Compliance and Enforcement Annual Results FY2008:
Cross-Media Compliance Highlights
Hospitals generate a wide variety of hazardous and solid waste, and are consequently subject to a number of federal and state requirements. EPA sponsors a Web-based Healthcare Environmental Resource Center dedicated to helping hospitals and other medical institutions understand their environmental obligations. In addition, several Regions in EPA routinely conduct a range of compliance assistance activities for the healthcare sector. In 2008, Region 1 expanded its focus to update hospitals on recent EPA guidance regarding epinephrine salts (10/15/07).
Region 1 sent a "Regulatory Compliance Notice - Update: Epinephrine Waste Management" to approximately 270 New England hospital CEOs and environmental health and safety directors. EPA also presented environmental compliance information at three different hospital workshops, about an EPA funded guide entitled "Managing Pharmaceutical Waste: A 10-Step Blueprint for Healthcare Facilities in the US" (PDF) (93 pp, 488.9K, About PDF) .
Also this year, Region 1 continued its efforts to increase compliance in EPCRA Tier II reporting by New England hospitals. Over the last few years, EPA conducted presentations on EPCRA and “Tier II Submit” (a mechanism for electronic submittal of EPCRA Tier II data by facilities to their states). EPA also sent a reminder postcard to all New England hospitals regarding the EPCRA Tier II reporting deadline in March. The chart below shows the EPCRA Tier II compliance improvements from 2003 to 2007 for acute care hospitals in Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut & Massachusetts. (VT excluded from table since most were already reporting in 2003; data was not available for RI at the time of this study). There has been an overall 47% increase in compliance with EPCRA Tier II reporting by New England acute care hospitals through 2007 across four of the six New England States.
% of universe
% of universe
March 1, 2008
for calendar year 2007.
|% increase in
2003 to 2007
|Maine||40% (15/37)||58% (21/37)||18%||47%|
|New Hampshire||4% (1/26)||83% (21/26)||79%|
|Connecticut||55% (17/31)||83% (26/31)||28%|
|Massachusetts||23% (17/73)||82% (60/73)||59%|
EPA Region 1 developed and implemented an emergency response strategy that in many New England communities has resulted in shorter emergency response times; increased chemical safety awareness among first responders and industry; and an increase in Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) electronic reporting and Tier II reporting. This strategy featured an expansive educational component, including chemical safety/EPCRA reporting training classes that were provided to over 20 communities. All of these sessions were conducted in coordination with other authorities to help ensure federal and local requirements were being communicated. For example, 6 training classes held in Maine for water and wastewater treatment operators were conducted jointly with the Maine Emergency Management Agency and the Maine Rural Water Association.
In addition to training, on-site assistance was provided to three high schools (some self-disclosures were received following the assistance provided). During the course of just a single school assistance visit, a significant amount of hazardous and non-hazardous materials were responsibly removed from the school including: over 360 mercury thermometers; 3 barometers; 5 pounds of elemental mercury; over 700 pounds of other hazardous and non hazardous "unwanted" and waste chemicals and solutions ;over 300 gallons of paints, thinners & solvent, and 726 pounds of pigments, stains, & glazes. As a result of this effort, over 1,000 high school students, teachers and staff, will not be put a risk from exposure to chemicals in the classrooms. As a result of this effort, The EPCRA team was asked to assist other high schools in the area in reducing their inventories of stock chemicals. As a result, a summer Green Chemistry Program, funded through an enforcement penalty related Supplemental Environmental Project, was implemented. This program was extremely successful; one high school science department reduced their chemical inventory by 50%. Work is currently ongoing to expand on this accomplishment.
Other examples of assistance provided through this initiative include the TRI training classes that were conducted in 16 communities, reaching approximately 500 people throughout New England. Also, the Region hosted thirteen Tier II training sessions, reaching over 850 representatives from business, industry, local governments and state employees in New England An additional 15 training sessions were conducted on the use of Computer-Aided Management of Emergency Operations (CAMEO) software and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for emergency management purposes, reaching approximately 2,500 people.
This year, EPA sponsored 26 compliance assistance workshops for the federal facilities community. There were two separate workshops: (1) a workshop for federal laboratories; and (2) a workshop for above and underground storage tank (UST) operators; the environmental benefits associated with tank compliance and good environmental management include ground water and drinking water protection. Each training was delivered 13 times around the country. In total, close to 1,000 federal staff and managers from a variety of civilian agencies and the Department of Defense, attended these workshops. Recognizing that many federal staff could not attend these trainings in person, EPA’s federal facilities program is developing on-line versions of both these courses. When completed in FY 2009, these courses will be accessible from the Internet to the federal community at no cost.