Archive | Hazardous Waste

Groups Oppose EPA Analysis of Coal Ash Prior to Regulations

Three environmental groups are challenging figures in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s report on coal ash, a potentially harmful byproduct of coal-burning in industrial facilities and power plants.

The dispute comes as the EPA prepares first-ever regulations for the disposal of coal ash in the wake of the catastrophic Tennessee Valley spill that dumped 5.4 million cubic yards of the sludge into the Emory River two years ago.

The agency is considering two proposals. The first would give the toxic residue a “hazardous” label and impose new federal regulations for construction of containment facilities. The second option, heavily favored by industry supporters, would classify the substance as “non-hazardous” and encourage facilities to recycle their coal ash into building materials like cement and drywall.

The Environmental Integrity Project, Earthjustice, and the Stockholm Environment Institute’s U.S. Center released an analysis of the EPA’s findings Wednesday claiming that the agency has exaggerated the value of coal ash recycling. The EPA stated in its report that the practice is worth $23 billion in health benefits, pollution avoidance, and lowered energy costs. The groups estimate the annual worth of coal ash recycling to be $1.15 billion while posing serious risks for the environment and human health.

“The concern we have is so loudly exaggerating the economic benefit of coal ash recycling,” said Eric Schaeffer, director of the Environmental Integrity Project, according to Bloomberg. “The noise that creates has sort of drowned out the concern over health and safety of properly disposing this kind of material.”

The groups voiced their support of the stricter program, which they say would protect communities near power plant-operated coal ash containment ponds.

They also noted in a statement Wednesday that there are as many as 50 unregulated coal ash dumps around the country similar to the one that broke down in the Tennessee Valley two years ago.

EPA spokeswoman Betsaida Alcantara said the agency would review the report along with over 400,000 public comments submitted to officials.

Posted in Coal, Hazardous Waste, Industrial Pollution, Industrial Waste, Minerals & Mining, Toxic Substances, Water Pollution0 Comments

U.S. Chemical Company Settles DOJ Suit

WASHINGTON, Aug. 6 (UPI) — The U.S. Justice Department has announced fines and penalties in a case concluded under the National Enforcement Initiative for Mining and Mineral Processing.

The department and the Environmental Protection Agency say CF Industries Inc. has agreed to spend about $12 million to reduce and properly manage hazardous wastes generated at its Plant City, Fla., phosphoric acid and ammoniated fertilizer manufacturing facility, an EPA release said Friday.

This is the first case concluded under EPA’s Mining and Mineral Processing enforcement initiative, the agency said.

“Mismanagement of hazardous waste from mining and mineral processing is a serious matter,” assistant Attorney General Ignacia S. Moreno said. “The companies targeted in the National Enforcement Initiative for Mining and Mineral Processing cannot proceed with business as usual.”

Between December 2004 and January 2005, inspectors from the EPA and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection discovered CF Industries was treating, storing and disposing of hazardous wastes at the Florida facility without a permit and failing to meet land disposal restrictions.

The settlement resolves the company’s Resource Conservation and Recovery Act violations and requires the company to pay a civil penalty of more than $700,000, the EPA said.

CF Industries also has agreed to guarantee $163.5 million to fund all closure and long-term care obligations after the facility’s useful life ends.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Conservation, Hazardous Waste, Justice, Other0 Comments

EPA Publishes Toxic Release Figures

WASHINGTON, July 28 (UPI) — The U.S. Environment Protection agency has released its report on industrial releases and transfers of toxic materials in 2009, officials said.

As part of the Obama administration’s continuing commitment to open government, the latest data on industrial releases and transfers of toxic chemicals in the United States between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2009, has been made available within weeks of the reporting deadline, the agency said in a release Wednesday.

“It is vital that every community has access to information that impacts their health and environment,” EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said. “The data we’re releasing provides critical insights about pollution and polluters in the places where people live, work, play and learn. Making that knowledge available is the first step in empowering communities to protect the environment in their areas.”

Examples of industries that report to the EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory include manufacturing, metal mining, electric utilities and commercial hazardous waste treatment facilities among others.

Facilities must report their data by July 1 of each year, the EPA said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Chemicals, Hazardous Waste, Other0 Comments

Ship with Suspected Toxic Waste Seized

LAGOS, Nigeria, April 16 (UPI) — Nigeria impounded a container ship of unclear ownership and origin that was allegedly laden with toxic waste, customs officials in Lagos said Friday.

The crew and its agents aboard the vessel, identified as the MV Nashville, docked at the Tin Can Island Port at Lagos, were also arrested and detained, pending an investigation, the officials said.

The MV Nashville, whose ownership and nation of origin were unclear late Friday, was alleged to be carrying 70 used lead batteries and broken televisions, officials cited by the allAfrica.com news Web site said.

Mike Zampa, vice president for corporate communications of Singapore’s Neptune Orient Lines, told United Press International the ship was in no way related to his company, despite earlier reports it was.

“It is not our ship. We do not own a ship by that name. We have no vessel service to Nigeria. It’s wrong information,” he said in a phone interview from Singapore.

He said he had no idea whose ship it was. UPI was unable to immediately determine the ship’s owner, operator, origin or destination.

Such ships typically carry their loads in truck-size containers that are sealed intact.

The batteries aboard the MV Nashville were classified as code A1180 under the 1992 Basel Convention, an international treaty designed to reduce hazardous waste movements, specifically from developed countries to less developed countries.

The United States is one of three countries that signed the treaty but failed to ratify it. The two others are Afghanistan and Haiti.

A 1988 dumping of 3,500 tons of toxic waste by an Italian firm in a remote Nigerian coastal town Koko in southern Delta State caused death and injury to people and animals and contaminated lakes and rivers.

Only after environmental groups and Nigerian officials protested that the industrial world was improperly dumping chemical waste in developing countries did Italy order the toxic waste picked up and returned to Europe.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Hazardous Waste, Other0 Comments

Ship with Suspected Toxic Waste Seized

LAGOS, Nigeria, April 16 (UPI) — Nigeria impounded a container ship with possible U.S. ties that was allegedly laden with toxic waste, customs officials in Lagos said Friday.

The crew and its agents aboard the vessel MV Nashville, docked at the Tin Can Island Port at Lagos, were also arrested and detained, pending an investigation, the officials said.

The MV Nashville — a container ship reportedly operated by American President Lines, a subsidiary of Singapore’s Neptune Orient Lines, with a corporate office in Scottsdale, Ariz. — was alleged to be carrying 70 used lead batteries and broken televisions, officials cited by the allAfrica.com news Web site said.

The batteries were classified as code A1180 under the 1992 Basel Convention, an international treaty designed to reduce hazardous waste movements, specifically from developed countries to less developed countries.

The United States is one of three countries that signed the treaty but failed to ratify it. The two others are Afghanistan and Haiti.

Officials did not say where the ship originated or what its final destination was.

Mike Zampa, listed by American President Lines as its director of corporate communications for the Americas, did not immediately respond to a United Press International e-mail seeking confirmation of the report. United Press International calls to a phone number listed for Zampa brought a recording saying the number was disconnected or no longer in service.

A 1988 dumping of 3,500 tons of toxic waste in a remote Nigerian coastal town Koko in southern Delta State by an Italian firm caused death and injury to people and animals and contaminated lakes and rivers.

Only after environmental groups and Nigerian officials protested that the industrial world was improperly dumping chemical waste in developing countries did Italy order the toxic waste picked up and returned to Europe.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Hazardous Waste, Other0 Comments

Protein Might Help Fight Global Warming

DENTON, Texas, Feb. 8 (UPI) — University of North Texas scientists say they’ve found a way of using eco-friendly proteins to capture carbon dioxide from industrial smokestacks.

The researchers said their technique might also be used to discover new, environmentally friendly materials for fighting global warming.

Michael Drummond and colleagues Angela Wilson and Tom Cundari said existing carbon-capture technologies are expensive and can generate hazardous waste. But they said proteins can catalyze reactions with carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, in an environmentally friendly way.

In their study, the researchers said they used the pharmacophore concept to probe how the 3-dimensional structure of proteins affects their ability to bind and capture carbon dioxide. The German chemist and Nobel Laureate Paul Ehrlich, who originated the concept a century ago, defined a pharmacophore as the molecular framework that carries the key features responsible for a drug’s activity.

The scientists concluded that the approach could point the way to the development of next-generation carbon capture technologies.

Their research is reported in the American Chemical Society journal Energy & Fuels.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Global Warming & Climate Change, Hazardous Waste0 Comments

European Union Has Growing Trash Problem

BRUSSELS, Feb. 3 (UPI) — The European Union needs a separate agency devoted to the problem of waste removal in member nations, an official of the European Commission says.

A new report prepared for the commission found as much as a fifth of waste shipments inspected in the bloc are illegal, the EUobserver reported Wednesday.

The EU study said the scale of the problem has grown in recent years with hazardous waste often being sent to developing countries.

“We must look at all the options, including setting up an EU agency or body which would enable EU legislation to deliver the maximum benefits for citizens, the environment and the EU economy,” said Stavros Dimas, environment commissioner.

Dimas said the new agency could review enforcement systems in member states as well as coordinate controls and inspection activities.

Estimates are the new agency would cost about $22 million annually.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Hazardous Waste, Waste Disposal0 Comments

Radioactive Waste Including 5,408 Drums of Uranium Headed for Utah Landfill

SALT LAKE CITY, Dec. 22 (UPI) — Utah state officials say they are ready to supervise the movement of low-level radioactive waste received from South Carolina into a specialized landfill.

The 5,408 drums of depleted uranium from the federal government’s Savannah River cleanup site in South Carolina arrived by train Sunday and were to be offloaded Tuesday about 80 miles west of Salt Lake City under the supervision of state inspectors, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

The waste will be kept at the landfill temporarily so Utah regulators can finish updating disposal requirements needed to permanently bury the waste. The aim, the newspaper said, is to ensure Utah does not get stuck with radioactive waste that cannot be effectively contained at the permanent disposal site run by EnergySolutions Inc.

Dane Finerfrock, director of the Utah Division of Radiation Control, told the Tribune his staff arrived Monday to look over the shipping papers and check the manifests against the content of a sampling of drums.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Consumer Waste, Hazardous Waste, Landfills, Nuclear, Radiation, Recycling & Waste, Waste Disposal0 Comments

11 Hazardous Waste Sites Added to EPA's National Priorities List of Superfund Sites

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 (UPI) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it is adding 11 hazardous waste sites to the National Priorities List of Superfund sites.

Additionally, the EPA said it is proposing adding 10 other sites to the list. Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country.

Officials said the 11 new sites include such contaminants as arsenic, barium, boron, cadmium, chloromethane, lead, mercury, and polychlorinated biphenyls.

The 11 new sites are:

– B.F. Goodrich, Rialto, Calif.

– Lane Street Ground Water Contamination, Elkhart, Ind.

– Southwest Jefferson County Mining, Jefferson County, Mo.

– Flat Creek IMM, Superior, Mont.

– Ore Knob Mine, Ashe County, N.C.

– GMH Electronics, Roxboro, N.C.

– Curtis Specialty Papers Inc., Milford, N.J.

– Little Scioto River, Marion County, Ohio

– Salford Quarry, Lower Salford Township, Pa.

– Papelera Puertorriquena Inc., Utuado, Puerto Rico.

– Amcast Industrial Corp., Cedarburg, Wis.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Electronics, Hazardous Waste, Nature & Ecosystems, Other0 Comments

ESS Compliance Software

There is an inevitable conflict between economic growth and environmental protection, and balancing these necessities is never easy. But as environmental regulations continue to increase in scope and degree, there are also new and improved tools for companies to use to monitor and report their performance.

For 15 years, ESS (Environmental Support Solutions), based in Tempe, Arizona, with offices all over the US as well as in China and Canada, has pioneered offering automated and integrated solutions to, among other things, environmental compliance. In recent years, as software has migrated online and become more powerful and affordable, ESS has attracted the attention of very large companies who are still using cumbersome legacy systems to manage their environmental compliance. These systems are often hard to migrate onto an online platform, they are harder to update as regulations evolve, and they are very hard to integrate. ESS has become a must-have solution for these large companies that are using aging, disconnected systems to manage more environmental regulations than ever.

Dow Chemical Co. has over 200 US facilities.

At their annual “ESS-Expo” held earlier this month in Phoenix, ESS recognized the achievements of some of their top customers who have saved significant time and money by adopting ESS solutions.

Their stories are illustrative of how state of the art information technology such as the software ESS offers can enable companies to manage and report on more environmental regulations than ever, for less money than before.

The Dow Chemical Company, for example, one of the world’s leading producers of plastics, chemicals, and agricultural products, with 46,000 employees operating in more than 175 countries, needed to replace multiple legacy environmental reporting systems with a single robust reporting system across 200 U.S. facilities. The new system had to be interoperable with existing corporate enterprise systems. They chose ESS products to monitor and report on their emissions, chemical inventory, waste streams and water quality, and over a three year period implemented a full transition.

The result was they preserved their license to operate in 200 facilities at 35 manufacturing sites, and have already eliminated over $2 million in redundant legacy reporting systems, with additional savings to come. The new system improved reporting efficiency and accuracy by allowing all the US sites to use a common reporting process.

Other large companies were recognized by ESS for implementing ESS solutions that resulted in similar savings across the enterprise. For example, in 2007, Alcoa Inc. – the world’s leading aluminum manufacturer – selected ESS’ Essential Suite software to serve as its unified platform for sustainability management throughout the company’s global operations. That decision was based in part on the company’s 2006 success using one module, Essential Air, to save over $100,000 on Title V compliance at its Tennessee Operations Location, the biggest aluminum production facility in North America. This software greatly streamlines the process of identifying and tracking compliance requirements, auditable work processes and associated compliance activities. Employees can also use the software to track deviations from compliance task requirements so corrective actions can be managed within the same system.

Before the company implemented the new ESS modules, compliance requirements and tasks were tracked via written audit reports, whereas the ESS products make their completion tracking data, recurring task and e-mail notifications, and accurate, up-to-date reports easily accessible within seconds.

Delta Airlines operates at over 100 US airports.

Another large company who has benefit from ESS software is Delta Airlines, who flies to more destinations around the world – 481 locations in 105 countries – than any other air carrier.

Delta’s previous environmental management information system (EMIS) had performance issues – entering a simple piece of data would often take 10 or 15 minutes – but upgrading it to the company’s new server platform was not cost effective.

Delta operates hundreds of airplanes worldwide and each of them is rebuilt every five years at the company’s Technical Operations Center in Atlanta. Aircraft maintenance and rebuilding uses many hazardous chemicals. Delta’s corporate headquarters team in Atlanta also needs to assure environmental compliance at 100 airports across the United States where the airline operates. The Delta team at each airport location, or “outstation”, is responsible for tracking hazardous chemicals and hazardous waste, filing reports to regulatory agencies and other duties.

By transitioning from legacy software solutions (and even manual systems) to ESS software, Delta is able to maintain its commitment to environmental compliance while reducing the time spent on paper processes and employee management. Data storage is permanent and readily accessed; no longer left in fragile paper files or archives. As a result, the immediate exchange of information has allowed Delta’s EMIS to be much less vulnerable to employee turnover and data loss.

We can debate to what extent environmental regulations are going to need to spread further into every aspect of our industry and infrastructure. But it is undeniable there are vital areas where we need to maintain and improve the quality of our land, air and water. As we continue to make progress towards building a sustainable civilization, ESS software helps the biggest industries on earth manage these challenges in an efficient and accurate manner. ESS is another example of how the information revolution is enabling the green revolution.

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