In 2004, PADEP established the Management of Fill Policy to provide procedures for determining whether material is clean fill or regulated fill. This Policy is pertinent to those developing “greenfield” sites requiring fill, and brownfield sites where fill is being imported or exported from the site. “Regulated fill” may not be used unless a Solid Waste Management Act (SWMA) permit is secured by the entity or individual using the regulated fill.
How Do I determine if the material in question is Clean Fill?
The Policy provides that environmental due diligence must be performed on the fill materials. If the due diligence shows no evidence of a release of a regulated substance, the material may be handled as clean fill. If due diligence shows evidence of a release, the material must be tested to determine if it qualifies as clean fill. The Policy provides the procedures for sampling of material based on either composite or discrete sampling, with the number of samples required based on the volume of material. If testing reveals that the fill material contains concentrations of regulated substances that are below the residential limits in Table FP-1a and b of the Management of Fill Policy, the material can be managed as clean fill.
What is Clean Fill?
Uncontaminated, non water-soluble, nondecomposable inert solid material. The term includes soil, rock, stone, dredged material, used asphalt (except milled asphalt), and brick, block or concrete from construction and demolition activities that is separate from other waste and recognizable as such. The term does not include materials placed in or on the waters of the Commonwealth unless otherwise authorized.
How do I manage Clean Fill?
Clean fill may be used in an unrestricted manner under the SWMA. The person using materials as clean fill is still subject to other requirements such as Erosion and Sediment Control (PA Title 25 Chapter 102) and Dam Safety and Water Management (PA Title 25 Chapter 105). Any person placing clean fill which has been affected by a release of a regulated substance must certify the origin of the fill material and the results of analytical testing on Form FP-001.
What is Regulated Fill?
Soil, rock, stone, dredged material, used asphalt, historic fill, and brick, block or concrete from construction and demolition activities that is separate from other waste and recognizable as such that has been affected by a spill or release of a regulated substance and the concentrations of regulated substances exceed the values in Tables FP-1a and b of the Policy.
How do I manage Regulated Fill?
Materials identified as regulated fill are a waste and must be managed in accordance with residual waste regulations. Regulated fill may be used beneficially under General Permit WMGR096 if the material and the proposed activities for the fill meet the conditions of that permit.
Regulated fill may not be placed on greenfield property that is not planned for development, or on a property currently in residential use or planned for residential use unless otherwise authorized by PADEP. Fill containing concentrations of regulated substances that exceed the levels in Tables GP-1a and b of the General Permit may not be managed under the Management of Fill Policy or the General Permit, but must be managed instead in accordance with the applicable municipal or residual waste regulations.
A general permit is not required for activities undertaken entirely on an Act 2 site, or if regulated fill is taken from one Act 2 site to another Act 2 site, as long as the procedural requirements of Act 2 are met (including documentation in the Act 2 reports for both sites). Placement of the regulated fill may not cause the receiving site to exceed the Act 2 standards selected for that site.
If you have questions about management of fill issues in Pennsylvania, please contact Mary King (email@example.com) with the Pittsburgh office at 800-365-2324.
Useful Pennsylvania Management of Fill Links:
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;
- 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.
Proper waste determinations are the foundation for waste compliance; failure to perform them properly can lead to cascading violations. Generators commonly fail to document hazardous waste determinations from the point of generation for each solid waste stream (as required by 40 CFR 262.11). This is a frequent citation in RCRA enforcement and observation during compliance audits.
USEPA has updated the 1994 version of Waste Analysis Plan Guidance. This guidance is helpful in understanding regulatory requirements and USEPA intent regard the obligation each solid waste generator has to document a hazardous waste determination.
One tool provided in the new guidance document is a checklist for evaluating waste determinations using acceptable knowledge (i.e. without having waste analysis). Another consists of tips for using the Safety Data Sheet to support a waste determination. Appendix F also provides a number of key considerations, including several that are important for generators.
Another issue that arises is whether the generator needs to document the waste determination. Regulation and USEPA guidance make it plain that these must be documented, and reviewed annually or more often, with records kept for 3 years. A CESQG especially needs to do this documentation because they rely on proper determinations to assure they stay below the 100 kilogram/month threshold and avoid additional regulatory burdens as a Small Quantity Generator.
For each solid waste stream, regulations require that the generator must determine if the waste is:
- Excluded from regulation under 40 CFR 261.4 as not a solid waste.
- Listed as a hazardous waste in Subpart D of 40 CFR part 261.
- Identified in Subpart C of 40 CFR part 261 with a hazard characteristic by:
- Testing the waste using standard or approved methods, or
- Applying knowledge of the hazard characteristic of the waste in light of the materials or the processes used.
- Excluded or restricted under parts 261, 264, 265, 266, 267, 268, and 273.
The Point of Generation is where the waste determination should be made, rather than after waste is moved to storage, exposed to the elements, or mixed with other materials. Hazardous waste is not regulated until it exits the unit in which it was generated or remains within a shutdown unit for more than 90 days.
Basis for Determination – The generator should document waste determinations for each waste stream coming from each discrete equipment item and, if necessary, for each operating scenario such as normal, shutdown and cleanout. Records must be kept of unit shutdowns to assure residuals are not stored for longer than 90 days. For waste streams determined to be not hazardous, the regulatory citation and basis (such as acceptable knowledge or testing) should be documented, recorded and updated as needed. A good engineering practice would be to review and update waste determinations annually or more often if changes occur.
Acceptable Knowledge – The Waste Analysis Guidance document suggests that acceptable knowledge will be: as current as practicable, based on material balances; reviewed annually or when changes occur; and documented with appropriate records retained.
Safety Data Sheet (SDS) – The Waste Analysis Guidance document warns generators to confirm they are using the correct SDS and it is current. The SDS may mention the material is a RCRA waste if discarded or provide CAS numbers that can be compared to the listed wastes. Properties may reveal the material would be characteristically hazardous (e.g. flash point, pH, reactive, toxic). The SDS should not be used if the waste is mixed, treated or chemically altered or as a substitute for laboratory analyses where appropriate. SDS may not report all components and may not list hazardous components present in concentrations below 1 percent by weight. The generator retains the burden to make a correct waste determination and the liability from improper disposal.
Codes for generator reporting need to be assigned for each hazardous waste stream. These codes describe the type of process or activity (Source), physical/chemical characteristics (Form) and type of hazardous waste management system (Management).
Key Considerations for Generators include:
- Check State and local requirements which may be more stringent
- Compile records of collective knowledge of wastes
- Assure representative samples are analyzed using standard methods
- Document acceptable knowledge in lieu of analysis
- Support claims that secondary materials are not solid waste
- Do not rely on single analysis for subsequent waste streams
- Make new waste determination for each new point of generation
- Process changes require a new waste determination
- Periodically review and update waste determinations
A copy of the new Waste Analysis Guidance can be downloaded from EPA’s website. Additional information on related USEPA Guidance is available here. If you have any questions about RCRA Waste Determination requirements, please contact the Chicago office at 630-541-0626.
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.
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.
The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) recently published a letter coauthored by Mark Orzechowski, P. G., of Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc. and Tarek Saba, Ph. D., of Exponent, Inc. The letter was written in response to an article published earlier this year by PNAS, entitled Methane Contamination of Drinking Water Accompanying Gas-Well Drilling and Hydraulic Fracturing, written by Osborn et al. The article is typically referred to as the “Duke Paper” by many in the natural gas industry. Based on the results of 68 water-well samples, Osborn et al. concluded that there was evidence of increased concentrations of thermogenic methane in water wells near active gas extraction areas compared with water wells outside active gas extraction areas. The Osborn study also concluded that the thermogenic methane in the water wells was consistent with Marcellus Shale gas.
The response letter by Mr. Orzechowski and Dr. Saba indicates that the data set presented in the study was too limited to support the conclusions provided by the authors. In addition, Mr. Orzechowski and Dr. Saba provide evidence that natural gas from the much shallower Lock Haven Formation is the more likely source of methane in the water wells sampled in the study (many of those water wells are completed in the Lock Haven Formation). The studies behind the “Duke Paper” also failed to analyze for carbon and hydrogen isotopes in the methane and ethane, which would be required to determine if the methane was related to the Marcellus gas extraction operations. The response letter concluded the limited data presented in the “Duke Paper” do not support the presence of gas from the Marcellus Formation in private water wells in the vicinity of gas extraction operations. Click here to see the response letter.
If you have questions on the conclusions reached by Mr. Orzechowski and Dr. Saba, please contact Mark Orzechowski, P.G., (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 800-365-2324.