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Compliance & Standards Briefing: NZ Soils, Reach, Dekra

New Zealand’s environment minister, Nick Smith, has announced a new national environmental standard on contaminated soil, Scoop.co.nz reports. Smith said that councils need more clarity on which sites pose a health risk, and the National Environment Standard for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil to Protect Human Health will help provide that clarity. Only 14 of 73 district plans in the country have rules to manage soil contamination, Scoop said. “New Zealand has thousands of sites that have some level of contamination from previous use as gas works, timber treatment plants, livestock dips, fuel stations, chemical plants, sprayed horticulture or mines,” Smith said. Twelve contaminants are covered by the standard: arsenic, boron, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, benzo(a)pyrene, DDT, dieldrin, PCP and dioxin. The concentration limits vary according to five different land uses – rural, residential, high density residential, recreational and commercial/industrial. The new rules are set to take effect on September 1.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to approve and conditionally approve the State Implementation Plan (SIP) submissions from the State of Utah, demonstrating that the state meets the requirements of section 110(a)(1) and (2) of the Clean Air Act (CAA) for the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) promulgated for ozone on July 18, 1997. Section 110(a) of the CAA requires that each state adopt and submit an “infrastructure SIP” for the implementation, maintenance and enforcement of each NAAQS promulgated by the EPA. Written comments must be received on or before June 22, 2011 and can be submitted via regulations.gov.

DEKRA, the global certification and testing organization, has formed a partnership with green electronics registry EPEAT, to support the worldwide use of EPEAT by purchasers and manufacturers. EPEAT describes itself as the definitive environmental rating system for electronics, with more than 3,200 products currently registered by 48 participating manufacturers across 41 countries. It is managed by the U.S. non-profit Green Electronics Council. The system currently rates desktops, laptops, thin clients, workstations and computer monitors, based on the IEEE 1680 family of standards. EPEAT plans to begin covering additional product categories in 2012. As a strategic partner, DEKRA will provide a network of local EPEAT experts in Europe, China, and South America and will help train electronics manufacturers and suppliers, purchasers and other interested parties. EPEAT will train DEKRA staff, enabling them to integrate EPEAT content into their sustainability and health and safety consulting work.

Waste Management has announced that all eight of its eCycling Services Division’s North American facilities have earned the designation of R2/RIOS Certified Electronics Recycler, for quality, environment, health and safety and data security during the electronics recycling process. WM says it now operates more R2/RIOS-certified electronic recycling facilities than any other company in the U.S. R2/RIOS is the combination of two certifications, the Responsible Recycling Practices (R2) and the Recycling Industry Operating Standard (RIOS).  RIOS is a standard for integrated quality, environmental, and health & safety (QEH&S) management systems developed specifically for the recycling industry. R2 is a recycling standard specifically targeting electronics recycling. WM says that joining the R2/RIOS programs supports its ongoing sustainability program, particularly to meet its target of recycling 20 million tons of recyclables by 2020.

Countries reforming their chemical regulations should adhere closely to the EU’s REACH standards to save industries from trying to cope with two sets of rules, the executive director of the EU’s chemicals agency has said. “The rest of the world can actually save enormous amounts of time by following our example and basing their systems on our IT-solutions,” Geert Dancet told the Helsinki Chemicals Forum, according to Turkey’s Hirriyet Daily News. “The world has been looking at the EU to see if this legislation will actually work or if we have bitten more than we can chew,” Dancet added. “We have been able to prove Reach actually works – the EU chemicals industry has accepted its duties. Furthermore, the regulation prompted many other countries to revise their regulations.”

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