Enforcement and Assistance in New England
FY2008 OES Accomplishments Report
Message from Susan Studlien, Director of the EPA New England Office of Environmental Stewardship
I am pleased to present the significant accomplishments of the Environmental Protection Agency New England (EPA, Region 1) Office of Environmental Stewardship (OES) during Fiscal Year 2008 (FY 2008, 2008). Office of Environmental Stewardship staff work diligently every day to protect the New England environment and the health of its citizens by encouraging and requiring private and public sector entities to comply with the nation's environmental laws and adopt environmental stewardship and pollution prevention practices.
We are justifiably proud of all achievements from our enforcement, compliance assistance, toxics reduction, pollution prevention and innovation programs. Below are some important examples of our work. I am particularly proud of our efforts to address the issue of the disproportionate pollution burden borne by many environmental justice communities, as well our work to ensure that the federal government "walks the talk" in achieving federal agency compliance with environmental laws.
I hope that you will find our 2008 OES Accomplishments Report informative and inspiring. Please think about ways that you can join us to in helping to protect the environment in your neighborhood and the planet. We've listed a number of resources at the end of this document and look forward to working with you.
Table of Contents
This web-based document is organized in the following categories of accomplishments:
- Results at a Glance
- Integrated Strategies
- Civil Enforcement
- Criminal Enforcement
- Superfund Enforcement
- Federal Facility Enforcement and Compliance Assistance
- Environmental Justice
- Innovation, Pollution Prevention and Resource Conservation
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Additional Resources
Pounds of Pollution Reduced - OES puts significant effort into protecting the public's health and the environment in the six New England states by ensuring compliance with environmental laws. As a result of enforcement actions taken in Fiscal Year 2008 (October 1, 2007 – September 30, 2008), more than 21.7 million pounds of pollutants will be reduced or treated. Further, more than 21 million cubic yards of contaminated water and soil will be cleaned. These accomplishments are the result of EPA enforcement actions under numerous programs including Superfund, the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Clean Air Act (CAA).
Expanded Reach of Compliance Assistance - The Region continues to develop compliance assistance tools and provide expert compliance assistance to the regulated community. Over the past year, we reached over 10,000 individuals through 127 facility visits, 117 assistance workshops and individualized assistance. In addition to our direct assistance, we provided numerous compliance information resources via Web pages for Sector Compliance Assistance, Environmental Management Systems, Innovation and Pollution Prevention. We received 168,191 Internet "hits" or requests for information from these pages last year.
Increased Inspection Presence - OES conducted more than 1,100 on-site inspections in 2008. These inspections were targeted geographically throughout New England and covered a wide range of federal programs, including storm water, wetlands, oil pollution prevention, asbestos demolition and renovation, hazardous waste management, community right-to-know, stationary air sources and disclosure of lead paint hazards.
Impressive Injunctive Relief (work required to bring facilities into compliance) Totals - The estimated dollar value of cleanup or corrective action required by EPA New England in FY2008 will total more than $667 million. This total includes actions that will lead to the installation of closed-cycle cooling towers at the Brayton Point power station in Somerset, MA; full utilization of secondary treatment capacity at the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority's Deer Island Treatment Plant; and cleanups at the Iron Horse Park and Beede Waste Oil Superfund sites.
Administrative and Civil Judicial Enforcement Totals - EPA conducts its civil enforcement through both administrative and judicial actions. In FY2008, OES issued 78 administrative compliance orders, 102 administrative penalty complaints, and 102 final administrative penalty orders. In addition, we referred 28 enforcement cases to the U.S. Department of Justice and had 15 judicial case conclusions.
Meaningful Supplemental Environmental Projects - As part of an enforcement case settlement, a violator may voluntarily agree to undertake an environmentally-beneficial project not otherwise required by law, also known as a supplemental environmental project (SEP) related to the violation in exchange for mitigation of the penalty to be paid. In FY2008, supplemental environmental projects were included in 18 settlements with a total value of more than $2 million. SEP funds will be spent on lead paint abatement at numerous locations in New England, many of which are in environmental justice areas; the purchase of a conservation easement in Ellsworth, ME; the purchase of a "pumpout" boat that will enable vessels in Boston Harbor to pump their sanitary wastes into a tank on that boat rather than into Boston Harbor or Massachusetts Bay; and a project to reduce fugitive particulate emissions in Thomaston, ME. Additional details about these projects these projects are listed in the Civil Enforcement section below.
Integrated Strategies are approaches pioneered by the Region 1 Office of Environmental Stewardship to address significant and widespread non-compliance with environmental laws. These strategies are designed for specific public and private sectors or targeted toward specific geographic areas. An integrated strategy develops customized compliance assistance to educate a business sector about its responsibilities for existing or new environmental requirements, with subsequent targeted inspections and enforcement to assess and ensure compliance. Three notable examples of these strategies are summarized below.
Rhode Island Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) Integrated Strategy
This project is now in its second year using both assistance and enforcement to eliminate sewage overflows and to bring Rhode Island's municipal sewer systems into full compliance with the Clean Water Act. Our goal is to ensure that all communities responsible for managing sewage collection systems make infrastructure improvements and implement management systems needed to prevent overflows. We have made numerous efforts to help Rhode Island communities understand what they need to do through workshops, training events, on-site assistance, web sites, email newsletters and telephone consultations. We organized or participated in workshops or roundtables for over 150 participants on a variety of topics including ENERGY STAR benchmark training with EPA's Energy Team.
Asset management uses techniques that ensure that public utilities maintain and renew their assets in the most cost-effective manner. We offered asset management roundtables and wastewater treatment plant "boot camps" for aspiring system operators and managers, and a conference on management of fats, oils and grease, a common cause of sewer overflows.
We provided a $275,000 grant to the RI Narragansett Bay Commission to improve its energy efficiency and reduce energy costs.
OES also developed assistance tools for RI Communities that are now being used in other states including a detailed template to guide communities in development of collection system prevention and maintenance plans, a sewer overflow response plan template, and fact sheets on collection system maintenance.
In 2008 we also revised our Sanitary Sewer Overflow web site, which is continuously updated. We identified communities that are using Geographic Information System maps and provided assistance to upgrade those mapping capabilities. We assisted the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management with outreach on its new operations and maintenance requirements, which reinforce the goals of our strategy.
EPA also collected penalties for SSO-related violations from two Rhode Island. In addition, we provided thirteen communities that have received enforcement orders with follow-up assistance regarding milestones and deliverables for those Orders, and sent a Regionally-developed collection assessment checklist to all Rhode Island wastewater collection systems. Finally, we are evaluating this strategy and measuring its results through an independent assessment funded by EPA's national program evaluation and performance measurement program.
Integrated Permitting, Enforcement and Assistance Storm Water Strategy
OES provided focused compliance assistance on use of low impact development techniques to mitigate storm water impacts by organizing three workshops for municipal officials in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire with 355 participants. We also provided targeted assistance through presentations to hospitals and federal facilities. OES conducted the first regional seminar in the country on storm water requirements and low impact development approaches for federal facilities.
In 2008, the Region also developed enforceable stormwater permits for Boston and Worcester as well as the municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4) general permit. OES provided outreach to inform communities of new permit requirements by developing a fact sheet for the new Worcester MS4 permit, a document that can be used later when other new MS4 permits are issued. We enforced procedural and substantive requirements of the MS4, construction and multi-sector permits including participation in a national Home Depot settlement; made three judicial referrals to the Department of Justice, and issued seventeen administrative penalty actions and eight information request letters to enforce MS4 illicit discharge detection and elimination requirements.
Integrated Strategy for New England Marinas
OES compliance assistance efforts to over 1100 New England marinas continued to make progress in 2008 as part of an integrated assistance and enforcement effort that has significantly improved compliance and pollution prevention in areas such as storm water, hazardous waste regulation, and oil and fuel management. In the past year, we focused our assistance on controlling boat pressure wash water discharges by working with state environmental agencies and marine trade associations to conduct training workshops designed to educate marina owners on requirements and technologies available to control pressure wash water.
These workshops included participation by over 300 marina owners representing nearly half of the region's marinas that conduct maintenance and cleaning activity. Vendors who market technologies for controlling pressure washing, such as recycle systems, containment pads, and filtration-related equipment, were on hand at each event to display their technologies. These sessions also provided OES the opportunity to introduce marina owners to the new pressure washing virtual trade show that provides on-line technology information on pressure wash water management systems.
OES actively promotes the SmartWay Transport Partnership, a collaboration between EPA and the freight industry to increase energy security and reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Participating shippers learn how to shrink their carbon footprints by choosing efficient carriers and rethinking their facilities and distribution systems. Participating carriers discover technologies and strategies to save fuel through reducing idling and eliminating wasted movement, and in so doing reduce costs for both themselves and their shipper clients. Nationally, SmartWay is on track to save 540 million gallons of fuel in 2008 alone. The current 1200-partner roster represents 24% of industry miles traveled.
In New England, 2008 was a banner year for SmartWay. Nineteen companies headquartered in New England joined the program, doubling our partner roster. EPA helped new shipper partners challenge their carriers to increase their fuel efficiency. SmartWay carriers and affiliates partnered with EPA to showcase fuel-saving technologies and strategies at industry meetings and events. EPA kept partners, prospective partners, agencies, and nonprofits interested in SmartWay informed of new tools, funding, and program facets through a new email news network. OES piloted mechanisms for getting "credit" for SmartWay accomplishments in EPA's Performance Track leadership program and for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. In 2009 we will leverage additional industry and government networks to further build momentum for SmartWay Transport in New England. See also the anti-idling enforcement write-up later in this document.)
Compliance Assistance for the Auto Body Sector
In 2008, EPA published the final version of a new rule that established air emissions standards that impact automobile refinishing, miscellaneous surface coating and paint stripping operations. The new rule published in the January 9, 2008 Federal Register establishes air emission requirements as well as requirements for employee training and compliance notification.
OES increased its assistance focus to the 5,100-facility New England auto body sector as a result of these new CAA requirements. This included five compliance assistance workshops in MA and NH which attracted over 200 participants, 114 of whom met a compliance requirement by attending because they are spray booth technicians.
Reduced Exposure to TCE from Metal Finishers
In partnership with the MA Toxics Use Reduction Institute, OES worked to provide technical assistance to reduce exposure to the hazardous solvent trichloroethylene (TCE) emitted by metal finishers in Rhode Island. This partnership drew to a successful conclusion in 2008. Through the combined efforts of training, laboratory testing and on-site assistance, this effort helped eight targeted companies to eliminate 75% of their TCE usage. Solvent usage dropped from 26,000 pounds per year to less than 7,000 pounds last year.
Increased Compliance in the Health Care Sector
New England's hospital and health care sector continued to be a priority for OES work in 2008. One notable success was greatly-increased compliance with requirements to document and report the presence of hazardous chemicals to local and state emergency planning agencies. These reports provide the foundation for chemical reduction and pollution prevention by making facilities, regulatory agencies, and the public aware of the chemicals that are being used and stored on-site at hospitals. As a result of regional efforts, which included targeted mailings and other assistance, the compliance rate has more than doubled – from 64 hospitals reporting in 2003 (34% of subject facilities) to 138 in 2007 (73% of subject facilities).
The Region also provided technical assistance that encouraged use of the EnergyStar benchmarking tool for hospitals. The number of New England hospitals that has benchmarked their energy use has grown to 128 – with 42 hospitals signing up in the nine months between October, 2007 and June, 2008. This is a dramatic environmental achievement in this energy-intensive industry.
Pesticide Program Assistance to the Agriculture Sector
Region 1 activities in the Strategic Agricultural Initiative include supporting the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program as a member of the Administrative Council and on the Northeast SARE Executive Committee. Northeast SARE is an active 12-state association that relies heavily on the expertise of a diverse group of northeast agricultural partners, including EPA Regions 1, 2 and 3. This unique role offers EPA a voice and an opportunity to support sustainable agricultural efforts in the Northeast.
In FY08, Northeast SARE awarded approximately $2.5 million among its five grant programs. Additionally, significant effort continues to support the national and regional pesticide program emphasis on grants management and oversight via post-award monitoring, and site visits. Of particular note, one of the Region 1 projects included hands-on/in-field identification of pathogen pests on cucurbits (e.g., squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, gourds, watermelons, and cantaloupes) with experienced individuals and producers able to participate fully in a field setting. The ‘face to face" work with producers, partners at land grant universities, USDA and industry illustrates the commitment of OES to provide meaningful assistance to the agriculture sector in New England.
In addition, Region 1 hosted the first-ever three-day National Agriculture Sector Contacts Meeting designed to educate agricultural sector partners, foster interagency communication, identify opportunities for collaboration, and discuss regulatory issues that cross agency boundaries. This event resulted in an extremely successful national conference attended by over 80 national experts from federal and state agencies, academia, farmers, growers and private industry. The meeting included field trips to a cranberry production operation and a local farm west of Boston.
Lead (Pb) Assistance Program
In March 2008, Region 1 sent out over 1,700 letters, "Attention Brochures" and "Lead Postcards" to Building Commissioners or Building Inspectors in all six New England states. The purpose of this mailing was to inform and educate key officials in cities and towns of the risks of lead poisoning and best management practices for preventing lead poisoning and removing lead. OES asked these Building Inspectors to give all building permits applicants a postcard, brochure and short verbal instructions regarding what they can do to prevent lead poisoning.
Emergency Preparedness Exercises
Our emergency preparedness activities in FY08 focused on the communities within the Port of Providence as well as with the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency. The drills emphasized exercising a myriad of capabilities including incident assessment and response protocols, protective action decision-making and communication procedures, along with community interactions with regional, state and federal resources. OES coordinated with other federal partners including the Federal Emergency Management Agency and U.S. Coast Guard to support preparedness efforts associated with maritime incidents, hurricanes, and railcar incidents involving hazardous material releases. Participating RI communities included Providence, Pawtucket, East Providence, Cranston, Warwick, East Greenwich and North Kingstown.
Integrated Chemical Management Assistance for Middle and High School Science Departments
The EPCRA Team worked with 18 school systems in Massachusetts and New Hampshire to implement an integrated chemical management program in science departments at 19 high schools and 14 middle schools. The team screened and removed chemicals from all classrooms and labs. Mercury-containing devices, such as thermometers, barometers and mercury switches, were also removed. Unwanted, old and waste chemicals, including mercury and solutions, were identified and sorted based on waste characteristics. RCRA hazardous waste was removed by a licensed hazardous waste company. The remaining chemicals were sorted by compatibility, consolidated and were then stored in a centralized storage area in approved cabinets or shelving. The science staff received education on safe laboratory practices, managing chemical waste, proper labeling, green chemistry and pollution prevention.
A number of these school "clean-outs" were conducted in environmental justice communities. The school partnerships were implemented in Waltham, Revere, Saugus, Amesbury, Lawrence, Braintree, Everett, Allston, Danvers, Salem, North Reading, Quincy, Franklin, Belmont, Randolph, Boxford/Middleton/Topsfield and Andover, all in MA, and Hampton, NH.
Approximately 10,000 pounds of chemicals and 296 pounds of mercury were disposed or removed from these school systems. Local emergency "first responders" have real-time, accurate accounting of the chemical inventories in these schools. As a result of these partnerships, the children, teachers, and staff are learning and working in a cleaner, safer environment.
Air Enforcement Cases
Foam Manufacturing Cases
"EPA's commitment to enforcing our nation's environmental laws means that we have better protection of our environment and public health in New England. Protecting the environment is everybody's responsibility, and companies or individuals who disregard laws to protect our air, land and water should know that EPA continues to vigorously enforce our nation's laws for a cleaner, healthier America."
New England is home to many expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam packaging and block insulation manufacturers. Large quantities of the chemical pentane are released during the EPS manufacturing process. Pentane and other volatile organic compounds contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, or smog. OES completed a three-year effort to inspect the largest foam manufacturing facilities in New England, as part of a national initiative for investigating possible violations of New Source Review (NSR) permitting regulations. We conducted full compliance evaluations at eight foam manufacturing facilities. Based on information discovered during the field inspections, Region 1 also began in-depth investigations of two of the foam-makers, as well as citing another for violations of Massachusetts’ NSR permitting requirements.
Diesel Idling Cases
Region 1 cited three Massachusetts waste haulers, specifically Waste Management, Allied Waste, and Capitol Waste, for exceeding the state's five-minute idling limit for vehicles. Diesel engines emit pollutants that can cause or aggravate a variety of health conditions, including asthma, other respiratory illnesses, and heart disease. Some of these pollutants also cause smog and contribute to climate change. Although idling to perform required engine-on vehicle safety checks is generally permitted, excessive idling often occurs out of habit or due to outdated assumptions about engine function. OES inspected numerous waste-hauling trucks parking areas in an effort to reduce habitual and systematic idling of fleets, especially in heavily populated areas, including numerous potential environmental justice areas.
As part of their enforcement settlements, Waste Management and Allied Waste have agreed to make operational changes to minimize future idling. Waste Management retrained its drivers about the state idling rule and will inspect all its Massachusetts facilities daily. Allied will train drivers, post signage, inspect yards twice daily, and insure that automatic engine shutoff devices are working properly in the four Allied locations cited for violations (Brockton, Fall River, Quincy, and Revere). Taking steps to improve arrival and departure logistics, as well as to change driver behavior will not only help companies protect the health of their drivers and the surrounding community, but also will save fuel and money.
Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) at Gasoline Storage, Chemical and Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Facilities
A number of federal air pollution control standards require facility owners to check periodically for leaks of volatile organic compounds (VOC) and hazardous air pollutants (HAP) from chemical storage vessels, such as tanks, and transfer equipment, such as pipes, pumps, and valves. VOC compounds contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, or smog, and HAPs include chemicals that are known carcinogens. During FY08, OES cited a number of companies for violations of leak detection and repair (LDAR) requirements. LDAR is an important pollution prevention measure that protects the environment and saves companies money by eliminating fugitive losses of their raw materials and products. Two examples of LDAR-related cases that EPA Region 1 initiated or concluded in FY08 follow.
Cytec Industries and Dow Chemical
EPA Region 1 cited two chemical manufacturers, Cytec Industries and Dow Chemical, in Connecticut, for violations of LDAR requirements. During FY07, OES conducted leak detection audits at both of the facilities and discovered deficiencies of the LDAR programs as well as the pollution control equipment associated with the chemical storage or use. We expect resolution of these cases will reduce the amount of fugitive emissions of VOC and HAP at these facilities.
EPA New England and the Department of Justice concluded a civil enforcement case with the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, Inc. to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA) in a first-of-its-type settlement under the PharmaMACT regulations.
The $975,000 settlement was the first of its type in federal court under regulations that are designed to control the emissions of hazardous air pollutants from pharmaceutical manufacturing operations. The alleged violations resulted from a failure of Pfizer's leak detection and repair (LDAR) program at its former manufacturing plant in Groton, CT.
Under the PharmaMACT regulations (e.g., "National Emission Standards for Pharmaceuticals Production," and the "National Emission Standards for Organic Hazardous Air Pollutants for Equipment Leaks"), the LDAR program sets forth various equipment, testing and record-keeping requirements to ensure that any leaks of air pollutants from equipment used in the manufacture of pharmaceutical products are timely detected and repaired. The specific violations, associated with the production of bulk pharmaceutical materials, included a failure to properly conduct pressure tests to identify leaks, repair leaks before start-up, equip open-ended lines with a cap or other seal, and document leak tests to establish full compliance with the LDAR requirements. During its production of pharmaceutical-grade chemicals, Pfizer used substances such as methanol, hydrogen chloride, methylene chloride, MTBE, hexane, toluene, and many others that are classified by EPA as hazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act.
Dragon Products Company
Region I settled an action with Dragon Products Company LLC (Dragon) of Thomaston, ME for violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). The EPCRA violations involved the company's failure to submit Toxic Chemical Release Inventory Forms for lead, nickel, manganese, nitrate compounds and polycyclic aromatic compounds, which are listed chemicals and which Dragon manufactured, processed or otherwise used in quantities exceeding the established thresholds. The CAA violations involved Dragon's failure to maintain records of visible emission tests for opacity; failure to calibrate thermocouples on the inlet to its kiln's baghouse; failure to operate its kiln within required temperature ranges; failure to maintain adequate operating and maintenance and start-up, shutdown and malfunction plans; and failure to limit sufficiently the opacity of emissions from its kiln.
The settlement required a penalty payment of $77,470 and the implementation of a dust suppression SEP to reduce fugitive particulate matter emissions from the Respondent's facility at a cost of no less than $298,000. As part of this dust minimization SEP, Dragon will install paving and purchase a dry sweeper/vacuum truck for full-time use when the facility is operating.
Brayton Point Station
EPA New England issued an administrative enforcement order requiring Dominion Energy (Dominion), operator of the Brayton Point Station Power Plant, to construct and operate a modern closed-loop cooling system and to comply with strict flow and heat reductions (95% reductions from current operation) specified in the 2003 final National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. The order was the culmination of nearly four years of permit appeals. EPA New England, together with the states of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, secured a critical agreement with Dominion to put into effect the final NPDES discharge permit.
The plant, located on the shores of Mount Hope Bay, is the largest fossil-fuel burning power plant in New England (1600 megawatts). Mount Hope Bay provides important spawning, nursery and migratory habitat for many species of fish. Under current operations, each day the power plant withdraws nearly one billion gallons of water from the Bay (a volume estimated to be equivalent to cycling the entire volume of water in the bay through the facility seven times each year), and circulates it through the facility to condense the steam used to produce electricity. The water is then discharged back to the Bay at elevated temperatures of up to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Operation of the current system damages or kills many aquatic organisms when they are impinged against the intake screens or entrained in the water that enters the cooling water intake process. It also elevates water temperatures in the Bay.
Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
As part of a 2008 settlement with the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) related its failure to provide secondary treatment at its Deer Island Treatment Plant up to the plant's full capacity, the MWRA agreed to pay a $305,000 fine and to provide secondary treatment to as many gallons of wastewater as can be handled by the plant. The agreement also requires the MWRA to undertake three significant SEPs valued at $305,000 that will further improve water quality in Boston Harbor. One of them requires MWRA to purchase a "pumpout" boat that will enable harbor vessels to pump sanitary wastes into a tank on that boat rather than into Boston Harbor or Massachusetts Bay. This acquisition will assist efforts underway by the City of Boston, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and EPA to expand "no discharge areas" in coastal waters. Under a second SEP, MWRA will provide for low flow plumbing fixtures in municipal buildings in a number of MWRA-serviced communities. The third SEP requires MWRA to remove, recycle or properly dispose of marine debris and floatables from Belle Island Inlet as well as from the Neponset, Mystic, Malden, Fore, Town, Chelsea and Lower Charles Rivers.
Country Acres Farm
In March 2008, EPA finalized the Country Acres Farm (Farm) enforcement case, completing an eighteen-month effort to avert serious environmental damage due to manure discharges from this dairy farm in Dixmont, ME. In October 2006, state investigators observed manure contamination flowing from the farm to Martin Stream. Stream samples showed extremely high levels of contaminants, including ammonia, manure solids, and biological oxygen demand. After repeated efforts to bring the farm into compliance, in November, 2006, the State of Maine asked EPA Region 1 for enforcement assistance because the farm was heading into winter with inadequate storage for the manure from hundreds of cows.
Working closely with state and federal agriculture agencies and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, OES issued an Order requiring Country Acres Farm to manage its manure to prevent an overflow into nearby wetlands and Martin Stream. In January 2007, when an overflow appeared imminent, the U.S. Department of Justice filed an expedited civil complaint against the farm for violating federal Clean Water Act requirements, seeking penalties and an injunction to cease the unlawful discharge of manure and contaminated wastewaters to nearby waters. More than once, the Government required the farmer to ship manure to a sewage treatment plant to prevent overflow. The farm's owner sold his cows in March, 2007.
On March 21, 2007, United States' request for a temporary restraining order was granted, requiring the Farm to cease discharging to waters of the United States. The Farm failed to comply with this Order and on July 20, 2007, a judge ruled them in civil contempt of the March 2007 consent order.
Shelley Doak, Director, of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources said, "The collaborative work over the last year(s) is unprecedented and all of us should feel extremely proud of our efforts to end the years of environmental degradation."
The Court's Contempt Order ordered civil contempt penalties of $2,000 per day, unless the Farm produced a signed agreement with its lender, Agri-Max Financial Services, Inc., that would provide for the remediation of the manure lagoons on a schedule acceptable to EPA. The Farm and Mr. McCue entered into such an agreement in July 2007. In late summer, the farm was leased to another entity, Farmers Realty Inc., which undertook the cleanup, and by September, 2007, the lagoon was emptied and cleaned and the manure was spread properly on fields.
Robert Ray and Ray Builders, Inc.
Region 1 finalized an enforcement case against Robert Ray and Ray Builders, Inc. (Ray), settling claims for wetlands violations of the Clean Water Act. Between 1989 and 2003, Ray had discharged dredged and/or fill material into 3.8 acres of wetlands in connection with a residential housing development in Ellsworth, ME. OES required Ray to pay a penalty of $16,017 and to grant a conservation easement to a local land trust for the permanent preservation of a 17-acre land parcel within 1/4 mile of two bald eagle nesting sites.
Because houses were constructed on the Ellsworth site, and sold to third parties purchasing in good faith, the Region determined that in this case restoration of wetlands was inappropriate. OES issued an administrative compliance order that required Ray to fund a compensatory wetlands project. The mitigation project is for enhancement of a degraded 115-acre freshwater wetland in Acadia National Park, about 10 miles away from the site of the violation. Ray will donate $87,154 to the Friends of Acadia, a non-profit group which will reprogram the funds to Acadia National Park, for the removal of invasive exotic species for three years at Great Meadow. This program will allow the Acadia National Park to attain a level of invasive species eradication that can be maintained in the future.
Implementation of New Drinking Water Rules
OES drinking water enforcement staff focused efforts in FY 2008 on early implementation activities associated with two new national drinking water rules - the Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (Stage 2 DBPR) and the Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2ESWTR). The Stage 2 DBPR provides increased public health protection against the potential health risks associated with byproducts of disinfection chemicals, while the LT2ESWTR provides additional protection against the potential health effects due to cryptosporidium and other microbial pathogens in drinking water. Working with OEP and State drinking water staff, OES issued over 95 notification letters to public drinking water systems that had failed to comply with initial monitoring requirements of the Stage 2 DBPR and/or LT2ESWTR parameters. In addition, OES issued four Administrative Orders to drinking water systems that failed to comply with the EPA notification letters. As a result of these efforts, all public water supply systems in New England that are subject to the two new rules are currently in compliance with these rules.
Region 1 Achieves the Wet Weather Goal for Combined Sewer Overflows
EPA has set a national goal of assuring that all wastewater combined sewer systems serving communities over 50,000 people are on Long Term Control Plans to eliminate combined sewer overflows. In 2008, EPA New England issued administrative orders to the final three communities of this size: Taunton, MA, Springfield, MA and Haverhill, MA. With the issuance of these three orders, all communities of this size in New England are on Long Term Control Plans.
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Enforcement
Bridgeport United Recycling and United Oil Recovery
Two Connecticut companies will pay a combined penalty of over $325,000 for violations of federal hazardous waste laws. Bridgeport United Recycling will also be required to automate and upgrade the device that controls organic air emissions at their facility, among other improvements. EPA's joint inspections with the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection revealed that both facilities failed to operate in compliance with applicable hazardous waste management standards, as well as with regulations covering organic air emissions from tanks of hazardous waste. Violations at the Bridgeport United Recycling facility related to improper design and operation of the control device that is used to reduce organic air emissions. Violations at the United Oil Recovery facility in Meriden included failures in hazardous waste analysis and verification testing, acceptance of certain un-permitted wastes, and non-compliance with regulatory permitting and container management requirements.
Emergency Planning and Community-Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) Enforcement
Simoniz USA, Inc.
Region 1 filed an administrative complaint against Simoniz USA (Simoniz) for violations of the Emergency Planning and Community-Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) and the Clean Air Act (CAA) at its Bolton, CT facility. The complaint seeks a penalty of approximately $242,000 for the EPCRA violations and a $159,000 penalty for the CAA violation. The complaint alleges that Simoniz failed to submit Toxic Chemical Release Inventory (TRI) Reporting Forms to EPA as required by EPCRA and used concentrated hydrogen fluoride without submitting a risk management plan to EPA, as required by Section 112(r) of the CAA.
Citgo Petroleum Corp.
OES filed an administrative complaint proposing a $386,179 penalty against Citgo Petroleum Corp. of Braintree, MA for violations of EPCRA. During calendar years 2004, 2005, and 2006, Citgo failed to file TRI Reporting Forms for chemicals used at the facility. In addition, the company failed to report the releases associated with an oil spill that occurred in 2004.
OES settled its claims against Valspar for violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and EPCRA at Valspar's facility in Newburyport, MA. The company manufactures paints and stains at the Newburyport facility, which are sold under the Samuel Cabot name. The Region's complaint alleged that Valspar sold or distributed two unregistered pesticide products for wood stain preparation in violation of FIFRA and failed to submit TRI Reporting Forms for toxic chemicals used at the facility, in violation EPCRA. As a part of the settlement, Valpsar agreed to pay a penalty of $266,800.
OES settled an enforcement action against Presstek, Inc. of South Hadley, MA for violations of the General Duty Clause of the CAA. The company was cited for failure to design and maintain a safe facility and minimize the consequences of an accidental release, as well as for violations of the notification requirement in Section 103(a) of CERCLA. EPA's action followed an accidental release of 751 pounds of hydrofluoric acid, an extremely dangerous chemical, from the company's manufacturing facility in South Hadley on October 30, 2006. Presstek will pay a $31,975 penalty and will carry out a supplemental environmental project at the cost of $70,000 to develop a Green Chemistry curriculum for implementation throughout Massachusetts schools.
Asbestos Enforcement - Immediate Compliance Orders
The National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Asbestos under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act (Asbestos NESHAP) establishes work practices to minimize the release of asbestos fibers during activities involving the processing, handling, and disposal of asbestos and asbestos-containing material when a building is being demolished or renovated. OES issued eighteen Immediate Compliance Orders (ICOs) to companies that failed to notify EPA prior to conducting asbestos demolition or renovation projects.
Failure to comply with an ICO, or a finding of future violations, can lead to administrative, civil, and/or criminal sanctions. These standards are crucial to ensuring the health and safety of the work crews as well as members of the general public. EPA and the appropriate state agency must both be notified of any demolition or renovation project in Rhode Island and Vermont involving asbestos removal at least ten (10) working days prior to the beginning of the project. Because Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire are Asbestos NESHAP-delegated states, notification of projects in those states only needs to be provided to the state agency. It is not uncommon for the OES NESHAP Coordinator to receive dozens of notifications on a weekly basis.
In addition to issuing these ICOs, we have developed an online database, accessible from our Regional EPA web site, where contractors and states can confirm EPA's receipt of notifications. This system will assist the regulated community and our partner government agencies in confirming the status of project notifications and will be updated on a routine basis.
Toxic Substances Control Act (TSSCA) Lead (Pb) Enforcement
Chestnut Hill Realty
On February 14, 2008, OES settled a case against Chestnut Hill Realty Corp. et al. (Chestnut Hill), for violations of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Rule. Under the terms of the settlement, Chestnut Hill will pay a $28,530 penalty and conduct a window replacement supplemental environmental project that will cost $289,500. The SEP requires Respondents to replace all the windows in a 39-unit building in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The old windows are known to contain lead-based paint. In addition to reducing risks associated with lead-based paint, the new windows will improve the energy efficiency of the building.
OES settled an enforcement case with Edgewood Village, Inc., F.O.H., Inc., and Yedidei Hagan, Inc. for alleged violations of the Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Rule. The three respondents are separate non-profit entities, but are closely related. The settlement resolves an administrative complaint by EPA that alleged that the respondents failed to comply with the Disclosure Rule between January 2004 and November 2005 in 23 lease transactions in New Haven, Connecticut. The most significant violations included failure to give tenants a copy of EPA's lead hazard information pamphlet, titled Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home, and failure to disclose information and provide records to tenants regarding lead hazards. The Respondents will perform two lead-based paint hazard abatement SEPs valued at $110,000 and pay a civil penalty of $20,000.
On September 12, 2008, Region 1 filed a consent agreement and final order (CAFO) resolving TSCA claims against M.F. Reynolds, Inc. (Reynolds). Reynolds is a Massachusetts contractor with business offices located in Medford, Massachusetts. This CAFO resolves EPA's claim that Reynolds violated the requirements of the Lead-Based Paint Pre-Renovation Education Rule, 40 C.F.R. Part 745, Subpart E of TSCA. The Complaint alleged that the company failed to provide EPA's lead hazard information pamphlet to 121 property owners prior to conducting renovations at their respective properties. Under the CAFO, Reynolds has agreed to pay a penalty of $63,832. This is the first settlement in the Region under Section 406(b) of TSCA and the second such settlement nationwide.
Cabot Creamery (Cabot) was sentenced following its guilty plea to a single-count charging it with negligently discharging a hazardous material in the Winooski River in violation of the Clean Water Act. Cabot regularly uses industrial-sized refrigeration systems in its manufacturing process which contain large quantities of anhydrous ammonia, a hazardous material toxic to aquatic life and plants.
Michael Hubbard, EPA Special Agent in Charge, said "Cabot's irresponsible handling of hazardous chemicals caused miles of catastrophic damage to the Winooski River. This was not the first time, and although Cabot employees may not have intended to cause this significant harm to the river, their carelessness and the lack of management safeguards was a breach of the public's trust. This case should serve notice that the EPA Criminal Investigation Division will aggressively investigate anyone who acts in disregard of public health or the environment."
In July 2005, Cabot upgraded and replaced its refrigeration system by installing a larger condenser unit and began removing ammonia from the old unit by draining it from the condenser unit into the 55-gallon drum through a plastic tube for several hours. During this process, the ammonia mixture overflowed from the drum and entered a storm drain on the Cabot property that led to the Winooski River. The following day Cabot employees discovered that a pipe on the new condenser unit was defective and had to be replaced. Prior to replacing the pipe, Cabot employees repeated the draining procedure for ammonia. The drum overflowed again and ammonia entered the Winooski River. The water/ammonia mixture harmed several miles of the Winooski River killing fish, macroinvertebrates and plant life.
In a related 1983 case, Cabot had discharged ammonia into the Winooski River damaging several miles of the River and resulting in the killing of fish and other wildlife. As part of a civil settlement with the State of Vermont in 1984 for this improper discharge, Cabot agreed to institute policies regarding the handling of hazardous material to prevent future discharges of such material from its plant into the Winooski River. Despite this agreement, no such policies were in place in July 2005 when the discharge of ammonia again occurred. Moreover, neither Cabot's in-house environmental advisor, nor any outside environmental consultant, was consulted regarding the handling of ammonia in connection with the 2005 refrigeration system upgrade.
The 2008 sentence included a $50,000 fine, a two-year period of probation, and a $125 special assessment. As part of its term of probation, Cabot was ordered to contribute $50,000 to fund an SEP, develop and submit an effective compliance and ethics program, implement a training program for all Cabot employees involved in the handling of hazardous materials, and hire an independent consultant to evaluate Cabot's compliance with the Clean Water Act and the State of Vermont's water statutes and regulations
Beede Waste Oil Superfund Site
The Beede Waste Oil Superfund Site, located in Plaistow, NH, has been the subject of intensive enforcement efforts that led to the initiation of comprehensive cleanup activities by the responsible parties in 2008. Since 2001, OES has completed five enforcement settlements with 1,302 parties: four administrative settlements with 1,199 parties who contributed relatively small volumes of waste to the site (de minimis parties), and a judicial Consent Decree with 29 parties that will perform the site cleanup, and with an additional 74 de minimis parties that are cashing out their liability. The July 2008 Consent Decree secures a commitment from the settling parties to finance and conduct a comprehensive cleanup worth an estimated $48 million, provides $9 million to cover future oversight costs for EPA and the State of New Hampshire, and secures $17 million raised through earlier enforcement settlements for payment of past site clean up costs.
Iron Horse Park Superfund Site
Under a signed Consent Decree with Region 1, Boston and Maine Corporation, BNZ Materials, Inc. and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority will perform a $23.53 million remedy for remedial design and remedial action activities at the Iron Horse Park Superfund Site, Operable Unit 3 (OU3), located in Billerica, MA.
The Consent Decree also contains the terms of a cash-out settlement of Johns Manville Corporation's liability for OU3 pursuant to the United States' previous bankruptcy settlement with Manville. In connection with this settlement, EPA Headquarters has approved up to $2.5 million in preauthorized mixed funding which will be used to reimburse the settling parties for reasonable and necessary costs incurred in conducting the cleanup. Generally, the term "mixed funding" refers to "pre-authorized" mixed funding, in which the settling parties agree to do the clean up and EPA agrees to finance a portion of the costs (which EPA will try to recover from non-settling parties).
Troy Mills Superfund Site
On June 27, 2008, the Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of West Virginia approved a settlement with Troy Mills, Inc. (Troy Mills) in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding. Troy Mills owned and operated a drum disposal facility on its property in Troy, NH where EPA has incurred over $13.5 million in costs for hazardous material removal and site remediation. Under the settlement, the United States will have a claim from any sale or other disposition of a 270-acre parcel on which the site is located; the bankruptcy trustee shall also grant an easement and environmental covenants to the State of New Hampshire to establish institutional controls that will ensure the clean-up remedy will be maintained, and the bankruptcy trustee and Troy Mills also agree not to oppose EPA's filing of a lien on the property prior to the bankruptcy trustee selling or abandoning the property through the bankruptcy proceedings.
The Region 1 Federal Facility Program (FFP) continued its innovative enforcement and compliance assistance activities in FY08. The FFP conducted eight multimedia inspections at Federal Facilities assessing stormwater pollution controls, laboratories and underground storage tanks. Two of these were conducted as a part of a pilot integrated strategy for Federal prisons (Fort Devens, MA Prison and Medical Center and the Danbury, CT Federal Prison). The FFP also conducted five single media Federal Facility inspections.
In addition to a presenting a Clean Water Act seminar on tanks, the FFP conducted the first Stormwater and Low Impact Development seminar for Federal Facilities in the country. The seminar was designed in response to the Energy Independence and Security Act. The FFP initiated and promoted listing Performance Track Federal Facilities on FEDCENTER so that other Federal Facilities having difficulty obtaining compliance information could contact these facilities for assistance.
OES also issued Immediate Compliance Orders (ICO) against Portsmouth (NH) Naval Shipyard, Newport (RI) Naval Shipyard (see expanded write-up below) and the GSA Post Office Square Building, Boston, MA. These ICOs were issued for failing to comply with Asbestos National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) requirements.
U.S. Naval Station, Newport, RI
We continued our enforcement presence at United States Naval Station in Newport, RI (NAVSTA) to ensure their compliance with NESHAP. Our efforts began in 2007 once NAVSTA facility maintenance personnel discovered that asbestos insulation wrapping on abandoned steam pipes was deteriorating and was being released to the air, ground and water.
In January 2008, OES issued NAVSTA an Immediate Compliance Order to address asbestos compliance concerns regarding a renovation operation that began in July 2007 and involved asbestos materials associated with a part of the extensive system of aboveground, abandoned steam and condensate lines that are located throughout the naval base. In February 2008, we issued NAVSTA a combined Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act Information Request which required the naval base, among other things, to survey and sample all abandoned steam lines, inspect all abandoned steam lines located over the water on a biweekly basis, and provide a history of all the asbestos abatement projects. We also conducted five Asbestos NESHAP inspections of various renovation and demolition projects at the naval base. We continue to work closely with the naval base to have all asbestos properly contained to mitigate risk to public health and to prevent further releases to the environment.
U.S. Naval Submarine Base
On March 12, 2008, OES filed a Consent Agreement and Final Order against the U.S. Naval Submarine Base (Sub Base) in New London, CT for violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The violations included failure to operate, maintain and repair the facility to minimize the possibility of fire or explosion, failure to perform hazardous waste determinations and failure to properly label and date containers of hazardous waste, among other violations. The Sub Base paid a penalty of $37,059 and spent $114,000 for a SEP that will install a solar-powered air conditioning system for its hazardous waste storage area.
U.S Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory
The Region brought an administrative penalty action against U.S Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory of Hanover, NH on September 26, 2008. OES alleged that the facility failed to perform hazardous waste determinations and to properly label and date containers of universal waste, among other violations. A daycare center is located on this property and a school is directly across the street. The Region is seeking a civil penalty of $112,967 for these violations.
Summit Ventures/Sugarbush Ski Resort
This year the Region settled an Emergency Planning Community Right-to-Know Act enforcement action with Summit Ventures/Sugarbush Ski Resort, VT for $18,980. The Summit Ventures resort is partially located on Federal Forest Service land.
OES continued to target assistance and enforcement in a coordinated way to address problems in environmental justice areas in New England. In doing so, we worked with our regional Office of Environmental Protection (OEP) in setting geographic priorities, regularly exchanging information about areas of highest incidence of elevated blood lead levels. We targeted assistance, outreach and inspections in low-income, diverse environmental justice areas in 17 cities in all six New England states. Settlements in enforcement cases resulting from lead inspections led to over $600,000 in SEPs for lead abatement including window and door replacements in several communities.
We also worked with OEP to launch a strategy for assistance to auto body shops, many of which are located in environmental justice areas and which produce significant cumulative air toxics emissions. We developed GIS maps to identify clusters of shops in each state, and it became clear they were clustered in low-income urban areas. The maps identified areas of cancer and non-cancer health risks resulting from air toxics as well as asthma cases, and showed a frequent association between auto body shop locations and identified public health threats. These maps were used to target outreach and assistance, including workshops for employees at auto body shops. We coordinated this effort with work under a grant to the City of Boston. Funding from this grant will provide a series of workshops this month focusing on new rules applicable to auto body shops. We conducted nine randomly-selected site visits to auto body shops in Massachusetts with the state Department of Environmental Protection and staff from the New England Waste Management Officials Association. In FY09 we will begin inspections and enforcement in this sector as well.
We continued our focus on diesel idling in low-income cities in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. We performed almost 80 idling inspections in Worcester and Boston, MA, and Providence, Pawtucket, and Johnston, RI. We developed several enforcement actions resulting from excess vehicle idling. OES brought an enforcement case against Allied Waste, Inc. for idling in environmental justice areas including Brockton, Fall River and Quincy. We conducted numerous air stationary source inspections and developed enforcement cases against facilities in environmental justice areas, including the Motiva gasoline storage facility in Bridgeport. Our penalty action resulted in Motiva replacing its entire pollution control system, which will have a very direct benefit for the nearby residential community. (See feature story below for more details on the Motiva enforcement case)
Environmental Justice Enforcement Feature: Motiva Bridgeport
Bridgeport, Connecticut, is a culturally-diverse community of approximately 136,000 residents, home to people with many dozen ethnicities. However, Bridgeport is also one of the most economically depressed cities in the country with one of the lowest per capita incomes. The closure of many factories and businesses over the past 20 years has left the community with numerous abandoned industrial sites which often continue to pollute the air, water, and soil around the facilities. Bridgeport has some of the highest asthma and cancer rates in the country. Based on EPA's national air toxics assessment, Bridgeport has a cumulative risk of cancer from toxic air pollution approximately 60 times the acceptable level. Similarly, for the past 35 years, the air quality in Bridgeport has not met the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ground-level ozone.
In 2008, EPA Region 1 concluded a long-standing enforcement action against Motiva Enterprises in Bridgeport, CT. For many years, EPA NE had tried to compel Motiva to upgrade its pollution control system from an undersized expandable membrane tank system, that collects gasoline vapors beneath a flexible, often leaky, membrane to a fully-sized carbon adsorbtion system. However, Motiva refused, arguing that the regulations did not apply to their unique design characteristics – an ineffective design that had long since been abandoned by other similar gasoline terminals throughout the country.
During 2007, OES conducted several inspections for leaks from the storage and piping equipment at Motiva's Bridgeport facility. During these leak inspections, EPA discovered that Motiva's expandable membrane tank system was leaking significantly. After monitoring the equipment for six months, the results were revealing – Motiva's expandable membrane tank system was consistently leaking – a violation under the federal regulations. Given their own irrefutable monitoring information, Motiva offered to settle the case by not only paying a penalty, but also more importantly, by replacing the leaking expandable membrane tank system with a $1.5 million, state-of-the-art carbon adsorber control system. The new system will prevent thousands of pounds of hydrocarbons, including several carcinogens such as benzene, from being released in the neighborhood of Bridgeport Harbor. Finally, after more than 10 years, Bridgeport can breathe a little easier.
State Innovations Grants
OES actively works with New England states on the national State Innovation Grants (SIG) Program, which fosters the development and evaluation of innovative state environmental projects. As of 2008, New England states account for eleven of the 38 projects funded nationally, and the total value of these state grants is $2.44M (close to 34% of the national total). These innovation grants are being used for a wide range of innovative priorities including:
- Development of a sustainable energy management program for Rhode Island waste water treatment plants that is expected to improve the energy efficiency of participating facilities by a minimum of 5% to 10%, and decrease energy demand by as much as 10-20%.
- Testing alternative strategies to retrofit exiting commercial development in Maine and Massachusetts with storm water Best Management Practices.
- Creation of an environmental leadership program in New Hampshire that recognizes and provides incentives for superior environmental performance.
- Regulation of underground gasoline storage tanks in Vermont using a self-certification and reporting system.
- Development of common performance measures for large numbers of small generators of hazardous that will for the first time provide a metric to compare performance among participating states.
Through these and other innovation grants EPA is working with New England states to test new approaches to test alternative ways of achieving better environmental results.
In 2008, OES awarded 11 pollution prevention (P2) assistance grants for states and nonprofits totaling $570,000. These grants support environmental performance in the areas of pollution prevention, waste management, and sustainable business practices, with an estimated result of 500,000 pounds of pollution reduced, 300,000 gallons of water saved, and 10 billion BTU's of energy conserved
Specific activities funded include state technical assistance programs to help small businesses such as auto body shops, auto salvage yards, metal fabricators and finishers, marinas, hospitals, hotels, and other manufacturing and service enterprises adopt P2 techniques and strategies.
Performance Track Accomplishments
During 2008, eight additional New England facilities joined the Performance Track leadership program, bringing the total number of member facilities in New England to 63. Seven New England facilities renewed their membership for an additional three-year term. To qualify for Performance Track, a facility must have a sustained record of exceeding compliance with environmental regulations and commit to future environmental goals that exceed national standards. Since its inception in 2000, Performance Track members in New England have set more than 440 goals for environmental improvements, all of which go beyond regulatory requirements and many of which will achieve environmental results in areas that are not covered by regulation.
Since the beginning of the program in 2000 New England Performance Track member facilities have:
- Reduced greenhouse gas emissions of 103,864 Metric Ton Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (MTCO2E) or the equivalent of the emissions of over 19,000 cars for one year.
- Made additional reductions in facility energy use of 268,602 mmBtus or the equivalent of energy use for over 2900 homes in one year.
- Reduced materials use of 1,776 tons (1,461 tons non-hazardous and 315 tons hazardous)
- Reduced water use by 1.1 billion gallons
- Reduced waste generated by 61,089 tons (59,413 tons non-hazardous 1,676 tons hazardous)
- Reduced discharges to water of 3,619 tons of contaminants
- Protected 4,100 acres of habitat
Resource Conservation Challenge
The Resource Conservation Challenge (RCC) is a national program to promote recycling and reuse of solid waste and conserve natural resources and energy by managing materials more efficiently. In 2008, RCC grant projects funded by OES diverted approximately 29,000 tons of municipal solid waste to recycling or composting outlets from traditional landfill disposal. The focus of most of this work was composting of food waste through joint efforts with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection's Supermarkets' Recycling Certification Program and the Northeast Recycling Council's Special Event Recycling in Rural Locations.
Other RCC projects initiated in 2008 include funding an expansion of a beneficial use database states can access to determine if re-use of industrial waste materials is a viable alternative to traditional disposal and a project to promote recycling and reuse of construction debris, specifically gypsum wall board in the New England region. The program also provided support to the Northeast Recycling Council to work with the Vermont Green Hotels program to reduce the amount of sold waste generated, increase recycling, increase composting of food and reduce the use of toxic chemicals in hotels.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) encompasses various techniques for resolving conflict outside of court using a neutral third party. Of the different approaches available, including arbitration, facilitation, and convening, EPA New England relies primarily on mediation. In this process, a neutral mediator with no decision-making authority assists parties in reaching a mutually acceptable solution. Mediation is one of the most promising dispute resolution tools because it promotes innovative solutions, cooperation among the parties, and responsibility for the result by all parties. It is a positive model for environmental problem-solving that can have long-lasting effects.
A primary focus for the ADR program in 2008 was that of ADR capacity building--within Region 1, across EPA Regions, and among outside parties. OES teamed in-house facilitators with outside practitioners in facilitation of large meetings, conferences, and processes. We organized a team of 10 in-house neutrals to facilitate small-group conversations at large public meetings in connection with Vermont's Energy Future process; provided five in-house facilitators to assist with design and management of a Homeland Security Summit; and provided mediators for Superfund and lead disclosure enforcement case negotiations.
One of the our most significant ADR efforts took place in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Region 1 ADR staff facilitated two community meetings where controversial issues relating to around-the-clock activities at an asphalt recycling facility were confronted. We assisted the community, the asphalt recycling facility, the local utility company, and other stakeholders in agreeing on a set of measures to be taken to improve the situation.
Results at a Glance – By the Numbers
- Auto Body Compliance Assistance
- Health Care Compliance Assistance
- Anti-Diesel Idling and Smart Way:
- Pesticide Program Assistance
- Strategic Agriculture Initiative
- Lead (Pb) Assistance
Innovation, Pollution Prevention and Resource Conservation
- State Innovation Grants
- Pollution Prevention
- Environmental Performance Track program
- Resource Conservation Challenge