Water Resources

Key Provisions Added to Streamline WV LAST/LUST Program

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This blog post is a follow-up to CEC’s summary of the West Virginia Tanks Corrective Action Unit (TCAU) update to the Corrective Action Guidance Document (CAGD) for Leaking Aboveground Storage Tanks (LAST) and Leaking Underground Storage Tanks (LUST).

[Background: The TCAU released the update to the public on July 25, 2018, for immediate implementation. The stated intent of the CAGD is to better articulate West Virginia’s LAST/LUST program requirements, provide clarification on what information must be collected when investigating and cleaning up releases, and improve the consistency and quality of required reports, resulting in a more streamlined process for remediating LAST/LUST sites. The guidance discusses the processes and procedures for identifying and investigating suspected and confirmed releases, identifying appropriate cleanup levels, selecting and conducting appropriate corrective actions, and establishing reporting requirements. The CAGD is applicable to regulated Aboveground Storage Tanks (ASTs) as defined by W.Va. Code §22-30 and Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) subject to regulation by W.Va. Code §22-17 and 40 CFR 280. Note that regulated ASTs are either Level 1 or 2.]


Some of the key provisions that were added to improve efficiency and streamline the program include:

Incorporation of standardized data entry-enabled electronic forms for submitting plans, reports, and related documents

TCAU has developed and made available standardized data entry-enabled electronic forms for submitting nearly all required plans and reports, including initial site check reports, site characterization reports, initial abatement measures reports, free product monitoring reports, quarterly groundwater monitoring reports, site investigation reports, and AST closure plans. The standardization of the forms and reporting requirements is designed to simplify WVDEP’s review process and increase the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the review process for WVDEP and the regulated community.

Providing an optional “FastTrack” approach for cleaning up low-impact sites

TCAU has developed a “FastTrack” program to allow for a quick, efficient, and cost-effective cleanup for low-impact sites. Utilizing FastTrack, a tank owner/operator reports a release, performs the initial response requirements, and then moves directly to remediation of the site, provided that the site/release meets certain conditions. TCAU anticipates that this is a viable option for certain types of releases, such as releases from spill buckets, sumps, under-dispenser containment, or limited piping, as well as tank releases encountered during tank closures and/or upgrades. In order to qualify for the FastTrack program, the release must be relatively small and confined to the site, have no potential to impact surface water or groundwater, pose little or no risk to human health or the environment, and be readily remediated by excavating contaminated soil. WVDEP has pre-approved FastTrack for releases involving refined petroleum products (gasoline, diesel, kerosene, heating oil, oil, etc.), crude oil, brine, natural gas condensate, sodium hydroxide, or sodium carbonate, although other chemicals may potentially be acceptable if approved by the Agency.

Implementation of Presumptive Remedies

TCAU has developed what amounts to an expedited approval process for Corrective Actions implementing commonly used remediation approaches for LAST/LUST cleanups including soil excavation, soil vapor extraction (SVE), low temperature thermal desorption (LTTD), air sparging (AS), dual-phase extraction (DPE), in situ chemical oxidation (ISOC), and aggressive fluid vapor recovery (AFVR). In order to employ a presumptive remedy (PR), the remediator completes an appropriate PR form that is essentially a screening process for determining whether the remedy will be effective for the site. The completed form along with a monitoring plan and appropriate site maps showing monitoring points are submitted as the Corrective Action Plan. The use of a presumptive remedy is not applicable when the contamination has migrated beyond the facility boundary unless it can be demonstrated that the presumptive remedy will address the contamination beyond the facility boundary.

If your company’s operations involve the management and oversight of aboveground or underground storage tanks in West Virginia and you would like to know more about the updated processes and procedures surrounding investigation, cleanup, corrective actions, and reporting of releases, please contact the author, Robert (Bo) Valli, at bvalli@cecinc.com or (412) 303-6699.

WVDEP Releases New Corrective Action Guidance Document (CAGD) for Leaking Aboveground Storage Tanks (LAST) and Leaking Underground Storage Tanks (LUST)

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On July 25, 2018, the West Virginia Tanks Corrective Action Unit (TCAU) released its update to the Corrective Action Guidance Document (CAGD) for Leaking Aboveground Storage Tanks (LAST) and Leaking Underground Storage Tanks (LUST), which became effective upon publication. The stated intent of the CAGD is to better articulate West Virginia’s LAST/LUST program requirements, provide clarification on what information must be collected when investigating and cleaning up releases, and improve the consistency and quality of required reports, resulting in a more streamlined process for remediating LAST/LUST sites. The guidance discusses the processes and procedures for identifying and investigating suspected and confirmed releases, identifying appropriate cleanup levels, selecting and conducting appropriate corrective actions, and establishing reporting requirements. The CAGD is applicable to regulated Aboveground Storage Tanks (ASTs) as defined by W.Va. Code §22-30 and Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) subject to regulation by W.Va. Code §22-17 and 40 CFR 280. Note that regulated ASTs are either Level 1 or 2.

The CAGD replaces and supersedes previous AST and UST closure guidance documents and incorporates a number of concepts that shift the paradigm of how LAST/LUST sites are investigated and remediated in West Virginia.

First, TCAU has abandoned the use of total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH)/diesel range organics (DRO)/gasoline range organics (GRO)/oil range organics (ORO) as analytes of interest in favor of individual chemicals most associated with the different TPH ranges. Analysis for TPH will still be performed to profile petroleum-contaminated waste for disposal.

Second, the TCAU has developed three tiers of new action levels for soils at LAST/LUST sites that are protective of direct contact (ingestion, dermal contact, and inhalation of volatile organic compounds/particulates) and vapor intrusion exposure pathways (inhalation of volatile organic compounds). The Tier 1 level is the most conservative of the three tiers and applies to most sites. Tier 2 provides soil action levels for sites under residential use. Tier 3 may be utilized for determining compliance with the soil action levels when the property owner has agreed to place a deed restriction on the property, appropriately restricting its use to non-residential. Tier 2 and 3 action levels are depth-dependent (0 to 8 feet and greater than 8 feet) to protect human health, and their use can be precluded by “limiting factors,” which generally consist of subsurface utilities and building or soil conditions that could result in preferential migration of volatile organic compounds into buildings.

Third, protection of groundwater is addressed entirely through the use of a 10-foot soil buffer. There is an underlying presumption that a 10-foot soil buffer is sufficient to prevent contaminants in soil from leaching into groundwater and causing groundwater contamination irrespective of the concentrations in the soil. Under this approach, if contamination (defined as “detectable”) is detected within 10 vertical feet of the water table, or free product is present at the water table, a groundwater investigation must be conducted. For circumstances where contamination is not detected within 10 vertical feet of the water table, it is presumed that meeting Tier 1, 2, or 3 action levels is protective of groundwater.

In addition to the concepts discussed above, the guidance establishes various quality control procedures related to collecting environmental samples, constructing monitoring wells, and validating laboratory data.

Be advised that the above discussion is a broad-brush synopsis of the primary elements and concepts that comprise the CAGD, and that there are many intricacies and caveats that are part of the CAGD that are not mentioned in this blog post, not the least of which is how keywords such as “soil,” “contamination,” and “product” are defined.

If your company’s operations involve the management and oversight of aboveground or underground storage tanks in West Virginia and you would like to know more about the CAGD update and clarifications, please contact the author, Robert (Bo) Valli, at bvalli@cecinc.com or (412) 303-6699.

CEC has developed a follow-up post on key provisions added to streamline the WV LAST/LUST program. Click the link to read this additional information or paste the following into your browser: https://blog.cecinc.com/2018/08/08/key-provisions-added-to-wv-last-lust-program.

Accelerated Remediation Catalysis (ARC) – An Emerging Water Treatment Technology for the Treatment of a Wide Range of Dissolved Phase Organic and Inorganic Contaminants

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The Accelerated Remediation Catalysis (ARC) system is a process that can be applied to reduction or oxidation. For reduction, hydrogen gas and an inexpensive, proprietary catalyst are used to perform a chemical reduction of appropriate contaminants. The application of shear forces that can be achieved by using certain pumps is also a feature that dramatically accelerates reaction times.

On the reduction side, there is data supporting the degradation of 1,4-dioxane (1,4-D), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), chlorinated hydrocarbons, and oxyanions (nitrate and perchlorate). With respect to metals and metalloids such as selenium, these species are precipitated and collected for disposal. ARC is also applicable to oxidative processes for appropriate organics like petroleum hydrocarbons, as well as metals/metalloids that precipitate under high redox conditions. In this application, the oxygen is provided by dilute hydrogen peroxide or peracetic acid with a different catalyst.

To help reduce start-up costs, the ex-situ process uses common tankage, pumps, valves, and process controls that can be obtained from standard vendors. If the process handles low levels of contaminants, it can be constructed of common thermoplastics such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene, and fiberglass.

ARC can operate in either batch or continuous mode. In batch mode, the reaction tank is filled at start-up and the total reaction time is allowed to reach the predetermined level to assure destruction of the constituents of concern (COCs). After this point has been achieved, the process switches to continuous mode, and the reaction tank functions as a single-stage plug flow reactor. The process can be made to be continuous at start-up by simply filling the reactor tank with clean water. The overall retention time for completion of most reactions has been on the order of 10 to 15 minutes. Using reduction, hydrogen used in the catalyst vessel is generated electrochemically at the site, reducing the need to handle compressed gas. Depending on the COC, the reaction will either cause manageable gas evolution, or precipitate out of the water and be recovered by a variety of methods. The insoluble catalyst can be recovered by filtration and recycled back to the reactor vessel.

Case studies where ARC has been used for chemical reduction include:

  • The conversion of 1,4-dioxane to ethanol. Water with 100 μg/l of 1,4-dioxane was reduced to <1 μg/l.
  • The complete destruction of perfluorocarbons to non-detectable concentrations with a fluorine residue of low concentration, as the initial concentrations of perfluorocarbons are generally low.
  • Chlorinated ethenes are easily reduced to ethene and ethane.
  • Trihalomethanes have been reduced from a typical 80 μg/l level to <10 μg/l in 10-15 minutes.
  • Perchlorate levels as high as 100 mg/l are reduced to chloride.
  • Nitrate is reduced to nitrogen gas.
  • Selenium in the form of selenate can be reduced to selenite and removed as a precipitate. Selenate was reduced from 200 mg/l to <1 mg/l.
  • Chlorobenzene at ppm levels is reduced to benzene that is then collected on the low-cost catalyst.

The ARC system can be designed for a wide range of process flow rates. Design of the system is only limited by the required retention time for the reaction. In essence, the system was brought into focus because of the emerging contaminants issue, and it is applied to pump-and-treat systems. This is important because the nature of 1,4-dioxane and PFCs makes in-situ treatment challenging. It is expected that there will be both an increase in the use of pump-and-treat systems and a need for more efficient water treatment technologies, especially since conventional methods of treatment (such as those that use carbon) are limited.

Additionally, because of the low concentrations of reactants in the process, there is typically no detectable heat gain in the reaction vessel. Therefore, cooling of the process is generally not required prior to releasing the treated effluent. Then there are other applications in traditional wastewater treatment, such as removal of selenium from scrub water at coal-fired power plants. The ARC system’s inherent simplicity allows it to be easily scaled so that dealing with the large flow rates encountered in industrial settings is feasible. While the endpoint for ARC treated water is generally to be discharged, a supplementary feature called Advanced Regenerative Process (ARP) can be added as a further polishing step so that beneficial reuse, including human consumption, is an option.

ARC targets those applications where more complicated and expensive systems, such as conventional Advanced Oxidation Processes (AOP), are being used. The chemical usage, energy, and safety features of AOP systems, combined with their operational footprint, suggest they will eventually be replaced by better remedial options like ARC. There are other developing technologies that have similar objectives to displace AOP systems, such as resin-based operations, but ARC presents distinct advantages in cost, efficacy, physical layout, and scalability.

For additional information, please contact Chris Hortert at (800) 365-2324 (chortert@cecinc.com); Steve Koenigsberg at (949) 262-3265 (skoenigsberg@cecinc.com); or Thom Zugates at (602) 644-2163 (tzugates@cecinc.com).

EPA Finalizes Steam Electric Power Generating Effluent Limitations Guidelines (ELGs)

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The first Federal limits on various metals and other pollutants discharged by steam electric power plants were finalized on September 30, 2015, and published in the Federal Register on November 3, 2015. Limits for arsenic, lead, mercury, selenium, chromium, and cadmium are established in the new rules. EPA notes that steam electric power plant sources make up approximately 30 percent of the toxic and bio-accumulative pollutants discharged into surface waters of the United States by all industrial categories under the Clean Water Act. The Final ELGs set Daily Maximum and 30-Day Average Effluent Limits for discharges from existing and new sources for Flue Gas Desulfurization (FGD) (see 1. below), Gasification (see 2. below), Combustion Residual Leachate (see 3. below), and Chemical Metal Cleaning Wastewaters (see 4. below). Also established are zero discharge requirements for Flue Gas Mercury Control (FGMC), Fly Ash Transport, and Bottom Ash Transport Waters.

The electric power industry has made great strides to reduce air pollutant emissions under Clean Air Act programs, yet many of these pollutants may be transferred to the wastewater as plants employ technologies to reduce air pollution. When metals such as mercury, arsenic, lead, and selenium accumulate in fish or contaminate drinking water, they can potentially cause adverse effects in people who consume the fish or water.

This final rule is the first to ensure that generating stations in the steam electric industry employ technologies designed to reduce discharges of trace metals and other potentially harmful pollutants discharged in the plants’ wastewater. Sources of drinking-water have been identified with increased levels of carcinogenic disinfection by-products (brominated DBPs, in particular trihalomethanes (THMs)) from bromide in the plants’ wastewater. This was tracked from drinking-water utilities’ violations of the THM Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL). Nitrogen discharged by steam electric power plants can also impact drinking-water sources by contributing to algal blooms in reservoirs and lakes that are used as drinking-water sources. Mercury and selenium can bioaccumulate in fish and wildlife, and also accumulate in the sediments of lakes and reservoirs.

The Steam Electric Power Generating Effluent Guidelines and Standards that EPA promulgated and revised in 1974, 1977, and 1982 did not reflect process and technology advances that have occurred in the last 30-plus years (e.g., coal gasification) and the widespread implementation of air pollution controls (e.g., FGD and FGMC). The technological advances have altered waste streams and created new types of wastewater at many steam electric power plants, particularly coal-fired generating stations. Many stations, none-the-less, still treat their wastewater using only surface impoundments, which may be ineffective at controlling discharges of toxic pollutants and nutrients.

1. FGD Wastewater
FGD systems are used to remove sulfur dioxide from the flue gas so that it is not emitted into the air. Dry FGD systems spray sorbent slurry into a reactor vessel so that the droplets dry as they contact the hot flue gas. Although dry FGD scrubbers use water in their operation, the water in most systems evaporates, and the dry FGD scrubbers generally do not discharge wastewater. Wet FGD systems contact the sorbent slurry with flue gas in a reactor vessel, producing a wastewater stream.

Best Available Technology (BAT) required for control of pollutants discharged in FGD wastewater is a chemical precipitation system that employs hydroxide precipitation, sulfide precipitation (organo-sulfide), and iron co-precipitation, followed by an anoxic/anaerobic fixed-film biological treatment system designed to remove heavy metals, selenium, and nitrates. At some stations, this wastewater is managed in surface impoundments, constructed wetlands, or through practices achieving zero discharge. Other technologies have been evaluated or are being developed to treat FGD wastewater, including iron cementation, zero-valent iron (ZVI) cementation, reverse osmosis, absorption or adsorption media, ion exchange, and electrocoagulation.

2. Gasification Wastewater
Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) plants use a carbon-based feedstock (e.g., coal or petroleum coke) and subject it to high temperature and pressure to produce a synthetic gas (syngas), which is used as the fuel for a combined cycle generating unit. After the syngas is produced, it undergoes cleaning prior to combustion. The wastewater generated by these cleaning processes, along with any condensate generated in flash tanks, slag handling water, or wastewater generated from the production of sulfuric acid, is referred to as “grey water” or “sour water,” and is generally treated prior to reuse or discharge.

3. Combustion Residual Leachate from Landfills and Surface Impoundments
Combustion residuals generally collected by or generated from air pollution control technologies comprise a variety of wastes from the combustion process. These combustion residuals can be managed at the station in on-site landfills or surface impoundments. Leachate includes liquid, including suspended or dissolved constituents, that has percolated through or drained from waste or other materials placed in a landfill, or that passes through the containment structure (e.g., bottom, dikes, berms) of a surface impoundment. Most landfills have a system to collect the leachate. In a lined landfill, the combustion residual leachate collected by the liner is typically transported to an impoundment (e.g., collection pond). Some generating stations discharge the effluent from these impoundments containing combustion residual leachate directly to receiving waters, while other stations first send the impoundment effluent to another impoundment handling the ash transport water or other treatment system (e.g., constructed wetlands) prior to discharge.

Surface impoundments are the most widely used systems to treat combustion residual leachate. Some generating stations collect the combustion residual leachate from impoundments and recycle it back to the impoundment from which it was collected. Some generating stations use collected leachate as water for moisture conditioning of dry fly ash prior to disposal, or for dust control around dry unloading areas and landfills.

4. Chemical Metal Cleaning Wastewaters
Chemical metal cleaning wastewaters are generated from cleaning metal process equipment and are most typically treated in surface impoundments and chemical precipitation systems. Other types of treatment and disposal include constructed wetlands, filtration, reverse osmosis, clarification, oil/water separation, brine concentration, recycling, evaporation, off-site treatment, hazardous waste disposal, third party disposal, landfilling after mixing with fly ash, and deep well injection.

Closing Comments
Many power generating stations that are currently using impoundments or basic treatment may find that additional measures are required to achieve the new ELG limits. Table 1 provides a summary of effluent limits for discharges from existing sources, while Table 2 provides a summary of effluent limits for discharges from new sources. Table 3 provides a summary of additional effluent limits that will apply for discharges from new sources that produce greater than 25 megawatts (MW). Power generating stations will likely have issues associated with the treatment of selenium and boron in their FGD blowdown. These compounds can be difficult to treat and are not always readily removed using conventional treatment techniques that are currently employed by power generators. As such, additional treatment processes may be required to satisfactorily remove these compounds. CEC has experience in the treatment and removal of these compounds and can assist with evaluation of power station water balances, wastewater sampling and testing, and wastewater treatment plant design.

If you have any questions about the November 2015 Steam Electric Power ELGs and their potential impacts on your station, please contact Ron Ruocco, P.E., at rruocco@cecinc.com or 855-859-9932.


Table 1: Summary of Effluent Limits for Discharges from Existing Sources
(Daily Maximum/30-Day Average)

Steam Electric Plant Process Arsenic
as N (mg/L)
FGD Wastewater 11 / 8 788 / 356 23 / 12 17.0 / 4.4 100 / 30 20 / 15
Gasification Wastewater 4 / – 1.8 / 1.3 453 / 227 100 / 30 38 / 22 20 / 15
Combustion Residual Leachate 100 / 30 20 / 15

Existing Sources: The final rule establishes Best Available Technology (BAT)-based effluent limits in existing FGD wastewater, existing gasification wastewater, and existing combustion residual leachate discharges. These limits are equivalent to Best Practicable Technology (BPT).


Table 2: Summary of Effluent Limits for Discharges from New Sources
(Daily Maximum/30-Day Average)

Steam Electric Plant Process Arsenic
FGD Wastewater 4 / – 39 / 24 5 / – 100 / 30 50 / 24 20 / 15
Gasification Wastewater 4 / – 1.8 / 1.3 453 / 227 100 / 30 38 / 22 20 / 15
Combustion Residual Leachate 11 / 8 788 / 356 100 / 30 20 / 15
Low Volume Waste Sources 100 / 30 20 / 15
Chemical Metal Cleaning Wastes 1 / 1 1 / 1 100 / 30 20 / 15

New Sources: For new FGD wastewater, new gasification wastewater, new combustion residual leachate discharges, new low-volume waste sources, and new chemical metal cleaning waste sources, the final rule imposes effluent limitations based on New Source Performance Standards (NSPS).


Table 3: Summary of Additional Effluent Limits for Discharges from New Sources
(Generating Stations Producing Greater Than 25 MW)
(Daily Maximum/30-Day Average)

Pollutant or Pollutant Property Once Through Cooling Cooling Tower Blowdown Coal Pile Runoff
Free available chlorine mg/L 0.20 / 0.20 0.50 / 0.20
Total Suspended Solids mg/L 50 / 50
The 126 priority pollutants (Appendix A) contained in chemicals maintenance, except: mg/L (1)
   –   Chromium, total mg/L 0.2 / 0.2
   –   Zinc, total mg/L 1.0 / 1.0

(1) Denotes No Detectable Amount

West Virginia Senate Bill No. 373 – The Water Resources Protection Act

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On April 1, 2014, West Virginia Gov. Tomblin signed Senate Bill No 373, known as the Water Resources Protection Act (Act), into law. This legislation includes the new Aboveground Storage Tank Act (WV Code Chapter 22, Article 30) including definitions and the following requirements:

  • existing tank inventory and registration,
  • tank permitting and performance standards,
  • annual inspection and certification,
  • financial responsibility,
  • corrective actions program for releases, and
  • spill response planning

The requirements of the Aboveground Storage Tank (AST) Act are expected to apply to a broad range of industries in West Virginia including, but not limited to, natural gas, manufacturing, mining, power, solid waste, and public institutions with aboveground storage tanks containing more than 1,320 gallons of fluids.  Shipping containers, process vessels and mobile tanks meeting certain requirements will be exempt.  The requirements of the AST Act will be effective June 6, 2014.

The AST Act establishes requirements and deadlines for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) and tank owners.  Deadlines are as followed:

  • WVDEP completes the inventory and registration form – July 6, 2014
  • Tank Owners are to submit completed registration forms for existing tanks – October 1, 2014
  • Tank Owners are to submit spill prevention and response plans – December 3, 2014
  • Tank Owners submit annual inspection and certification forms – January 1, 2015

The details and requirements of the registration forms, registration fees and annual inspection and certifications remain to be completed and will need to be monitored as the regulations are developed.

Based on the provisions of the AST Act, the following are expected to be required by the WVDEP:

  • Tank inventory and registration that will include tank location, age, type of construction, capacity, type of fluid stored and distance to nearest groundwater or surface water source used for public water supply
  • A permitting program that will include performance standards for tank design, construction, installation, corrosion prevention, release detection, secondary containment and recordkeeping
  • Annual inspection and certifications submitted by the owners of ASTs prepared by a registered professional engineer, qualified individual working under the engineer’s supervision or individual certified to perform the inspections.
  • Evidence that AST owners have adequate financial responsibility to take corrective actions in the event of a fluid release.
  • The development of corrective action plans taking into consideration releases of fluids and plans for prompt actions in response to releases.
  • The preparation and submittal of spill response plans that are updated every three years.  These plans will include requirements for establishing a facility chain of command, preventative maintenance program for tanks and notification requirements for water supply companies.

The AST Act does include some waivers from the permitting requirements for specific categories of ASTs that either “do not represent a substantial threat of contamination” or  “are currently regulated under standards which meet or exceed the protective  standards  and  requirements  set  forth  in  this article.”  These waivers include: certain pipeline facilities; liquid traps and associated gathering lines related to oil or gas production and gathering operations; surface impoundments, pits, ponds or lagoons; and ASTs for which SPCC plans are required under 40 CFR Part 112 (unless located within a zone of critical concern).  It is important to note that the waiver is only for permitting requirements.  The remaining requirements of the AST Act, including registration and annual inspections, will still be applicable.

The legislation also includes a second new article, the “Public Water Supply Protection Act WV Code Chapter 22, Article 31” (PWS Act), which includes the following requirements:

WVDEP is required to inventory “potential sources of significant contamination” (PSSC) located within “zones of critical concern” for public water systems with water withdrawals from a surface water supply source or a surface water influenced groundwater supply source.  Additionally, the new article will result in more water users being classified as large-quantity water users.  The criterion for large-quantity users is now 300,000 gallons per day in any 30-day period versus the previous criteria of 750,000 gallons per day.

A PSSC is defined as “a facility or activity that stores, uses or produces compounds with potential for significant contaminating impact if released into the source water of a public water supply.”

Sites within a “zone of critical concern” that have ASTs will not be eligible for coverage under General NPDES Permits, and any existing General Permit holders will have to apply for an Individual NPDES Permit by September 1, 2014.

Tracking the progress of the developing regulations, registration and inventory requirements will be important toward meeting the compliance requirement of the AST Act and the PWS Act.  If you have questions about additional requirements of these new Articles, please contact Mr. Tom Maher, P.G., of CEC’s Pittsburgh office at 412-429-2324 or tmaher@cecinc.com.

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.

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.