinon. Discontinuing diazinon use in home, lawn and garden care is part of EPA's ongoing effort under the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act to reduce the risk of pesticides, especially to children. Diazinon registrants are offering a "buy back" program to assist with removing these products from the market and preventing further sale. The registrants will repurchase any unopened, unused outdoor residential products from retailers or formulators. Retailers should make all possible efforts to sell their diazinon products back to the manufacturers by March 31, 2005. Consumers may continue to use diazinon residential products according to label directions and precautions. If consumers choose to discontinue use, they should contact their state or local hazardous waste disposal program or local solid waste collection service for information on proper disposal. Consumers are advised not to dispose of pesticides in sinks, toilets, storm drains, or any body of water. The local government may recommend that consumers take diazinon products to a household hazardous waste collection site. The organophosphate pesticide, diazinon, has been one of the most widely used insecticides in the United States for household lawn and garden pest control, as well as for indoor residential treatments. All indoor use product registrations have been cancelled and retail sale ended on Dec. 31, 2002. More information on diazinon is available at: www.epa.gov/pesticides/op/diazinon.htm.
Weekly Enforcement & Compliance Assurance Wrap-Up -- Sept. 30
DuPont PFOA case proceeds before EPA administrative law judge: EPA's Office of Administrative Law Judges has established a schedule to proceed with the agency's complaint against E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont). In July, EPA filed three counts against DuPont for failing to report information concerning a substantial risk to public health or the environment from a synthetic chemical used in the manufacture of certain Teflon products. In September, DuPont filed a motion for an accelerated decision from the judge on counts two and three, and requested oral arguments on its motion. Count one -- and depending on the decision following oral arguments on counts two and three -- will be taken up at a later hearing, which hasn't yet been scheduled. Oral arguments on DuPont's motion have been scheduled for Oct. 28. To attend the oral arguments, contact the Clerk of the Board by Oct. 14 by calling 202-233-0122. Copies of the prehearing order and other public documents relating to the case are available upon request by calling 202-564-9942.
Ship's captain and engineers arrested on ocean dumping charges: Loannis Kallikis of Greece, captain of the M/V Katerina; Elgardo Guinto of the Philippines, the ship's chief engineer; and Rolan Sullesta of the Philippines, the ship's second engineer were all arrested in the Los Angeles area on Sept. 21 on charges they had allegedly been involved in the dumping of oil-contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean. When the Katerina berthed in the Port of Long Beach on Sept. 14, crew members contacted dock workers and reported that they had been directed to throw trash and discharge sewage and oil into the Pacific Ocean. The Coast Guard inspected the ship on Sept. 14 and 15. During these inspections, they discovered that the ship's oil-water separator was not being used and that a bypass had been constructed around the separator. All three defendants are charged with failing to properly maintain the Katerina's Oil Record Book, making false statements to Coast Guard investigators and obstructing justice by falsifying records. Kallikis faces an additional obstruction of justice charge for allegedly instructing Guinto not to answer questions from Coast Guard investigators. The case was investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Office, the Coast Guard's Investigative Service and the Los Angeles office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles.
Idaho man sentenced in paint waste case: Dennis D. Ellis of Boise, Idaho, former director and corporation secretary for Ponderosa Paint Company in Boise, was sentenced on Sept. 16 to pay a $50,000 fine, pay an additional $40,000 in restitution for clean up costs incurred by the EPA, spend 30 days in home confinement and serve six months supervised release by the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho in Boise. Ellis has pleaded guilty to a charge of being an accessory after-the-fact to transportation of hazardous waste without a manifest in violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. In January 2000, Ellis negotiated the sale of Ponderosa Paint to Kelly Moore Paints for $14 million. A condition of the sale was that Ellis would be responsible for disposing of approximately 20,000 gallons of waste oil-based paint that had accumulated at the Ponderosa facility between 1995 and 2000. Instead of paying a licensed hazardous waste disposal company approximately $150,000 to dispose of the wastes, Ellis offered individuals $1 per gallon to dispose of the waste paint. Some of the paint waste was illegally transported to private property in Wilder, Idaho, and burned in a pit. The case was investigated by the Portland Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI with the assistance of the Idaho State Police, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, the Canyon County Sheriff's Office, the EPA Idaho Operations Office, and EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. It's being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boise.
Dedication of new EPA Environmental Research Annex
WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 28, 2004 -- EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt and former EPA Administrator Bill Ruckelshaus were to host the dedication ceremony of the new 26,000-square-foot Environmental Research Annex at the Andrew W. Breidenbach Environmental Research Center in Cincinnati. The new annex will allow EPA to move office personnel from its main laboratory facility, thus providing more laboratory space. The laboratory space will be used for research in the areas of water supply and distribution, pollution prevention, watershed management, and methods development for human and ecological exposure.
Up to $800,000 in Brownfields grants for low-income communities
WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 24, 2004 -- The EPA is now accepting proposals for training, research, technical assistance and cooperative agreement grants focusing on health and environmental conditions in low-income and socio-economically disadvantaged communities unable to get alternative sources of funding for Brownfields cleanups. EPA hopes these grants will stimulate redevelopment, economic revitalization and other beneficial reuse of land. The deadline for proposals is Nov. 16. Winners are expected to be named in February 2005.
These grants are authorized by the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act of 2002.
EPA will only consider proposals that emphasize:
-- Community Involvement in low-income and socio-economically disadvantaged communities;
-- Integrated approaches to Brownfields cleanup and redevelopment in low-income and socio-economically disadvantaged communities. Integrated approaches explore linkage between Brownfields and other environmental, economic, and social issues, including: port and waterfront utilization, transportation planning, city and regional planning, etc.;
-- How the economics of Brownfields cleanup and redevelopment impact low-income and socio-economically disadvantaged communities.
The grants will be in the form of a cooperative agreement. Eligible applicants include: governmental and non-profit organizations, as well as public and non-profit private universities. For-profit organizations are not eligible and may not submit "joint" applications with eligible applicants.
EPA estimates that $800,000 will be available to make awards under this competition and up to three grants may be awarded depending on the quality of the applications. EPA intends to fund successful applicants for periods ranging from 1-5 years, contingent upon the availability of funds. The Agency reserves the right to offer partial funding for specific components of applications. EPA may also decide to make only one award or no awards, if warranted, by changes in Agency funding obligations.
For more information and assistance regarding the application process, go to:
www.epa.gov/brownfields/pg/pg0904.htm or call the Office of Brownfields Cleanup and Redevelopment at 202-566-2777.
EPA adds two hazardous waste sites to Superfund priority list, proposes 14 more
WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 23, 2004 -- The 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 two final sites and proposing 14 more sites to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL). EPA's selection of the two final sites and 14 proposed sites was based on various factors, including: risk to human health and the environment; the need for urgent response; maintenance of a strong enforcement program; leverage of other cleanups (polluters wanting to avoid NPL listing can choose to participate in the Superfund Alternative Site cleanup program or enter into a voluntary cleanup agreement with the state; and program management and resource considerations.
The two final sites are the White Swan Cleaners/Sun Cleaners Area Ground Water Plume site, Wall Township, NJ; and the Ravenswood PCE Ground Water Plume site, Ravenswood, W.Va.
The 14 sites being proposed are: Klau/Buena Vista Mine, San Luis Obispo County, Calif.; Hegeler Zinc, Danville, Ill; Sigmon's Septic Tank Service, Statesville, N.C.; Parkview Well, Grand Island, Neb.; Crown Vantage Landfill, Alexandria Township, N.J.; Hopewell Precision Area Contamination, Hopewell Junction, N.Y.; Copley Square Plaza, Copley, Ohio; South Dayton Dump and Landfill, Moraine, Ohio; Price Battery, Hamburg, Pa.; Safety Light Corp., Bloomsburg, Pa.; Pesticide Warehouse I, Arecibo, Puerto Rico; Brewer Gold Mine, Jefferson, S.C.; Smalley-Piper, Collierville, Tenn.; and Commerce Street Plume, Williston, Vt. Historically, on average, parties held responsible for the contamination agree to initiate or pay for 70% of cleanups started each year.
For the newly listed sites without viable "Potentially Responsible Parties" (PRPs), EPA will investigate the full extent of the contamination before starting significant construction at the site. In today's proposed rule, EPA is withdrawing its proposal to list the East Multnomah County Ground Water Contamination site on the NPL. The site, located in Multnomah County, Oregon, was proposed to the NPL on May 10, 1993. Since the 1993 proposal, EPA has completed all the remedial action work at this site to remove any imminent risks to public health and the environment. At this time, EPA does not believe that further response under Superfund is needed. In Fiscal Year 2003, EPA obligated $292 million for long-term construction work. EPA spent $142 million to conduct or oversee short-term emergency actions and removal actions at 381 sites to remove immediate threats to human health in Fiscal Year 2003.
With this proposal of 14 new sites and withdrawal of one proposed site, there are now 68 sites proposed and awaiting final agency action, 61 non-federal sites and seven federal facility sites. With the final rule adding two sites, there are now 1,244 final sites on the NPL; 1086 non-federal sites and 158 federal facilities. Final and proposed sites now total 1,312. For Federal Register notices and supporting documents for these proposed sites, go to: www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/current.htm.
Weekly Enforcement & Compliance Assurance Wrap-Up -- Sept. 23
New enforcement initiative encourages cleanup, reuse of contaminated property: The EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) has launched a new initiative to promote safe, sustainable reuse and redevelopment of contaminated property. Environmentally Responsible Redevelopment and Reuse (ER3) will provide incentives to developers who commit to the best sustainable environmental practices in the redevelopment and reuse of contaminated properties. The ER3 initiative will encourage green building design, construction, and operation; energy efficiency; use of renewable energy sources; environmental management systems; storm water and wastewater management; pollution prevention; waste minimization and recycling; healthy building; design for the environment; industrial ecology; sustainability; and smart growth. Incentives include Prospective Purchaser Agreements, which provide liability relief on Superfund property, and Comfort/Status Letters, which describe the likelihood of EPA involvement at a property, or clarify the cleanup progress at a site. ER3 aims to leverage resources from other federal agencies, universities, nonprofit organizations and private organizations to expand the environmentally sound reuse and redevelopment of contaminated sites. For more information on ER3, go to: www.epa.gov/enforcement/brownfields.
Connecticut man sentenced for Clean Water Act violation: Daniel R. Callahan of Broad Brook, Conn., was sentenced Sept. 9 to serve three years probation, the first six months of which will be spent in home confinement. He was also ordered to pay a $4,000 fine and perform 150 hours of community service when he appeared before the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut in Hartford. The defendant violated the Clean Water Act (CWA) by falsifying reports submitted to the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Callahan was formerly the Director of Environmental Health and Safety for the Stafford Division of Tyco Printed Circuit Group (TCPG). TCPG is a subsidiary of Tyco International. One of Callahan's primary responsibilities was to oversee the operation of Tyco's waste treatment facility at its factory in Manchester, Conn. In February 2001, Callahan assisted in the fabrication of reports submitted to DEP concerning the Manchester facility. The reports failed to include the fact that a waste treatment "batch tank" had been discharged into the Manchester public sewer system. Tyco's DEP permit required that discharges from the tank be reported. Instead, Callahan reported that the tank had not been discharged. As a result, the wastewater discharged from the factory exceeded the levels of copper allowed in the factory's discharge permit. Copper is a toxic metal which can, if passed through sewage treatment plants, harm fish, aquatic life, wildlife and humans who come into contact with copper-contaminated surface waters downstream from sewage treatment facilities. Two other defendants in this case, Anthony Dadalt and Robert Smith, were sentenced to probation for violating the CWA. TCPG was ordered to pay a $6 million fine and spend an additional $4 million on environmentally beneficial programs as a result of its CWA conviction in this case. The case was investigated by the New Haven 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 Bridgeport, Conn.
New report details Brownfields progress by 23 federal agencies
WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 21, 2004 -- The EPA released a report detailing two years of progress by the Brownfields Federal Partnership at the Brownfields 2004 National Conference in St. Louis. The Brownfields Federal Partnership Action Agenda which was announced in November 2002 contained more than 100 commitments from 23 federal organizations to help revitalize communities throughout the nation. The Brownfields Federal Partnership Progress Report demonstrates progress fulfilling the Action Agenda commitments made by all of the agencies. More than 75% of the commitments have been met.
Some highlights of the report:
-- EPA awarded approximately $77 million in Brownfields assessment, cleanup, revolving loan fund, and job training grants to communities nationwide and $49.7 million to states and tribes to establish or enhance their Brownfields programs in fiscal year 2004 alone.
-- EPA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), with other partners, selected the first three Portfields Pilots in New Bedford, Mass., Tampa, Fla., and Bellingham, Wash. These Pilots are part of a NOAA-led federal interagency effort that focuses on the redevelopment of Brownfields in port and harbor areas, with emphasis on development of environmentally sound port facilities.
-- EPA and the U.S. Department of Interior's Office of Surface Mining convened a multi-agency Mine-Scarred Lands Working Group that selected six typical abandoned mines communities throughout the country to serve as demonstration projects. The Working Group was established to collaboratively address the challenges of mine-scarred lands cleanup and revitalization.
-- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) nearly doubled the number of Brownfields Economic Development Initiative (BEDI) applications by increasing their outreach and marketing efforts. The Brownfields Economic Development Initiative is a key competitive grant program that HUD administers to stimulate and promote economic and community development. In FY 2003, HUD's support amounted to $22.4 million in BEDI grants and $87.8 million in Section 108 loans for redevelopment. Section 108 loans allow communities to transform a small portion of their HUD grants into federally guaranteed loans large enough to pursue physical and economic revitalization projects that can renew entire neighborhoods.
For a copy of the Brownfields Federal Partnership Progress Report and information on the Portfields efforts, go to: www.epa.gov/brownfields.
EPA makes passenger aircraft water testing information available
WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 20, 2004 -- The EPA today released results from initial testing of drinking water onboard 158 randomly selected passenger airplanes. Preliminary data shows that in the recent tests, most of the aircraft tested (87.4%) met EPA drinking water quality standards. However, 12.6% of domestic and international passenger aircraft tested in the U. S. carried water that did not meet EPA standards.
As part of enforcement activities, EPA, during August and September 2004, randomly tested the water supplies on 158 aircraft. Aircraft tank water is used in the galleys and lavatory sinks. Initial testing of onboard water supply revealed 20 aircraft with positive results for total coliform bacteria; two of these aircraft (1.3%) also tested positive for E. coli. Both total coliform and E. coli are indicators that other disease-causing organisms (pathogens) may be present in the water and could potentially affect public health. When sampling identified total coliform in the water, the aircraft was retested. In repeat testing on 11 aircraft, the Agency confirmed that water from eight of the aircraft tested still did not meet EPA's water quality standards.
A significant part of aircraft travel includes international flights. According to the Air Transport Association (ATA), about 90% of ATA member aircraft have the potential to travel internationally. These aircraft may board water from foreign sources that are not subject to EPA drinking water standards. The agency is working with ATA and airlines that aren't ATA members on agreements regarding steps the airlines will take to ensure acceptable drinking water quality. It's also discussing with them how airlines would provide the necessary additional testing to determine the nature and extent of the problem. If unable to reach agreement promptly, the agency will exercise its enforcement authority to achieve these goals. It expects an agreement with U.S. airlines shortly.
"We believe the information released today will help the traveling public make informed decisions. Passengers with compromised immune systems or others concerned may want to request canned or bottled beverages. EPA will update its information and advice to the traveling public as soon as new information is available," stated the agency.
The EPA began a review of existing guidance in 2002. In response to the aircraft test results, it has accelerated its priority review of existing regulations and guidance. The agency is placing specific emphasis on preventive measures, adequate monitoring, and sound maintenance practices such as flushing and disinfection of aircraft water systems.
For more information on the regulation of water supplies on airplanes and to view publicly available testing data, go to: www.epa.gov/safewater/airlinewater/.
EPA solicits proposals for up to 200 Brownfields grants throughout the country
WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 16, 2004 -- EPA is now accepting proposals for up to 200 Brownfields assessment, revolving loan fund, and cleanup grants, contingent on availability of funds in the Agency's fiscal year 2005 budget. The proposal deadline is Nov. 12. These grants are authorized by the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act of 2002, to help states and communities around the country to assess, clean up, and revitalize Brownfield sites. These grants may be used to address sites contaminated by petroleum and hazardous substances (including substances mixed with petroleum.)
A Brownfield site is real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.
The Brownfields assessment grants (each funded up to $200,000 over two years) provide funding for a grant recipient to inventory, characterize and assess sites, and to conduct planning and community involvement.
The revolving loan fund grants (each funded up to $1 million over five years) provide funding for a grant recipient to capitalize a revolving loan fund and to provide subgrants to carry out cleanup activities.
The cleanup grants (each funded up to $200,000 over two years) provide funding for a grant recipient to carry out cleanup activities at sites owned by the grant recipient.
For more detailed information and assistance regarding the application process, contact your nearest Brownfields Regional Coordinator, found in Appendix 1 of the Proposal Guidelines for Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Grants, available at: www.epa.gov/brownfields. You may also contact the Office of Brownfields Cleanup and Redevelopment at 202-566-2777.
Virginia joins national pollution prevention program for health care industry
The EPA announced Sept. 16 that Virginia has become a partner in a national program that educates professionals in the health care industry about waste minimization and pollution prevention in hospitals. "Hospitals for a Healthy Environment" promotes strategies to eliminate mercury use and reduce other medical waste. Virginia is the first state in the mid-Atlantic region to join the Program. The Virginia champions for this Program are Virginia's Department's of Natural Resources, Health and Human Resources, and Environmental Quality, along with the Virginia's Hospital and Healthcare Association, Health Care Waste Management Cooperative and Dental Association, and the University of Virginia's MERCI Foundation. In addition, 72 Virginia hospitals enrolled in the Program today, pledging to eliminate mercury, reduce both hazardous and non-hazardous waste, and implement green activities such as energy-efficient lighting, computers, and televisions. Experts estimate that medical and municipal waste incinerators are responsible for 30% of the total mercury emissions to air. "Hospitals for a Healthy Environment" is a joint project of EPA, American Hospital Association, Health Care without Harm, and the American Nurses Association, as well as state and local agencies. More than 800 facilities and organizations have joined "Hospitals for a Healthy Environment" since it started in 1998. For a complete listing of all the partners and more information on "Hospitals for a Healthy Environment," go to: www.h2e-online.org.