Envirobytes - Archive
EnviroBytes, a Summary of Issues and Events for Week Ending October 2, 2009
EPA PROPOSES TO STRENGTHEN RULE TO REDUCE GREENHOUSE GASES FROM LARGE FACILITIES; SMALL BUSINESSES AND FARMS ARE EXEMPT
Former EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson announced a proposal requiring large industrial facilities emitting at least 25,000 tons of GHGs a year to obtain construction and operating permits for these emissions. These permits must demonstrate use of best available control technologies and energy efficiency measures to minimize GHG emissions when facilities are constructed or significantly modified. The full text of the Administrators remarks is available at www.epa.gov. EPA is also requesting public comment on when certain pollutants, including CO2 and other GHGs would be covered under the permitting provisions of the Clean Air Act. EPA will accept comment on these proposals for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. The proposed rules and more information: http://www.epa.gov/nsr/actions.html
OCTOBER IS CHILDREN'S HEALTH MONTH
EPA designated October as Children's Health Month. This year's focus is to protect children in their homes, schools, and communities from environmental hazards. Here are some simple steps that can be taken to help keep children safe and healthy:
- Discover how climate change may affect the health of children, and how reducing energy helps the climate and reduces air pollution.
- Have a health care provider or local health department test children's blood lead levels.
- Wash floors and window sills to remove dust and peeling lead-based paint, especially in older homes, where lead based paint is more likely to be found. Repair peeling or chipping paint in older homes.
- Reduce asthma attacks by controlling triggers such as pet dander, mold and second-hand smoke.
- Don't expose children to cigarette, cigar or pipe smoke at home or in a car.
- Check the local public water supplier for annual drinking water quality reports. Have private water wells tested annually by a certified laboratory.
- Store pesticides and other chemicals in a locked cabinet. Never put them in other containers that can be mistaken for food or drink.
- Replace mercury thermometers with digital or mercury-free thermometers.
- Homes should be tested for radon, as it is the second leading cause of lung cancer.
The following website features EPA's Children's Health Month calendar titled ”Healthy Living; Healthy Learning; Healthy Environments.
EPA ORDERS WATER WORKS FACILITY TO COMPLY WITH ARSENIC DRINKING WATER REGULATIONS
EPA Region 3 issued an order to the Sellersville Borough Water Works, in Sellersville, Pa., to comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act arsenic levels of 10 parts per billion established in 2006 to protect public health. Unsafe levels of arsenic may cause illness including cancer of the bladder, and lung and other cancers. The order requires the borough water works to submit a detailed plan to comply with drinking water standards for arsenic, or develop an alternate water source within 30 days of receipt of the order. Failure to meet these terms would incur a civil penalty of up to $35,500 per day for violation. For more information on arsenic in drinking water, go to http://www.epa.gov/safewater/arsenic/index.html
EPA'S SMARTWAY TRANSPORT PARTNERSHIP HELPS FREIGHT SECTOR COMPANIES REDUCE EMISSIONS
The SmartWay Transport Partnership was promoted within the region at two SmartWay Partnership outreach events: one at the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals in King of Prussia, Pa. and one at the North East Association of Railshippers in Lake Harmony, Pa. The EPA SmartWay partnership is a voluntary partnership for government, business and consumers to protect the environment, reduce fuel consumption, and improve air quality. The program has established a brand logo (similar to the EnergyStar label) to certify products and services that reduce transportation-related emissions ensuring that consumers are getting a cleaner, more fuel efficient means of transportation. For more information, go to SmartWay Vehicles, , and SmartWay Financing Options.
EPA IS MONITORING THE EXTENT OF AIR TOXIC EMISSIONS AT SOURCES NEAR AREA SCHOOLS; RELEASES BERKS COUNTY (PA) SCHOOL TOXICS DATA
EPA is monitoring and mapping companies that may potentially be contributing to air toxics levels outside nine schools in Region 3 and to identify key pollutants. Nationwide, 63 schools in 22 states have been selected for air toxics monitoring. The sources being used to generate the list of companies surrounding each school include the National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA) data, the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), the USA Today study results, and a list generated by Region 3's library including information from Dun & Bradstreet for air emissions sources within a 2 mile radius of each school. The information is being inputted into Google Earth, and the facilities mapped using Microsoft Bing Maps. For information on the national air toxics monitoring initiative for schools, go to: http://www.epa.gov/schoolair/
Berks County (Pa.) School Toxics Data Released
EPA released initial data from air toxics monitoring outside the Riverside Elementary School in Berks County, Pa. showing that air toxics at the school are below levels for short-term health concerns. The study, however, is designed to determine whether long-term, not short-term, exposure poses health risks to school children and staff. Once monitoring is complete, the results from all of the schools will be analyzed to evaluate the potential for health concerns related to long-term exposure to these pollutants and determine whether additional monitoring or enforcement action is necessary. EPA will post all monitoring data at its schools air toxics website: http://www.epa.gov/schoolair
EPA ANNOUNCES STRATEGY TO STUDY ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF NANOMATERIALS
EPA announced its new research strategy to determine if manufactured nanomaterials cause harmful effects to human health and the environment. Nanomaterials are miniscule materials approximately between one and 100 nanometers (approximately 1/100,000 the width of a human hair) and used in hundreds of consumer products, including sunscreen, cosmetics and sports equipment. EPA researchers are investigating the safety of carbon nanotubes, which are nanomaterials used in vehicles, sports equipment and electronics; and titanium dioxide, used in paints, cosmetics and sunscreen and collaborating with the international community in this undertaking. For details on this research, to go http://www.epa.gov/nanoscience.
CLEAN WATER ACT SETTLEMENT PROTECTS THE CHESAPEAKE BAY FROM SEWER OVERFLOWS
EPA announced that the Hampton Roads Sanitation District, based in Virginia Beach, Va., has agreed to pay a $900,000 civil penalty and to reduce alleged sanitary sewer overflows from its collection system and nine sewage treatment plants that polluted the Chesapeake Bay and tributaries. The sanitation district is required to develop a regional plan to handle severe storm flows, prevent sewage overflows and effectively operate/maintain the sewer system to protect public health and the environment. This will significantly reduce nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment entering the Chesapeake Bay. The consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court.
FORMER EPA ADMINISTRATOR JACKSON UNVEILS FRAMEWORK FOR CHEMICAL MANAGEMENT REFORM IN THE NATION
Former EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson announced an EPA plan to reform the country's chemical management law and increase the pace of the agency's efforts to address chemicals that pose a risk to the public. A copy of Administrator Jackson's remarks can be found online at the epa.gov/newsroom. The new legislation will give EPA the authority to target chemicals of concern, and promptly assess and regulate new and existing chemicals in commerce. The “Essential Principles for Reform of Chemicals Management Legislation” can be found at http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/pubs/principles.html. Detailed information on EPA's enhanced chemical management program can be found at http://www.epa.gov/oppt/existingchemicals/index.html.
EPA TO GRANT PUBLIC MORE OPPORTUNITY TO COMMENT ON PESTICIDE REGISTRATION DECISIONS
EPA is establishing a public participation process for the public to review and comment on all major new exposure patterns for pesticide registration. One is a process for public participation for potential new pesticide active ingredients and certain new pesticide uses, and another is a process for public involvement in the review of already registered pesticides. (http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/regulating/registration-public-involvement.html). Starting Oct. 1, for certain registration actions, EPA's risk assessment and proposed decision will be added to the public docket and made available for a 30-day public comment period. Following the comment period, EPA will publish its decision and a response-to-comment document. For more information, go to www.epa.gov/pesticides/regulating/index.htm
EPA, D.C. SIGN AGREEMENT TO IMPROVE THE CITY'S ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY OF LIFE
The EPA Mid-Atlantic Region and the District of Columbia Department of the Environment entered into an agreement to improve the quality of life of residents of the District, targeting five key areas of collaboration:
- Restoring the District's watersheds, including the Anacostia, Potomac, and Rock Creek by developing an approach that considers all sources of pollution.
- Implementing the Green D.C. Agenda and showcasing the District for its green programs.
- Addressing health risks to sensitive populations such as children and the elderly and assessing environmental justice issues impacting low income citizens.
- Updating obscure and outdated environmental regulations and developing new ones.
- Enhancing public education and outreach to foster more environmentally informed citizens.
EPA FINES COMPANIES FOR SALE OF PCB-CONTAINING EQUIPMENT ON EBAY LACKING PROPER IDENTIFICATION
A factory surplus liquidator advertising old electrical equipment on eBay that contained polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) was fined under the Toxic Substances Control Act (the federal law regulating the use and disposal of PCBs). The regulations protect the public and the environment from exposure to toxic chemicals. PCBs were widely used in hundreds of industrial and commercial applications such as electrical products until they were banned in 1979. PCBs are man-made chemicals that persist in the environment and can affect the immune system, reproductive system, nervous system and cause cancer in animals. For more information about the proper handling of PCB containing materials and equipment, visit EPA's website at http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/hazard/tsd/pcbs/index.htm.
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