industrial hygiene

USEPA Proposes 2017-2019 National Enforcement Initiatives

USEPA published on September 15 a request for public comments and recommendations on its proposed national enforcement initiatives (NEI) for fiscal years 2017–2019. USEPA selects these initiatives every three years in order to focus federal resources on what it believes are the most important environmental problems where noncompliance is a significant contributing factor and where it believes that federal enforcement attention can make a difference.

FY 2017–2019 Potential NEIs Currently Under Consideration

In addition to evaluating the current NEIs to determine which should continue and potentially be expanded and which can return to the standard enforcement program, USEPA also proposed three new initiatives for FY 2017–2019 consideration:

Toxic Air Emissions

USEPA is currently implementing an air toxics NEI and is considering expanding the initiative to include emissions from additional sources and industries. USEPA is seeking public comment on whether to significantly increase its commitment to this initiative by expanding into one or both of the following two areas: organic liquid storage tank emissions and hazardous waste air emissions.

NPDES Industrial Wastewater Discharges

This potential NEI would focus on the wastewater discharges of the industrial sectors with the highest number of violations: mining, chemical manufacturing, food processing and primary metals manufacturing. USEPA’s goal with this initiative would be to allow for a national approach for those companies that operate in more than one state and to support a consistent national strategy to achieve compliance across industry sectors.

Emergency Chemical Releases

Approximately 2,000 facilities housing hazardous chemicals are currently considered ‘‘high-risk’’ by USEPA because of their proximity to densely populated areas, the quantity and number of extremely hazardous substances they use, or their history of significant accidents. This potential NEI would be a targeted focus on the facilities and the chemicals that pose the greatest risks, with a goal of increasing industry attention to preventing accidents through training, equipment maintenance, and routine inspections.

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Part II: 5 Environmental Programs that Apply to You: Stormwater

One of the toughest tasks in compliance audit is telling a well-intentioned client that the environmental program that he has been ignoring does, in fact, apply to his operation. In most instances, it’s not a matter of being unaware of the regulation but instead incorrectly determining that the requirement doesn’t apply. This can result from several sources of false confidence:

A program may not be an exact fit–An emergency response program would seem on the surface not to apply to a facility that doesn’t house any hazardous materials or dispose of hazardous waste
A program may not have been intended for them–An oil spill prevention program would seem not to apply to a facility that does not store oil
A facility may have had successful agency compliance inspections–The inspector may have been conducting a media-specific inspection and may not have looked at issues outside that specific medium. Or, as inspectors or human, he may have just missed it—this time.

This is the third in a five part series. In part one, we examined the requirements of the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA). In part three, we looked at the Clean Water Act’s Spill Prevention Rule.

In this second article of a five part series, we will briefly touch on the requirements of the Clean Water Act’s Stormwater Permitting program.

Stormwater Permitting

Stormwater includes rainfall and snow melt that leaves your facility either through a concentrated discharge such as a ditch or culvert or overland as a sheet flow. An industrial facility is required to obtain a permit and develop a plan to prevent stormwater contamination if it has a stormwater discharge associated with an industrial or commercial activity either directly to waters of the United States or to a municipal separate storm sewer system and it engages in one or more of the industrial or commercial activities identified by USEPA in the regulation.

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