U.S. EPA Updates the Superfund National Priorities List

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) recently announced that it is adding seven sites to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) where releases of contamination pose human health and environmental risks.

The NPL includes the United States’ most serious uncontrolled or abandoned releases of contamination. The list serves as the basis for prioritizing U.S. EPA Superfund cleanup funding and enforcement actions. Only releases at sites included on the NPL are eligible to receive federal funding for long-term, permanent cleanup.

“By adding these sites to the National Priorities List, we are taking action to clean up some of the nation’s most contaminated sites, protect the health of the local communities, and return the sites to safe and productive reuse,” said U.S. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Our commitment to these communities is that sites on the National Priorities List will be a true national priority. We’ve elevated the Superfund program to a top priority, and in Fiscal Year 2018, EPA deleted all or part of 22 sites from the NPL.”

The following sites are being added to the NPL:

· Magna Metals in Cortlandt Manor, New York

· PROTECO in Peñuelas, Puerto Rico

· Shaffer Equipment/Arbuckle Creek Area in Minden, West Virginia

· Cliff Drive Groundwater Contamination in Logansport, Indiana

· McLouth Steel Corp in Trenton, Michigan

· Sporlan Valve Plant #1 in Washington, Missouri

· Copper Bluff Mine in Hoopa, California

McLouth Steel Corp in Trenton, Michigan (Photo Credit: CREDIT TRANSKOHR / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

Superfund cleanups provide health and economic benefits to communities. The program is credited for significant reductions in birth defects and blood-lead levels among children living near sites, and research has shown residential property values increase up to 24% within 3 miles of sites after cleanup.

Redeveloped Superfund sites can generate a great deal of economic activity. Thanks to Superfund cleanups, previously blighted properties are now being used for a wide range of purposes, including retail businesses, office space, public parks, residences, warehouses, and solar power generation. At 529 Superfund sites returned to productive use, 8,600 businesses operate and 195,000 employees earn more than $13 billion in annual income.

The Superfund Task Force is working to improve the Superfund program. The U.S. EPA has implemented nearly half of the Task Force’s recommendations to expedite site cleanups and redevelopment and expects to complete the remaining recommendations by July 2019.

Source: U.S. EPA

U.S. Business Opportunity: Site Clean-up

The United State Department of Labor seeks the services of a qualified service-disabled veteran-owned small business to perform soil remediation services at the Gainesville Job Corps Center’s facilities in Florida.

Interest in this pre-solicitation announcement is open to all service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) businesses relative to the primary NAICS code 562910 with a Small Business Standard of $20.5 million and/or 750 employees.  The magnitude of this procurement is between $100,000 and $250,000.

Execution of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) Remedial Action Plan includes site demolition, placement of clean soil, soils compaction, site restoration, and notifications and reporting to the FDEP.

The work involves construction services to address the impacts of metals, PCBs, and PAHs that exceed FDEP Soil Cleanup Target Levels. Oversight of the work and reporting will be provided by a Florida Licensed Professional Engineer. Offers are due by 2:00 PM ET on June 5, 2019.

For more information, visit:https://www.fbo.gov/spg/DOL/ETA/OJC/1630DC-19-Q-00028/listing.html

Meat Packing Plant facing major fines for exposing workers to hazardous chemicals

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (U.S. OSHA) has cited 7 S Packing LLC – operating as Texas Packing Company in San Angelo, Texas – for exposing workers to releases of hazardous chemicals. The company faces $615,640 in penalties.

The U.S. OSHA determined that the meat-packing facility failed to implement a required Process Safety Management (PSM) program for operating an ammonia refrigeration unit containing over 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia. The employer also failed to provide fall protection, guard machines and equipment, control hazardous energy, and implement a respiratory protection program.

The PSM Covered Chemical Facilities National Emphasis Program focuses on reducing or eliminating workplace hazards at chemical facilities to protect workers from catastrophic releases of highly hazardous chemicals. PSM standards emphasize the management of hazards associated with highly hazardous chemicals, and establishes a comprehensive management program that integrates technologies, procedures, and management practices to prevent an unexpected release.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

Ontario Plans To Amend Excess Soil and Brownfields Regulation

Written by Paul Manning, Manning Environmental Law

Ontario is proposing changes to the excess soil management and brownfields redevelopment regime.

The changes are designed to “make it safer and easier for more excess soil to be reused locally…while continuing to ensure strong environmental protection” and to “clarify rules and remove unnecessary barriers to redevelopment and revitalization of historically contaminated lands…while protecting human health and the environment.

Opponents will see this as a deregulation which will primarily benefit business interests at the cost of environmental protection, notwithstanding these assurances.

Excess Soil

The changes will include the development of a new excess soil regulation supported by amendments to existing regulations including O. Reg. 347 and O. Reg. 153/04 made under the Environmental Protection Act supports key changes to excess soil management.

Proposed changes include:

  • clarifying that excess soil is not a waste if appropriately and directly reused;
  • development of flexible, risk-based reuse excess soil standards and soil characterization rules to provide greater clarity of environmental protection;
  • removal of waste-related approvals for low risk soil management activities;
  • improving safe and appropriate reuse of excess soil by requiring testing, tracking and registration of soil movements for larger and riskier generating and receiving sites;
  • flexibility for soil reuse through a Beneficial Reuse Assessment Tool to develop site specific standards;
  • landfill restrictions on deposit of clean soil (unless needed for cover).

Record of Site Condition

Under O. Reg. 153/04, a Record of Site Condition must be filed on the Ministry’s public registry if there is a change in property use from an industrial, commercial or community use to a more sensitive use, such as residential, institutional, agricultural, or parkland.

The Ministry is proposing amendments to O. Reg. 153/04 including reduced requirements to fully delineate contaminants (i.e. additional sampling) for properties going through the Risk Assessment process when contamination is already well understood.

The amendments would also provide flexibility on meeting standards where exceedances are caused by the use of a substance for safety under conditions of snow and ice, discharges of treated drinking water, and the presence of fill that matches local background levels.

Other proposed amendments would remove the requirement for a Record of Site Condition for specific low risk redevelopment situations, including converting:

  • Low-rise commercial buildings to mixed-use residential with commercial on main floor;
  • Temporary roads in construction areas to residential;
  • Indoor places of worship to residential; and
  • Industrial or commercial to indoor agriculture in or on the same building.

The proposal is posted for comment on the Environment Registry until May 31, 2019. To read the full proposal, click here.

This article has been republished with the permission of the author. It was first published here .

This article is provided only as a general guide and is not legal advice. If you do have any issue that requires legal advice please contact Manning Environmental Law.


About the Author

Paul Manning is the principal of Manning Environmental Law and an environmental law specialist certified by the Law Society of Ontario. He has been named as one of the World’s Leading Environmental Lawyers and one of the World’s Leading Climate Change Lawyers by Who’s Who Legal.
Paul advises clients on a wide range of environmental law issues and represents them as counsel before tribunals and the courts. His practice focuses on environmental, energy, planning and Aboriginal law.

Environmental Enforcement at Ontario Graphite Mine

The Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation, and Parks recently issued an amended Order to Ontario Graphite Ltd. (OGL), a mining company operating in Kearney. The Order requires the following actions:

  1. The implementation of a long term water level monitoring program of the wastewater treatment works.
  2. The construction of a polishing pond system to treat industrial wastewater generated from the mining operation.
  3. The construction of a stormwater trench and groundwater collection system.

The company is appealing the latest Order from the Environment Ministry.

Ontario Graphite Mine, Kearney, Ontario (Photo Credit: NorthBayNipissing.com)

The OGL mining operation is located in Kearney, Ontario. The town is situated in the Almaguin Highlands region of Parry Sound District of Ontario, Canada.  With a landmass of 531 square kilometres and a year-round population of 882 in the Canada 2016 Census, Kearney claims to be the “Biggest Little Town in Ontario.”  Butt Township was amalgamated with the Town of Kearney in 1979.

The Order is a the latest in a number Orders issued against OGL. In 2018, the Ontario Environment Ministry issued an Emergency Director’s Order to Ontario Graphite Ltd. (OGL) related to its mining site in Butt Township, Kearney, Ontario.  An Emergency Director’s Order is issued when the Environment Ministry is of the opinion that inaction of a situation can result in one or more of the following: danger to the health or safety of any person; harm or serious risk of harm to the environment; or injury or damage or serious risk of injury or damage to any property.

Under the 2018 Emergency Order, OGL was required to take immediate actions to protect the natural environment and to prevent or reduce the discharge of a contaminant into the natural environment from the undertaking or property, or to prevent, decrease or eliminate an adverse effect.

OGL is a privately owned Canadian mining company is in the process of re-commissioning and operating the Kearney Graphite Mine, one of the largest confirmed graphite mineral resource projects in North America and among the largest individual deposits in the world. OGL estimates that there are sufficient graphite reserves at the site to maintain mining operations for over 30 years.

Graphite is a crystalline form a carbon. It occurs naturally in this form and is the most stable form of carbon under standard conditions. Graphite is used in pencils and lubricants.

Canadian Consulting Firm acquired by UK Giant

Novus Environmental, a 25-person specialized consulting firm with offices in Guelph ON and Calgary AB, was recently acquired by SLR, an UK-headquartered global environmental and advisory firm.

Novus will bring additional capability to SLR’s North American business in air quality, noise and vibration, and wind and climate. The Novus team will join SLR’s Canada business, which will now be 280 strong with 18 offices.

SLR began as SECOR Ltd. in 1994. Starting as a UK business, the company now operates as a global company with more than 1,100 people delivering client solutions across five regions. SLR offers a wide range of advisory and environmental consulting services.

This is SLR’s third acquisition in four months, reflecting the confidence of the company and its new investor Charterhouse Capital Partners in the market, according to Neil Penhall, SLR’s chief executive.

Alexco/JDS Group buys Abandoned Mine, Agrees to Remediate it

The Supreme Court of Yukon Territory recently approved the sale of the abandoned Mount Nansen Mine site to the Alexco/JDS Group. The unique arrangement with the Alexco/JDS Group, allows the company to pursue future work at the mine while obligating them to remediate contamination from past mining activities at the site.

The abandoned Mount Nansen site is a former gold and silver mine located in the traditional territory of the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation, near the Village of Carmacks. As a Type II Mine site, the Canadian federal government accepted responsibility for its existing liabilities in the 2012 Yukon Devolution Transfer Agreement. The federal government provides 100% of the funding for site care and maintenance operations as well as for the development of long-term remediation plans. This funding is provided through the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan 

Mt. Nansen; August 14; 2008; aerial photo; mill

The sale process began in 2016, when the Yukon Supreme Court appointed PriceWaterhouseCoopers Interim Receiver and Receiver-Manager of the mine’s former operator.

The sale of the mine was complicated by the fact that in involved the court-appointed receiver for the former owner of the mine, the Canadian federal government, the Yukon Territory government, and the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation.

Under the conditions of the sale, Alexexco/JDS Group must immediately accelerate work on the remediation plan that had been initiated by the Yukon government and submit it for regulatory approval. The Canadian government has committed funding to pay for the remediation.

Russell Blackjack, Chief of Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation, stated in a news release: “After almost three decades of concern and constant pressure and monitoring from Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation government, the citizens of the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation will be pleased to see the finalization of the agreements that will lead to the remediation of the abandoned BYG mine site at Mt. Nansen. ”

The new owners, Alexco/JDS Group, consists of Alexco (TSX: AXR / NYSE-American: AXU) , a primary silver company headquartered in Vancouver and JDS Energy & Mining Inc. , a Canadian-based resource development company with experience in mine design, development.

The Mount Nansen Mine is listed on the Federal Contaminated Sites Inventory. Approximately 5,400 hectares of land is contaminated at the site. There is also surface water contamination. Contaminants include petroleum hydrocarbons and metals.

The federal government estimates that clean-up of the site will cost $37 million with an additional $2.8 million for care and maintenance. It is estimated that the remediation of the mine site will take up to 10 years.

Repeal of the Ontario Toxics Reduction Act, 2009

The Ontario government recently announced that it will repeal the Ontario Toxics Reduction Act, 2009 and revoke its associated regulations on December 31, 2021.

The purpose of the Toxics Reduction Act, 2009 is to prevent pollution by reducing the use and creation of toxic substances and inform Ontarians about those substances. Under the statute, industry is required to develop toxic reduction plans, and report publicly each year. Implementation of plans is voluntary.

The decision to revoke the statute was reached by the government following consultation with stakeholders and in keeping with the government’s Ontario Open for Business Action Plan. During the consultation period, the government received a total of 431 comments from various stakeholders.

The reason given by the government for the planned repeal was that the Toxics Reduction Program has not achieved meaningful reductions. The government stated that results indicate an overall reduction of only 0.04% of substances used, created and released for all regulated facilities.

This graph illustrates the number of substances as reported to the Ontario Environment Ministry under the Toxics Reduction Regulations by facilities for 2013

In repealing the Toxics Reduction Act, 2009 in 2021, the Ontario government believes that it will eliminate duplication and overlap with the federal government’s Chemicals Management Plan program under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act 1999.

Regulated facilities in Ontario still have to maintain reporting under the Toxics Reduction Act, 2009 and its associated regulations until December 31, 2021.

Existing facilities with current plans for substances that meet reporting thresholds are required to report annually on:

  • the amounts of those substances used, created, contained in product; and
  • the progress in reducing those substances.

Until the repeal, facilities can continue to voluntarily amend their plans. Summaries of amended plans must also be made available to the public.

Global Crisis, Emergency and Incident Management Platforms Market 2019

Persistence Market Research recent market report on Global Crisis, Emergency and Incident Management Platforms estimates that it will be worth $102 billion (USD) by the end of 2024.

A 2017 market analysis by Persistence Market Research on the market in North America predicted the year-over-year growth the Global Crisis, Emergency and Incident Management Platforms to increase at a CAGR of 7.2%. through to 2023. The 2017 report estimated that the North America market accounted for a relatively high market share and be valued at more than US$ 20 Billion in 2017. The report estimated that the North American regional market would continue to remain dominant in terms of value during the forecast period (2017 – 2024).

The latest market report from Persistence Market Research predicts that the global market or crisis, emergency & incident management platforms will be fragmented across various systems and platforms. Among which, the demand for web-based emergency management software, geospatial technology, emergency notification system, hazmat technology, seismic warning systems, and remote weather monitoring systems is expected to gain traction throughout the forecast period. These systems are also predicted to be demanding greater incorporation of communication technologies. Through 2024, satellite phone, vehicle-ready gateways, and emergency response radars will be the most dominant type of communication technologies used in working of any crisis, emergency & incident management platform.

Likewise, the report also expects that during the stipulated forecast period, professional services such as consulting and emergency operation center (EOC) design & integration will be in great demand. By the end of 2024, crisis, emergency & incident management platforms will be actively adopted across industry verticals such as BFSI, energy & utility, government & defense, and telecommunication and IT.

A regional analysis of the global crisis, emergency & incident management platform market indicates that North America will dominate by accounting for over US$ 36 Billion revenues by 2024-end. Adoption for such platforms will also be high in Asia-Pacific, and the region is expected to showcase a 6% value CAGR.

Leading providers of crisis, emergency & incident management platforms in the world include Honeywell International, Inc., Lockheed Martin Corporation, Motorola Solution, Inc., Rockwell Collins, Inc., Siemens AG, Iridium Communication Inc., Guardly, Environmental System Research Institute, Inc., and Intergraph Corporation.

U.S. Opportunity: U.S. ITRC Issues RFP for 2020 Technical Projects

The United States Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC) recently issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for projects that address urgent environmental issues and advance innovative technologies and processes. The proposals that are selected by the ITRC Board of Advisors will begin in January 2020.

All applicable environmental topics will be considered, but evaluation criteria will give greater weight to proposals that address the needs listed in the 2020 ITRC Priorities list, or proposals which update ITRC documents that are outdated. Existing ITRC documents can be found here.

More information about the Project Proposal Process is available here. Please follow the instructions found in the selection process and criteria document, and use the proposal template to submit your proposal.

The ITRC Board of Advisors will conduct a preliminary evaluation of all proposals received by the deadline and in the proper format. The purpose of this preliminary evaluation is to determine what needs to be clarified during the Board interview on May 23, or to determine if a proposal should not move onto the next step in the evaluation process.

The Board will use the following criteria:

  • Is the proposal consistent with ITRC’s mission, goals, and strategic planning objectives?
  • Does the proposal address regulatory or technical barriers (which includes lack of awareness or lack of educational resources) to environmental solutions?
  • Does the proposal address a need of a broad spectrum of groups/states? Is the proposed guidance and training likely to be used by a large number of people, even though the subject may not have a high level of current interest? (e.g. passive sampling, ISM, GW statistics)
  • Is the problem/subject to be addressed clearly defined?
  • Does the project have a defined and manageable scope?
  • Does the proposal have the support of at least five states to be implemented, with two state personnel (with accomplished project management skills and a working knowledge of the subject matter) as potential Team Leaders?
  • Does the proposal consider the requisite subject matter expertise within its team composition?
  • Does the project propose the development of tools which are functional, educational, and able to address the needs of a varied audience?

2020 ITRC Priorities (see the expanded list here) include water reuse, waste reduction, chemicals of emerging concern, cleanup technology, water quality, and air quality.

Proposals are due electronically to the ITRC Director (preyes@ecos.org) by Wednesday, May 10, 2019. Proposers are reminded to review the evaluation criteria and present a proposal that is technical in nature, not policy-oriented, nor a research or demonstration project. All questions should also be addressed to Patty at preyes@ecos.org.