EPA Finalizes Electronic Reporting Rule for Toxic Release Inventory Data

This one is final. (And they’re serious: “EPA will not accept or process TRI reporting forms that are not submitted in the appropriate manner.”

Effective January 21, 2014 (and thus applicable to Toxic Release Inventory, or TRI, submissions for the 2013 reporting year), the Environmental Protection Agency will require that covered facilities submit their Form R (or Form A) reports using the agency’s TRI-MEweb (Toxic Release Inventory Made Easy) program, accessible through the Central Data Exchange web-based system.

However, facilities that submit trade secret TRI information will continue to submit their trade secret reporting forms and substantiation forms in hard copy.
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At long last – the Solvent Wipes Rule!

Nearly 10 years (!) after its initial proposal, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has (finally) finalized a rule to exclude certain solvent-contaminated wipes from regulation as hazardous wastes. Published in the July 31 Federal Register, the rule becomes effective on January 31, 2014. (Can we emphasize “finally!” one more time?)

The rule excludes from hazardous waste regulations both reusable (e.g., cloth) and disposable wipes, provided that they are properly cleaned or disposed, and that facilities manage the contaminated wipes in closed, labeled containers. Wipes cannot contain “free liquids” when sent for cleaning or disposal. Certain record-keeping requirements will apply, and the solvent-contaminated wipes cannot be accumulated on-site for longer than 180 days.

“Wipes” as defined in this rule-making include woven or non-woven shop towels, rags, pads, or swabs made of wood pulp, fabric, cotton, polyester blends, or other material. Wipes covered by this exclusion include those contaminated by the following F001 to F005 listed solvents, or the corresponding “U” or “P” listed solvents:

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Toxic Release Inventory Odds and Ends

MayDay in this business marks the start of the Toxic Release Inventory (Form R) reporting season. As you settle in to assembling your chemical processing, transfers and releases data, here are a few key things to know and places to go to get through the adventure…

Chemical List Updates

The one recent change to the TRI chemicals list for 2012 reporting is the reinstatement of the reporting requirement for hydrogen sulfide. If you haven’t been reporting this chemical in the past few years, but manufacture, process or otherwise use it in TRI threshold quantities, you must report for 2012.

Reporting Alternatives

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a proposed rule to require electronic submission of TRI forms, which can be found at this page:  www.epa.gov/tri/lawsandregs/electronicreporting/index.html.

The rule has not been finalized.  So, for 2012, the agency will continue (reluctantly) to accept paper copies of TRI Form R (and Form A) reports.

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Next up (for many of you): Air Emissions Reporting

Be advised (!), as they say…

For permitted air emission sources, your annual emissions inventory reporting – aka Air Operating Report, Emissions Inventory Questionnaire, Turn Around Report or whatever your state may be calling it – may be due within the next month.

Following are some links and upcoming due dates for emissions inventory reporting:

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SPCC Plans Coming Down on the Farm

image: harvesting sugar cane

Farming, the South Florida way…

The extended time for farms to comply with Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan requirements is just about up! An October 2011 rulemaking by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency set May 10, 2013 as the deadline for farms to prepare or amend SPCC Plans in accordance with current requirements.

“Existing” farms – that were in operation on or before August 16, 2002 (yeah, that’s how long the SPCC amendments have been in the works) – must maintain or amend their existing plans by the May 10 compliance date. Of course, you owners and operators of existing farms already have a plan, and have been maintaining it all along, right?

“New” covered farms that started operating after August 16, 2002, must prepare and implement their SPCC Plans by the May 10, 2013, compliance date or upon startup, whichever is later.

So, how do you know if your farming operation is subject to SPCC requirements?
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Housekeeping for Chrome Platers

image: chrome rim shop

Oooh, shiny. (and good housekeeping, too!)

On September 19, 2012, the US Environmental Protection Agency published a final review amending the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Hard and Decorative Chromium Electroplating and Chromium Anodizing Tanks (40 CFR Part 63, Subpart N). In addition to revised emission limits for total chromium and other changes, the rule amendment introduced requirements for housekeeping practices to minimize fugitive emissions. These housekeeping procedures must be implemented within six months after publication of the rule, or by March 19, 2013.

Required housekeeping procedures include:

  • storage of substances containing hexavalent chromium in closed containers in an enclosed area, and transport of these substances in closed containers, only;
  • drip trays, containment or on-site treatment as controls for dripping of plating bath solution during dragout;
  • splash guards for electroplating and anodizing tanks;
  • prompt (i.e., within one hour) cleanup and containment of spills of hexavalent chromium substances;
  • routine cleaning and stabilization of storage and work surfaces, walkways, and other surfaces that could become contaminated with hexavalent chromium;
  • installation of barriers between plating or anodizing equipment and any buffing, grinding or polishing operations; and
  • proper storage, disposal, recovery or recycling of chromium-containing wastes.

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EPA is on a Roll! RICE emission standards finalized…

image: diesel pump engine

RICE. On a sugar cane farm. (No, really!)

The US Environmental Protection Agency announced on January 14 that it has finalized revisions to standards for emissions from stationary engines that generate electricity and power equipment, better known as Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines (“RICE”) in regulatory parlance.

The final rule amends the 2010 National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines (RICE) to address challenges to the 2010 rule by regulated industries. The 2010 rules separately addressed compression ignition engines, powered by diesel fuel, and spark ignition engines, usually powered by gasoline or natural gas. Both rules prompted petitions for reconsideration.

Among other changes, the amendments specify how the standards apply to emergency engines used for emergency demand response. Under the rules, any engine may operate without emissions limitations during an emergency. However, the emergency operating time during Level 2 energy emergency alerts – events with potential for blackouts – was limited to 15 hours per year. This 15-hour limit was viewed as insufficient to allow engines to be used in emergency demand response programs. Therefore, the amended provisions allow owners and operators to operate their engines as part of an emergency demand response program within the 100 operating hours separately allotted for maintenance and testing.

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Finally… the Boiler Rule is Final

On December 21 (2012), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it has finalized revised air emissions standards for boilers and certain incinerators. The EPA announcement seemed to emphasize a “business-friendly” approach in the new rules, noting that 99 percent of the approximately 1.5 million boilers in the US will not be covered or can meet the new standards with periodic maintenance or regular tune-ups. (The total number of existing boilers subject to regulation will be about 200,000.)

Originally published in March 2011, the rule was met by an angry response from regulated industries, arguing that the proposed emission limits were unrealistic. EPA agreed to reconsider after further review.

The rules apply to boilers and process heaters that burn fuels such as natural gas, fuel oil, biomass (wood), coal, or other fuel gas, but not those that burn solid waste (unless they are exempt from emissions standards for incinerators). Separate rule revisions apply to boilers at major sources and those at area sources of hazardous air pollutants (unlike area sources, major sources have the potential to emit more than 10 tons per year of a single hazardous air pollutant, or HAP, or more than 25 tons per year of total HAPs).

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