Thursday, January 29, 2009

NPDES Permit - Clean Water Act Delegation For Alaska DEC

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recently delegated its authority under the Clean Water Act to the State of Alaska. EPA will hand off wastewater discharge permitting authority and enforcement in Alaska to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

Alaska joins 45 other states that oversee their own National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). Delegated States can write their own standards, but they can not be any less strict than federal standards.

In November 2008, DEC took control over wastewater discharge permits for timber harvesting, seafood processing and municipal dischargers. Existing permits from the EPA will turn into state permits. Over the next three years, in phases, the state will take over permitting of federal facilities in Alaska, stormwater, mining, and finally oil and gas permits, cooling water and other minor permitting programs.

Caltha LLP assists clients in meeting State and Federal NPDES permit and compliance requirements. For more information on Stormwater Permits and Compliance, go to Stormwater and SWPPP website.

For further information contact Caltha LLP at
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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

FIFRA Pesticides - Clean Water Act Permitting Requirements

On January 7, 2009, an Appeals Court vacated a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule that has allowed pesticides to be applied to U.S. waters without a Clean Water Act permit. In November 2007, EPA had issued the final rule stating that pesticides applied in accordance with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) are exempt from the Clean Water Act's permitting requirements.

The Clean Water Act regulates the discharge of pollutants into the nation's waters by, among other things, requiring entities that discharge pollutants to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. For nearly 30 years before adoption of the 2007 rule, pesticide labels issued under the FIFRA were required to contain a notice stating that the pesticide could not be "discharged into lakes, streams, ponds, or public waters unless in accordance with an NPDES permit".

The court ruled that pesticide residues and biological pesticides constitute pollutants under federal law and therefore must be regulated under the Clean Water Act in order to minimize the impact to human health and the environment.

Caltha LLP assists dischargers in meeting State and Federal requirements for wastewater discharge. Caltha provides specialized expertise in the assessment, standards and regulation of pesticides and herbicides in the environment.

For further information contact Caltha LLP at
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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Nutrient Management Plans for CAFO - Zero Discharge Requirements

In October 2008, EPA finalized a rule helping to protect the nation’s water quality by requiring concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) to safely manage manure. The rule deadline for newly defined facilities to apply for permits is February 27, 2009.

One of the key requirements under the new rules is for a Nutrient Management Plan (NMP) for manure to be submitted as part of a CAFO’s Clean Water Act permit application. Previous rules required a CAFO operator to use an NMP for controlling manure, but did not required the NMP to be submitted with the permit application. The plan will be reviewed by the permitting authority and conditions based on it will be incorporated as enforceable terms of the permit.

The regulation also requires that an owner or operator of a CAFO that actually discharges to streams, lakes, and other waters must apply for a permit under the Clean Water Act. If a farmer designs, constructs, operates and maintains their facility such that a discharge will occur, a permit is needed. EPA is also providing an opportunity for CAFO operators who do not discharge or propose to discharge to show their commitment to pollution prevention by obtaining certification as zero dischargers.

Finally, the final rule includes technical clarifications regarding water quality-based effluent limitations and use of best management practices to meet zero discharge requirements, as well as affirming the 2003 rule requirement for reducing fecal coliform bacteria through the use of best conventional technology (BCT).

Caltha LLP offers expert technical support to wastewater dischargers needing to meet State and Federal discharge requirements. Caltha provides specialized expertise in State and Federal Water Quality Standards.

For further information contact Caltha LLP at
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Monday, January 26, 2009

Motor Vehicle Air Conditioner Leakage Reporting Requirement

Beginning in 2009, auto makers are required to calculate and report refrigerant leakage rates for their vehicles sold in Minnesota. In 2008, Minnesota State Legislation was passed that requires reporting of leakage rates from motor vehicle air conditioners using HFC-134a as a refrigerant. The law applies to new vehicles that are to be sold in Minnesota on or after January 1, 2009. Auto manufacturers must report the leakage rate of refrigerant to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) at least 90 days before the first date the vehicle is offered for sale. Currently, this requirement is for reporting only; no acceptable leakage rate criteria were established.

The reporting requirement applies to light duty vehicles and medium duty passenger vehicles and includes model year 2009 and later.

Caltha LLP assists manufacturers in meeting their product stewardship reporting requirements. For more information, go to Product Stewardship Services.

For further information contact Caltha LLP at
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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Temporary Environmental Health & Safety Staffing – Contract EHS Services

Caltha LLP provides experienced EH&S personnel to fill corporate and facility positions. Positions can be filled on a full-time or part-time basis. Assignments typically range from a few weeks to several months. Temporary staffing can be used for:

  • Short-term resource needs
  • Workload leveling
  • Staff leave of absence
  • Bridge staffing while positions are being filled
  • Special projects
  • New program roll-out
  • Reporting

Click here to request more information on Temporary EHS staffing.

Caltha is always interested in hearing from EHS professionals with corporate or facility EHS compliance experience. Click here to send an inquiry regarding staffing positions.

For further information contact Caltha LLP at
Caltha LLP Website

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Battery Recycling Requirements - New European Union Rules

New EU-wide rules to boost the collection and recycling of used domestic batteries came into force recently. The rules are intended to reduce the environmental and health hazards posed by mercury, lead, cadmium and other metals in batteries.

The targets, agreed by EU member states, are the collection of 25 % of discarded household batteries by 2012. This target will rise to 45 % in 2016.

By September 26, 2009 all batteries collected should be recycled, with exceptions in certain circumstances. Batteries containing mercury, lead and cadmium are classified in Europe as "hazardous waste". The new rules also cover industrial and vehicle batteries, ensuring that users have the possibility of returning used batteries for collection. The new rules also include restrictions on the use of mercury in all batteries and on the use of cadmium in portable batteries.

Caltha LLP assists manufacturers in meeting product stewardship goals and regulatory requirements associated with their products.

For further information contact Caltha LLP at
Caltha LLP Website

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

EU Proposes Revision To WEEE Directive

The Waste Electronics and Electric Equipment (WEEE) Directive came into force in 2003. Soon after a number of technical, legal and administrative difficulties became apparent; therefore the WEEE Directive was thus called out for up-date and simplification.

The WEEE Directive aims to 1) prevent the generation of electrical and electronic waste and 2) to promote reuse, recycling and other forms of recovery to reduce the quantity of waste discarded. It requires the collection of waste electrical and electronic equipment and the recovery and reuse or recycling of waste collected.

The directive is based on producer responsibility; producers of equipment used by private households are responsible for providing financing for the collection, treatment, recovery and environmentally-sound disposal of WEEE deposited at collection facilities. Producers of equipment used by others than private households are financially responsible for the costs of collection, treatment, recovery and environmentally-sound disposal.

Member States are required to draw up a register of producers and collect information on an annual basis on the quantities and categories of electrical and electronic equipment placed on their market, collected, re-used, recycled and recovered within that Member State and on collected waste exported.

Since 2003 data have shown that the Directive's goals could not be achieved at current collection and recycling rates. An EU review of the Directive required the Commission to propose new mandatory WEEE collection target and new targets for recovery and re-use or recycling, including for reusing whole appliances as appropriate, and targets for electrical and electronic medical devices. A new provision is added to harmonize producer registration and reporting in the EU by making national registers inter-operable.

Experience with the WEEE Directive also points to implementation problems resulting in a high percentage of WEEE not handled according to the requirements of the directive. It also shows that a significant amount of illegal shipments of polluting E-waste finds its way to developing countries where is has an impact on the health of local populations. To close the implementation gap, the EU proposes to strengthen the enforcement of the WEEE Directive.

Caltha LLP assists manufacturers in meeting their product stewardship goals and regulatory requirements.

For further information contact Caltha LLP at
Caltha LLP Website

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New US DOT Rules on Transport of Spent Batteries

The U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT) has adopted new hazardous materials transportation regulations covering the batteries. These rules address concerns about the potential safety hazards of shipping large quantities of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. The rules took effect on October 1, 2008 and will impact the companies and individuals shipping batteries for recycling and the recycling industry.

The new US DOT rules require that Li-ion batteries to be shipped in original equipment or have tape over the terminal connections to help prevent short circuits. In addition, the US DOT has new requirements for marking and labeling of shipping packages.

Most of the rules changes will apply to commercial shipments. But some of the changes will also impact consumers sending small numbers of phones for recycling.

[read more about other recent amendments to hazardous material shipping requirements]

For further information contact Caltha LLP at
Caltha LLP Website

Environmental Training - RCRA HazCom SWPPP SPCC Audit Training

Caltha LLP offers a wide variety of Environmental Training courses developed to meet requirements of numerous regulatory programs.

Check here to review an archive of sample training projects Caltha has completed

Training is offered in a number of flexible formats, ranging from traditional classroom training presented periodically in different locations, to facility-level training conducted at individual sites to meet employee and/or contractor training needs. Caltha offers web-based and remote training options. Caltha also creates facility-specific training materials and conducts “train-the-trainer” sessions for facility training staff.

Caltha provides training in the following areas:
[Click on area to request information on upcoming training programs and training options]

RCRA - Hazardous Waste Generator (LQG) Training
HazCom - Hazard Communication Training
Stormwater Pollution Prevention - SWPPP Training [read more about State-specific SWPPP training]
Spill Prevention Control & Countermeasure - SPCC Training
Internal Compliance Audit Training
Internal EMS Audit Training
Contractor Training Programs
Facility Environmental Regulatory Overview Course

For further information contact Caltha LLP

orCaltha LLP Website

Monday, January 19, 2009

EU Regulation 396/2005 – Maximum Residue Levels MRL for Pesticides

Recently, new European Union (EU) rules setting enforceable Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) for pesticides came into force (Regulation No 396 / 2005). Rules set Maximum Reside Concentrations (MRL) for a wide range of pesticide in a variety of agricultural products. The MRLs are listed in a publicly available database. A European Commission database is now available to search for the MRL applicable to each crop and pesticide.

Caltha LLP assists companies in meeting various product stewardship requirements and meeting regulatory standards.

For further information contact Caltha LLP at
Caltha LLP Website

Thursday, January 15, 2009

UST Operator Training Requirements Under Energy Policy Act

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 required EPA to develop training guidelines for three distinct classes of operators who operate and maintain underground storage tank (UST) systems. States receiving funding under Subtitle I of the Solid Waste Disposal Act are then required to develop state-specific training requirements consistent with EPA's guidelines no later than August 8, 2009.

The EPA guidelines for UST training recognize three classes of operator:

Class A Operator has primary responsibility to operate and maintain the underground storage tank system, including managing resources and personnel to achieve and maintain compliance with regulatory requirements. At a minimum, the Class A operator must be trained and have general knowledge of UST system requirements so he or she can make informed decisions regarding compliance and ensure appropriate individuals are fulfilling operation, maintenance, and recordkeeping requirements and UST standards and regulatory requirements

A Class B Operator implements applicable UST regulatory requirements and standards in the field. This individual implements day-to-day aspects of operating, maintaining, and recordkeeping for USTs at one or more facilities. Compared with training for the Class A operator, training for the Class B operator will provide a more in-depth understanding of operation and maintenance aspects, but may cover a more narrow breadth of applicable regulatory requirements.

A Class C Operator is an employee and is, generally, the first line of response to events indicating emergency conditions. This individual is responsible for responding to alarms or other indications of emergencies caused by spills or releases from underground storage tank systems. At a minimum, the Class C operator must be trained to take action in response to emergencies or alarms caused by spills or releases from an underground storage tank system.

All States must ensure all three classes of operators are trained according to state-specific training requirements by August 8, 2012.

Caltha LLP provides training to comply with a number of regulatory programs, including SWPPP Training, SPCC Training, RCRA Training and Hazard Communication Training.

For further information contact Caltha LLP at
Caltha LLP Website

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

ISO 12885:2008 - Safe Handling of Nanomaterials

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) recently published a technical report (ISO/TR 12885:2008, Health and safety practices in occupational settings relevant to nanotechnologies), providing guidelines on ways to prevent adverse health and safety consequences during the production, handling, use, and disposal of manufactured nanomaterials. The report addresses current information about nanotechnologies, including characterization, health effects, exposure assessments, and control practices and focuses on the manufacture and use of engineered nanomaterials.

ISO is a non-governmental organization and does not enforce the implementation of its standards. However, many ISO standards related to health, safety, or the environment have been adopted in some countries as part of their regulatory framework, or are referred to in legislation.

Caltha LLP assists manufacturing clients in the development of procedures to minimize the potential environmental and worker health hazards associated with the use and handling of hazardous materials.

For further information contact Caltha LLP at
Caltha LLP Website

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Underground Storage Tank UST - New Rules For South Dakota

The South Dakota Department of Environmental and Natural Resources has revised its requirements for Underground Storage Tanks (UST), and associated piping and dispensing equipment.

Effective January 1, 2009, if the system is located within 1,000 feet of a community water supply or any potable water well (including private household wells), new USTs or replacement of existing USTs must include SECONDARY CONTAINMENT and LEAK DETECTION measures. These control requirements also apply to new piping systems installed after January 1, 2009.

Any new dispensing equipment, or replacement of existing equipment, if located within 1,000 of a potable water supply, must have a UNDER DISPENSER SUMP. The sump needs to control any releases from the area around the dispensing equipment and prevent releases to the environment.

Finally, ALL owners and operators of UST systems, regardless of proximity to potable water supplies, must go through a training program on proper UST operation. Training must be completed by August 8, 2012.

For further information contact Caltha LLP at
Caltha LLP Website

Monday, January 12, 2009

Tighter Water Quality Standards Required By EPA For Mississippi River

On December 15, 2008, USEPA informed the Missouri Department Natural Resources (MDNR) that new or revised water quality standards are necessary to protect the Mississippi River in Missouri. MDNR designated many stream segments and all of its lakes for recreational uses. However, Missouri did not assign the highest level of recreational use to a 195.5-mile segment of the Mississippi River that flows from St. Louis to the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. This EPA action directs the State to address approximately 160 miles of the Mississippi River to ensure that swimming, water-skiing and other recreational uses are protected. This will require MDNR to assign more stringent water quality criteria, which may in turn result in tighter wastewater discharge permit limits.

This action could impact many municipal and industrial NPDES permitted discharges in this reach of the Mississippi River, whether or not existing water quality data indicate that the river does/ does not currently meet recreational use standards.

Caltha LLP assists clients nationwide in addressing water quality standards in permitting and environmental reviews.

For further information contact Caltha LLP at
Caltha LLP Website

Friday, January 9, 2009

Product Stewardship Requirements - Draft Oregon DEQ Rule

In December 2008, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) released a working draft of its Product Stewardship Framework. Under the working draft, no specific products were identified. In the future, products subject to requirements would be designated by the Legislature based on a set of criteria.

The draft does designate some Producer Requirements. Producer and/or importers of designated products would be required to must establish, finance, and operate statewide product stewardship programs for the designated products. The programs must:

  • Provide collection, transportation, reuse, recycling, and disposal of designated products and their components;
  • Provide adequate insurance and financial assurance;
  • Provide an education and outreach component to consumers, retailers, and other interested parties.

Producers could operate the program individually, collectively with other producers, or enter into an agreement with a stewardship organization to operate the program on their behalf. Product stewardship programs must be provided free of charge anyone with an unwanted product. Under the working draft, producers must provide statewide collection that is convenient, available, and free and there must be at least one collection site in every county and in every city with a population of at least 10,000.

Each product will have performance goals. ODEQ will establish by rule how performance goals will be measured. For the first 4 operating years of the program, the producers would establish the goal amounts and report on progress toward achieving the goals; however, these initial goals are not enforceable. In operating year 5, ODEQ would set specific, enforceable regulatory standards for the performance goals.

Caltha LLP provides expert consulting support to companies needing to meet internal or regulatory product stewardship requirements.

For further information contact Caltha LLP at
Caltha LLP Website

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Industrial Discharge Requirements – New MPCA Rules

The new Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Wastewater Pretreatment Rules (Minnesota Rules 7049) recently became effective. Prior to promulgation of these Rules, Minnesota industries that discharged to their local Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW) and where subject to Federal pretreatment requirements did not have easy options to demonstrate compliance, especially if they were located outside of a major metropolitan area.

Changes in the new pretreatment requirements will primarily affect:

  1. Industrial dischargers that are subject to Federal Categorical Effluent Standards;

  2. Industrial dischargers that have higher flow or loads to their POW compared to other dischargers; and

  3. POTWs that have not been delegated authority to operate their own industrial pretreatment program

One of the key elements of the new MPCA Rule is the definition of “Significant Industrial Users”. These industrial dischargers will have increased reporting and monitoring requirements. POTWs must identify all their Significant Industrial Users and report on them annually to MPCA.

For more information on this new Rule, go to Regulatory Briefing - New Minnesota Pretreatment Rule. Caltha publishes Regulatory Briefings to highlight new or proposed Federal and State regulations; Click here to register to receive these Briefings by email.

Caltha LLP assists industrial dischargers to meet permitting, monitoring and reporting requirements.

For further information contact Caltha LLP at
Caltha LLP Website

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Security Vulnerability Assessments - Extension of Deadline

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has extended the deadline for submission of the Security Vulnerability Assessment (SVA), or for an Alternative Security Program (ASP) in lieu of an SVA, for "Tier 4" facilities. The deadline has been extended to Jan. 12, 2009.

In 2008 DHS assigned preliminary tier levels to chemical facilities considered a high security risk, ranging from highest risk at Tier 1 to lowest risk at Tier 4. Tier 4 facilities must perform and submit an SVA, but also have the option of submitting an ASP in lieu of an SVA. The deadline for this submittal is for Tier 4 facilities only. If a facility has already submitted its SVA or ASP, it does not need to take any further action at this time.

For further information contact Caltha LLP at
Caltha LLP Website

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Oregon (ODEQ) Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rules

On Oct. 23, 2008, the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission approved new Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reporting rules. The rules were proposed to gain a better understanding of the sources of GHG, and to track progress toward meeting GHG emission reduction goals. The new rules will govern the collection of data regarding GHG emission sources in Oregon.

ODEQ efforts to quantify GHG emissions are connected to regional efforts through the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) and a national database maintained by The Climate Registry (TCR). ODEQ is a member of the WCI and is participating in developing a mandatory reporting program for a market-based regional program to reduce GHG.

Permitted facilities that must report emissions for calendar year 2009 are:

  • Facilities that have a Title V permit and emit 2,500 metric tons of combined greenhouse gases per year; and
  • Facilities burning various listed fuels and emitting more than 2,500 metric tons per year.

Caltha LLP assists permitted facilities in complying with State and Federal air emission reporting requirements.

For further information contact Caltha LLP at
Caltha LLP Website

Monday, January 5, 2009

EPA Draft Water Quality Criteria for Acrolein and Phenol

US EPA recently published proposed updated to its water quality criteria for acrolein and phenol. Water quality criteria are generally calculated to protect aquatic life. However, for certain chemicals which can accumulate in fish, criteria also are based on protection of human health. In addition to being directly exposed to chemicals in the water, humans can also be exposed when fish are eaten that have accumulated chemical from the water. Both acrolein and phenol have human health-based water quality criteria.

Comment period for the draft criteria ended in October 2008.

The proposed criteria are significantly lower compared to current criteria used for the two chemicals:


Water + Organisms: 6 mg/L (currently 190 mg/L)

Organisms Only: 9 mg/L (currently 290 mg/L)


Water + Organisms: 10,400 mg/L (currently 20,700 mg/L)

Organisms Only: 857,000 mg/L (currently 1,700,000 mg/L)

Acrolein is used in various chemical manufacturing processes and is also used as a common herbicide. Phenol is also used to make chemical intermediates for a wide range of other applications, ranging from plastics to pharmaceuticals and agricultural chemicals.

Caltha LLP provides specialized expertise in environmental toxicology and water quality standards.

For further information contact Caltha LLP at
Caltha LLP Website