Month: January 2012
The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) established the requirements for Federal, state and local governments, Indian Tribes, and industry regarding reporting on hazardous and toxic chemicals. EPCRA was passed in response to concerns regarding environmental and safety hazards posed by the storage and handling of toxic chemicals. These concerns were triggered by the disaster in Bhopal, India caused by the accidental release of methyl isocyanate. Requirements for the preparation and submittal of Tier II Reports were established more than 20 years ago in response to these types of chemical release accidents. Despite the time since the passage of these regulations, we have seen that some facilities are not submitting the Tier II reports in accordance with the deadline, and in some cases are simply failing to submit the reports.
Facilities covered by EPCRA requirements must submit an Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory Form to the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), and the local fire department annually. Facilities provide either a Tier I or Tier II Form although most states require the Tier II Form. Some states and counties have requirements in addition to the Federal Tier II requirements.
The EPCRA Tier II Form submittal is due on March 1, 2012. The Tier II Form is required for chemicals that are stored at your facility above specific weight thresholds that are not exempted under the EPCRA regulations. The weight threshold varies for extremely hazardous substances (EHS) and is set at 10,000 pounds for other chemicals stored at your facility.
Tier II Forms must report the required information for each hazardous chemical present at your facility in quantities equal to or greater than established threshold amounts (discussed below), unless the chemicals are excluded. Hazardous chemicals are any substance for which your facility must maintain a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) under OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (described at 29 CFR 1910.1200).
Section 311(e) of EPCRA excludes a number of substances. The OSHA regulations at Section 1910.1200(b) also stipulates various exemptions from the requirement for maintaining an MSDS for certain chemicals or materials. Minimum thresholds have been established for Tier II reporting under EPCRA Section 312. These thresholds are as follows:
- For Extremely Hazardous Substances (EHSs) – the reporting threshold is 500 pounds or the Threshold Planning Quantity (TPQ), whichever is lower. The current list of EHS chemicals and their TPQs is maintained at 40 CFR Part 355.
- For gasoline (all grades combined) at a retail gas station, the threshold level is 75,000 gallons, if the tank(s) was stored entirely underground and was in compliance at all times during the preceding calendar year with all applicable Underground Storage Tank (UST) requirements.
- For diesel fuel (all grades combined) at a retail gas station, the threshold level is 100,000 gallons, if the tank(s) was stored entirely underground and the tank(s) was in compliance at all times during the preceding calendar year with all applicable UST requirements.
- For all other hazardous chemicals for which facilities are required to have or prepare an MSDS, the minimum reporting threshold is 10,000 pounds.
Your facility needs to report hazardous chemicals that were present at your facility at any time during the previous calendar year at levels that equal or exceed these thresholds. The report covers the 2011 calendar year, beginning January 1 and ending December 31. For each chemical that your facility has listed, identify all the physical and health hazard boxes that apply. These hazard categories are defined in 40 CFR 370.2. The two health hazard categories and three physical hazard categories are a consolidation of the hazard categories defined in the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1200.
For each chemical that is reported, the Tier II form asks for specific information such as the maximum amount stored onsite, average daily amount stored onsite, number of days present onsite, and storage codes and storage location information (for non-confidential chemicals). You may elect to withhold location information on a specific chemical from disclosure to the public. The Tier II instructions provide details for submittal of confidential information. The owner or operator or the officially designated representative of the owner or operator must certify that all information included in the Tier II submission is true, accurate, and complete. An original signature is required on the submission.
To obtain Tier II reporting procedures and requirements for your state, please click on the state where your facility is located on EPA’s Tier II Chemical Inventory Reports page.
The completed Tier II form(s) must be submitted to each of the following organizations: SERC, LEPC, and the fire department with jurisdiction over your facility. If you have any questions about EPCRA Tier II reporting requirements and whether your facility may be subject to these regulations, please contact Paul Tomiczek III, REM, P.E. at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-365-2324. More information on EPCRA Tier II Reporting obligations and instructions for completing the Tier II report are provided at http://www.epa.gov/oem/docs/chem/t2-instr.pdf.
This blog was prepared as a reminder that your facility is required to complete and file the 2011 RCRA Hazardous Waste Report (also known as the “Biennial Report”) or your State’s equivalent hazardous waste report by March 1, 2012 if your facility met the definition of a RCRA Large Quantity Generator (LQG) during 2011; or if your facility treated, stored, or disposed of RCRA hazardous wastes on-site during 2011. Although the requirement for submitting the Biennial Reports has been in place for some time, we thought this blog could be helpful to new environmental managers/professionals or as a reminder to the busy environmental managers who face numerous reporting deadlines.
Your facility is a RCRA LQG for 2011 if your facility met any of the following criteria:
- Your facility generated, in any single calendar month, 1,000 kg (2,200 lbs.) or more of RCRA non-acute hazardous waste; or
- Your facility generated, in any single calendar month, or accumulated at any time, more than 1 kg (2.2 lbs.) of RCRA acute hazardous waste; or
- Your facility generated, in any single calendar month, or accumulated at any time, more than 100 kg (220 lbs.) of spill cleanup material contaminated with RCRA acute hazardous waste.
Report your facility’s current Hazardous Waste Generator status based on the date you submit your 2011 Hazardous Waste Report on the Site ID Form. Your facility’s current status could be different from the status during the 2011 Hazardous Waste Report year. Hazardous waste imported from a foreign country in 2011 must be counted in determining your facility’s generator status if your facility is the U.S. Importer.
Do not file the 2011 Hazardous Waste Report if, during 2011, your facility was not a RCRA LQG and your facility did not treat, store, or dispose of RCRA hazardous wastes on-site in waste management units subject to a RCRA operating permit. Unless specifically required by your state, do not file the 2011 Hazardous Waste Report if, during 2011, all hazardous waste generated at your facility was exported directly out of the United States to a foreign country. An Annual Report must be filed in this case as required under 40 CFR 262.56.
States may impose reporting requirements above and beyond the Federal requirements. Some States use a modified version of this report or their own instructions and forms to fulfill their reporting requirements. Please contact your State Office about State-specific requirements. Locate your State Contact here.
EPA has made a number of changes to the Biennial Reporting Form this year. A summary of the 2011 changes is provided here.
The 2011 Hazardous Waste Report contains the following four forms: RCRA Subtitle C Site Identification (Site ID Form), Waste Generation and Management (GM Form), Waste Received From Off-site (WR Form), and Off-Site Identification (OI Form). More information about these forms is provided here.
As noted previously, the 2011 Hazardous Waste Report is due to your State or EPA Regional Office by Monday, March 1, 2012. Your State reporting requirements or forms may differ from the Federal requirements. Return your completed Hazardous Waste Report to the address listed for your State or Regional contact.
Be sure to make a photocopy of your completed Hazardous Waste Report and keep a copy for at least three years from the due date of the report as required by 40 CFR 262.40(b).
If you have any questions about RCRA Biennial Hazardous Waste reporting requirements and whether your facility may be subject to these regulations, please contact Paul Tomiczek III, REM, P.E. at email@example.com or 800-365-2324. More information on RCRA Biennial Reporting obligations, and detailed instructions for completing the hazardous waste report available in EPA’s 2011 Hazardous Waste Report Instructions and Forms document.
2012 Deadlines and New Requirements Established in Ohio’s New General Permit for Industrial Storm Water Discharges
Ohio EPA recently issued its new Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) for Industrial Storm Water Discharges (Ohio EPA General Permit Number OHR000005). The existing general permit expired at the end of May 2011, and Ohio EPA spent several months soliciting input from industry and regulatory groups to develop a permit that is consistent with US EPA’s MSGP. There are 2012 deadlines for submittals associated with coverage under the new MSGP, along with a series of new requirements. The remainder of this blog describes the deadlines for submittals required to maintain coverage under the new MSGP, and the new permit requirements.
The new MSGP is a significant shift from the previous general permit. The new MSGP has grown from 36 pages to more than 140 pages. The previous permit included broad, non-facility specific, monitoring and recordkeeping requirements. The new MSGP establishes industry-specific requirements for managing and monitoring storm water discharges. The new MSGP contains new requirements that were contested by industry groups, including the establishment of benchmarks, quarterly visual sampling, and submittal of an annual report. The new MSGP places additional burdens on both industry and the regulators by requiring virtually every facility in the state to re-apply for a storm water permit, and to revise or update Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPPs).
The effective date of the new MSGP is January 1, 2012. Individual facilities were to be notified by letter, which Ohio EPA should have mailed prior to December 31, 2011. Ohio EPA indicates that if you do not receive a letter by January 13, 2012, you should immediately contact the agency.
No action is needed by current permit holders until the letter is received from Ohio EPA. Important submittal deadlines are:
- Existing permit holders are to submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) within 90 days after receiving written notice from Ohio EPA.
- SWPPPs for existing permit holders are to be updated within 180 days of the effective date of the General Permit.
- For facilities not covered under a prior NPDES permit, a SWPPP needs to be prepared before submitting a NOI. The NOI is to be submitted at least 180 days prior to discharge.
All facilities are required to design, install, and implement control measures (including Best Management Practices (BMPs)), and describe them in their SWPPP. As part of the SWPPP, facilities are required to identify a storm water pollution prevention team. Annual training will also be required, and the facility will need to maintain documentation concerning the training.
The three types of inspections required by the new MSGP include:
- Routine facility inspections that are to be conducted at least quarterly, and in some cases more frequently (i.e., monthly). Documentation of the inspections will need to be maintained on-site as part of the SWPPP.
- Quarterly Visual Assessments of storm water quality. This consists of collecting a sample during the first 30 minutes of discharge from a storm event. The sample is to be visually inspected for color, odor, floatables, foam, oil, etc. Documentation will need to be maintained on-site with the SWPPP.
- Comprehensive Site Inspections that are to be conducted annually. Documentation of the inspections will need to be maintained in the SWPPP and recorded in an Annual Report (Ohio EPA will provide the form).
Two types of monitoring are included in the new MSGP: Benchmark Monitoring and Effluent Limitations Monitoring. The types of monitoring and individual parameters are specified for each of the specific industry sectors within the new MSGP. Benchmark Monitoring is required for 13 of the Industry Sectors. The purpose for benchmark monitoring is for evaluating the overall effectiveness of control measures and to know when additional actions are necessary to comply with BMPs. Effluent Limitations Monitoring is required for five (5) industry sectors. This monitoring is an annual event that is for the most part consistent with the prior permit, but with differences in monitoring parameters.
The new MSGP includes an exemption for monitoring multiple outfalls that are “substantially identical outfalls”. If a facility has two or more outfalls that discharge substantially identical effluent and drainage areas, there is a provision to monitor only one of the outfalls and report that the results apply to the other substantially similar outfalls. This exemption does not apply to outfalls covered by numeric effluent limits.
There has also been a minor change in the definition of a “measurable storm event” from the prior permit. A measurable storm event is defined as a storm event that results in discharge from the facility and follows the preceding measurable storm event by 72 hours (3 days). There is also a provision for monitoring snowmelt.
The new MSGP contains an exemption to the monitoring requirements for inactive and unstaffed sites. This exemption applies to benchmark monitoring, quarterly visual inspections, and routine facility inspections. It will be necessary to make a demonstration, and then certify there are no industrial materials exposed to storm water. The exemption applies differently to certain industry sectors.
For more information, see the dedicated page on Ohio EPA’s website.
If you have questions on how the requirements of the new MSGP may apply to your facility(ies), or require assistance updating your facility’s SWPPP, contact Andy McCorkle at 888-598-6808 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2011 was a busy year for those attempting to stay abreast of air quality issues affecting the oil and gas industry in Pennsylvania. In recent presentations to the PA Chamber of Business and Industry and the Marcellus Shale Coalition, Joyce Epps, PADEP’s Director of Air Quality, discussed PADEP’s intent to require natural gas facility owner/operators to submit an atmospheric emission inventory data by March 1, 2012. This is just the latest in a series of state and federal air quality compliance issues that have been pertinent to the oil and gas industry. As 2012 gets underway, expect to hear more about emission inventories, general permits, plan approval exemptions, source aggregation, NSPS/NESHAPS, and greenhouse gas reporting. If your head is spinning, here is an update on some key air topics:
1) PADEP Atmospheric Emission Inventories
PADEP is rolling out its first emissions inventory program for the natural gas industry. Initial indications are that it will be modeled after the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality approach. PADEP sent initial notification letters to 99 operators on 12/6/11 with the intent that 2011 inventories be submitted by 3/1/12. Criteria pollutants (e.g., carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide) and hazardous air pollutants (e.g., benzene and formaldehyde) from point sources (e.g., dehydrators and heaters), fugitive or area sources (e.g., leaking components and impoundments), and mobile sources (e.g., on- and off-road engines) are expected to be included. An Excel-based Shale Air Emissions Data Management System is being developed and the publicly-available Oil and Gas Reporting Electronic (OGRE) System will be modified to accommodate the reporting of this information. Training is expected to be offered by PADEP in February 2012. Additional materials can be found on PADEP’s website here. Industry representatives are hopeful that an extension will be granted for delivery of the first reports.
2) General Permit GP-5 – Natural Gas Production Facilities
Use of GP-5 expedites the permitting of certain natural gas activities. The permit was last updated on 3/17/11 although no changes were made to the applicability of the permit or the associated emission limits. The main change to the permit was a new condition that allows the applicant to limit the maximum emissions (i.e., potential to emit) of a source. The biggest changes though were to the application itself which expanded from two pages to nine. The new application requires significantly more detail including serial numbers for equipment, design parameters for control devices, and compliance demonstration methods. With the development of EPA’s new NSPS and NESHAPS (see Item 6 below), PADEP plans to issue more substantive changes to GP-5 in early 2012. Watch for the opportunity to submit comments during another 45-day window when proposed modifications are published.
3) General Permit GP-11 – Nonroad Engines
Proposed changes to GP-11 were published in the PA Bulletin on 10/30/10. PADEP included a provision to operate engines at temporary locations provided written notification is made to the municipality and PADEP five days prior to the change in location. PADEP also proposed to require that an operations report be submitted within 30 days of completing work at each temporary location. PADEP received comments from 1,122 parties prior to the comment period that closed on 5/26/11 and PADEP is still in the process of developing a comment and response document. Possible changes to GP-11 are closely tied to proposed revisions to Exemption #38 on the PADEP Plan Approval Exemption List.
4) Plan Approval Exemption #38
Certain oil and gas exploration and production facilities were exempt from Plan Approval requirements under Exemption #38 of the 7/26/03 list of Plan Approval exemptions. A draft revision to that list was published on 4/16/10 which included the addition of several caveats to Exemption #38 that make it more difficult to obtain the exemption. The public comment period closed on 5/26/11 by which time the agency had received comments on Exemption #38 from 1,225 parties. Industry advocates are hopeful that the exemption will be tailored to enable nonroad engines that would otherwise be subject to GP-11 to be exempt from permitting requirements altogether. PADEP is considering its response to these comments in combination with its work on GP-11.
5) Source Aggregation Guidance
PADEP published its final Guidance for Performing Single Stationary Source Determinations for Oil and Gas Industries on 10/22/11 (41 Pa.B. 5719). The comment period for that guidance closed on 11/21/11. PADEP is in the process of responding to comments from 364 parties, perhaps most notable among them being Diana Esher, U.S. EPA Region III Air Protection Division Director. Ms. Esher stated that, “We disagree with the policy pronouncements in the PADEP guidance which differ from established federal law and the Commonwealth’s own State Implementation Plan (SIP) and regulations by attempting to emphasize proximity and ‘common sense notion of a plant’ above other factors including conducting case-by-case analysis.” Through six pages of detailed comments, EPA delineates multiple disagreements with PADEP’s guidance. Ms. Esher states that PADEP indicates an intent “…to change the manner in which regulations that have been adopted as part of the…SIP and that are now federal law will be implemented.” Ms. Esher states that “this is problematic,” in that the SIP becomes federal law once approved by EPA, not state law. In concluding, Ms. Esher was clear that EPA will be paying close attention to PADEP’s source aggregation determinations.
Proposed air emission standards for the oil and natural gas industry were published in the Federal Register on 8/23/11. As drafted, these rules will apply to production and processing (drilling and well completions following hydraulic fracturing, producing wells, gathering lines, gathering and boosting compressors, gas processing plants) and transmission and storage (transmission compressor stations, transmission pipeline, underground storage). Various industry groups including the American Petroleum Institute, the Gas Processors Association, and the Marcellus Shale Coalition submitted comments prior to the close of the comment period in late November 2011. Final rules, expected by 2/28/12, will be automatically adopted in their entirety in the Pennsylvania Code.
7) 40 CFR 98, Subpart W Greenhouse Gas Reporting
Subpart W was published at the end of 2010 and obliged affected facilities to begin gathering data in 2011 for initial GHG reports due in 2012 (see CEC’s prior blog posting). The Subpart has gone through several modifications since it was originally published, the most significant of which was an allowance for the use of best available monitoring methods (BAMM) for all of 2011. Use of BAMM is currently permitted through June of 2012 providing the designated representative e-filed a Notice of Intent prior to 1/3/12. Affected parties are encouraged to monitor changes in the rule for revisions to emission estimation methodologies and other technical revisions. The current due date for the 2011 reports is 9/28/12.
CEC will be following these topics and will provide periodic updates as they develop. In the meantime, if you are unclear as to how any of these issues may affect your operations, please contact CEC’s natural gas air quality expert Kris Macoskey at 800-365-2343 or by email at email@example.com.