Enforcement and Assistance in New England
The Planning & Preparedness Team partnered with numerous LEPCs and the six New England SERCs in planning and conducting exercises during FY07. During this period, the Region helped design, implement or monitor 13 exercises in Braintree, Cambridge, Framingham and Taunton, Mass.; Waldo County, Maine; and, Providence, R.I., among other communities. These tabletop and full-scale exercises included preparing for and responding to all hazards, including accidental or deliberate chemical releases, natural disasters, and public health threats.
The Planning & Preparedness Team conducted 53 workshops across New England, targeting under-reporting sectors such as warehouses and school bus operators. These workshops resulted in 60 companies reporting violations of EPCRA. Self-disclosure of violations can provide the companies with penalty relief. The total value of the self-disclosures in deferred penalties was $3.2 million. In addition to the self-disclosures, several voluntary revisions were submitted under Tier 2 and TRI. Electronic submissions to TRI increased from 70.4% to 90%. In both programs, the electronic submission of EPCRA data is of higher quality and more easily utilized by responders.
In FY07, the Planning & Preparedness Team entered into partnerships with 10 schools in five Massachusetts communities, some of which were located in Environmental Justice areas, to develop a better approach to chemical management. The Team and school officials create and stock a centralized chemical storage area. This integrated system prevents over-purchasing, reduces risks and exposure to chemicals, and eliminates excess chemicals in schools. Over 9,000 bottles containing stock chemicals and solutions were inventoried and over 4,000 pounds of unused or outdated chemicals were properly removed from these schools. Each school was made mercury free with 347 devices (such as thermometers abd barometers) containing 31 pounds of mercury being removed and disposed of properly. The schools are located in Allston, Braintree, Everett, Quincy, and North Reading.
The Team continues to work with the City of Waltham, Mass. to develop an integrated environmental program for their departments and schools. Most recently, the Team assisted the consolidated Public Works Department to develop and implement a comprehensive Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan for its 30-acre Municipal Center and City Yard complex. The City is also addressing RCRA and SPCC issues as part of this effort.
In 2008, the EPCRA Team will be working with New England SERCs to identify and assist facilities that use and store large quantities of flammable chemicals. The Team will also be assisting warehouses, cold storage facilities, chemical distributors, facilities in port areas, and manufacturers of medical devices, pharmaceuticals and specialty chemicals with basic reporting.
TRI Reporting via the Internet
|% of NE Facilities
TRI Reporting 2005
|% of NE Facilities
TRI Reporting 2006
|Program||# & Type of Event||# of Attendees|
|One Plan||5 workshops||213|
|Program||# of Facilities|
|EPCRA - 313||13|
|EPCRA – Tier II & 313||47|
|TOTAL SELF DISCLOSURES||60|
|TOTAL DEFERRED PENALTIES||$3.2 million|
|# of Schools||Pounds of Chemicals
|Pounds of Mercury
|# of Mercury Containing
|Program||Type of Action||Penalty|
|EPCRA||106 facilities inspected||-----|
|CAA 112(r)||28 inspections/audits||-----|
|CAA 112(r)||7 desk audits||-----|
|CAA 112(r)||11 settlements||$ 49,560|
Preventing the Release of Hazardous Chemicals
In 2004, we brought a General Duty Clause action against the NOVA Chemicals Inc. facility in Indian Orchard, Mass. for having released 4,500 pounds of extremely flammable styrene. Our investigation of the plant revealed that one of its polystyrene manufacturing processes was not safely designed. EPA and NOVA Chemicals settled the case for a cash penalty of $13,800 and a $14,000 Supplemental Environmental Project requiring the donation of emergency response equipment to the Springfield fire department.
However, after further examination, we concluded that despite the recent steps NOVA had taken to improve the safety of its polystyrene manufacturing process, the facility’s operations continued to pose a significant risk of accidental release. In response to these findings, NOVA agreed in late 2006 to make necessary safety improvements, including the installation of a secondary containment vessel. The cost of these safety measures, in addition to the earlier improvements, was nearly $3 million.