Canadian Government Invests $5.1 million of Great Lakes Clean-up Efforts

The Government of Canada recently announced $5.1 million in funding for 46 new projects to protect and restore the Great Lakes through the Great Lakes Protection Initiative in 2020–21.

The Great Lakes Protection Initiative supports projects that address key Great Lakes priorities such as restoring areas of concern, preventing toxic and nuisance algae, reducing releases of harmful chemicals, engaging Indigenous Peoples on Great Lakes issues, and increasing public engagement through citizen science.

Some of the projects include those listed below.

 

Project: Niagara River Remedial Action Plan Coordinator

Proponent: Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

Great Lakes Protection Initiative funding: $140,000 over 2 years

Project description: This project will facilitate inter-agency collaboration, and stakeholder and Indigenous involvement to support the clean up of the Niagara River Area of Concern.

Project: Bay of Quinte Remedial Action Plan Governance

Proponent: Lower Trent Region Conservation Authority

Great Lakes Protection Initiative funding: $190,000 over 2 years

Project description: This project will support activities to address water quality issues in the Bay of Quinte Area of Concern and advance work under the Bay of Quinte Phosphorus Management Plan.

Project: Detroit River Remedial Action Plan Governance

Proponent: Essex Region Conservation Authority

Great Lakes Protection Initiative funding: $165,000 over 2 years

Project description: This project will support inter-agency collaboration, and stakeholder and Indigenous involvement to support the clean up of the Detroit River Area of Concern.

Project: Hamilton Harbour Remedial Action Plan Governance

Proponent: Halton Region Conservation Authority

Great Lakes Protection Initiative funding: $205,000 over 2 years

Project description: This project will facilitate inter-agency collaboration, and stakeholder and Indigenous involvement to support the clean up of the Hamilton Harbour Area of Concern. It will coordinate actions to address issues such as the decline of wildlife populations, fish, bird and animal deformities, as well as beach closings.

Project: Toronto and Region Remedial Action Plan Governance

Proponent: Toronto and Region Conservation Authority

Great Lakes Protection Initiative funding: $290,000 over 2 years

Project description: This project will facilitate inter-agency collaboration, and stakeholder and Indigenous involvement to support the clean up of the Toronto and Region Area of Concern.

Project: Community Engagement of Aamjiwnaang First Nation in the Restoration of Beneficial Uses and Decision Making for the St. Clair and Detroit River Areas of Concern

Proponent: Aamjiwnaang First Nation

Great Lakes Protection Initiative funding: $45,000 over 3 years

Project description: This project will support community engagement in decision making  on the status of phyto- and zooplankton populations, drinking water as well as fish and wildlife populations, habitat and restrictions on their consumption, in the St. Clair and Detroit River Areas of Concern.

 

Project: St. Lawrence River (Cornwall) Remedial Action Plan Governance

Proponent: St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences

Great Lakes Protection Initiative funding: $86,000 over 2 years

Project description: This project will facilitate interagency collaboration, and stakeholder and Indigenous engagement on the clean up of the St. Lawrence River Area of Concern, as well as advance work under the Cornwall Sediment Strategy.

Project: Community Engagement on the Assessment of Fish Consumption Restrictions

Proponent: Mohawk Council of Akwesasne

Great Lakes Protection Initiative funding: $60,167 over 2 years

Project description: This project will engage Mohawks of Akwesasne community members in assessing restrictions on fish consumption in the St. Lawrence River Area of Concern.

 

 

 

 

 

Project: Soil Water Assessment Tool to Determine Best Management Practices in Wilton Creek and Hay Bay Watersheds

Proponent: The Governing Council of the University of Toronto

Great Lakes Protection Initiative funding: $108,000 over 3 years

Project description: This project will develop a model to assess best management practices and determine which will be most effective in reducing phosphorus runoff, part of the Bay of Quinte Area of Concern remediation effort.

Project: St. Clair River Contaminated Sediment Management Develop Engineering Design

Proponent: St. Clair Region Conservation Authority

Great Lakes Protection Initiative funding: $250,000 over 3 years

Project description: This project will engage local partners in the development of the detailed engineering design for addressing mercury contaminated sediment in three areas of the St. Clair River, part of the St. Clair River Area of Concern remediation effort.

 

Reducing releases of harmful chemicals

Project: Removing Sources of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances Chemicals of Mutual Concern from the Great Lakes

Proponent: The Governing Council of the University of Toronto

Great Lakes Protection Initiative funding: $99,918 over 2 years

Project description: This project aims to reduce Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and Long-chain Perfluorocarboxylic Acids (LC-PFCAs), designated as Chemicals of Mutual Concern under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, from entering the Great Lakes through consumer products. This project will identify consumer products containing these chemicals, estimate the amount of these chemicals that could enter the lakes through these products, and engage stakeholders on impacts.

Project: Feasibility Study of Granular Activated Carbon to Reduce Perfluorooctanoic Acid and Perfluorooctanesulfonic Acid Emissions from Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plants

Proponent: The Governing Council of the University of Toronto

Great Lakes Protection Initiative funding: $97,440 over 2 years

Project description: This project will assess the use of activated carbon in municipal wastewater treatment plants to prevent Perfluorooctanesulfonic and Perfluorooctanoic acids from entering the Great Lakes.

Project: Mitigating the Release of Long-chain Perfluorocarboxylic Acids in Leachates: Analysis, Removal, Fate and Transport

Proponent: York University

Great Lakes Protection Initiative funding: $91,450 over 2 years

Project description: This project will advance efforts to reduce the release of Long-chain Perfluorocarboxylic Acids in landfills.

 

 

Addressing new and emerging challenges in nuclear emergency response

Written by Steven Pike, Argon Electronics

Radioactivity and natural sources of radiation are ever-present features in our environment, with radioactive substances playing an invaluable role in the development of global medicine, industry and agriculture.

The risk that exposure to radiation can pose to workers and the wider public however is something that must be continuously monitored and managed.

The regulation of ionising radiation is ultimately the responsibility of each individual nation, however there can be times when radiation risks transcend borders and where international cooperation is necessary in order to control hazards, prevent accidents and enhance operational capability.

The International Basic Safety Standards on Radiation Protection (IAEA Safety Series No.115) establish the basic quantitative and qualitative requirements for radiation safety as they relate to the practice of nuclear power generation and the use of radiation and radioactive sources in medicine and industry.

In addition, the standards also provide guidance on occupational radiation protection, the prevention of public exposure to radioactive materials released into the environment and the mitigation of incidents where there is risk of ionising radiation exposure.

Tackling nuclear safety post Fukushima

There is little doubt that the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant accident in March 2011 substantially influenced the way in which nations all over the world view their reliance on, and their relationship with, the power of nuclear energy.

In the months following the Fukushima disaster, many countries announced plans to review the safety of their nuclear reactors.

Germany is reported to have closed down seven of its seventeen reactors in response to the incident, while Switzerland permanently shut down the first of its five nuclear reactors in 2019.

Over the past decade we have also seen a increasing focus on the efficacy of radiation safety training in aiding operational readiness.

In the rare event that radiological accidents or incidents do occur, it is vital that emergency response teams are suitably equipped and prepared.

The provision of realistic radiation safety training exercises has continued to increase in popularity as CBRN instructors seek out more effective ways for their trainees to improve essential knowledge and practical skills.

In place of the more traditional approaches to radiation training (such as those where trainees are shown a visual representation of their instrument readings) many exercise coordinators are now turning to simulators that enable their trainees to handle highly realistic replicas of their actual operational equipment.

Realistic nuclear emergency response training

We have written previously about the role that simulator technology can play in enhancing the deployment of radiation safety training.

In Asia Pacific Fire magazine for example, we described how a US nuclear emergency response exercise was able to successfully incorporate simulator detector equipment into its training scenario.

The exercise involved the creation of a simulated plume, comprising the radionuclides 137C, 131I and 90SR, which was configured to saturate the training area. The trainees were then tasked with assessing the risk, selecting the appropriate equipment and determining what action was required.

The teams deployed a variety of simulator detector systems throughout, including simulators for the EPD-Mk2 dosimeter, the SAM 940 handheld radiation isotope identifier (RIID) and the RADeCO air sampler.

Adopting a simulator-based approach to training offered significant advantages both for the exercise coordinators and the participants.

Prior to the scenario, a preliminary trial run was conducted to ensure that the desired readings would be obtained in all of the required locations.

During the exercise itself there was the option to fast-forward or pause the exercise at any point in order to manage the precise staging of the scenario and to provide additional guidance where needed.

The students’ movements were also able to be monitored and recorded in real-time which aided in the process of after-action review.

The simulators generated instrument readings at a level that many of operators had never experienced before, highlighting some of the issues that can occur when readings are not fully understood or correctly communicated.

Significantly too, the exercise provided an opportunity for participants to work with teams of people with whom they had never previously interacted – replicating what is a common experience for emergency responders when they are required to attend major incidents.

Live hands-on training has a vital role to play in preparing radiation safety personnel for the challenges, the hazards and the unpredictable nature of radiological accidents.

As the technology that supports radiation safety training continues to grow in sophistication, the quality and effectiveness of nuclear emergency exercises is only set to increase.


About the Author

Steven Pike is the Founder and Managing Director of Argon Electronics, a leader in the development and manufacture of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) and hazardous material (HazMat) detector simulators. He is interested in liaising with CBRN professionals and detector manufacturers to develop training simulators as well as CBRN trainers and exercise planners to enhance their capability and improve the quality of CBRN and Hazmat training.

Assessing the Long-term Performance and Impacts of ISCO and ISBR Remediation Technologies

The Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP), the U.S, Department of Defence’s environmental technology demonstration and validation program, recently issued a Fact Sheet that summarizes the results of a recent remediation project that assessed the long-term performance of in-situ chemical oxidation (ISCO) and fracturing-enhanced in-situ bioremediation (ISBR) at a site contaminated by trichloroethene (TCE), 1,4-dioxane (dioxane), and chromium.  The project was conducted at Air Force Plant 44, which is part of the Tucson International Airport Area federal Superfund site located in Tucson, Arizona.

The Arizona site comprises several primary source zones and a large, several kilometer long, groundwater contaminant plume that resides in the regional aquifer. The remedial action and performance monitoring were conducted by the Air Force contractor.

Performance monitoring data were obtained for a period of greater than three years after completion of ISBR. The project focused on treating the interface between the vadose zone and saturated zone. This interface region, which consists of primarily lower permeability (clay) media, has been identified as a primary location for remaining contaminant. Slow release of contaminant from this domain is considered a primary cause of the observed delayed attainment of cleanup objectives.

Key Result 1: ISBR employing enhanced reductive dechlorination (ERD) was effective.

TCE, chromium, and dioxane concentrations at site DP003 were reduced by 94, 83, and 36%, respectively. The observation of cis-1,2-dichloroethene, vinyl chloride, ethene, and ethane in groundwater samples after ISBR implementation (but not before) supports that reductive dechlorination of TCE was initiated in the treatment zone.

Key Result 2: ISBR employing enhanced aerobic cometabolism (EAC) was effective.

Dioxane and TCE concentrations at site DP003 were reduced by 92 and 60%, respectively. The concentrations of chromium remained essentially unchanged over the course of the EAC-ISBR treatment, which indicates that the generation of aerobic conditions had no measurable impact on chromium levels in groundwater.

Key Result 3: The performance results are consistent with other field tests.

A meta-analysis was recently reported of enhanced anaerobic bioremediation projects conducted for sites wherein the original contaminants of concern (COC) were either tetrachloroethene or TCE. The median concentration reduction was 90% for 34 sites for which the  erformance-monitoring period was at least three years. The %-reductions observed for the present study are consistent with the meta-data.

Key Result 4: The longer-term performance assessment provided more robust assessment.
Concentrations of the COCs measured after >3 years of monitoring were approximately 50% lower than the values measured after three months for a majority of the sampling points. This demonstrates the advantage of conducting longer-term performance assessments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Based Vivakor Seeks IPO For Soil Remediation Growth Efforts

U.S.-based Vivakor, a firm that provides soil remediation services for hydrocarbon contaminated soils, recently filed a Registration Statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to raise $15 million (USD) for an initial public offering (IPO).  The public money raised will be used by the company to equip itself with the necessary capital equipment to perform its soil remediation services as well as further develop its ‘hydrocarbon upgrading’ capabilities.

The company is currently a private listing company for over-the-counter securities trading as VIVK.  It has a market capitalization of approximately $167 million (USD).

 

Company & Technology

South Salt Lake City, Utah-based Vivakor was founded to develop soil remediation capabilities primarily for the extraction of hydrocarbons from properties that have been contaminated with crude oil or other hydrocarbon-based substances.

The firm is currently focused on clean-up opportunities for hydrocarbon contaminated soil in Kuwait and in naturally occurring oil sands areas in Utah.

Also, more recently, the company inked a deal to purchase wastewater removal equipment, allowing it to provide remediation services to project areas that combine dry and wet areas.

Vivakor also is pursuing the ability to ‘upgrade the hydrocarbons recovered’ from the remediation process, although this technology has not been proven in commercial operations.

Vivakor has received at least $53 million from investors.

Market & Competition

According to a 2016 market research report by Grand View Research, the global pre-oil spill management market was an estimated $100 billion in 2015 and the oil spill management market is expected to reach an estimated $178 billion by 2025.

This represents a forecast CAGR of 3.2% from 2016 to 2025.

The main drivers for this expected growth are an increasing concern regarding the environmental impacts from oil spills in water and soil as well as continued technology development for remediation processes.

Also, North America represented the largest oil spill management market in 2015 and is expected to increase its share due to increased deep sea exploration & production activities.

Major competitive or other industry participants include:

  • National Oilwell Varco (NOV)
  • Fender & Spill Response Services
  • Ecolab (ECL)
  • SkimOil

IPO Details

Vivakor intends to raise $14.7 million in gross proceeds from an IPO of its common stock, although the final figure may differ.  No existing shareholders have indicated an interest to purchase shares of the IPO.

Management says it will use the net proceeds from the IPO as follows:

  • for the purchase of two RPC units, together with related equipment and enhancements;
  • towards the continued development of our hydrocarbon upgrading technologies; and
  • for working capital and other general corporate purposes, including potential repayment of outstanding bridge notes.

Latest News on Site Remediation Regulations in British Columbia

The British Columbia Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy recently made changes to the site identification process in the Environmental Management Act and Contaminated Sites Regulation that come into effect on February 1, 2021. These changes aim to streamline the legal regime by making the process clearer and more predictable and will improve the ministry’s ability to carry out compliance verification and enforcement.

As part of implementing these changes, ten protocols have been revised and posted for comment. The ministry requests stakeholder feedback on the draft protocols by Monday, January 11, 2021. The ministry is also reviewing and updating guidance documents and procedures related to the protocols.

The full amendments can be found here:

Environmental Management Amendment Act, 2019 (Bill17): https://www.leg.bc.ca/parliamentary-business/legislation-debates-proceedings/41st-parliament/4th-session/bills/third-reading/gov17-3

Contaminated Sites Regulation OIC 0368/2020: https://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/oic/oic_cur/0368_2020

 

 

Ontario dry-cleaning company fined $10.5K for violations

Mega City 1 Hour Cleaners, located in east Toronto, recently pled guilty to two charges under the Tetrachloroethylene (Use in Dry Cleaning and Reporting Requirements) Regulations, made pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. The company was fined $10,500 which will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund.

On September 30, 2020, 9626735 Canada Inc. (doing business as Mega City 1 Hour Cleaners), located in Scarborough, pleaded guilty in the Provincial Court of Ontario, to two charges under the

In addition to the fine, Mega City 1 Hour Cleaners (registered in Canada as 9626735 Canada Inc.) was issued a 12-month probation order that proof of payment be provided on three outstanding contravention tickets totalling more than $1,800. Two tickets were for the failure to file annual reports for 2014 and 2015, and the third for the unlawful storage of wastewater. The tickets were issued under the Provincial Offences Act by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC).

In November 2017, Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers conducted an inspection at the Mega City 1 Hour Cleaners in Toronto. Officers found one container of wastewater that exceeded the 12-month storage timeframe permitted under the regulations. Officers also determined that an Annual Report for the 2016 calendar year had not been submitted to ECCC as required by the regulations.

Tetrachloroethylene, commonly known as PERC, is used as a dry-cleaning solvent and is listed as a toxic substance under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.  The storage of hazardous waste can pose a threat to the environment and human health, through risk of accidents, spills or leaks. The Tetrachloroethylene (Use in Dry Cleaning and Reporting Requirements) Regulations minimize these risks by imposing the regular removal of waste.

If PERC is released into the air, it can damage plants. Improper handling of PERC and PERC-containing waste can also contaminate ground water.

 

Soil and Groundwater Remediation Technologies: A Practical Guide

This book offers various soil and water treatment technologies due to increasing global soil and water pollution. In many countries, the management of contaminated land has matured, and it is developing in many others. Topics covered include chemical and ecological risk assessment of contaminated sites; phytomanagement of contaminants; arsenic removal; selection and technology diffusion; technologies and socio-environmental management; post-remediation long-term management; soil and groundwater laws and regulations; and trace element regulation limits in soil. Future prospects of soil and groundwater remediation are critically discussed in this book. Hence, readers will learn to understand the future prospects of soil and groundwater contaminants and remediation measures.

Key Features:

  • Discusses conventional and novel aspects of soil and groundwater remediation technologies
  • Includes new monitoring/sensing technologies for soil and groundwater pollution
  • Features a case study of remediation of contaminated sites in the old, industrial, Ruhr area in Germany
  • Highlights soil washing, soil flushing, and stabilization/solidification
  • Presents information on emerging contaminants that exhibit new challenges

This book is designed for undergraduate and graduate courses and can be used as a handbook for researchers, policy makers, and local governmental institutes. Soil and Groundwater Remediation Technologies: A Practical Guide is written by a team of leading global experts in the field.

About the Book’s Authors

Yong Sik Ok, PhD, is a Full Professor at and Global Research Director of Korea University in Seoul, Korea. He currently serves as Director of the Sustainable Waste Management Program for the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU).

Jörg Rinklebe, PhD, is Professor for Soil and Groundwater Management at the University of Wuppertal, Germany. Recently, Professor Rinklebe was elected as Vice President of the International Society of Trace Element Biogeochemistry (ISTEB).

Deyi Hou, PhD, is an Associate Professor at the School of Environment of Tsinghua University.

Daniel C.W. Tsang, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Honorary Associate Professor at the University of Queensland.

Filip M.G. Tack, PhD, is Professor in Biogeochemistry of Trace Elements at the Department of Green Chemistry and Technology at Ghent University. He is Head of the Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry and Applied Ecochemistry of Ghent University.

Update on the Remediation of Low-Level Radioactive Waste in Port Hope, Ontario

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) recently announced that it has completed the excavation and transfer of historic low-level radioactive waste away from the Lake Ontario shoreline in Southeast Clarington.

The placement of the last truckloads of waste in the aboveground mound at the new long-term waste management facility, located about 700 metres north of the shoreline site, marks a milestone for the Port Granby community and the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI). CNL is implementing the PHAI on behalf of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), a federal Crown corporation.

“The safe and successful completion of this remediation is the culmination of years of hard work and planning carried out by CNL’s Port Hope Area Initiative team, and fulfills a key commitment by the Government of Canada to restore these lands for the local community,” said Joe McBrearty, CNL President and CEO. “This milestone represents continued progress in one of the largest and most complex environmental clean-up missions ever undertaken in Canada.”

Remediation of the legacy waste management site began in 2016 and was undertaken in stages, with each section of the site undergoing a stringent testing process to confirm that all contaminated material had been removed. Verified areas were then backfilled with clean soil and restored by hydroseeding and planting vegetation. As the cleanup neared completion, internal roads and other infrastructure were removed.

Capping and closing of the engineered storage mound at the new facility is underway and expected to be completed in summer 2021, with final landscaping targeted for summer 2022.

Dedicated systems are being installed within the mound and around the perimeter of the new facility to closely monitor the safety and performance of the facility for hundreds of years into the future.

“I want to thank the residents of Port Granby for their support and patience during the decades of community consultation, followed by the remediation and restoration of land in the heart of their rural community,” said Richard Sexton, President and CEO of AECL. “I am very pleased that CNL and its contractors have fulfilled the Government of Canada’s commitment to clean up the lakefront site so generations to come will enjoy the benefits of a cleaner environment.”

ABOUT THE PORT GRANBY PROJECT
The Port Granby Project involves the relocation of approximately 1.3 million tonnes of historic low-level radioactive waste from the legacy storage site on the shoreline of Lake Ontario in Southeast Clarington, to a new, engineered aboveground mound. Ongoing maintenance and monitoring will continue for hundreds of years after the facility is capped and closed. The historic waste resulted from radium and uranium refining operations of the former Crown corporation Eldorado Nuclear and its private sector predecessors, which operated from the 1930s to 1988.

ABOUT THE PHAI
The Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI) represents the federal government’s commitment to respond to the community-recommended solutions for the cleanup and local, long-term, safe management of historic low-level radioactive waste in the municipalities of Port Hope and Clarington. Through its Historic Waste Program Management Office (HWP MO), Canadian Nuclear Laboratories is implementing the PHAI on behalf of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, a federal Crown corporation.

Source: CNL

Chedoke Creek spill update: City of Hamilton receives additional Orders from Ministry of the Environment, Conservation & Parks

The City of Hamilton, Ontario recently received an additional Provincial Officer’s Order from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation & Parks (MECP) as they relate to a spill into Chedoke Creek.

In 2019, the MECP ordered the City to complete an Environmental Risk Assessment of Chedoke Creek and an Ecological Risk Assessment for Cootes Paradise. These studies both found that it was not possible to attribute environmental impacts experienced in these areas exclusively to the spill.

The most recent Order from the Ontario Environment Ministry requests that the City undertake remedial action for Chedoke Creek and Cootes Paradise. In part, the Order asks that the City develop a plan for targeted dredging in Chedoke Creek and recommends mitigation measures to improve water quality in Cootes Paradise.

The City stated that it is committed to continuing its full cooperation with the MECP’s investigation and staff will be consulting with Council regarding how we can best address the environmental concerns in Chedoke Creek and Cootes Paradise.

To date, in response to the spill, the City has taken a number of actions toward addressing the impacts of the discharge, including:

  • Undertaking clean-up of the creek, including removing 242,000 litres of “floatable material” from the surface and edge of the creek.
  • Initiating regular monitoring of water quality in impacted areas of Chedoke Creek.
  • Initiating and implementing enhanced inspections of wastewater facilities and equipment.
  • Undertaking expert studies to determine what kind of further remediation is appropriate for Chedoke Creek and Cootes Paradise.
  • The approval of four new staff members to increase the City’s ability to perform regular, routine physical inspections and preventative maintenance for City water infrastructure, as well as sampling and analyzing water and wastewater quality in Hamilton.

Background Information

In July 2018, the City of Hamilton informed the public that it had discovered that one of its combined sewer overflow tanks was discharging untreated wastewater into Chedoke Creek. The City immediately stopped the discharge and began clean-up activities in the area.

Over the course of a four-and-a-half-year period, the City estimated that approximately 24 billion litres of combined storm water runoff and sanitary sewage was discharged into Chedoke Creek. This represents approximately four per cent of the annual volume of flow to Hamilton’s wastewater treatment plants.

Investigations have determined that the spill was the result of two separate malfunctions at the Main/King combined sewer overflow tank. First, a station bypass gate in the combined sewer overflow tank that should have been in a closed position appears to have been manually opened to approximately five per cent on January 28, 2014. An error in computer programming showed this as normal operation and, as such, this error remained undetected until July 2018. Additionally, a second gate that should have remained in the open position experienced a mechanical failure in January 2018. The sensor on this piece of equipment did not pick up the failure and was reporting normal operation. Despite extensive investigations, the City has not been able to determine why the first bypass gate had been opened in January 2014.

Hazardous Waste Enforcement: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Michigan Hospital Enter into Consent Agreement

Written by Walter Wright, Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, P.L.L.C.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and Spectrum Health Hospitals (“Spectrum”) entered into an October 29th Consent Agreement and Final Order (“CAFO”) addressing alleged violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”) hazardous waste regulations. See Docket No. RCRA-05-2021-0003.

The CAFO provides that Spectrum operates a facility (“Facility”) in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The Facility is stated to include actions or processes causing the production of hazardous waste as that term is defined under 40 C.F.R. § 260.10. Therefore, Spectrum is stated to be a generator of hazardous waste under the relevant regulations.

The Facility is stated to have during the 2019 calendar year generated 1,000 kilograms or greater of hazardous waste, or generated 1 kilogram or greater of acute hazardous waste in some calendar months (qualifying it as a large quantity generator) which it shipped off-site to a treatment storage or disposal facility.

EPA is stated to have provided Spectrum the identification of potential RCRA violations. The Facility is stated to have engaged with EPA to expeditiously assess the matter and agrees to the entry of the CAFO.

The alleged violations include:

  • Notification of Change of Hazardous Waste Activity (failure to submit for the 2019 calendar year a notification of the change of the Facility’s type of hazardous waste activity to Large Quantity Generator status)
  • Annual Reporting (failure to prepare and submit a biennial report by March 1, 2020)

The CAFO requires that Spectrum file with the Michigan environmental agency an updated Notification of RCRA Subtitle C Activities and a Biennial Hazardous Waste Report covering the 2019 calendar year.

Spectrum neither admits nor denies the factual allegations in the CAFO.

A civil penalty of $11,471 is assessed.

A copy of the CAFO can be downloaded here.


About the Author

Walter Wright has more than 30 years of experience in environmental, energy (petroleum marketing), and water law.  His expertise includes counseling clients on issues involving environmental permits, compliance strategies, enforcement defense, property redevelopment issues, environmental impact statements, and procurement/management of water rights. He routinely advises developers, lenders, petroleum marketers, and others about effective strategies for structuring real estate and corporate transactions to address environmental financial risks.