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Frequent Questions

EMERGENCY NUMBERS
OTHER REGIONAL TELEPHONE NUMBERS
GENERAL QUESTIONS ABOUT OUR LOCATION/HOURS
ANNOYING ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVITIES
WORKPLACE CONCERNS
CONTACTING EPA FOR ASSISTANCE
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT (FOIA)
REAL ESTATE
AIR ISSUES
ASBESTOS
CHLOROFLUOROCARBONS(CFC'S)/FREON
LEAD IN DRINKING WATER
LEAD IN PAINT
NOISE
ODORS
RADON
SUPERFUND/RCRA/CERCLA
WATER
WETLANDS CONCERNS

EMERGENCY NUMBERS


SPILL LINE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL EMERGENCIES: 215-814-9016. NATIONAL RESPONSE CENTER: 1-800-424-8802. SPILLS IN WV - 1-800-642-3074.

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OTHER REGIONAL TELEPHONE NUMBERS

REGIONAL OFFICE MAIN LINE: 215-814-5000
TDD (HEARING IMPAIRED): 215-580-2024
REGIONAL OFFICE LIBRARY: 215-814-5254
HAZARDOUS WASTE LIBRARY: 215-814-5363
SUPERFUND COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT HOTLINE: 1-800-553-2509
TOLL-FREE CITIZEN'S HOTLINE: 1-800-438-2474
PUBLIC ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION CENTER: 1-800-438-2474
BUSINESS ASSISTANCE CENTER: 1-800-228-8711

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GENERAL QUESTIONS ABOUT OUR LOCATION/HOURS

Q. What are your hours?
A. Regional Office Hours are Monday through Friday, (national holidays and weekends excluded): 8:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Library public hours: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Q. What is your mailing address?
A. U.S. EPA Region III, 1650 Arch Street  Philadelphia, PA  19103-2029

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ANNOYING ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVITIES

Some of these concerns are bothersome to people, but may not be hazardous to their health and well-being. Example: noise and non-toxic odors.

Q. Something annoying is happening in my town. What is EPA going to do about it?
A. Usually the matter is a local or state issue. Citizens should talk to town officials first, then to the state health department or the state environmental department. For example, sewer issues are local; large-scale environmental emergencies are the exception to this rule.

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WORKPLACE CONCERNS

Q. How do I report alleged problems regarding environmental practices in the workplace?
A. Is it an "inside-the-workplace" issue (work conditions)? Call the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) - see Yellow Pages. If the report is for illegal dumping, see procedures in answer shown above.

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CONTACTING EPA FOR ASSISTANCE

Q. What do I do if I have contacted the city/county/state and they weren't able to address my concern?
A. Either call EPA, or send us an E-mail message describing your issue and we will look into it and promptly get back to you.

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FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT (FOIA)

Q. What is the name, address, phone and fax numbers for the Freedom of Information Act Officer?
A. Ms. Rita Tate, FOIA Officer, (3PA00) EPA Region III, 1650 Arch Street   Philadelphia, PA  19103-2029. Phone: 215-814-3424 Fax: 215-814-5102.

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REAL ESTATE

Q. How do I find out about the general, overall environmental quality about an area I am thinking of moving to?
A. Contact the local health department or state environmental department. They will have the most recent reports on air quality, water quality and other items you may be concerned about.

Q. How do I find out about existing environmental hazards on a property I am thinking of buying?
A. You may wish to check with the local health department or state department of environmental quality for any specifics they may have. For individual homes, you could hire a certified specialist to look for asbestos, radon, lead-based paint and other hazards.

Q. I'm thinking of buying property with a private well. How do I get the water tested?
A. Contact a commercial lab for costs and proper collection methods. You may wish to talk to a sanitarian from your local health department.

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AIR ISSUES

Q. How do I report an air pollution problem (including dust)?
A. Call state department of environmental quality's air division. See Yellow Pages for listing.

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ASBESTOS

Q. I'm worried about asbestos in place/removal/etc. Is it a problem?
A. If asbestos is in insulation around pipes, ceiling tiles, or floor tiles, and is not broken or crumbling, it is best to leave it alone. If it has to be removed, hire a certified asbestos contractor to do it. Verify certification with your state environmental agency.

Q. What about asbestos in public buildings, schools, and homes?
A. There are no state or federal regulations on homes. Schools are regulated under the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA). Public buildings are regulated under the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants. For both schools and buildings, look in the Yellow Pages for a list of firms specializing in this work.

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CHLOROFLUOROCARBONS(CFC'S)/FREON

Q. What are the new requirements?
A. The kind of freon that harms the atmosphere will not be manufactured after December 1995. It will still be available to certified technicians for servicing existing equipment. Freon is required to be recycled. New equipment uses alternative refrigerants. Shops that service refrigeration equipment must have a certified recovery unit and certified technicians. It is illegal to vent (release) freon to the atmosphere.

Q. Who can I call with questions about CFC's/freon?
A. There is a toll free hotline at 1-800-296-1996. (10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Monday-Friday) For more information on this topic from EPA's National WEB server click here.

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LEAD IN DRINKING WATER

Q. I'm worried about lead in water. What can I do about it?
A. Lead leaches into water sitting in lead pipes or pipes with soldering in the distribution system, usually within a building or house. Before consuming water, run the tap for 30 seconds. Always use cold water for consumption and heat cold water for hot beverages.

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LEAD IN PAINT

Q. How can I get lead-based paint poisoning?
A. Poisoning can result from breathing lead paint dust or chewing lead-based paint chips in properties where this type of paint was used. Peeling lead paint may leave a film of lead dust on objects in your home. Be sure to thoroughly wash surfaces on a regular basis and wash children's hands before they eat. Paint for homes now has no lead, but paint for commercial uses may still have lead. You should contact your local or state health department if you need additional information. There is a Lead Hotline you may wish to consult for further information at 1-800-424-LEAD (5323).

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NOISE

Q. How do I report noise problems?
A. Call your local government (city or county). There is no federal regulation on noise levels.

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ODORS

Q. How do I report an odor problem?
A. There are no federal regulations governing this. Call your local your health department (city or county). go to top of page

RADON

Q. How do I test for radon in my home?
A. You can buy a canister at the hardware store or hire a testing company to do it. Send the canister to the address shown on it. When you get the results, call your state environmental agency or EPA for interpretation. There is a Radon Hotline number you may consult for further information at 1-800-SOS-RADON.

Q. What can I do to reduce radon in my home?
A. Contact your state environmental agency for available information.

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SUPERFUND/RCRA/CERCLA

Q. How do I get a Superfund (SF) record (includes administrative records, guidance documents, info on specific sites, etc.)?
A. Call the SF Records Center, 215-814-3236. You may also call the SF Community Involvement Hotline at 1-800-553-2509.

Q. I have a question about/need to obtain an ID number for hazardous waste.
A. For RCRA, call Harriet Morrell, 215-814-3408 (all states except Pennsylvania), or Lynn Zhao, 215-814-1230 (Pennsylvania only).

Q. Can I access the CERCLIS database?
A. No. The CERCLIS database contains restricted data and can be accessed only by EPA employees. However, portions of information on the database are releasable. For information about this contact Cornelius Carr at 215-814-3147.

Q. I want EPA to test my soil for contaminants.
A. EPA does not test soil for property owners, except in emergency situations. Contact your local health department if you have any concerns about this.

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WATER

Q. I want EPA to test my water.
A. EPA does not test water, except in emergency conditions. Contact a certified testing laboratory in your area.

Q. What about bottled water/purifying systems?
A. EPA does not have a policy or position on this. For other opinions, contact your local office of the Food and Drug Administration, the International Bottled Water Association (703-683-5213), or NSF International (313-769-5106). NSF endorses a number of water purification products.

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WETLANDS CONCERNS

Q. I suspect that wetlands are being impacted by somebody's action? What can I do if I have questions?
A. Call your local construction code official or zoning board. They had to approve the development, should have studied the environmental impacts and allowed public comment before approving the development. See what they tell you. If your answers aren't fully addressed, talk to other officials higher up in the city, county, state, Army Corps of Engineers, or EPA.

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