FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 30, 2011
EPA Proposes Updated Vessel General Permit and Permit for Small Vessels
Action would help protect U.S. water quality and lower invasive species risk
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing two draft vessel general permits that would regulate discharges from commercial vessels, excluding military and recreational vessels. The proposed permits would help protect the nation’s waters from ship-borne pollutants and reduce the risk of introduction of invasive species from ballast water discharges.
The draft Vessel General Permit, which covers commercial vessels greater than 79 feet in length, would replace the current 2008 Vessel General Permit, when it expires in December 2013. Under the Clean Water Act, permits are issued for a five-year period after which time EPA generally issues revised permits based on updated information and requirements. The new draft Small Vessel General Permit would cover vessels smaller than 79 feet in length and would provide such vessels with the Clean Water Act permit coverage they will be required to have as of December 2013.
Both permits will be subject to a 75-day public comment period, which will allow a broad array of stakeholders, including industry and communities, to provide feedback. That information will help inform EPA’s decision on the final permits, which are expected to go into effect in 2013. EPA intends to issue the final permits in November 2012, a full year in advance, to allow vessel owners and operators time to prepare for new permit requirements.
Information on the draft Vessel General Permit:
The updated permit would reduce the administrative burden for vessel owners and operators, eliminating duplicative reporting requirements, clarifying that electronic recordkeeping may be used instead of paper records, and streamlining self-inspection requirements for vessels that are out of service for extended periods. The permit would continue to regulate the 26 specific discharge categories that were contained in the 2008 permit and, for the first time, manage the discharge of fish hold effluent.
A key new provision of the permit is a proposed numeric standard to control the release of non-indigenous invasive species in ballast water discharges. The new ballast water discharge standard addressing invasive species is based upon results from independent EPA Science Advisory Board and National Research Council National Academy of Sciences studies. These limits are generally consistent with those contained in the International Maritime Organization’s 2004 Ballast Water Convention.
The new standard is expected to substantially reduce the risk of introduction and establishment of non-indigenous invasive species in U.S. waters.
The draft Vessel General Permit also contains updated conditions for mechanical systems that may leak lubricants into the water and exhaust gas scrubber washwater, which would reduce the amount of oil and other pollutants that enter U.S. waters. EPA will take comment on potentially more stringent requirements for bilgewater discharges.
Information on the draft Small Vessel General Permit:
This permit would be the first under the Clean Water Act to address discharges incidental to the normal operation of commercial vessels less than 79 feet in length. Recognizing that small commercial vessels are substantially different in how they operate than their larger counterparts, the draft Small Vessel General Permit is shorter and simpler. The draft permit specifies best management practices for several broad discharge management categories including fuel management, engine and oil control, solid and liquid maintenance, graywater management, fish hold effluent management and ballast water management, which consists of common sense management measures to reduce the risk of spreading invasive species. The permit would go into effect at the conclusion of a current moratorium enacted by Congress that exempts all incidental discharges from such vessels, with the exception of ballast water, from having to obtain a permit until December 18, 2013.
More information: http://www.epa.gov/npdes/vessels
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
News Release: U.S. EPA orders City and County of Honolulu and Waste Management to address stormwater violations at Waimanalo Gulch Landfill
For Immediate Release: November 30, 2011
U.S. EPA orders City and County of Honolulu and Waste Management to address stormwater violations at Waimanalo Gulch Landfill
HONOLULU – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this week issued an order to the City and County of Honolulu and Waste Management, Inc., to take immediate steps to address stormwater violations at the Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill on Oahu.
EPA’s ongoing review of operations at the landfill revealed violations of the Clean Water Act and the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit regulating stormwater discharges from the landfill.
“The City and County of Honolulu and Waste Management must quickly complete work on stormwater protections at the landfill,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “We will be closely monitoring the work so runoff from future storms is properly controlled and residents’ health and Oahu’s coastal waters are protected.”
EPA found the City and Waste Management failed to comply with the requirements of the state of Hawaii’s NPDES stormwater general permit on at least three occasions associated with storm events in December 2010 and January 2011. The order cites failure to:
* prevent runoff of surface water that had come into contact with waste,
The order requires completion of a project to completely separate stormwater generated outside of the landfill from stormwater generated at the landfill; submit to EPA for review and approval a study to evaluate the adequacy of the landfill’s stormwater detention basin pond and an enhanced stormwater monitoring plan; and submit monthly monitoring reports.
Waste Management is the contractor operating the landfill for the City and County of Honolulu. In December 2010 and January 2011, rains caused flooding at the landfill. A section of the landfill was flooded with stormwater, causing waste to be released, which resulted in beach contamination and beach closures. EPA’s previous order to Waste Management in January, which has since been completed, addressed the response and cleanup measures that were immediately needed to stabilize the landfill’s structure and stormwater controls.
For more information visit: http://www.epa.gov/region9/water/npdes/compliance.html
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11/30/2011 01:37 PM EST
Each week we write about the science behind environmental protection. Previous Science Wednesdays. By Leslie Gillespie-Marthaler As someone who has spent time on military installations and has a great respect for the Army community, I'm thrilled to be helping the Army work toward "Net Zero" and sustainability. I've lived on installations myself, and know firsthand that they are [...]
For Immediate Release: November 30, 2011
Media Contact: Margot Perez-Sullivan, firstname.lastname@example.org
U.S. EPA Fines Reno Area Facility $79,500 for Hazardous Waste Violations
SAN FRANCISCO—The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fined a hazardous waste treatment, storage and recycling company $79,500 for the improper management of hazardous waste at its Fernley facility.
A 2010 inspection at 21st Century Environmental Management of Nevada, LLC, uncovered violations of federal standards governing the handling and storage of hazardous waste. In this case, the facility processes and recycles a variety of hazardous materials. Among the violations were storage of hazardous waste in an unpermitted area, cracked and deteriorated containment areas, and a leaking container.
Under the EPA’s Resource Conservation and Recovery Act program, hazardous substances must be stored, handled and disposed of using measures that safeguard public health and the environment.
For more information on the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, please visit the EPA’s web site at: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/civil/rcra/index.html.
Contact: David Sternberg 215-814-5548 email@example.com
EPA Notifies Four West Virginia Growers to Obtain Discharge Permits
(PHILADELPHIA – Nov. 30, 2011) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has notified four poultry growers in West Virginia to cease discharging pollutants from farms to waterways and obtain the necessary permits that are required by the Clean Water Act.
The agency believes that some farmers in the Shenandoah Valley and West Virginia could benefit from more information about the federal requirements to reduce polluted stormwater runoff. EPA and national and state poultry industry associations are in discussions on developing a program to educate growers on water quality and compliance issues.
“Based on our experience, educating farmers on the requirements of the Clean Water Act goes a long way in helping them to protect and improve local water quality and increase compliance,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “We’ve had good results from working closely with integrators and trade associations, making sure farmers know how they can best reduce runoff and meet their regulatory responsibilities.”
EPA issued the orders following inspections this past June of five chicken and turkey operations in West Virginia. The inspections found that four of the five operations were concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) as defined by the Clean Water Act and that they had neither applied for nor obtained the required discharge permits. The fifth grower had already applied for the permit.
Also, at four of the facilities inspected, man-made ditches draining stormwater away from the poultry houses and sheds containing manure and compost allowed pollutants to discharge to waterways during rain events.
EPA’s actions are part of an ongoing initiative to improve water quality in local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay. For more information about the Chesapeake Bay watershed compliance and enforcement strategy visit http://www.epa.gov/compliance/civil/initiatives/chesapeakebay.html
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