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Environmental Enforcement Roundup: Nine Superfund Sites Proposed; Darigold Fined; Formaldehyde Rules

Environmental Leader’s daily roundup of key environmental enforcement news:

EPA Proposes Nine Sites for Superfund List

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency yesterday announced it is proposing to add nine hazardous waste sites that it believes pose risks to human health and the environment to the general Superfund section of the National Priorities List (NPL). Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country.

Contaminants found at the proposed sites include arsenic, asbestos, barium, cadmium, chromium, copper, dichloroethene (DCE), lead, mercury, polynuclear aromatic hydrcarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), tetrachloroethene (PCE), trichloroethane (TCA), trichloroethene (TCE), vinyl chloride, and zinc.

With all Superfund sites, EPA tries to identify and locate the parties potentially responsible for the contamination. For sites without viable potentially responsible parties, EPA will investigate the full extent of the contamination before starting significant clean up. Therefore, it may be several years before significant clean up funding is required for these sites.

The following nine sites have been proposed to the NPL:

Armstrong World Industries (ceiling tile manufacturer) in Macon, Ga.
Dwyer Property Ground Water Plume (contaminated ground water plume) in Elkton, Md.
Washington County Lead District – Furnace Creek (lead mining area) in Caledonia, Mo.
Horton Iron and Metal (former fertilizer manufacturer and metal salvage) in Wilmington, N.C.
Mansfield Trail Dump (waste disposal area) in Byram Township, N.J.
Milford Contaminated Aquifer (contaminated ground water plume) in Milford, Ohio
Cabo Rojo Ground Water Contamination (contaminated ground water plume) in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico
Hormigas Ground Water Plume (contaminated ground water plume) in Caguas, Puerto Rico
West County Road 112 Ground Water (contaminated ground water plume) in Midland, Texas

EPA is withdrawing its 1992 proposal to add the GBF Inc., dump site in Antioch, Calif. to the NPL, because under a consent order the California Department of Toxic Substances Control continues to be the lead agency overseeing the site cleanup. The clean up is progressing successfully and no further EPA actions are necessary.

To date, 1,627 sites have been listed on the NPL. There have been 346 sites removed from the NPL with 1,281 sites remaining.

State of Washington Fines Darigold for Ammonia Release

The Washington Department of Ecology has fined Darigold Inc. for releasing a toxic ammonia solution into the East Fork of Issaquah Creek last year, killing 40 to 50 fish downstream from its Issaquah plant, according to the Sammamish Reporter.

Darigold, which in 2008 reported $2.2 billion in revenues, was fined $10,000 for the spill. The $10,000 fine is the maximum state penalty authorized under the Washington Water Pollution Control Act.

According to press release from the Dept. of Ecology, on Oct. 7, 2009, workers draining the dairy-product plant’s refrigeration system allowed an ammonia solution to flow onto the building’s roof and into a storm drain.

Dept. of Ecology spokesperson Larry Altose told The Reporter today the incident was a “fairly serious” violation of Darigold’s waste water and treatment permit, and described the breach as “very unacceptable.”

He said that in the investigation of spills of this nature, water and toxin level testing at the spill site was done by the company charged with the violation. So, Darigold submitted the reports and “we grade the papers,” Altose said.

He said the release of a toxic substance into Issaquah Creek indicated a lack of planning and preventative strategies, and hoped the incident would promote “better oversight and management” at the plant.

Approximately 50-70 gallons of the liquid – which is toxic to aquatic life – flowed into the storm drain system that discharges into the East Fork of Issaquah Creek. The East Fork of Issaquah Creek flows via Issaquah Creek into Lake Sammamish, which empties via Lake Washington into Puget Sound.

EPA Seeks Small Businesses Input on Formaldehyde

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is inviting small businesses to participate in a review panel focusing on formaldehyde. The agency plans to implement regulations for the new Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act, enacted in July 2010.The proposed regulation will establish limits for composite wood products (hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard, and particleboard) so these products meet emission standards.

The national emission standards in the Act mirror standards established last year by the California Air Resources Board for products sold, offered for sale, supplied, used or manufactured for sale in California.  While EPA was not given the authority to modify the national emission standards, the Act does give EPA the discretion to adapt other provisions of the California regulations for national applicability.  EPA’s implementing regulations must address the following topics, among others:  

  • sell-through provisions (including a prohibition on stockpiling)
  • ultra low-emitting formaldehyde resins
  • no-added formaldehyde-based resins
  • finished goods
  • third-party testing and certification
  • auditing of and reporting for third-party certifiers
  • chain-of-custody requirements
  • recordkeeping
  • labeling
  • enforcement
  • laminated products
  • hardboard
  • other provisions aside from the emission limits

EPA classified formaldehyde as a probable human carcinogen in 1991. Formaldehyde-based resins are sometimes used as adhesives in composite wood products, and are known to cause irritation to the eyes, skin and lungs.

The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires EPA to establish a federal panel for rules that may have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small organizations. The panel will include representatives from the Small Business Administration, the Office of Management and Budget, and EPA. The panel will ask a selected group of small business representatives to provide advice and recommendations on behalf of their company, community, or organization to inform the panel on impacts of the proposed rule.

EPA is seeking self-nominations directly from the small organizations that may be subject to the rule requirements.  Volunteers should send a message to RFA-SBREFA@epa.gov or call (202) 564-5586 by no later than November 2. In the message, please provide:

  • your name,
  • the name and size of your company,
  • address, and contact information. 
  • USE THIS AS THE SUBJECT LINE OF YOUR EMAIL: SER Self-Nomination for Formaldehyde Emissions from Composite Wood Products
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