EPA names first chemicals for review under new TSCA legislation

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the first ten chemicals it will evaluate for potential risks to human health and the environment under Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform. The new law gives the agency the power to require safety reviews of all chemicals in the marketplace in an effort to protect public health and the environment.

The first ten chemicals to be evaluated are:

  • 1,4-Dioxane
  • 1-Bromopropane
  • Asbestos
  • Carbon Tetrachloride
  • Cyclic Aliphatic Bromide Cluster
  • Methylene Chloride
  • N-methylpyrrolidone
  • Pigment Violet 29
  • Tetrachloroethylene, also known as perchloroethylene
  • Trichloroethylene

TSCA, as amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, requires EPA to publish this list by December 19, 2016. These chemicals were drawn from EPA’s 2014 TSCA Work Plan, a list of 90 chemicals selected based on their potential for high hazard and exposure as well as other considerations.

Massachusetts pretreatment programs recognized for excellence

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently named the New Bedford Industrial Pretreatment Program in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority (MWRA) Industrial Pretreatment Program in Boston, with a 2016 Regional Industrial Pretreatment Program Excellence Award.

The pretreatment program staff of New Bedford, led by Wayne Perry, Industrial Pretreatment Program Engineer, under the supervision of Jamie Ponte, Wastewater Superintendent, was recognized by EPA’s New England Office for exceptional work in inspecting, permitting and sampling of industrial users that discharge industrial waste into the City’s collection system.

The industrial pretreatment program staff of MWRA’s Toxic Reduction and Control Department (TRAC), was recognized by EPA’s New England Office for exceptional work in inspecting, permitting and sampling of industrial users that discharge industrial waste into MWRA’s sewer system.

The EPA Regional Industrial Pretreatment Program Excellence Award was established to recognize and honor employees of publicly owned wastewater treatment plants for their commitment to improving water quality through outstanding oversight of industrial users discharging to the municipal sewer system.

The winners were presented the Excellence Award at the 18th Annual EPA New England Industrial Pretreatment Program Conference in October, and the awardees will also be acknowledged in January 2017, at the annual New England Water Environment Association Conference in Boston.

EPA extends public comment period for Evoqua Carbon Regeneration facility

The EPA is extending the public comment period through Jan. 9, 2017, on its proposed hazardous waste permit for Evoqua, a commercial carbon regeneration facility on the Colorado River Indian Tribes reservation near Parker, Arizona. The Evoqua facility has been operating since the mid-1990s, treating spent carbon in a regeneration furnace to purify it and make it available for reuse as a commercial product.  EPA’s proposed permit, if finalized, will be valid for 10 years and will allow Evoqua to store and regenerate carbon, some of which is contaminated with hazardous waste.

For more information on the proposed permit and to submit a comment, please visit: www.epa.gov/az/evoqua.

Babbitt Ranches, C.O. Bar to investigate abandoned uranium mines in Coconino County

The EPA has finalized a settlement with Babbitt Ranches, LLC and C.O. Bar, Inc. in which the companies committed to conducting a site evaluation of abandoned uranium mines adjacent to the Little Colorado River. The site evaluation will include an assessment of the abandoned uranium mines and surveys of cultural and biological resources. Once the evaluation is complete, EPA will consult with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and the neighboring Navajo Nation to determine any additional actions that may be required.

Under the settlement agreement, the companies also agreed to pay the agency $230,000 in past costs incurred and future oversight costs. This agreement is made under authority of the Superfund law, which holds landowners responsible for hazardous materials on their properties and requires them to provide cleanups of historic contamination. This settlement is part of a larger strategy to address abandoned uranium mines on and near the Navajo Nation.

Up To $26 Million available From EPA for GLRI Projects

The EPA issued a request for applications soliciting proposals for Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) grants to fund new projects to restore and protect the Great Lakes. Up to $26 million will be available for grants to state, tribal, interstate and local governmental agencies, institutions of higher learning and other nonprofit organizations. Applications are due Jan. 13, 2017.

A webinar explaining the grant application process will be held at 1 p.m. CST on Monday, Nov. 21, 2016. The request for applications and information about applying for GLRI grants is available at here.

The GLRI was launched in 2010 to accelerate efforts to protect and restore the largest system of fresh surface water in the world. The program has so far funded more than 3,000 projects to improve water quality, to protect and restore native habitat and species, to prevent and control invasive species and to address other environmental problems in the Great Lakes basin.