Author: CEC Staff

Proposed NESHAP Rules for Brick & Structural Clay Products Manufacturing and Clay Ceramics Manufacturing

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On December 18, 2014, EPA proposed regulations concerning manufacturing of clay products.  These regulations will apply to brick and structural clay products (BSCP) manufacturing and clay ceramics manufacturing facilities that are located at, or are part of, a major source of Hazardous Air Pollutant (HAP) emissions. A major source of HAP emissions is defined as any stationary source or group of stationary sources located within a contiguous area and under common control that emits or has the potential to emit, considering controls, 10 tpy or more of any HAP or 25 tpy or more of any combination of HAP.  Since these are proposed regulations, public comments are being received until March 19, 2015; however, barring major challenges and/or changes, these proposed rules will be promulgated as 40 CFR 63 Subpart JJJJJ for BSCP manufacturing and 40 CFR KKKKK for clay ceramics manufacturing.  As a point of interest, versions of these rules were originally promulgated in 2003 but they were challenged and vacated by the courts in 2007.  The 2014 proposed rules reflect the results of additional data collection and assessment.

The BSCP manufacturing source category includes facilities that manufacture face brick, structural brick, brick pavers, other brick, clay pipe, roof tile, extruded floor and wall tile, and/or other extruded, dimensional clay products.  The clay ceramics manufacturing source category includes those facilities that manufacture pressed floor tile, pressed wall tile, other pressed tile, or sanitaryware (toilets and sinks).

Brick & Structural Clay Products Manufacturing:

This proposed rule will affect all tunnel kilns (any type of continuous kiln) and each periodic kiln at a BSCP manufacturing facility.  It will NOT affect kilns that are used for setting glazes on previously fired products nor will it affect dryers.  Emission limits for tunnel kilns are proposed for mercury (Hg), non-Hg HAP metals (or a PM surrogate), and acid gases.  Work practice standards are proposed for periodic kilns, dioxin and furan emissions from tunnel kilns, and startup and shut down periods for tunnel kilns.  To demonstrate compliance with the emission limits, initial and 5-year interval performance testing is proposed for the regulated pollutants with continuous parameter monitoring (CPM) limits established and daily visible emissions (VE) checks to demonstrate continuous compliance.  BSCP tunnel kilns that are equipped with a fabric filter (FF) (e.g., dry lime injection fabric filter (DIFF), dry lime scrubber/fabric filter (DLS/FF)) will have the option of demonstrating compliance using a bag leak detection (BLD) system instead of daily VE checks.

Clay Ceramic Manufacturing:

This proposed rule will affect tile roller kilns, tile press and spray dryers, and glaze lines at affected clay ceramics manufacturing facilities.  It will NOT affect kilns that are used exclusively for refiring or setting glazes on previously fired products, glaze spray operations that use wet glazes containing less than 0.1 (weight) percent metal HAP (dry basis), wall tile press dryers, and sanitaryware dryers.  Emission limits for Hg, PM (surrogate for non-Hg HAP metals), dioxins/furans, and acid gases are being proposed for sanitaryware tunnel kilns and ceramic tile roller kilns. Also proposed are emission limits for dioxins/furans for ceramic tile spray dryers and floor tile press dryers, emission limits for Hg and PM (surrogate for non-Hg HAP metals) for ceramic tile glaze lines and emission limits for PM for sanitaryware glaze spray booths.  Work practice standards are proposed for shuttle kilns and for periods of startup and shutdown. To demonstrate compliance with emission limits, initial and 5-year interval performance testing is proposed for the regulated pollutants, with CPM limits established and daily VE checks to demonstrate continuous compliance.

Notifications, Recordkeeping, & Reporting

The proposed rules will require the following records to be maintained:

  • All reports and notifications submitted to comply with these proposed BSCP and clay ceramic rules.
  • Records of performance tests.
  • Records relating to air pollution control device (APCD) maintenance and documentation of approved routine control device maintenance exemption.
  • Continuous monitoring data as required by each rule.
  • Records of BLD system alarms and corrective actions taken.
  • Records of each instance in which the owner or operator did not meet each emission limit (i.e., deviations from operating limits).
  • Records of production rates.
  • Records of approved alternative monitoring or testing procedures.
  • Records of maintenance and inspections performed on the APCD.
  • Current copies of the Operation Maintenance & Monitoring (OM&M) Plan and records documenting conformance.
  • Logs of the information required to document compliance with the periodic kiln work practice standard (BSCP) or shuttle kiln work practice standard (clay ceramics).
  • Records of burner tune-ups used to comply with the dioxin/furan work practice standard for tunnel kilns (BSCP).
  • Logs of the information required to document compliance with the startup and shutdown work practice standards.
  • Records of each malfunction and the corrective action taken.

The proposed rules will require the following reports and notifications:

  • Notifications required by the General Provisions.
  • Initial Notification – no later than 120 calendar days after the affected source becomes subject to the rule.
  • Notification of Intent to conduct performance tests and/or other compliance demonstration – at least 60 calendar days before the performance test and/or other compliance demonstration is scheduled.
  • Notification of Compliance Status – 60 calendar days following completion of a compliance demonstration that includes a performance test.
  • Notification of Compliance Status – 30 calendar days following completion of a compliance demonstration that does not include a performance test (i.e., compliance demonstrations for the work practice standards).
  • Compliance reports – semi-annually, including a report of the most recent burner tune-up conducted to comply with the dioxin/furan work practice standard and a report of each malfunction resulting in an exceedance and the corrective action taken (BSCP).
  • Report of alternative fuel use – within 10 working days after terminating use of the alternative fuel (clay ceramics).
  • Results of each performance test – within 60 days of completing the test, submitted to the EPA by direct computer-to-computer electronic transfer via EPA-provided software for data collected using supported test methods.

On December 31, 2014, EPA extended the deadline for comments on these rules to March 19, 2015.  If a public hearing is requested, it will be held on January 27, 2015.  If you have any questions about the proposed BSCP and Clay Ceramics Manufacturing rules and whether your facility may be subject to these regulations, please contact James Tomiczek, P.E. at or 865-977-9919. More information about these proposed rules may be found here [hyperlink].


Illinois Governor Quinn issuing Emergency Regulations on Coke and Coal Storage

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Update 2/17/2014:   In addition to regulatory initiatives by the City of Chicago and the IEPA, the Illinois Attorney General’s office has introduced, HB 5939 (Currie, D-Chicago), which amends the Environmental Protection Act, creating a new title in the law concerning the regulation of coal and coke storage, processing, and transloading. The bill provides for minimum setbacks for coal and coke facilities, sets limits for quantities of fugitive dust permitted from facilities, establishes specified requirements for storage of coal and coke products, requires permits for construction and operation of facilities, regulates the loading and unloading, paving, and cleaning of facilities. The bill also requires monitoring and testing, record keeping, and reporting to the IEPA. View the bill here.

Update: On January 23, 2014, the IPCB met and ruled 4-0 that IEPA had not demonstrated the filing qualified for treatment under Emergency Rule making provisions of IAPA and the Environmental Protection Act. The Board did not further comment or clarify the bases for their determination or what would have been acceptable to them. The Chairperson voiced a willingness to pursue with the proposal under General Rule making.

 The IEPA response to comments did not attempt to justify the request by citing precedents from prior IPCB and IACA cases. The footnote of their Statement of Reasons noted that there is no requirement for the Board or IEPA present a Statement of Reasons. They further noted that regulations for emergency rule makings are unclear and do not appear to be tailored to the purpose and intent of an emergency rule making. The IEPA Statement of Reasons ignored several commenters who cited precedents for acceptance and denial of emergency rule makings.

 In the morning public comment session, comments were submitted and summarized by the Illinois Chamber on behave of a coalition of industry trade associations, KCBX and the Environmental Law Policy Center.

 Newly issued Illinois emergency regulations will require total enclosure of all coke and coal storage, handling, and transfer activities. These emergency regulations call for plans to be due in 45 days and construction completed within two years. Regulations will also address dust suppression, storm water controls, elimination of fugitives, street sweeping, setbacks, height restrictions, record keeping and reporting. These requirements may cause costs to rise to the point of forcing closings of some coke and coal storage and handling activities.

In the dry heat of August 2013, fugitive coke dust from bulk storage along Illinois’ Calumet River migrated into residential neighborhoods and led to complaints. The Chicago Tribune published a series of articles in the fall and environmental groups found traction criticizing petroleum refiners, Canadian crude and byproduct coke. By December, the City adapted petroleum coke and coal storage regulations from the South Coast Air Quality Management District and extended them to ores. The day of the City’s public meeting the Governor and IEPA Director Lisa Bonnett visited the area and announced emergency regulations affecting all coal and coke storage and handling operations within Illinois. Proposed regulations will be filed this week and will be subject to public comment and approval by the Illinois Pollution Control Board, but some go into effect immediately upon filing. Major time lines and provisions that would be effective upon official adoption include:

  • Within five days, a facility must install equipment to monitor wind speed.
  • Within 30 days, a facility must install dust suppression systems along conveyor systems and any piles that are not totally enclosed.
  • Within 30 days, a facility must submit applications for necessary permits and a comprehensive wastewater and stormwater runoff plan to IEPA that ensures that runoff that has come into contact with the piles is prevented from entering the waters of the state and complete it within 60 days of approval.
  • Within 45 days, a facility must submit a plan to IEPA for total enclosure of all coke and coal piles, transfer points, loading and unloading areas, screening areas, crushing and sizing areas to be completed within two years of these rules being adopted. Enclosure structures must be equipped with air pollution systems at all vents and entrances and exits for material and vehicles as well as an impermeable base to guard against ground seepage.
  • Within 45 days, a facility must submit a plan to IEPA to minimize the impact of truck traffic on residential areas near the source. All petcoke loading and transport must be done in vehicles sufficiently covered to guard against fugitive dust emissions.
  • With 45 days, a facility must submit a plan to IEPA for coke and coal fugitive dust that must adhere to requirements in the Illinois Environmental Protection Act and must be updated at least semi-annually or within 30 days of a major equipment or control change.
  • Within 60 days, a facility must remove all petcoke and coal that has been at the source for more than one year.
  • Within 60 days, a facility must locate any piles, loading operations, transfer or emission points that are not totally enclosed to at least 200 feet inside the property line of the source, a minimum of 200 feet from all waters of the United States, all public water supply reservoirs and intakes and all potable wells and onto impenetrable bases or pads.
  • Within 60 days, no pile may exceed 30 feet in height. Visible height markers must also be installed.
  • A least once per calendar week, a facility must measure moisture content of representative samples and adjust dust suppression measures so as to meet certain standards and inspect all dust suppression equipment so as to ensure adequate operations.
  • At least monthly, a facility must certify the operation of all dust suppression systems at all times during the processing of coal and coke and submit records to IEPA showing the types and quantities of materials delivered to and transported from the source, and data reflecting cleaning, street-sweeping and equipment maintenance frequency.

If you have questions on these proposed City or State emergency regulations, please contact CEC’s Chicago office at 630-963-6026.

More information:

Solvent-Contaminated Wipes – New USEPA Rules

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A final rule issued by USEPA on July 31, 2013 addresses the management of solvent-contaminated wipes.  In the final rule, USEPA conditionally excludes from the definition of solid waste solvent-contaminated wipes that are cleaned and reused, and conditionally excludes from the definition of hazardous waste solvent-contaminated wipes that are disposed. The rules affect nearly 100,000 generators and handlers of an estimated 2.2 billion rags and wipes per year.   EPA estimated in 2003 that 88% of these were reusable.

Proper management of solvent wipes has been debated since the early 1980’s.  Petitions filed by Kimberly Clark (1985) and Scott Paper (1987) led to an EPA 1994 memo deferring to the States with authorized RCRA programs.  Printing industry efforts toward standardization led to a 2003 proposed rule.  Following a 2009 Risk Assessment, minor changes to the 2003 proposal were finalized and published on July 31, 2013.  The new rules will take in effect six months from publication, on January 31, 2014.

To maintain the conditional exclusion, certain management practices must be followed:

  1. Store in non-leaking, closed containers
  2. Label containers “Excluded Solvent-Contaminated Wipes”
  3. Document accumulation less than 180 days
  4. No free liquids per Paint Filter Liquids Test (9095B)
  5. Document procedure employed to assure no free liquids
  6. Free liquids managed as solid or hazardous waste
  7. Document reusables sent to handler (laundry, dry cleaner) with permitted discharge
  8. Document disposables to permitted handler (combustor, landfill)

During accumulation, a closed container means the cover makes complete contact between the fitted lid and the rim, even if not sealed. Containers with flip-top or spring loaded lids or with a self-closing swinging door may be acceptable during accumulation. Bags may be considered closed when the neck of the bag is sealed preventing emission of solvent vapors.  No container may leak free liquid.  After accumulation and during transportation, a container must be sealed with rings clamped or bolted to the container.

The conditional exclusion may apply to solvent-contaminated wipes which contain listed solvents or exhibit a hazardous waste characteristic.  Free liquid spent solvent is not excluded nor are wipes containing listed waste other than solvent or that exhibit a characteristic from other than solvent.  Wipes contaminated with trichloroethylene are not excluded.

For further information on the Solvent-Contaminated Wipes Rulemaking, see EPA’s website and the July 31, 2013 Federal Register notice.

You should also check with your state for rules that they may have regarding solvent-contaminated wipes, since many state requirements are more stringent than the federal program.  If you have any questions about RCRA Waste Determination requirements, please contact the Chicago office at 630-541-0626.

Clean Construction and Demolition Debris – Is It Regulated in My State?

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Clients routinely ask us about management practices and regulations applicable to clean construction and demolition debris. Unlike hazardous and solid wastes, requirements vary by State. We will be doing a series of blogs outlining the requirements on a state-by-state basis. First up is the Land of Lincoln, Illinois:

In the State of Illinois, the rules changed in August 2012. Owner/operators need to assure compliance with these new requirements.

Illinois regulations define clean construction or demolition debris (CCDD) as uncontaminated broken concrete without protruding metal bars, bricks, rock, stone, reclaimed or other asphalt pavement, or soil generated from construction or demolition activities. If clean soil is mixed in, it is also CCDD. Uncontaminated soil that is not mixed with other CCDD materials is not CCDD. CCDD used as fill below grade is not a waste if the area is not within the setback zone of a drinking water well and CCDD is covered within 30 days with clean soil, pavement, or other structure(s). [35 IAC 1100]

Common questions which are addressed below are:

  •  What exactly are the pre-acceptance requirements?
  •  Why do the requirements vary by fill site?
  •  Are all facilities accepting this material regulated?
  •  Are fill sites required to perform groundwater monitoring?

Pre-Acceptance Requirements?
Owner-operators may seek to determine if the material qualifies to be managed as CCDD using one of two options:

 1) Sample and test the soil for pH and self-certify that the source site is not a potentially impacted property and soils are presumed uncontaminated;
2) Engage an Illinois Registered Professional Engineer or Licensed Professional Geologist to perform sampling and analyses as appropriate to support an uncontaminated soil certification.

Under the first option, the Owner operator may certify that the site is not a potentially impacted property using Form LPC-662 based on the current and past uses of the site and nearby properties. Testing for pH must also be performed to demonstrate the soil pH is between 6.0 and 9.0.

If the soils cannot be self-certified, then waste characterization is needed.

Under the second option, a licensed professional certifies the soil is uncontaminated. Soil samples are obtained and tested to determine whether the material can be managed as CCDD or as an industrial waste stream:

  • Based on the estimated volume of material, the licensed professional will determine the representative number of soil samples and selected analyses.
  •  The selected analysis is based on site condition and history of operations, and may include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) including polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) metals, and pH.
  •  Samples of soil may be taken in-situ or from staged piles.

Analytical results for up to 133 parameters are compared to IEPA criteria within the Summary of Maximum Allowable Concentration of Chemical Constituents in Uncontaminated Soil Used as Fill Material at Regulated Fill Operations in 35 Illinois Administrative Code (IAC) 1100, Subpart F.

If the soil can be certified as CCDD, the licensed professional prepares and seals the Uncontaminated Soil Certification (LPC-663), allowing the soils to be used as fill at a CCDD facility. If the soils cannot be certified as CCDD, waste characterization is needed.

The results of the analysis, as well as other pertinent data, can be prepared and submitted to an appropriate Subtitle D landfill for acceptance of the waste stream.

Fill Site Requirements?
The above are the minimum requirements set by the IEPA. However, like most rules, they are subject to some interpretation and each CCDD owner/ operator may interpret the rules more or less conservatively. For example, fill sites may request additional analytical than initially performed which may cause delays. We recommend as part of any certification, the site owner/ operator coordinate with the intended fill site early in the process to avoid any “surprises”.

Regulatory status of fill sites?
Regulated CCDD Fill sites are subject to:

  • Pre-acceptance criteria;
  •  Inspections;
  •  Operational standards;
  •  Permitted final grades (no higher than surrounding grades);
  •  Storm water management [NPDES Permit for discharges];
  •  Annual reports;
  •  One year post closure care period; and
  • Payment of Fees to the State of Illinois of $0.20/ CY or $0.14/ ton [Part 1150 and 22.51 of Act].

Uncontaminated Soil Fill Operations are subject to similar requirements. The Rules do not apply to “CCDD or uncontaminated soil that is not used as fill material in a current or former quarry, mine, or other excavation”. Basically, certain “unregulated” facilities legally exist by filling areas that are not a “former quarry, mine, or other excavation”. CEC strongly recommends that the site owner/ operator understand the regulatory status of any facility they are using.

Are fill sites required to perform groundwater monitoring?

The issue of whether CCDD fill sites should be required to perform groundwater monitoring was one of the most debated issues during the rulemaking process. Groundwater monitoring is not required by the current rules. However, the Illinois Pollution Control Board opened a subdocket to the rulemaking proceeding to continue its examination of the issue of groundwater monitoring at CCDD and uncontaminated soil fill operations. A hearing was held on May 20, 2013 to elicit more information from stakeholders regarding this issue. CEC will be tracking results from this proceeding.

If you have any questions about the CCDD management issues, please contact John Hock with the Chicago office at (877) 963-6026.

Useful Illinois Links:

Illinois TMDL Public Hearing Approaching

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On July 9, 2013, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) is hosting a public hearing for the Impaired Waters of Illinois Draft 2014 Integrated Report.  Interested parties can submit verbal comments on the Draft 2014 Integrated Report at the July 9, 2013 meeting.  Written comments must be postmarked or e-mailed by midnight, August 8, 2013.  Information on the public hearing and where to submit written comments may be found at the IEPA’s website.

The IEPA is required under Sections 303(d), 305(b), and 314 of the federal Clean Water Act to assess waters of the state and evaluate compliance with applicable water quality standards and designated uses.  The Clean Water Act also requires each state to review and update the water quality standards every three years.  IEPA, in conjunction with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), identifies and prioritizes those standards to be developed or revised during this three-year period.

Designated uses of state waters include:

  • aesthetic quality;
  • aquatic life;
  • fish consumption;
  • primary contact (e.g., swimming, water skiing);
  • public and food processing;
  • water supplies; and
  • secondary contact (e.g., boating, swimming).

Sources of impairment to Illinois waters include:

  • atmospheric deposition of toxins;
  • agriculture;
  • hydromodification such as channelization;
  • municipal point sources;
  • urban runoff/storm sewers;
  • impacts from hydrostructure flow regulation/modification; and
  • surface mining.

Surface mining can impact Illinois waterbodies through the discharge of mining effluent, which may lower dissolved oxygen and pH and/or increase phosphorus, manganese, iron, and total suspended solids concentrations, resulting in excessive siltation, algal blooms, and fish kills.

The degree of compliance with a designated use in a particular stream segment is determined by analysis of various types of information, including biological, physicochemical, physical habitat, and/or toxicity data.  When sufficient data are available, applicable designated uses in each segment are assessed as Fully Supporting (good), Not Supporting (fair), or Not Supporting (poor).  Waters in which at least one applicable use is not fully supported are called impaired and are discussed in the Integrated Report.

In accordance with Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act, waters that are deemed impaired for specific chemical constituents may have restrictions of additional loadings (i.e., discharges) for those parameters.  In addition, waters identified in accordance with Section 303(d) are subject to the development of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs).  A TMDL is the sum of the allowable amount of a single pollutant that a waterbody can receive from all contributing sources and still meet water quality standards or designated uses.  TMDLs are listed in a site’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit.  If a TMDL is lowered due to a waterbody being designated as impaired, mining companies may incur additional NPDES violations, potentially resulting in costly fines.

Mine operators and NPDES permit holders are encouraged to compare the 303(d) list in the Draft 2014 Integrated Report with the list in the 2012 Integrated Report to ensure that their discharges will not come under tighter scrutiny.  If your watershed does not have an approved TMDL, it is imperative that you understand the TMDL development process as it relates to your discharges.  If it has an approved TMDL, you need to understand how that affects your future discharges during your NPDES permit cycle.

If you have any questions about the 2014 Proposed Integrated Report or how the revised Illinois TMDLs may affect your NPDES discharges, please contact Dana Sincox or John Gefferth with CEC’s St. Louis office at (866) 250-3679.  The Draft 2014 Integrated Report is reviewable at the IEPA’s web site.

The Future of Stormwater

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In 2010, EPA reached a settlement with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and others to develop additional components of a comprehensive suite of strong regulatory actions that EPA has initiated or pledged to take to restore water quality in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.  These actions include a more robust application of stormwater quality requirements to all new development, regardless of thresholds set in the Phase 1 and 2 stormwater requirements.

An initial deadline to propose the new comprehensive stormwater rule was set for April 10, 2012.  However, EPA has negotiated several extensions to the deadline (the last deadline was June 10, 2013), and EPA now anticipates a December 2013 date for the draft rule.  The rule will apply to all areas – not just large and medium sized municipalities, where Phase 1 and 2 stormwater programs are currently in place.

It is EPA’s goal to incentivize redevelopment in urban built-out areas over new development in undeveloped areas, and this rule is expected to reinforce that goal.  Stormwater runoff treatment standards are expected to be more restrictive for greenfield development than redevelopment of urban areas.  The treatment standard for greenfield development is most likely to mirror the current Phase 2 stormwater treatment requirement to infiltrate the 80th, 85th or 90th percentile storm event, which is around one inch for many areas, depending on a region’s typical rainfall. Lesser stormwater runoff treatment requirements will be required in redeveloped urban areas to reduce urban sprawl.  This new rule has been dubbed “Phase 2 lite”.

EPA has also been considering whether to expand the Stormwater Phase 2 programs to encompass areas likely to develop – not just already developed areas.  In keeping with a watershed focus, EPA is also considering applying the rule on a watershed basis.  The question is not if the stormwater rule will be promulgated; it is how and where it will be applied.

So, what does all of this mean to you?  Our approach to development will have to change.  We will be incorporating stormwater infiltration practices into our development plans for new development and redevelopment.  The success of infiltration practices relies on subsurface conditions at a site, correct design, correct construction techniques, and long term maintenance.  Developers will need to engage designers with expertise in soils, vegetation, hydrology and construction techniques so these practices work properly.  An infiltration practice can fail quickly if correct construction techniques are not followed during construction, so it is likely that the design professional will be required to oversee construction. And then the infiltration practice owner (developer or property owner) will be required to maintain these structures perpetually. To reduce the long term burden of monitoring and maintaining structural infiltration practices, our future designs will need to address stormwater as an asset and incorporate its reuse into the overall design for irrigation needs and other non-potable uses. 

Additional information on the EPA Stormwater rule is available on EPA’s website.  If you have questions regarding the implications of these stormwater rules, please feel free to contact CEC’s Nashville office at (800) 763-2326.

Clean Water Act, Section 308 Requests for Information

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So…you have received a Request for Information from the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) pursuant to Section 308 of the federal Clean Water Act. A Section 308 request is done when the agency has reason to think that your facilities are not in total compliance with their NPDES permit limits. No need to panic – just start compiling the needed information.

Often the first thing that companies do after receiving a Section 308 letter is to call an experienced environmental attorney to get some assistance in working through this process. Odds are you wouldn’t have received this letter if you did not have some exceedances of NPDES permit limits, so the attorney can help you work through usually inevitable enforcement discussions with the USEPA.

Here are the types of information that the USEPA will typically ask for in Section 308 letters. You will need to pull this information together into one location so it can be copied and shipped to the USEPA:

  1. A list of all of your facilities by name, location, NPDES and mining permit numbers.
  2. Copies of each NPDES permit and permit applications for each identified facility.
  3. NPDES data for the past five years (or more), including your Discharge Monitoring Reports (DMR’s) and, often, the lab sheets upon which the DMR’s were based.
  4. You will need to summarize the information from items #1 through #3 (and any additional requested information) into an Excel spreadsheet(s).

Mining facilities with NPDES permits that have discharge violations of metals, chloride, TDS, TSS, pH, etc. may be faced with hefty fines, as well as corrective measures to address and eliminate non-compliant discharges. These corrective measures typically include additional monitoring and reporting, implementing an electronic environmental database management software, implementing an environmental compliance management system, developing a response plan for eliminating effluent limit violations, and conducting internal and/or third-party environmental audits. Depending on the parameters in question, expensive treatment (or pre-treatment) systems may need to be installed.

Known recent civil penalties have ranged from $4 million to $20 million, which doesn’t include costs for corrective measures. Given the amount of money at stake, it is crucial to go into meetings with USEPA as prepared as possible.

If you have questions about the Section 308 process as it relates to mining companies, please contact Jonathan Pachter in our Pittsburgh office at 1-800-365-2324 or Additional information regarding EPA Section 308 matters can be found at the EPA’s website.