Compliance News

  Meghan Krishnayya

BC’s Compliance & Permitting Service Line Director

PFAS Special Edition: November 2019

We have invited , Ph.D., P.E., Brown and Caldwell’s PFAS subject matter expert, to be our guest contributor for this special edition of Compliance News, in which he highlights PFAS regulatory updates.

For the nearly 40 years of site investigation and remediation since the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and similar state programs were enacted, the regulated community has made tremendous strides in moving sites toward closure. Like no other emerging contaminants, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have the potential to set the clocks back on that progress, mobilize a new generation of technical resources, and create significant associated costs to industrial, commercial, and municipal facility owners.

There are many critical elements for organizations potentially impacted by this latest wave of emerging contaminants to consider when developing an effective PFAS strategy. They include proper planning and insight into the rapidly evolving regulations and state policies, sensitivity to public perceptions, effective communications, and a strong technical platform from which the many complexities of PFAS chemistry, toxicology, analytics, and treatment can be vetted, as needed. Strategies will typically demand a multidisciplinary approach using experts in these and other areas.

The widespread presence of PFAS chemicals in general commerce is well known through their use in common products such as Teflon™ to provide "no-stick" features to our pots and pans, GoreTex™ to keep us dry on rainy days, and ScotchGard™ to prevent wine and other spills from permanently staining our carpets, clothes, and other fabrics.

Additionally, PFAS have been extensively manufactured for the production of aqueous film forming foam (AFFF), which are largely considered essential by the insurance industry for minimizing property damage from fires. AFFF products are used at Air Force bases, commercial airports, refineries, chemical plants, and many other facilities. And because they are ubiquitous, and have been largely unregulated since they were first introduced in the 1940s, they have found their way into surface water, groundwater, and in some cases, drinking water supplies.

As science struggles to deliver human health-based information beyond the two primary PFAS chemicals, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), the public outcry and ensuing political reactions to their presence in the environment are resulting in tremendous scrutiny and pressure to take action. Many industrial, commercial and municipal facilities are studying two questions:

  1. What, if anything, should we do about them?
  2. What, if anything, must we do about them?

The difference between the two can be significant, depending on organizational philosophy and potential impacts to businesses from the court of public opinion. Brown and Caldwell provides technical expertise and collaborates with attorneys, public relations and other experts to guide clients through the maze of PFAS complexities.

November 2019

The EPA continues to make policy changes that impact the industry across air, water and waste regulations. Recently, the federal agency denied New York State’s , regarding air emission source impacts from upwind states. This denial follows denials for Northeastern states, including Connecticut, Delaware and Maryland.

In addition, the EPA reported the of 14 National Priorities List (NPL) sites so far in 2019, indicating that resources will continue to be applied to maintain this increased pace.

We have highlighted some additional topics of interest this month from Brown and Caldwell’s BLR source regarding drinking water, air, and toxic substances:

Proposed Lead Service Line replacement requirements

The EPA’s to the federal Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) would require that public water systems (PWSs) conduct full lead service lines replacements (LSLRs) when lead in the service line exceeds the lead action level (AL). The PWS would be obligated to replace LSLs exceeding the AL at the rate of 3% a year.

The proposal also contemplates goal-based LSL replacements that occur mainly when homeowners act independently to replace their portion of the LSL. Overall, the EPA estimates that the proposed provisions will result in about 214,000 to 350,000 LSLRs during the next 35 years.

OLD subject to new proposed CAA amendments

Under an EPA , the Organic Liquids Distribution (OLD) source category would be subject to new Clean Air Act (CAA) amendments pertaining to storage tanks, transfer operations, equipment leaks and flares. Other amendments would eliminate an exemption from the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) during periods of startup, shutdown and malfunction, and would impose a new electronic reporting requirement.

In lieu of the proposed amendments, the agency is also proposing that owners and operators of OLD operations may implement a fenceline monitoring program. Compliance with the amendments would be required no more than 3 years after the effective date of a final rule.

EPA looking for methylene chloride risk evaluation feedback

The EPA recently released a , as part of the 2016 amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), indicating unreasonable risk associated with a majority of the 70 uses of methylene chloride.

The draft risk evaluation will be peer reviewed by independent scientific experts as well as open to at least one round of public comment. The agency says it will use feedback received from the peer review and public comment period to inform the final risk evaluation and will provide updates on this process.

The EPA will accept comments on the methylene chloride draft risk evaluation until Dec. 30.

October 2019

The third quarter of 2019 saw a in fines and settlement agreements from the EPA for environmental enforcement actions related to air, pesticides, toxic substances, stormwater and hazardous wastes. This announcement was followed by two Executive Orders issued in October to of significant guidance documents from federal agencies.

In addition to these updates, we selected some articles this month from Brown and Caldwell’s BLR source that cover updates regarding adding hazardous substances to spill regulations and speculative accumulation:

No new regulations for CWA Section 311

The EPA announced that it will not include any new regulations to prevent under the Clean Water Act, Section 311, at this time. Agency officials explained that new regulations are not necessary to regulate spills of hazardous substances because the “existing cumulative framework of regulatory requirements adequately serves to prevent and contain CWA HS discharges.”

The agency determined that the data regarding HS discharges and their impacts (taken from hazardous spills reported to the National Response Center and the results of voluntary surveys) did not support issuing new regulatory requirements under Section 311.

Do not speculate about speculative accumulation

Understanding the term “speculative accumulation” is essential if you are overseeing compliance with regulations governing hazardous waste and hazardous secondary materials (HSMs). HSMs are excluded from the regulatory definition of solid waste and RCRA Subtitle C regulations as long as they meet the EPA’s criteria for legitimate recycling and are not “speculatively accumulate.”

and a more recent FAQ provide additional information about speculative accumulation.

EPA looking for HAB policy feedback

The EPA says it will consider public comments on whether additional criteria should be used to determine when harmful algal blooms (HABs) in freshwater are events of “national significance,” and therefore entitled to federal mitigation assistance.

Congress recognized the danger of HABs in 1998 when it passed the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act.

In July, NOAA solicited on developing a national significance policy for marine and coastal HAB events. The EPA has followed with the current solicitation to inform a national significance policy for freshwater HAB events.

September 2019

On Sept. 12, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers the 2015 , defining "Waters of the United States" (WOTUS).

The final rule will be effective 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register. This repeal will remove the complex definition of WOTUS and restore state authority over water resources; however, uncertainty still remains regarding the impact of this repeal.

In addition to this significant change from EPA regarding water, I'd like to highlight a few articles from Brown and Caldwell’s BLR source regarding chemical storage, waste manifests and water quality standards:

Remain compliant with the EPA’s General Duty Clause

During the last six months, EPA has levied hefty fines to facilities that violate the General Duty Clause of its , even if those facilities do not have chemicals above RMP thresholds onsite.

No quantity thresholds are outlined in the General Duty Clause, but to avoid these fines, facilities that produce, process, handle, or store any extremely hazardous substance, regardless of the quantity of substance managed at the facility, should use hazard assessment techniques to identify hazards resulting from accidental releases, design and maintain safe facilities, and minimize the consequences of any accidental releases.

New user fees to be applied to EPA’s e-Manifest Program

EPA’s hazardous waste manifest system tracks both interstate and intrastate transportation of hazardous waste shipments. The , which became operational on June 30, 2018, is a national electronic database for hazardous waste manifests that will accept paper manifests until June 30, 2021.

The agency’s outlines the various manifests that regulated parties may use to meet their legal obligations. New user fees will be in effect through Sept. 30, 2021.

Proposed new rules for state CWA certification process

In April 2019, Executive Order 13868 () was issued to promote private investment in the nation’s energy infrastructure through efficient permitting and increased regulatory certainty.

At present, under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, a project proponent must provide federal permitting agencies with state certification that it complies with CWA water quality standards in the state in which the project will occur.

In response to the EO, the EPA has submitted a to establish a one-year deadline and limit the number of factors that states may consider for the certification process.

August 2019

Several significant environmental regulatory revisions have been proposed in August, including , proposed revisions to the 2015 coal combustion residuals (CCRs) for electric utilities, streamlining for air permitting, and proposed amendments to the 2003 National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants source category.

We wanted to dive in a little deeper on the ESA topic, as well as a couple of other updates regarding stormwater and the EPA’s policy on cooperative federalism. We selected the following articles from BC’s BLR source to provide these additional updates:

Final revisions to ESA released

On Aug. 12, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) jointly announced for future listing decisions. The revisions include species listing/delisting decisions, critical habitat designations, interagency consultation, and protective regulations for threatened species.

Keys to Industrial Stormwater Permit compliance

are designed to reduce the amount of pollutants that enter our nation’s waterways, and the EPA strictly enforces them. Knowing your monitoring and reporting deadlines, identifying discharge points, routinely training all employees who could affect stormwater quality, and selecting a stormwater monitoring team will help prevent unnecessary and expensive violations.

EPA finalized new policy to enhance state partnerships in civil enforcement and compliance assurance work

The Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) has finalized a policy that jointly authorizes the EPA and states to implement and enforce federal regulatory programs. The policy clarifies roles, provides a road map to more effectively increase compliance with environmental regulations, and articulates expectations and best practices.

Recommendations were published by an in August 2018 that outlined four key principles relevant to enforcing the federal environmental laws: general deference to states in state-implemented programs, effective communication between the EPA and the states, clear standards of review and predictable processes, and a clear process for elevating issues.

July 2019

In June, the EPA provided for states and tribes to modernize public hearings for water quality standard decisions with the use of technology, such as email and the internet, to provide public notice or to hold public hearings. The agency also issued a final rule revising regulations to incorporate amendments that Congress issued in 2007, 2009 and 2016.

One of the key revisions included the clarification of who within the EPA may respond to FOIA requests, centralizing all such requests to EPA headquarters instead of EPA’s regional offices.

In addition to these topics, we selected the following articles from BC’s BLR source to provide additional regulatory updates:

EPA proposal to allow major air pollutant sources to reclassify

The EPA unveiled that would discard the "once in, always in" policy in the Clean Air Act, and make the agency’s on the subject official. The proposal allows major sources of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) to reclassify as area sources, if the potential to emit (PTE) is below major source thresholds.

The rule proposes PTE effectiveness criteria that align with EPA’s proposed new definition of PTE.

Comply with RCRA regulations for hazardous waste determinations to avoid hefty fees

The EPA already dished out violations ranging from $15,000 to $150,000 to 20 companies that failed to meet the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulations for this year.

If you want to achieve compliance with the RCRA, the first step is to properly categorize and identify all the waste that is generated, treated, stored, or disposed of at your facility. To determine if your waste is hazardous, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is it ?
  • Is it exempt from RCRA?
  • Is it characteristic?
  • Is it listed?

Once you have answered these questions, keep a record to support your hazardous waste determinations.

Get to know the RCRA no-free-liquids condition for contaminated wipes

If you are looking to dispose, clean, or reuse your solvent-contaminated wipes, make sure you understand the EPA’s for hazardous waste exclusion and associated conditions for qualifying. Specifically, this means the exclusion’s condition related to free liquids.

There are a few ways to remove solvent from the wipe and, as always, remember the importance of documenting these methods to remain compliant with the RCRA exclusion.

June 2019

As the EPA and the states continue to find balance between enforcement and compliance support, the federal agency announced its . This includes six National Compliance Initiatives and the implementation of a seventh priority, the Lead Action Plan.

In addition to these topics, we selected the following articles from BC’s BLR source to provide additional regulatory updates:

EPA seeks comment on proposed perchlorate levels in drinking water

Almost a year past the original deadline, the EPA finally released and is now requesting comment on the proposed Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 56 micrograms per liter (µg/L) and a Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) at 56 µg/L. A chemical often used within the defense and aerospace industries, the EPA stated in 2011 that perchlorate met the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) criteria for regulating a contaminant.

The EPA is also requesting comment on foregoing the establishment of an MCL and MCLG for perchlorate at all. The rule would predominantly impact 58,325 public water systems with 10,000 or fewer customers.

Avoid fines: Do your TRI reporting due diligence by July 1

Get ready: The EPA has already issued multiple fines to entities not accounting for for Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) reports. Due by July 1, reporting the correct information in the TRI report is critical even if nothing has changed at your facility from the last year.

To , remember that if your facility has at least 10 full-time employees and falls in the listed North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes, you must include TRI listed chemicals that are manufactured, processed, or used more than established thresholds.

May 2019

The EPA and state agencies continue to work toward finding balance related to enforcement actions. Most recently, the EPA updated its with a .

On a similar note, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler requested a consideration in rulemaking processes to improve consistency and transparency.

In addition to these topics, we selected the following articles from BC’s BLR source to provide additional regulatory updates:

EPA opens public comment on draft recommendations for PFAS levels found in groundwater

Following the EPA’s initial for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) released in February, the agency started a public comment period regarding its . Only five pages in length, the preliminary guidance highlights groundwater contaminated with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) at sites already under federal CERCLA, or Superfund, and RCRA programs.

In addition to this guidance, seven states are developing standards that have lower limits than this guidance document for PFOA, PFOS, and other PFAS.

Get to know used oil PCB regulations to avoid costly mistakes

Although polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were banned in most manufacturing and processing 40 years ago, the contaminant still causes problems for oil collection centers and recyclers today. PCBs are still found in motor oil or are accidentally mixed with used oil, which can trigger Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) regulations.

Making this mistake could result in large fines from TSCA enforcement, which in one circumstance equated to as much as $206,000. To stay informed on the subject, keep Preventing and Detecting PCB Contamination in Used Oil on hand.

EPA takes a stance on the Clean Water Act’s groundwater dispute

Earlier this spring, the Clean Water Act (CWA) was clearly headed to the nation’s highest court after three U.S. Appeal Courts made opposing opinions regarding the CWA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) regulating power over groundwater pollution leaks. Now, the EPA is asserting its position on the issue as well, stating that NPDES has never covered groundwater discharge, but instead leaves this up to a state’s jurisdiction.

Those groundwater discharge activities affected include aquifer recharge, leaks from sewage collection systems, septic system discharges, and treatment systems. The CWA’s jurisdiction is also linked to scrutiny regarding the definition of Waters of the United States (WOTUS).

April 2019

The executive branch’s focus on energy and water infrastructure recently resulted in several policy updates and clarifications that you should know about. Notably, EPA’s Office of Water issued a for applications to obtain financial assistance from the EPA due to changes to the , which is based on the .

In addition, an was issued on April 10, requiring the EPA to review and revise Section 401 certifications under the Clean Water Act (CWA). This EO specifically indicates a review of the , and to revise it to meet the energy policy stated in the EO. The aim of the EO is “to promote private investment in the nation’s energy infrastructure” by revising the permitting process for expedited implementation.

In addition to these topics, we selected the following articles from BC’s BLR source to provide additional regulatory updates:

Time to inventory your annual emissions

Be prepared to submit soon to your local regulatory agencies quantifying pollutants emitted during 2018. Deadlines for reporting vary by state, as well as the required sources to report. The deadline can be found on the emissions statement, but this article can help you understand how to report the qualifying pollutants otherwise not easily found without further research.

One other bonus of this annual emissions inventory? You can use the process as an easy way to assess permit compliance!

Reporting to begin this summer for the EPA’s first mercury inventory

If your business engaged in regulated activities with any amount of mercury, you must . As finalized in the 2018 amendment to the Toxic Substances Control Act, Section 8(b)(10), the EPA will develop a nationwide inventory of mercury supply, use, and trade to eventually result in a rule that requires certain businesses to provide the agency with reports every three years.

The EPA plans to publish the first mercury inventory by April 1, 2020.

Hazardous waste ignitability testing updates

Currently under RCRA, two flash point test methods are specified to make the determination whether a liquid waste is hazardous for the characteristic of ignitability. These methods are old, and EPA has proposed to to include more modern methods, as well as to codify existing guidance regarding the regulatory exclusion of aqueous solutions containing less than 24 percent alcohol by volume from the definition of ignitability.

March 2019

The environmental regulatory landscape continues to be active in refining the definition of Waters of the United States (WOTUS) and responses to the .

As EPA balances how it focuses its resources, March brought about an elevated presence by both Congress, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court, as noted in the articles we chose this month from BC’s BLR source:

PFAS inspires bipartisan bills to speed up CERCLA designation

The potential threat to human health that Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) poses is getting Congress to work together. In the EPA’s PFAS Action Plan, the agency already noted the most hazardous PFAS — perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) — would fit under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund). However, there are still no plans for finalizing this action.

Although the PFAS Action Plan was released only a month ago, multiple bipartisan bills have been introduced in Congress in hopes of advancing the CERCLA designation process.

Clean Water Act headed to the Supreme Court

After opposing opinions in three U.S. Appeal Courts, the Supreme Court will decide just how far the Clean Water Act (CWA) goes when it comes to pollution leaks.

Reviewed in the cases, County of Maui, Hawaii v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund and Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP v. Upstate Forever, the Supreme Court will focus on the question: Is a point source discharging pollutants to navigable water via a groundwater pathway the functional equivalent of a direct discharge to navigable waters?

The decision will significantly impact the CWA’s regulation power.

NAS recommends sweeping update of Multi-Sector General Permit

The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NAS) has made recommendations for the agency’s Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) that could significantly change requirements for facilities subjected to the permit. The EPA has its hands tied by a 2016 settlement to listen to all recommendations included in the NAS report for the next MSGP, which is expected to be issued by the EPA in 2020.

February 2019

We’ve seen a lot of significant environmental regulatory activity in February, including the revised publication of the and a . We put together an on the EPA proposal.

Also, we noticed a greater focus on surface water this month, such as a revived interest in , raw sewage and contaminated stormwater issues.

With that said, I found these articles selected from BC’s BLR source the most impactful to our clients this month:

Tier II Reports: EPCRA’s Hazardous Chemical Inventory (Infographic)

BLR has a simplified breakdown of everything you want to know about the March 1 deadline to successfully complete your facility’s hazardous chemical inventory report. If you have further questions, we also provided additional guidance from the USEPA on report submissions by state requirements and common errors for mixtures, lead-acid battery guidance, and waste products (state-specific).

National Compliance Incentives proposed for 2020–2023

This new program, formerly the National Enforcement Initiatives, has put more weight on compliance assistance and less on enforcement as the first step for the USEPA. Eight NCIs have been proposed, including returning focus on keeping raw sewage and contaminated stormwater out of surface waters.

Get ready to pay more for noncompliance penalties

At the beginning of the month, the USEPA announced a 1 percent increase in maximum civil penalties that the federal agency may impose for environmental violations. The EPA’s intent was to increase maximums in response to inflation in order to maintain the penalties' impact and promote compliance.

January 2019

The environmental regulatory landscape saw significant activity in 2018 from the courts and the EPA regarding the Clean Water Act and WOTUS. The EPA implemented TSCA fees and the eManifest system, as well as the first phase of the refrigerant management program changes. The year ended with breaking news events around a final hazardous waste pharmaceutical rule, and a proposed revised definition of WOTUS.

As we kick off 2019, the EPA starts with new leadership and coming back on schedule after a partial federal government shutdown. I found these articles selected from BC’s BLR source the most impactful to our clients this month:

Industry pressure leads to Construction General Permit update

The EPA is after receiving petitions from the National Association of Home Builders and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. In the proposal, the EPA: Revised the definition of the term operator. Restructured the CGP to align with Effluent Limitations Guidelines and News Source Performance Standards for Construction and Development (the C&D Rule) Clarified the permit responsibilities for construction sites with multiple operators. The EPA says the changes will not affect CGP compliance costs.

EPA to challenge Mercury Air Toxics Standards rule

The EPA’s next move may be to due to inadequate cost considerations. In , MATS was ruled "appropriate and necessary" to regulate emissions of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants from fossil fuel power plants, according to Section 112 of the Clean Air Act. The rule was previously challenged on the basis that the EPA had not considered the cost of MATS when issuing standards.

Renewed Used Oil law emphasizes green benefits

In December, the president signed into a law, the , to modify preexisting language from the Used Oil Recycling Act of 1980, which highlights the benefits of reusing used lubricating oil. "Having an up-to-date report of the energy and environmental benefits of re-refined lubricating oil will help Congress work with the private sector to ensure we are responsibly and safely helping to reduce waste and benefit American consumers while protecting the environment," Indiana Rep. Susan Brooks, the bill’s sponsor, said.

December 2018

Waters of the United States (WOTUS) continues to make headlines in environmental news. This month, the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced a new definition of WOTUS. The proposed rule is the second step in a two-part process to clarify federal authority under the Clean Water Act by replacing the 2015 Clean Water Rule, as well as regulations preceding 2015.

Once this proposed rule is published in the Federal Register, a 60-day comment period will begin. In the meantime, a can be found on EPA’s rulemaking website.

In addition to this announcement, I found these articles selected from BC’s BLR source the most impactful to our clients this month:

Attaining 'RCRA empty'

Get to know the federal requirements of the hazardous waste regulations to understand if you have a true “RCRA empty” container. There are different standards for both containers and inner liners used for waste storage, including standards for hazardous waste, compressed gas hazardous waste, and acute hazardous waste.

EPA to finalize 2016 NPDES updates

This month, the EPA plans to to regulations governing the Clean Water Act’s (CWA) .

The new direction is meant to provide more timely development of NPDES permits, with updates applying to permit application requirements; the water quality based permitting process; permit objection, documentation, and process efficiencies; vessels exclusion; and the process.

EPA edits information request policies

Two EPA offices are revising their best practices on soliciting information from the regulated community.

applies specifically to noncompliance/enforcement data that the EPA needs to implement the CWA.

The applies to information needed for compliance/enforcement purposes, including the Clean Air Act, the RCRA and the CWA. These updates do not apply to public comments the EPA requests on proposed regulations or draft guidance and policy documents.

November 2018

One of Brown and Caldwell’s Compliance News editors, Liz Wilson, recently pointed me to . What I like about the podcast format is that I can get concise updates on a variety of EHS regulatory changes and hot topics, along with references to where I can learn more, which helps me to provide better compliance assistance to our clients.

In a recent episode discussing the e-manifest system for hazardous wastes, the featured industry expert left the listener with three main takeaways:

  • The hazardous waste manifest form is changing with a phase out of paper manifests.
  • Fees are being applied to hazardous waste receiving facilities, resulting in higher disposal costs to generators.
  • Generators need to be trained on the new rules, with training opportunities available on the .

In addition, I found these articles selected from BC’s BLR source the most impactful to our clients this month:

Everything you wanted to know on release notifications

Get to know the federal requirements for emergency release notifications under of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). When a spill or release of a chemical happens, it is critical to know if a reportable release has occurred, how soon release notifications need to be made and to whom, and what information needs to be available when making a release notification.

EPA modifies Next Gen enforcement settlements

EPA’s 2015 emphasized the set of innovative enforcement tools (advanced monitoring, independent third-party verification of a settling party’s compliance and settlement obligations, and electronic reporting) as part of settlements with violators. In a recent memo, the EPA no longer has the expectation that these tools will be routinely used in settlements.

2nd Circuit rejects industry’s petitions to cooling water rule

In a win for Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit recently rejected the latest round of industry’s petitions for review of the final industrial cooling water intake structure (CWIS) rule. This rule applies to existing power plants and manufacturing facilities that use CWIS’s to withdraw more than 2 million gallons per day from nearby bodies of water.

October 2018

A few notable environmental events occur in October. On Oct. 10, we observed the fourth annual Imagine a Day Without Water. IADWW is a nationwide day of education and advocacy about the value of water led by the .

On Oct. 26, my colleague Sharon Stecker and I will present strategies to better align with management and leadership opportunities at the during the National Association for Environmental Management in Louisville, Ky.

During the past month, water has continued to make its way through our court system. For instance, the Southern District of Texas of the Clean Water Rule, or Waters of the United States (WOTUS), in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Meanwhile, California challenged the proposed rollback of from vehicles, and the EPA published a to establish a fee schedule for certain activities under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

What really caught my eye were these articles:

EPA’s OIG says RCRA state authorizations are lagging

The EPA’s Office of Inspector General is reporting a in states’ implementation of the Resource Conversation and Recovery Act. Between 1980 and 2015, the OIG notes that the EPA has put 335 federal rules into effect to implement the RCRA hazardous waste provisions on the state level. However, the OIG perceives an inconsistency in states’ adopting these rules and applying to the EPA for federal authorization.

With an average 7.7 years for state rules to be authorized by the EPA, the gap may be a combination of EPA’s lack of tracking controls and a delay in state reporting.

EPA wants to end substitute refrigerant requirements

In an effort to deregulate the 2016 update to Section 608 of the Clean Air Act, the EPA recently proposed an amendment to the rule regarding the leak repair and maintenance requirements for in stationary refrigeration and air conditioning equipment. The EPA is requesting comments on whether the 2016 rule’s extension to refrigerant substitutes should be withdrawn in full.

Are you prepared for industrial stormwater monitoring?

Time to revisit your practices. As several states’ deadlines for discharge monitoring reports (DMRs) get closer, take time to review strategies before the rain starts to fall. Failing to plan can lead to costly violations for facilities operating under industrial storm water permits.

September 2018

So far this month, I have been intrigued by the environmental news coming from the EPA and federal courts. For municipalities, these next two months will see important activities, with the EPA hosting meetings and receiving written statements to obtain input regarding the potential to allow blending as part of the agency’s wet weather programs.

Input on this potential diversion rule will be received by the EPA until. In the private industry, a few activities caught my attention for their impact across the broadest spectrum:

EPA charts more direct course toward compliance assistance

Since 2017, EPA’s enforcement actions have decreased by about 50 percent. This includes both enforcement cases and penalties, mainly associated with the and the . In addition, the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance changed its national Enforcement Initiatives program to the .

District Court judge reinstates WOTUS definition

The (WOTUS) definition continues through our court system. Most recently, the U.S. District Court for South Carolina issued an injunction that reinstates the Clean Water Rule in 26 states.

EPCRA and e-Disclosure: Be pro-active with Tier II and TRI violations

helps facilities self-report to EPA potential (EPCRA) violations. The system has two categories of violations, which directly relate to the penalty system.

August 2018

In August, we have seen federal and state regulatory activity, as well as court decisions continuing to influence our environment.

EPA still far from issuing PFAS regulations

Senators and environmental groups continue to put pressure on the EPA to exercise its legal power to immediately address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) found in drinking water and hold responsible parties accountable. Currently, the EPA is taking steps to work with businesses to reduce exposure to PFOA and PFOS and work at the state level to evaluate PFAS contamination.

EPA deregulates 2015 CCR rule

The EPA estimates that the rollback of the coal combustion residual (CCR) disposal ruling will save facilities $4.8 million a year. States should find that the amendment swings the power back, allowing them to implement their own CCR permit programs with EPA assistance as necessary.

Minor amendments issued for cement NESHAP

Existing air toxic rules for the Portland cement manufacturing industry will only see a slight tweak after the EPA found the rules met health and safety guidelines while remaining cost efficient. A longstanding debate, the EPA started providing industry guidance in 2001, with the most current rule previously amended 10 times.

The new Proposition 65 rules: Is your business ready?

As of Aug. 30, California businesses must include an updated warning label or notice to distributors, retailers or importers on all consumer products that “expose you to” state-listed chemicals that cause cancer or reproductive harm. As part of the new rules, citizens are encouraged to file lawsuits against businesses that do not comply.

National Regulatory Dates

Dec. 30, 2019
Comments due on Methylene Chloride Draft Risk Evaluation

March 1, 2020
Hazardous Materials Inventory (Tier II) reports due

March 31, 2020
Federal Greenhouse Gas Emissions report due

July 1, 2020
Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) reports due

Sept. 1, 2021
Small Quantity Generator (SQG) renotification to EPA of hazardous waste activities