Compliance Assistance Highlights
In fiscal year 2009, compliance assistance information became easier to find and understand, especially for small businesses. Highlights from activities this year include:
EPA worked to improve water quality by helping the ready mixed concrete and aggregates industries comply with the Clean Water Act
The ready mixed concrete, crushed stone and sand and gravel industry operates approximately 13,000 facilities nationwide. Compliance issues at theses facilities included:
- required Clean Water Act permits were not always obtained
- permit requirements were not always met, such as:
- developing stormwater pollution prevention plans,
- implementing controls to minimize runoff,
- updating their pollution prevention plans as operations changed.
For example, EPA New England took enforcement action against Aggregate Industries - Northeast Region Inc. to resolve violations that occurred at 23 facilities in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Industrial activities at these facilities can contaminate stormwater runoff with high turbidity, high pH, oil and grease, metals and other pollutants that are detrimental to water and sediment quality.
As part of the national enforcement priority to improve water quality by addressing stormwater problems in this industry sector, EPA worked closely with the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association and the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association. The collaboration resulted in a:
- comprehensive Web site, the Ready Mixed Concrete, Crushed Stone and Sand and Gravel Industrial Stormwater Compliance Resources
- web-based seminar (webinar) for facility operators on addressing challenges and using best management practices to protect stormwater from contamination.
EPA improved access to regulatory compliance information for retailers by creating a centralized Web site, the Retail Portal.
More than 1 million retail establishments, from big-box stores to small convenience stores, operate in the U.S. Many are small businesses. These establishments are subject to a wide variety of environmental regulations. For these businesses there are also many opportunities to prevent or reduce pollution and improve sustainability.
In response to the retail industry’s request for better access to compliance assistance and sustainability information, EPA worked closely with retail industry leaders to understand their information needs.
EPA launched the Retail Industry Portal in May 2009,
The Retail Industry Portal provides information to help retailers:
- buy and sell environmentally friendly products;
- create and maintain buildings that are environmentally responsible and resource efficient throughout a building's life-cycle;
- reduce the environmental impact of transportation-related activities;
- reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in their own operations. The Portal allows users to quickly find information they need to: understand and comply with environmental regulations; and voluntarily go beyond regulatory obligations to protect the environment for future generations.
EPA is collaborating with the Small Business Administration (SBA) to promote the Retail Industry Portal through their government-wide Business.gov Web site, and their cutting-edge web marketing techniques.
Facilities in this industry, many of which are small businesses, number more than 110,000. Food processing facilities include a range of establishments that processes raw or prepared animal, marine, and vegetable materials and manufacture or process foods and beverages for human consumption.
Many food processing facilities are water- and energy-intensive, and discharge waste water, air emissions and other wastes that are regulated under federal environmental laws. Because of the range and complexity of the regulations that apply, it can be difficult for facilities, especially small business, to locate relevant compliance information, which can lead to compliance problems and missed opportunities to reduce pollution..
In August 2009, Purdue University’s Food Science Department launched the National Food Processing Environmental Assistance Center (FPEAC) . The assistance center is supported by an EPA grant.
Food processors now have easy access to a comprehensive Web site on environmental, regulatory, pollution prevention and sustainability information. The FPEAC features commodity process flow diagrams (e.g., meat, poultry, seafood, fruits and vegetables) and highlight the applicable federal environmental areas (e.g., waste water, safe storage, refrigerants, etc,) that need to be addressed during the various manufacturing processes (e.g. laboratories, cleaning and maintenance, sanitizing, water pre treatment, etc.).The commodity process flow diagrams can be used to learn about the food processing sectors. For owners and operators of food manufacturing plants, commodity process flow diagrams can be used to understand their compliance obligations and improve environmental performance.