Feed aggregator

EPA Hurricane Fiona Update for September 30

EPA Air - Fri, 09/30/2022 - 19:00

PUERTO RICO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to coordinate closely with federal, commonwealth, territory, and local partners as the Agency responds to the impact of Hurricane Fiona. EPA is focused on environmental impacts and potential threats to human health as well as the safety of those in the affected areas. 

“EPA is actively engaged in Puerto Rico on recovery efforts, and we will be focused on ensuring that those communities hardest hit by the storm are not overlooked,” said Lisa F. Garcia, Regional Administrator. “Additionally, our office is readying EPA teams of emergency responders, scientists, and other professionals to help impacted communities get back on their feet in the short-term while we look to maximize Hurricane Fiona recovery work with ongoing efforts to make the island more resilient over the long-term.”  

Separate from its work under FEMA, EPA is assessing the status of Superfund sites and active cleanup sites. EPA is also assessing the operability of oil and chemical handling facilities and local water systems not serviced by the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA)—also known as non-PRASA systems. EPA is working with the Water Coalition—a collaboration between federal and local agencies and nongovernmental organizations that provides technical assistance on safe drinking water requirements—to conduct the assessments and will use the information collected to identify needs and help allocate resources. 

EPA teams are conducting assessments at fixed facilities in Puerto Rico that are regulated under the Risk Management Plan (RMP), Facility Response Plan FRP), or Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) programs. The agency has not identified significant concerns at any of the facilities. 

EPA continues to assess Superfund sites, oil sites, and chemical facilities in Puerto Rico to determine if the sites were affected by Hurricane Fiona and if there is a potential for contamination to cause off-site impacts. The agency has not identified significant concerns at any of the sites, thus far. 

EPA has important resources available online in English and Spanish about floodwaters, mold, hazardous debris, household hazardous waste, and other hurricane impacts. EPA's central hub for disaster and hurricane information is available at EPA Hurricanes and EPA Huracanes

You can find EPA's Hurricane Fiona web page here. EPA will update that site as it continues its response. 

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter and visit our Facebook page. 

22-076 

Actualización de la EPA sobre el huracán Fiona para el 30 de septiembre

EPA Air - Fri, 09/30/2022 - 19:00

PUERTO RICO – La Agencia de Protección Ambiental de los Estados Unidos (EPA, por sus siglas en inglés) continúa coordinando de cerca con socios federales, del gobierno de Puerto Rico, territoriales y locales a medida que la Agencia responde al impacto del huracán Fiona. La EPA se centra en los impactos ambientales y las amenazas potenciales para la salud humana, así como en la seguridad de las personas en las áreas afectadas.    

“La EPA participa activamente en Puerto Rico en la labor de recuperación, y nos enfocaremos para que las comunidades más afectadas por la tormenta no sean pasadas por alto,” señaló Lisa F. García, Administradora Regional. “Además, nuestra oficina está preparando a los equipos de la EPA con personal de emergencia, científicos y otros profesionales para ayudar a las comunidades afectadas a recuperarse a corto plazo mientras procuramos maximizar el trabajo de recuperación tras el huracán Fiona con esfuerzos continuos para hacer que la isla sea más resiliente a largo plazo”.  

Aparte de su trabajo bajo FEMA, la EPA está evaluando el estado de los sitios de Superfund y los sitios de limpieza activos. La EPA también está evaluando la operatividad de las instalaciones de manejo de petróleo y productos químicos y los sistemas locales de agua no atendidos por la Autoridad de Acueductos y Alcantarillados (AAA) de Puerto Rico, también conocida como sistemas fuera de la red de la AAA. La EPA está trabajando con la Coalición del Agua, una colaboración entre agencias federales y locales y organizaciones no gubernamentales que brinda asistencia técnica sobre los requisitos de agua potable segura, para realizar las evaluaciones y utilizará la información recopilada para determinar las necesidades y ayudar a asignar recursos. 

Los equipos de la EPA están llevando a cabo evaluaciones en instalaciones fijas en Puerto Rico que están reguladas por el Plan de Gestión de Riesgos (RMP), el Plan de Respuesta de la Instalación FRP) o los programas de Prevención, Control y Contramedidas de Derrames (SPCC). La agencia no ha identificado preocupaciones significativas en ninguna de las instalaciones. 

La EPA continúa evaluando los sitios de Superfund, los sitios petroleros y las instalaciones químicas en Puerto Rico para determinar si los sitios fueron afectados por el huracán Fiona y si existe la posibilidad de que la contaminación cause impactos fuera del sitio. La agencia no ha determinado que haya preocupaciones significativas en ninguno de los sitios, hasta el momento. 

La EPA tiene importantes recursos disponibles en línea en inglés y español sobre aguas de inundación, moho, escombros peligrosos, desechos domésticos peligrosos y otros impactos de los huracanes. El centro de información de la EPA para desastres y huracanes está disponible en EPA Hurricanes y EPA Huracanes

Puede encontrar la página web de la EPA sobre el huracán Fiona aquí. La EPA actualizará ese sitio a medida que continúe su respuesta. 

Siga a la Región 2 de la EPA en Twitter y visite nuestra página de Facebook

22-076SP 

EPA extends public comment period for preliminary Safe Drinking Water Act decisions related to Afton, Wyoming’s Periodic Spring 

EPA Air - Fri, 09/30/2022 - 19:00

DENVER - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is extending its public comment period until November 15, 2022, regarding its preliminary Safe Drinking Water Act determinations that the Periodic Spring at the Town of Afton is ground water under the direct influence of a surface water source, and filtration of this source is required. The original comment deadline was October 4, 2022. This extended comment period was requested by speakers at EPA’s public hearing held in Afton, Wyoming on September 27, 2022. These preliminary determinations would require the town to provide filtration and disinfection treatment for the Periodic Spring source.   

There are two ways to provide comments on EPA’s preliminary determinations: 1) Submit comments to the docket at:  www.regulations.gov/docket/EPA-R08-OW-2022-0517 or  2) Mail to: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 8, 8WD-SDB, 1595 Wynkoop Street, Denver, CO 80202. Docket number EPA-R08-OW-2022-0517. Comments must be received by EPA by November 15, 2022. 

For more information on this action, see the docket at https://www.regulations.gov/docket/EPA-R08-OW-2022-0517/document

EPA Amends Plan to Cleanup Groundwater at the Cosden Chemical Coatings Corp. Superfund Site in Beverly, NJ

EPA Air - Fri, 09/30/2022 - 19:00

NEW YORK – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized an amendment to its original cleanup plan for the Cosden Chemical Coatings Corp. Superfund site in Beverly, New Jersey, after assessing a new treatment method. This new cleanup technology will help break down hazardous contaminants into less toxic byproducts.

"EPA's test of the new method to treat this groundwater was a success, and now we can move forward in using it on a full scale," said EPA Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. "We've already treated a tremendous volume of groundwater using the common method of pumping and treating, but this new technique will be a more efficient way to reduce the contamination."

The cleanup technique, called in-situ chemical oxidation, uses various oxidizing chemicals to spur the reduction of harmful compounds found in contaminated groundwater. In 2021 EPA and the Army Corps injected the chemicals into the groundwater using 30 wells and confirmed that the in-situ chemical oxidation did transform the harmful contaminants in the Cosden site groundwater into less toxic byproducts. This method supplements EPA's earlier groundwater pumping and treatment work which has been used to treat over 280 million gallons of water since 2009. The cleanup plan for this groundwater also requires long-term monitoring to ensure the cleanup is working as intended. 

The Cosden Chemical Coatings Corp. was a paint formulation and manufacturing company that began operating in 1945 and produced coatings for industrial applications. The company recycled manufacturing solvents until 1974. However, inadequate controls allowed waste generated by facility operations to contaminate soil and groundwater with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), metals, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

After the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection discovered spills and several hundred unsecured drums at the site, EPA took action to remove some of that contamination and finalized an initial plan to clean up areas of the site. EPA issued a plan in 1992 to address the contaminated building, soil, and groundwater. The building was demolished, and the soil was cleaned up. EPA continued to oversee the groundwater treatment plant until it put operations on hold to assess a treatment technology to speed up the groundwater cleanup using chemical oxidation.

On July 29, 2022, EPA released its proposed plan to the public and held a virtual public meeting on August 16, 2022, to explain the plan and take comments. The Record of Decision Amendment released today addresses the comments received and formalizes EPA’s amendment to the selected cleanup plan.

Visit the Cosden Chemical Coating Corp. Superfund site profile page for additional background and to view the Record of Decision.

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter and visit our Facebook page. For more information about EPA Region 2, visit our website.

22-075

EPA Region 7 Awards $400K Check to Denison, Iowa, for Brownfields Grant

EPA Air - Fri, 09/30/2022 - 19:00
U.S. EPA Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister is joined by Denison Mayor Pam Soseman, City Manager Bradley Hanson, and other community members during a novelty "Big Check" presentation in Denison, Iowa, Sept. 30, 2022. (Photo credit: U.S. EPA)

LENEXA, KAN. (SEPT. 30, 2022) – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister presented a novelty big check totaling $400,000 to the city of Denison, Iowa, to celebrate their Brownfields grant.

The city hosted the event at Washington Park. McCollister was joined by Denison Mayor Pam Soseman, City Manager Bradley Hanson, regional leaders, and community members.

Denison was selected for community-wide assessment work and the development of reuse plans for sites including the Denison Municipal Utility Power Plant and Avenue C sites. This grant also supports the creation of a project website and Spanish translation services for outreach activities.

“EPA Region 7 is proud to celebrate Denison’s first-ever Brownfields grant,” said McCollister. “The Brownfields Program has a proven record of empowering communities, and we are excited for Denison to put this Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding to work for their own unique reuse and revitalization needs.”

“On behalf of the city of Denison, I am extremely excited and grateful that the community will be partnering with the EPA on a Brownfields Assessment Grant to help us clean up key areas of our community,” said Soseman. “This will further our ability to revitalize vacant areas into usable spaces.”

The grant is supported by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides a total of $1.5 billion to advance environmental justice, spur economic revitalization, and create jobs by cleaning up contaminated, polluted, or hazardous brownfield properties.

After the grant award event, EPA invited Denison community members to meet with McCollister at a community listening session to discuss their thoughts on public health and the environment.

Background

Brownfield projects can range from cleaning up buildings with asbestos or lead contamination to assessing and cleaning up abandoned properties that once managed dangerous chemicals. Once cleaned up, former brownfield properties can be redeveloped into productive uses such as grocery stores, affordable housing, health centers, museums, parks, and solar farms.

The Brownfields Program advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver at least 40% of the benefits of certain government programs to disadvantaged communities. Approximately 86% of the communities selected to receive funding as part of today’s announcement have proposed projects in historically underserved areas. 

Since its inception in 1995, EPA’s investments in brownfield sites have leveraged over $35 billion in cleanup and redevelopment. This has led to significant benefits for communities across the country. For example:

  • To date, this funding has led to over 183,000 jobs in cleanup, construction, and redevelopment and over 9,500 properties have been made ready for reuse.
  • Based on grant recipient reporting, recipients leveraged on average $20.43 for each EPA Brownfields dollar and 10.3 jobs per $100,000 of EPA Brownfields grant funds expended on assessment, cleanup, and revolving loan fund cooperative agreements.
  • In addition, an academic peer-reviewed study found that residential properties near brownfield sites increased in value by 5% to 15% as a result of cleanup activities.
  • Finally, analyzing data near 48 brownfields, EPA found an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional tax revenue for local governments in a single year after cleanup – two to seven times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to the cleanup of those brownfield sites.

 For more on Brownfields grants, visit: www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-epa-brownfield-grant-funding.

 For more on EPA’s Brownfields Program, visit: www.epa.gov/brownfields

# # #

Learn more about EPA Region 7: www.epa.gov/aboutepa/epa-region-7-midwest

 

Atlantic Richfield Company Agrees to Complete Multi-Million Dollar Cleanup of the Anaconda Smelter Superfund Site

EPA Air - Fri, 09/30/2022 - 19:00

WASHINGTON — The Atlantic Richfield Company (AR) has agreed to complete its cleanup of the Anaconda Smelter Superfund Site (Site) in Deer Lodge County, Montana, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice announced today. The state of Montana, on behalf of the Department of Environmental Quality, is also a signatory to the consent decree that was lodged today in the U.S. District Court in Butte, Montana.

Decades of copper smelting activity at the town of Anaconda polluted the soils in yards, commercial and industrial areas, pastures and open spaces throughout the 300-square-mile Anaconda Site. This pollution has in turn contributed to the contamination of creeks and other surface waters at the Site, as well as of alluvial and bedrock ground water. The closure of smelting operations in 1980 left large volumes of smelter slag, flue dust and hazardous rock tailings that have had to be secured through a variety of remediation methods.

Under the settlement, AR — a subsidiary of British Petroleum — will complete numerous remedial activities that it has undertaken at the Anaconda Site pursuant to EPA administrative orders since the 1990s. Among other actions, AR will finish remediating residential yards in the towns of Anaconda and Opportunity, clean up soils in upland areas above Anaconda and eventually effect the closure of remaining slag piles at the Site. The estimated cost of the remaining Site work, including operation and maintenance activities intended to protect remediated lands over the long term, is $83.1 million. AR will pay $48 million to reimburse the EPA Superfund Program for EPA and Department of Justice response costs and will pay approximately $185,000 to the U.S. Forest Service for oversight of future remedial activities on Forest Service-administered lands at the Site.

“This settlement highlights the Agency’s vigorous enforcement to ensure the complete cleanup of the Anaconda Smelter Superfund site,” said EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Larry Starfield. “The work performed under this settlement will further protect the environment and the health of the people who live, work, and play in this community.”

“We are pleased that Atlantic Richfield has agreed to finalize its long-term cleanup of the Anaconda Site,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “Today’s consent decree follows other important settlements with Atlantic Richfield over the past two decades that have substantially improved the environment and restored valuable natural resources in the Upper Clark Fork basin. This settlement is also the product of a successful federal-state partnership to secure cleanup of a major hazardous waste site.”

“I was born in Anaconda the same year the smelter closed and while I never saw smoke coming out of the Smokestack that still stands over Anaconda, I know what it represents,” said U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich for the District of Montana. “It is a symbol representing the hard work of many Anacondans, including members of my family, that built our town.  But it’s also a symbol of a Superfund site that has existed for far too long.  If the Smokestack represents our past, this consent decree represents our future.  Many people, some who are no longer with us, worked diligently to get us to this point and I’m grateful beyond words for all of their work.  Our water will be cleaner, our soils will be purer, our slag will be covered, and our future will be brighter because of this historic agreement.”

“I am very pleased to announce the release of the proposed 2022 Sitewide consent decree for the Anaconda Smelter NPL Site,” said EPA Regional Administrator KC Becker. “Over the last several decades, EPA and MDEQ have made great strides in ensuring the cleanup of open space, residential areas, creeks and groundwater by Atlantic Richfield throughout Anaconda-Deer Lodge County. This cleanup of contaminated soils that impact surface waters and remediation of the largest slag piles at Anaconda builds on that progress.”

“This is an important milestone for the people of Anaconda and Montana. A lot of great cleanup work has already been done, and this consent decree will ensure that remaining remediation needs are funded and completed,” said Amy Steinmetz, Montana Department of Environmental Quality Waste Management and Remediation Division administrator

The consent decree filed today in U.S. District Court in Butte, Mont., is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court. A copy of the consent decree is available on the Department of Justice website.

Under Montana state law, the Department of Environmental Quality is separately required to put the Consent Decree out for public comment. The state’s public comment period will run concurrently with the federal public comment period. The consent decree will be available on DEQ’s website.

The consent decree and other information related to the Anaconda Site are available on EPA’s Superfund Site page.

La Región 7 de la EPA entrega un cheque de $400K a Denison, Iowa, para una subvención de Brownfields

EPA Air - Fri, 09/30/2022 - 19:00
La administradora de la Región 7 de la Agencia de Protección Ambiental de EE. UU. (EPA), Meg McCollister es acompañada por la alcaldesa de Denison, Pam Soseman, el administrador municipal Bradley Hanson,  y miembros de la comunidad durante un presentación de un cheque gigante a la ciudad de Denison, Iowa, 30 de septiembre de 2022. (Crédito de la foto: Agencia de Protección Ambiental de EE. UU.)

LENEXA, KAN. (30 de septiembre de 2022) – Hoy, la administradora de la Región 7 de la Agencia de Protección Ambiental de EE. UU. (EPA), Meg McCollister, presentó un cheque gigante simbólico por un total de $400,000 a la ciudad de Denison, Iowa, para celebrar su subvención de Brownfields.

La ciudad fue sede del evento en Washington Park. McCollister estuvo acompañada por la alcaldesa de Denison, Pam Soseman, el administrador municipal Bradley Hanson, líderes regionales y miembros de la comunidad.

Denison fue seleccionada para la labor de evaluación en toda la comunidad y el desarrollo de planes de reutilización para sitios que incluyen la Planta de Energía de Servicios Públicos Municipales de Denison y el sitio de Avenue C. Esta subvención también apoya la creación de un sitio web del proyecto y servicios de traducción al español para actividades de difuión.

“La Región 7 de la EPA se enorgullece de celebrar la primera subvención de Brownfields de Denison”, señaló McCollister. “El Programa de Brownfields tiene un historial comprobado de empoderar a las comunidades, y estamos entusiasmados de que Denison ponga en práctica este financiamiento de la Ley Bipartidista de Infraestructura para sus propias necesidades únicas de reutilización y revitalización”.

“En nombre de la comunidad de Denison, estoy sumamente emocionada y agradecida de que la comunidad se asocie con la EPA en una subvención de evaluación de Brownfields para ayudarnos a limpiar áreas clave de nuestra comunidad”, indicó Soseman. “Esto aumentará nuestra capacidad de revitalizar las áreas vacantes transformándolas en espacios utilizables”.

La subvención está respaldada por la Ley Bipartidista de Infraestructura del presidente Biden, la cual aporta un total de $1.5 mil millones para promover la justicia ambiental, estimular la revitalización económica y crear empleos mediante la limpieza de propiedades Brownfields contaminadas o peligrosas.

Después del evento de entrega de la subvención, la EPA invitó a los miembros de la comunidad de Denison a reunirse con McCollister en una sesión de escucha comunitaria para discutir sus pensamientos sobre la salud pública y el medioambiente.

Antecedentes

Los proyectos de Brownfields pueden abarcar desde la limpieza de edificios con contaminación por asbesto o plomo hasta la evaluación y limpieza de propiedades abandonadas que alguna vez manejaron productos químicos peligrosos. Una vez limpiadas, las antiguas propiedades de Brownfields se pueden reconvertir en usos productivos como supermercados, viviendas asequibles, centros de salud, museos, parques y granjas solares.

El Programa de Brownfields promueve la Iniciativa Justice40 del presidente Biden, que tiene como objetivo entregar al menos el 40% de los beneficios de ciertos programas gubernamentales a las comunidades desfavorecidas.  Aproximadamente el 86% de las comunidades seleccionadas para recibir fondos como parte del anuncio de hoy han propuesto proyectos en áreas históricamente marginadas.

Desde su creación en 1995, las inversiones de la EPA en sitios de Brownfields han aprovechado más de $35 mil millones en limpieza y reurbanización. Esto ha logrado beneficios significativos para las comunidades de todo el país. Por ejemplo:

  • Esta financiación ha creado más de 183,000 puestos de trabajo en limpieza, construcción y reurbanización y más de 9,500 propiedades han quedado listas para su reutilización.
  • Conforme a los informes de los beneficiarios de la subvención, los beneficiarios lograron en promedio $20.43 por cada dólar de Brownfields de la EPA y 10.3 empleos por cada $100,000 de los fondos de subvención de Brownfield de la EPA gastados en acuerdos cooperativos de evaluación, limpieza y fondos de préstamos rotativos.
  • Además, un estudio académico revisado por pares encontró que las propiedades residenciales cerca de sitios abandonados aumentaron su valor entre un 5% y un 15% gracias a las actividades de limpieza.
  • Por último, analizando los datos cerca de 48 Brownfields, la EPA encontró que se destinaron aproximadamente $29 millones a $97 millones en ingresos fiscales adicionales para los gobiernos locales en un solo año después de la limpieza, lo que representa de dos a siete veces más que los $12.4 millones que la EPA contribuyó a la limpieza de esos sitios de Brownfields.

Para obtener más información sobre las subvenciones para Brownfields, visite: www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-epa-brownfield-grant-funding.

Encontrará más información sobre el Programa de Brownfields de la EPA en: www.epa.gov/brownfields.

# # #

Conozca más sobre la Región 7 de la EPA: www.epa.gov/aboutepa/epa-region-7-midwest

EPA Finalizes Environmental Justice Action Plan for Land Protection and Cleanup Programs

EPA Air - Fri, 09/30/2022 - 19:00

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Land and Emergency Management announced it has finalized the agency’s “EJ Action Plan: Building Up Environmental Justice in EPA’s Land Protection and Cleanup Programs” (EJ Action Plan). The plan highlights projects, tools, and practices to be applied to the Superfund, Brownfields, Emergency Response, Solid Waste Management, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Corrective Action, and Underground Storage Tank programs. The plan aligns with President Biden’s commitment to elevate environmental justice to the highest levels of the federal government and advances the agency’s commitment to delivering justice and equity for all.

Last week, EPA announced the creation of the new Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights to uphold this commitment. The Office of Land and Emergency Management will work with this new office to ensure that the relevant actions described in the EJ Action Plan adhere to the agency’s priority that entities receiving any federal financial assistance from EPA comply with the federal civil rights laws, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin (including limited English proficiency), disability, sex and age.

“From day one, I pledged that the perspectives of underserved and overburdened communities across the country would be at the forefront of EPA’s decision-making.” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “EPA’s EJ Action Plan reflects the voices of communities who’ve historically been left behind and will enable stronger and faster progress in addressing contaminated land across the country.”

The historic $3.5 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investments will significantly enhance implementation of the plan, including the first wave of $1 billion to initiate cleanup and clear the backlog of 49 previously unfunded Superfund sites and accelerate cleanup at dozens of other sites across the country.

When finalizing the EJ Action Plan, EPA incorporated feedback from various stakeholders, including Tribal partners.  EPA heard a strong interest in having a larger role in our decision-making when it comes to the Superfund cleanup process, with the goal of improving EPA’s understanding of foundational values. EPA also received input regarding the eligibility requirements for entities and/or projects to receive new Infrastructure Grants, and the Recycling Education and Outreach Grants being funded by the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The EJ Action Plan is a working document and EPA will be reporting on progress as part of a whole-of-government and EPA-wide effort to address the nation’s environmental justice challenges, in-line with the priorities identified by President Biden and EPA Administrator Regan.

The plan includes four main goals:

  1. Strengthening compliance with cornerstone environmental statutes: This includes developing a “Good Governance” process and referral list to help address follow-up actions on communities’ environmental concerns.
  2. Incorporating environmental justice considerations during the regulatory development process: This includes assessing impacts to pollution-burdened, underserved, and tribal communities when developing Office of Land and Emergency Management regulations, while developing tools to identify, track, and consider the implications of potential environmental justice-related factors throughout the Superfund process.
  3. Improving community engagement in rulemakings, permitting decisions, and policies: This includes providing earlier and more frequent engagement with pollution-burdened and underserved communities in carrying out Office of Land and Emergency Management programs, and increasing technical support and risk communication resources for communities through the Agency’s Technical Assistance Services for Communities program and various grants.
  4. Implementing President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative: This includes providing direct and indirect benefits to underserved communities with grant application resources and in making grant award decisions, to the extent allowed by law.

The EJ Action Plan also complements the recommendations for integrating environmental justice into the cleanup and redevelopment of Superfund and other contaminated sites highlighted in the May 2021 National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) report titled “Superfund Remediation and Redevelopment for Environmental Justice Communities.” The agency appreciates and supports the NEJAC’s overall goal to continue to address barriers, develop solutions, and recommend best practices for improving EPA’s ability to expedite Superfund cleanups. EPA also embraces the need for better outcomes in communities where there are unique burdens and vulnerabilities for populations living in and around Superfund sites.

Background:

In 2021, President Biden issued two executive orders – Executive Order 13985 (Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government) and Executive Order 14008 (Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad) – that directed federal agencies to promote and work toward proactively achieving environmental justice. Federal agencies were directed to develop and implement policies and strategies that strengthen compliance and enforcement, incorporate environmental justice considerations in their work, increase community engagement, and ensure that at least 40 percent of the benefits from federal investments in climate and clean energy flow to underserved communities.

This EJ Action Plan builds on the best lessons in existing and new cleanup programs, incorporates public input on those programs, and works toward the implementation of projects and practices to achieve EPA’s environmental justice goals. Using new recommendations along with years of cleanup experiences, success stories, and lessons learned from working toward environmental justice, the agency is committed to new approaches and investments of time, staffing and funding that will improve quality of cleanups in communities with environmental justice concerns.

Learn more about the EJ Action Plan for EPA’s Land Protection and Cleanup Programs.

EPA Announces $26 Million in Funding for New Mexico Water Infrastructure Improvements

EPA Air - Fri, 09/30/2022 - 19:00

DALLAS, TEXAS (September 30, 2022) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced more than $26 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding to the New Mexico Environment Department and the New Mexico Finance Authority for water infrastructure improvements.

At an event in Santa Fe, EPA Regional Administrator Dr. Earthea Nance presented a ceremonial check to the New Mexico Environment Department Secretary James Kenney, who accepted on behalf of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. Officials from the EPA and the state of New Mexico joined a tour of a municipal water facility in Dixon, New Mexico, an example of the type of facility that would benefit from increased funding from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The grants mark the first significant distribution of water infrastructure funds following the passage of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The BIL allocates more than $50 billion toward repairing the nation’s essential water infrastructure, in turn helping communities access clean, safe, and reliable drinking water, prevent flooding, collect and treat wastewater to protect public health, and safeguard vital waterways.

“Water is an essential right for all individuals and is critical for community growth,” said Regional Administrator Dr. Earthea Nance. “Through this funding, and working with state partners, the EPA continues to make significant clean water advancements for communities in New Mexico. The EPA remains committed to modernizing water infrastructure to improve public health and the environment, including assisting vulnerable communities.”

 “We worked diligently to ensure that New Mexico quickly received our share of infrastructure funding so that we can begin to put it to use as soon as possible,” said Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. “The people of New Mexico will have more access to quality drinking water and healthy watersheds thanks to our successful efforts to leverage these unprecedented federal investments. I thank the members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation for their work to deliver this important funding for our state.” 

“Every home should have access to safe and clean water," said Senator Luján. “I’m pleased to celebrate this grant from the EPA that will fund improvements to New Mexican acequias, water quality, and waterways infrastructure. This is one step towards ensuring clean and safe water is accessible to all.”

“I’m proud the historic investments we secured in the Infrastructure Law continue delivering on the promise to improve and rebuild our state’s infrastructure,” said Senator Heinrich. “In the face of severe drought and the ever-growing impacts of the climate crisis, it is critical that we have strong drinking and wastewater infrastructure moving forward. This funding helps our state achieve that goal.”

“Today’s announcement of $25 million in funding for clean and drinking water infrastructure will drive further growth in our communities and improve quality of life,” said Rep. Leger Fernández. “Our gente deserve reliable access to clean drinking water, no matter where they live or what background they come from. I will keep advocating for these critical projects in our New Mexico communities.”

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is delivering for New Mexico. While we know that water is life—far too many of our communities are struggling to meet their basic water needs. Today’s announcement that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will send over $26.7 million for critical water infrastructure projects is a crucial step in addressing our state’s water security needs,” said Rep. Stansbury. “This funding will help rebuild our infrastructure, create meaningful jobs, and improve the quality of life in our communities for generations to come.”

The New Mexico Drinking Water State Revolving Fund capitalization grant is being awarded to the New Mexico Finance Authority in the amount of $17,992,00 for their drinking water program. The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund is a financial assistance program to help water systems and states to achieve the health protection objectives of the Safe Drinking Water Act. The focus of this program is to improve drinking water treatment, fixing aging water distribution system, improve sources of water supply and replace or repair water storage tanks.


The New Mexico Clean Water State Revolving Fund capitalization grant is being awarded to the New Mexico Environment Department in the amount of $8,738,000. The Clean Water State Revolving Fund is a financial assistance program to provide loans to eligible recipients to construct municipal wastewater facilities, control nonpoint sources of pollution, build decentralized wastewater systems, create green infrastructure projects, protect estuaries, and fund other water quality projects. Nearly half of the grant will focus on assisting disadvantaged communities across the state.

Capitalization grants will continue to be awarded, on a state-by-state basis, over the course of the next four years. As grants are awarded, the state SRF programs can begin to distribute the funds to communities across their state.

While the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law presents the largest low-cost and no-cost funding opportunity for investing in water infrastructure, other programs do exist to help communities manage their water resources. More information about funding is available here.

Connect with the Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 on Facebook, Twitter, or visit our homepage.

EPA Confirms No Further Cleanup Needed at the Universal Oil Products Superfund Site in East Rutherford, New Jersey

EPA Air - Fri, 09/30/2022 - 19:00

NEW YORK – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized its decision that no further cleanup action is needed to address groundwater that discharges to nearby surface water at the Universal Oil Products Superfund site in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Sampling data indicates that contaminant levels will not pose a risk to the surrounding community. In addition, to further ensure long-term protection, EPA is amending the original cleanup action, requiring notices to be filed with property records and incorporating monitoring and other measures to ensure the integrity of the work done at the site.

“The major sources of contamination have been removed, and EPA also treated the groundwater," said Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. "We will remain at the job by continuing to monitor this site in the long term to ensure it poses no serious risk to people living and working nearby."

This final decision comes after extensive work has already been done under a 1993 cleanup plan selected by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in close consultation with EPA. Under that plan, contaminated soil was dug up and treated, groundwater was extracted and treated, the area was capped, and long-term monitoring was required. The addition finalized by EPA today requires that property owners planning new construction on the land portion of the site evaluate conditions to ensure pollutants in indoor air will not exceed levels protective of human health for building occupants. In addition, property owners may be required to install certain engineering controls, such as a vapor barrier or a sub-slab-depressurization system, which uses a fan-powered vent to draw air from beneath the foundation slab, redirecting potentially harmful vapor from entering the building.

The Universal Oil Products Superfund site is a 75-acre area located in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Site operations starting in the 1930s included chemical manufacturing and solvent recovery, later expanding in the mid-1950s to include a wastewater treatment plant and storage lagoons. Seepage from the wastewater lagoons and the routine handling of products and wastes resulted in the release of hazardous substances to the upland soil, groundwater, tidal marshes, and waterways.

EPA placed the site on the Superfund National Priorities List in 1983 and divided the site into two distinct areas called operable units (OUs). Today's final decision is for the first operable unit, which addresses the upland soil and shallow groundwater. EPA selected a cleanup plan for an interim remedy for OU2 in 2019, which addresses a former lagoon area, low-lying marshes, and the waterway channels of Ackermans Creek and its tributaries. The design for that cleanup is currently underway.

On July 22, 2022, EPA released its proposed plan to the public and held a virtual public meeting on July 27, 2022, to explain the plan and take comments. The Record of Decision released today addresses the comments received and formalizes EPA’s selected cleanup plan.

Visit the Universal Oil Products Superfund site profile page for additional background and to view the Record of Decision.

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter and visit our Facebook page. For more information about EPA Region 2, visit our website.

22-074

EPA Tools to Assist Cleanup in the Wake of Hurricane Ian

EPA Air - Fri, 09/30/2022 - 19:00

ATLANTA (September 30, 2022)– The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is coordinating closely with federal, state, local and tribal partners in the wake of Hurricane Ian and reminds communities, families, and business owners affected by the hurricane to take steps to make storm cleanup as safe and effective as possible.

"Cleanup activities related to returning to homes and businesses after a disaster can pose significant health and environmental challenges," said EPA Region 4 Administrator Daniel Blackman. “EPA stands ready to assist our partners on every level to respond to any challenges that may result from Ian and to ensure that public health and the environmental are protected.”

Disasters can generate tons of debris, including building rubble, trees and plants, personal property, and household hazardous wastes. How a community manages disaster debris depends on the debris generated and the waste management options available. Residents should use caution to assure that all waste materials are removed and disposed of properly, following local guidelines.

EPA offers several resources and tips for managing debris during storm cleanup:

Use portable generators safely

Never use a portable generator inside homes, garages, crawlspaces, sheds or similar areas. Deadly levels of carbon monoxide (CO) can quickly build up in these areas and can linger for hours, even after the generator has shut off. Because it is impossible to see, taste or smell the toxic fumes, CO can kill you before you are aware it is in your home. The effects of CO exposure can vary greatly from person to person depending on age, overall health and the concentration and length of exposure.

Avoid contact with building debris

Debris from damaged homes and buildings can contain hazardous substances, especially in older buildings. Elevated concentrations of airborne asbestos can occur if asbestos-containing materials present in the home are disturbed. Airborne asbestos can cause lung cancer and mesothelioma, a cancer of the chest and abdominal linings. such as lead and asbestos. Lead is a highly toxic metal that produces a range of adverse health effects, particularly in young children. Disturbance or removal of materials containing lead-based paint may result in an elevated concentration of lead dust in the air. When entering a storm-damaged building, at a minimum, wear an N-95 respirator mask, goggles and protective gloves.

Maintain personal safety

Always wear proper safety equipment, such as goggles, an N95 respirator mask, and gloves when handling debris. Be on the alert for leaking containers and reactive household chemicals, such as caustic drain cleaners or chlorine bleach. Clean up and discard chemicals separately, even if you know what they are. Use caution when disturbing building materials to prevent physical injury or other health effects, as they may contain hazardous materials such as asbestos that, when carried by the air, can be inhaled and cause adverse health effects. If you suspect asbestos-containing materials may be present, the materials should not be disturbed.

Separate wastes by type

Storm damage creates many types of household and building debris. Some of these include building materials, such as drywall, brick, and wood; white goods or appliances, such as refrigerators and washing machines; clothes, furniture, and other personal items; and household hazardous wastes, including paint, cleaners, automotive fluids, batteries, and pesticides. Separating wastes is crucial for communities to effectively manage the large volume of debris following a storm. Please check with your city or local government for specific guidelines on when and how to separate waste. Learn more about types of debris and how to manage them here: https://www.epa.gov/natural-disasters/dealing-debris-and-damaged-buildings#cautions

Mold can form after floods

Flood water can make the air in your home unhealthy, because when things remain wet for more than two days, they usually get moldy. Inhaling mold can cause adverse health effects, including allergic reactions. Mold also can damage materials in your home. When entering a flood-damaged building, at a minimum, wear an N-95 respirator mask, goggles and protective gloves.

Please visit EPA’s website for more information on indoor air quality safety:

https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/resources-flood-cleanup-and-indoor-air-quality

For information on cleanup after flood, see:

https://www.epa.gov/flooded-homes

Be aware of local resources

EPA has developed this interactive mapping tool of 12 types of recyclers and landfills that manage disaster debris. This tool provides information and locations of over 20,000 facilities capable of managing different materials which may be found in disaster debris. Learn more about this tool here:

https://www.epa.gov/large-scale-residential-demolition/disaster-debris-recovery-tool

For more information on how your community can plan for future disaster cleanups, see:

https://www.epa.gov/large-scale-residential-demolition/disaster-debris-planning

EPA has important resources available online in English and Spanish about floodwaters, mold, hazardous debris, household hazardous waste, and other hurricane impacts. EPA's central hub for disaster and hurricane information is available at EPA Hurricanes and EPA Huracanes.

Herramientas de la EPA para ayudar a limpiar tras el huracán Ian

EPA Air - Fri, 09/30/2022 - 19:00

ATLANTA (30 de septiembre de 2022) – La Agencia de Protección Ambiental de Estados Unidos (EPA, por sus siglas en inglés) está coordinando estrechamente con socios federales, estatales, locales y tribales tras el paso el huracán Ian y recuerda a las comunidades, familias y propietarios de negocios afectados por el huracán que tomen medidas para que la limpieza después de la tormenta sea lo más segura y efectiva posible.

“Las actividades de limpieza relacionadas con el regreso a los hogares y negocios después de un desastre pueden plantear importantes desafíos ambientales y de salud”, indicó el administrador de la Región 4 de la EPA, Daniel Blackman. “La EPA está lista para ayudar a nuestros socios en todos los niveles a responder a cualquier desafío que pueda haber ocasionado Ian y garantizar que la salud pública y el medioambiente estén protegidos”.

Los desastres pueden generar toneladas de escombros, incluidos escombros de viviendas, árboles y plantas, pertenencias personales y desechos domésticos peligrosos. La forma en que una comunidad maneja los escombros tras desastres depende de los escombros generados y las opciones de manejo de desechos disponibles. Los residentes deben ser precavidos para asegurarse de que todos los materiales de desecho se retiren y eliminen adecuadamente, siguiendo las pautas locales.

La EPA ofrece varios recursos y consejos para manejar los escombros durante la limpieza de tormentas:

Utilice generadores portátiles de forma segura

Nunca use un generador portátil dentro de casas, garajes, sótanos de baja altura, cobertizos o áreas similares. Se pueden acumular rápidamente niveles mortales de monóxido de carbono (CO) en estas áreas y pueden persistir durante horas, incluso después de que el generador se haya apagado. Debido a que es imposible ver, saborear u oler los humos tóxicos, el CO puede matar antes de que uno se dé cuenta de que en su presencia en el hogar. Los efectos de la exposición al CO pueden variar mucho de una persona a otra dependiendo de la edad, la salud general y la concentración y duración de la exposición.

Evite el contacto con los escombros de viviendas

Los escombros de casas y edificios dañados pueden contener sustancias peligrosas, especialmente en construcciones más antiguas. Puede haber concentraciones elevadas de asbesto en el aire si se alteran los materiales presentes en el hogar que contienen asbesto. El asbesto en el aire puede causar cáncer de pulmón y mesotelioma, un cáncer del tórax y los revestimientos abdominales. como el plomo y el asbesto. El plomo es un metal altamente tóxico que produce una serie de efectos adversos para la salud, particularmente en niños pequeños. La perturbación o eliminación de materiales que contienen pintura a base de plomo puede dar lugar a una concentración elevada de polvo de plomo en el aire. Al ingresar a un edificio dañado por la tormenta, como mínimo, use una mascarilla respiratoria N-95, gafas y guantes protectores.

Mantenga la seguridad personal

Siempre use el equipo de seguridad adecuado, como gafas, una mascarilla respiratoria N-95 y guantes cuando manipule escombros. Esté alerta a los contenedores con fugas y productos químicos domésticos reactivos, como limpiadores de drenaje cáusticos o blanqueador de cloro. Limpie y deseche los productos químicos por separado, incluso si sabe cuáles son. Tenga cuidado al perturbar los materiales de construcción para evitar lesiones físicas u otros efectos sobre la salud, ya que pueden contener materiales peligrosos como el asbesto que, cuando se transportan por el aire, pueden inhalarse y causar efectos adversos para la salud. Si sospecha que puede haber materiales que contienen asbesto, no deben perturbarse estos materiales.

Separe los desechos por tipo

El daño de la tormenta crea muchos tipos de escombros domésticos y de edificios. Algunos de estos incluyen materiales de construcción, como paneles de yeso, ladrillo y madera; línea blanca o electrodomésticos, como refrigeradores y lavadoras; ropa, muebles y otros artículos personales; y desechos domésticos peligrosos, incluyendo pintura, limpiadores, fluidos automotrices, baterías y pesticidas. Es crucial separar los desechos para que las comunidades gestionen eficazmente el gran volumen de escombros después de una tormenta. Consulte con su municipio o gobierno local para obtener pautas específicas sobre cuándo y cómo separar los desechos. Obtenga más información sobre los tipos de escombros y cómo manejarlos aquí: https://www.epa.gov/natural-disasters/dealing-debris-and-damaged-buildings#cautions

Puede formarse moho después de las inundaciones

El agua de inundación puede hacer que el aire de su hogar se torne insalubre, porque cuando las cosas permanecen húmedas durante más de dos días, generalmente se enmohecen. La inhalación de moho puede causar efectos adversos para la salud, incluso reacciones alérgicas. El moho también puede dañar los materiales en su hogar. Al ingresar a un edificio dañado por inundaciones, como mínimo, use una mascarilla respiratoria N-95, gafas y guantes protectores.

Visite el sitio web de la EPA para obtener más información sobre la seguridad y calidad del aire interior:

https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/resources-flood-cleanup-and-indoor-air-quality

Para obtener información sobre la limpieza después de una inundación, consulte:

https://www.epa.gov/flooded-homes

Tenga en cuenta los recursos locales

La EPA ha desarrollado esta herramienta de mapeo interactivo de 12 tipos de recicladores y rellenos sanitarios que manejan los escombros de desastres. Esta herramienta proporciona información y ubicaciones de más de 20,000 instalaciones capaces de manejar diferentes materiales que se pueden encontrar en los escombros del desastre. Obtenga más información sobre esta herramienta aquí:

https://www.epa.gov/large-scale-residential-demolition/disaster-debris-recovery-tool

Para obtener más información sobre cómo su comunidad puede planificar futuras limpiezas tras los desastres, consulte:

https://www.epa.gov/large-scale-residential-demolition/disaster-debris-planning

La EPA tiene importantes recursos disponibles en línea en inglés y español sobre aguas de inundación, moho, escombros peligrosos, desechos domésticos peligrosos y otros impactos de huracanes. El centro de información de la EPA para desastres y huracanes está disponible en EPA Hurricanes y EPA Huracanes.

EPA Announces Proposed Tower Standard Petroleum Site Corrective Action Will Not Affect Historic Lac du Flambeau Reservation Properties

EPA Air - Thu, 09/29/2022 - 19:00

CHICAGO (September 29, 2022) – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a determination under the National Historic Preservation Act that the proposed interim measure for the Tower Standard site, located at Haskell Lake at County Road D and State Highway 70 on the Lac du Flambeau Reservation, will not impact any historic properties or cultural resources.

EPA will begin a 30-day public comment period on September 29. The agency has proposed a “no adverse effects” finding for contamination at the site because neither historic properties nor cultural resources will be adversely affected by the proposed interim measure. The Agency made its determination following historical research, an archaeological assessment and other requirements of the National Historic Preservation Act.

Since 2011, EPA has worked with the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians to investigate petroleum contamination from leaking underground storage tanks at the former Tower Standard gasoline service station, which operated from the 1940s through the 1990s. The contamination was discovered when the tanks were removed in 1997.

EPA and the tribe want to address the source of the contamination to ensure that it doesn’t pose a threat to the environment or to public health. EPA recommends and the tribe agrees that an air sparge/soil vapor extraction system will be installed to address the remaining petroleum contamination at the site.

EPA invites the public to provide comments on the proposed no adverse effects finding between September 29 and October 31 by mail or email to:

Robert Egan, Project Manager, U.S. EPA Region 5, Land, Chemicals and Redevelopment Division (mail code LR-17J), 77 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60604, egan.robert@epa.gov.

For more information please contact Robert Egan or Community Involvement Coordinator Francisco Arcaute, arcaute.francisco@epa.gov.

More information can be found on the Tower Standard Petroleum website.

​​​​​​​NRT West Inc. dba Coldwell Banker Settles with EPA over Claims of Lead-Based Paint Violations at Bay Area Properties

EPA Air - Thu, 09/29/2022 - 19:00

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement with NRT West Inc. dba Coldwell Banker to resolve claims of ten violations of the Toxic Substances Control Act at seven residential properties in and around the cities of San Jose, Sunnyvale, and Vallejo, California. Acting as the agent for the seller in a real estate transaction, NRT West failed to ensure that the sellers properly disclosed information related to lead-based paint in its sales contracts and will pay a penalty of $35,433.

“Reducing exposure to lead is critical to protecting public health in our communities,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “The legal requirement for lead-based paint disclosure is a key element that keeps people informed of hazards in their homes. Companies that fail to comply with disclosure rules will face fines.”

From August 2017 through October 11, 2018, when NRT West’s clients entered into these seven contracts, the company failed to ensure that its clients complied with the Toxic Substances Control Act’s Disclosure Rule by not meeting the following requirements:

(1) providing the purchaser with an EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlet;

(2) including a Lead Warning Statement in the contract;

(3) disclosing in the contract the presence of lead-based paint hazards, or alternatively indicating no knowledge of such hazards;

(4) including in the contract a statement that the seller is aware of and responsible for complying with the lead-based paint disclosure rule (Section 1018);

and (5) including in the contract the signatures of the sellers and purchasers certifying the accuracy of their statements, to the best of their knowledge, along with the dates of signature.

NRT West has certified that it is now in compliance with the lead-based paint hazard requirements to ensure prospective buyers are provided with disclosure information.

NRT West was cited under the Toxic Substances Control Act’s lead-based paint Disclosure Rule, which applies to housing built before the residential use of lead-based paint was banned in 1978. The Disclosure Rule generally requires sellers and lessors of pre-1978 homes to provide homebuyers and tenants with a federal brochure about lead-based paint, any information known about lead-based paint in the home, and a warning statement about the potential dangers of lead-based paint. Buyers also have the option to inspect pre-1978 homes before becoming obligated to make a purchase. With this knowledge, potential homebuyers and tenants can make informed decisions about whether to buy or rent a particular residence.

High blood levels of lead can cause permanent damage to the nervous system and widespread health problems, including reduced intelligence and attention span, hearing loss, stunted growth, reading and learning problems, and behavioral difficulties. Young children are most vulnerable because their nervous systems are still developing. Adults with high blood levels of lead can suffer difficulties during pregnancy, high blood pressure, nerve disorders, memory problems, and muscle and joint pain.

For more information on the Disclosure Rule visit EPA’s Real Estate Disclosures about Potential Lead Hazards Real Estate Disclosures about Potential Lead Hazards webpage.

To report a lead-based paint violation visit EPA’s Pacific Southwest Lead-Based Paint Tips & Complaints webpage.

Learn more about EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. Connect with us on Facebook and on Twitter.

Biden-Harris Administration Will Double Clean School Bus Rebate Awards to Nearly $1 Billion

EPA Air - Thu, 09/29/2022 - 19:00

WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it would nearly double the funding awarded for clean school buses this year following increased demand, with school districts from all 50 states applying for the 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates. This is the first round of funding from the EPA Clean School Bus Program, which President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law created with a historic $5 billion investment for low- and zero-emission school buses over the next five years.

In May, EPA had announced the availability of $500 million, but given overwhelming demand from school districts across the country, including in low-income communities, Tribal nations, and territories, EPA is nearly doubling the amount of funding that will be awarded to $965 million.

EPA will move swiftly to review applications submitted and expects to issue a robust slate of awards next month. EPA is also designing the next rounds of program funding to launch in the coming months, which will include an ambitious grant competition. Through future rounds of funding, EPA will make available another $1 billion for clean school buses in Fiscal Year 2023.

“Thanks to the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration and the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we’re working across all 50 states to accelerate the transition to a future where clean, zero-emissions school buses are the American standard,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “America’s school districts delivered this message loud and clear – we must replace older, dirty diesel school buses. Together, we can reduce climate pollution, improve air quality, and reduce the risk of health impacts like asthma for as many as 25 million children who ride the bus every day.”

“Today’s announcement reflects what we know to be true—school districts across our country are eager to replace their heavy-polluting school buses with cleaner alternatives.” said Senator Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. “I’m especially pleased to see that there is high demand for electric buses among low income, tribal, and other disadvantaged communities. These are the very communities that stand to gain the most from our historic clean school bus investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Given the response to the availability of these dollars, it’s clear that more funding is needed. I look forward to working with Administrator Regan, the rest of the Biden Administration, and my colleagues in Congress to build on this progress so that more communities can realize the clean air and energy saving benefits of these cleaner vehicles.”

“This is a huge win for our nation’s children and our fight against the climate crisis,” said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. “School districts across the country have long recognized the tremendous benefits of zero-emission electric school buses for protecting both our environment and our children’s health. With today’s announcement, I’m thrilled we are making significant progress toward safeguarding both. I encourage every school district to apply and look forward to seeing this important program in action.”

The rebate application period closed in August with an outstanding response from school districts seeking to purchase electric and low-emission school buses across the country. EPA received around 2,000 applications requesting nearly $4 billion for over 12,000 buses. More than 90 percent of buses requested were for zero-emission electric buses.  Nearly 9 percent of applications were for propane buses and 1 percent were for compressed natural gas (CNG) buses.

The applicant pool includes submissions from all 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and federally recognized Tribes.

The Clean School Bus Program will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and produce cleaner air for students, bus drivers, and school staff working near the bus loading areas, and the communities through which the buses drive each day. Diesel air pollution is linked to asthma and other conditions that harm students’ health and cause them to miss school, particularly in communities of color and Tribal communities. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from these bus replacements will also help to address the outsized role of the transportation sector in fueling the climate crisis.  School districts can save money by upgrading their fleets.

The 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates prioritizes low-income, rural, and Tribal communities. The vast majority of applicants met the priority definition under the 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates criteria, resulting in access to more funds for buses and electric vehicle infrastructure for schools in areas that need them the most. The program also delivers on President Biden’s Justice40 commitment, which aims to deliver 40% of benefits from certain federal programs to underserved or overburdened communities.

EPA is currently reviewing submitted applications to determine eligibility and make final selections. EPA anticipates notifying rebate applicants of their selection status in October 2022. Once notified, selected school districts can proceed with purchasing new buses and eligible infrastructure. Selectees will need to submit Payment Request Forms with purchase orders demonstrating they have ordered new buses and eligible infrastructure. After the selectees submit the proper forms, they will be eligible to receive rebate funds.

This is the first of several funding opportunities for the multi-year Clean School Bus Program. EPA anticipates running both a grant competition and another rebate program in 2023. The agency encourages school districts not selected in the first round of rebates – and those that did not apply this funding cycle – to participate in future rounds.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides EPA with an unprecedented $5 billion opportunity to fund the replacement of older school buses with new zero- and low-emissions buses over a five-year period and jump-start the transition to zero emission in our schools. For more information, visit the EPA Clean School Bus Program website.

Containerboard Manufacturer Will Pay $2.5M for Violating Clean Air Act at its Louisiana Mill

EPA Air - Thu, 09/29/2022 - 19:00

WASHINGTON – Packaging Corporation of America (PCA), headquartered in Illinois, has agreed to pay $2.5 million in civil penalties to resolve allegations that it violated the Clean Air Act’s General Duty Clause and Risk Management Program Regulations at its containerboard production mill in DeRidder, Louisiana.

In the complaint, filed this week with the proposed settlement, the United States and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) allege nine Clean Air Act violations that stem, in part, from a fatal explosion and accidental release at the DeRidder mill on Feb 8, 2017. The explosion – which killed three workers and injured seven others – launched a 100,000-gallon storage tank into the air and over a six-story building before it landed on mill equipment approximately 400 feet away. The blast also caused property damage and released extremely hazardous substances into the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) inspected the DeRidder mill after the explosion, and uncovered additional Clean Air Act violations.

“This case demonstrates the tragic impacts to human life and the environment that can result from failures to follow appropriate chemical accident prevention and preparation requirements,” said Larry Starfield, Acting Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “This settlement both holds the Packaging Corporation of America accountable for failures that contributed to this accident and sends a clear message to corporations across the country on the importance of implementing appropriate chemical safety measures.”

“This settlement holds Packaging Corporation of America accountable for the harm it has caused to the environment and to the individuals who lost their lives on Feb. 8, 2017,” said Dr. Earthea Nance, EPA Region 6 Administrator. “Legal action will be pursued for companies who fail to safeguard their workers’ well-being. We offer our condolences for all individuals affected by this tragedy.”  

“PCA failed to comply with the General Duty Clause and Risk Management Program Regulations of the Clean Air Act at its DeRidder mill, resulting in the senseless deaths of three workers, while placing other workers and the surrounding community in danger,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environmental and Natural Resources Division. “This settlement furthers the department’s efforts to ensure corporate compliance with potentially life-saving environmental mandates to protect the air quality and the community in DeRidder and throughout the United States.” 

“The Clean Air Act was created to provide guidelines for companies such as PCA to adhere to in order to keep our communities safe from hazardous substances,” said U.S. Attorney Brandon Brown for the Western District of Louisiana. “Sadly, it took an explosion and the loss of lives to highlight PCA’s failure to adhere to some of these guidelines. The Civil Division in the Western District of Louisiana has an important job and welcomes the opportunity to continue to work alongside our federal and local partners to ensure these laws are abided by.”

“We join with our federal partners in taking action to ensure that this tragic occurrence is properly addressed,” said Dr. Chuck Carr Brown, LDEQ Secretary. “Those responsible must be held accountable.”

Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act and its accompanying regulations are designed to prevent the accidental release of hazardous substances, like the explosion at the DeRidder mill. Congress added section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act in response to a 1984 catastrophic release of methyl isocyanate in Bhopal, India, that killed more than 3,400 people and caused over 200,000 others to suffer injuries. Under the Clean Air Act, facilities like PCA’s are required to identify hazards, design and maintain a safe facility, minimize the consequences of accidental releases that do occur, and comply with regulatory prevention measures. Failing to comply with these requirements increases the risk of accidents and threatens surrounding communities.

Reducing the risk to human health and the environment by decreasing the likelihood of chemical accidents at chemical facilities is a top priority for EPA’s enforcement and compliance assurance program.

The proposed stipulation of settlement is subject to a 45-day public comment period and court review and approval. A copy of the stipulation of settlement is available on the Department of Justice website.

EPA cites Bell Lumber and Pole Company for Clean Air Act violations in Minnesota

EPA Air - Wed, 09/28/2022 - 19:00

CHICAGO (September 28, 2022) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a citation against Bell Lumber and Pole Company for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act. EPA alleges that Bell Lumber failed to use pollution control practices to minimize emissions from its New Brighton facility in Ramsey County, Minnesota.

Bell Lumber pressure-treats wood with a solution containing a hazardous air pollutant called pentachlorophenol, which is associated with cancer-related health risks. The alleged violations include failure to promptly respond to a large indoor spill; properly operate the pressure-treatment cylinders; and comply with reporting requirements. EPA alleges these actions violated the maximum available control technology requirements established under section 112 of the Clean Air Act. These standards are performance criteria designed to significantly reduce air toxics emissions.

EPA inspectors first visited the site after receiving numerous complaints from residents. Tips from community members help EPA identify environmental problems and companies that are violating laws. To submit a complaint to EPA, visit our complaint website.

Under the Clean Air Act, EPA has several enforcement options to address the alleged violations, including an administrative or judicial civil action.

More information can be found about EPA Region 5’s air enforcement.

EPA Announces Billions in Economic Benefits from Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Cleanups at Hazardous Waste Facilities Across the Nation

EPA Air - Wed, 09/28/2022 - 19:00

WASHINGTON (September 28, 2022) – Today, EPA announced the results of a study that estimates the economic benefits of cleaning up facilities under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Corrective Action program.

EPA’s analyses of 79 cleanups revealed that these facilities support 1,028 on-site businesses, which provide economic benefits including: $39 billion in annual sales revenue; over 82,000 jobs; and $7.9 billion in estimated annual employment income. EPA also developed brief profiles for more than 40 facilities to showcase the economic benefits that can be fostered through RCRA Corrective Action cleanups.

“EPA’s study illustrates the incredible potential RCRA cleanups have to contribute significant environmental and economic benefits to communities across nation,” said Carlton Waterhouse, EPA Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Land and Emergency Management. “While our primary focus is protecting the environment and public health, these profiles demonstrate real-world examples of development opportunities that can bolster our local economies, create job opportunities and improve the quality of life for impacted communities.”

EPA and states work with owners and operators of hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facilities to ensure cleanups effectively protect human health and the environment and support reuse as well as continued use. Facilities that are cleaned up under RCRA are often redeveloped for a wide array of commercial, recreational, and energy production purposes. These cleanups also enable on-site industrial and commercial businesses to continue operating while protecting human health and the environment.

EPA collected economic data for 79 facilities, a subset of all the Corrective Action facilities, for this study to assess the number of jobs and magnitude of economic benefits from these facilities post cleanup. Since the analysis is from a small subset of the nearly 4,000 facilities being cleaned up, the benefits associated with all RCRA Corrective Action cleanups are likely much greater. EPA plans to continue to evaluate economic benefits and develop more profiles in the future.

Additionally, Corrective Action cleanups are an important part of EPA’s focus on environmental justice to help correct disparities in access to a clean and safe environment. EPA found that approximately 25% of the facilities in this study are located within communities with potential environmental justice concerns. More than 170 businesses are operating at these facilities, helping to generate 7,900 jobs and more than $522 million in annual income for these communities.

Finally, the economic benefits from RCRA Corrective Action cleanups go beyond those associated with on-site businesses. According to recent research, EPA’s Corrective Action program contributed to a $323 million increase in the value of homes near the completed cleanups studied. By identifying and completing the cleanup of contamination, homeowners near the cleanups experience an average of a six to seven percent increase in the value of their homes. Another recent study notes that housing price increases are largest for lower-cost homes.

Background

Signed into law in 1976 with Corrective Action provisions added in 1984, RCRA set standards for responsible solid waste management and established safeguards for hazardous wastes, from generation to transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal. Corrective Action is a requirement under the law that facilities that treat, store, or dispose of hazardous wastes investigate and clean up hazardous releases into soil, ground water, surface water, and air. EPA and states currently oversee cleanups at almost 4,000 facilities across the country under the RCRA Corrective Action program. Approximately 111 million people live within three miles of a RCRA Corrective Action cleanup.

Learn more about corrective action on our website

La EPA y el Servicio Forestal ponen a disposición en español el popular Mapa de Incendios y Humo AirNow, e información adicional sobre incendios forestales

EPA Air - Wed, 09/28/2022 - 19:00

Washington (28 de septiembre de 2022) – La Agencia de Protección Ambiental de Estados Unidos (EPA, por sus siglas en inglés) y el Servicio Forestal del Departamento de Agricultura de los Estados Unidos están poniendo a disposición el popular Mapa de Incendios y Humo AirNow en español a modo de proyecto piloto para hacer que haya importantes recursos de calidad del aire accesibles para las personas de habla hispana que viven en áreas afectadas por el humo de los incendios forestales. Casi 42 millones de personas en los Estados Unidos hablan español en casa.

“El cambio climático está haciendo que los incendios forestales sean más frecuentes e intensos, por lo que es más importante que nunca que las personas que viven en áreas propensas a incendios forestales tengan acceso a información que puedan usar para proteger su salud”, explicó el Subadministrador Adjunto Principal de Aire y Radiación Joe Goffman. “Al usar el Mapa de Incendios y Humo AirNow, que ponen a disposición la EPA y el Servicio Forestal, los hispanohablantes en los Estados Unidos podrán conocer qué pasos dar para protegerse del humo de los incendios forestales, y cuándo hacerlo”.

“Mejorar la calidad y la accesibilidad de la información sobre el humo de los incendios forestales para el público ha sido durante mucho tiempo un objetivo de nuestra asociación con la EPA”, señaló Jaelith Hall-Rivera, Subjefa del Servicio Forestal del USDA para Silvicultura Estatal y Privada. “Al poner a disposición el Mapa de Incendios y Humo en español, estamos dando un paso concreto para eliminar las barreras a la información crítica de salud pública, asegurando que las comunidades con dominio limitado del inglés estén mejor informadas y preparadas para abordar los impactos del humo de los incendios forestales”.

El Programa Interinstitucional de Respuesta al Aire de Incendios Forestales dirigido por el Servicio Forestal hace que las Perspectivas de Pronóstico de Humo estén disponibles en español acerca de muchos incendios. Estas perspectivas se emiten sobre incendios forestales donde el humo puede ser motivo de preocupación y donde se han desplegado asesores de recursos de aire especialmente capacitados. Puede acceder a las Perspectivas de Pronóstico de Humo en https://outlooks.wildlandfiresmoke.net/outlook, o a través del Mapa de incendios y humo.

La EPA y el Servicio Forestal lanzaron el Mapa de Incendios y Humo en agosto de 2020 para proporcionar al público información sobre ubicaciones de incendios, columnas (penachos)de humo, calidad del aire casi en tiempo real y medidas de protección a tomar, todo en un solo lugar. Para brindar a los usuarios la información de calidad del aire más localizada posible, el mapa extrae datos de monitores que informan regularmente a AirNow, monitores temporales como los que han desplegado el Servicio Forestal y las agencias encargadas del aire cerca de los incendios, y datos de fuentes colectivas de más de 13,000 sensores de bajo costo que miden la contaminación por partículas finas, el principal contaminante dañino en el humo. El mapa muestra estos datos utilizando el código de colores conocido del Índice de Calidad del Aire de los Estados Unidos (AQI,por sus siglas en inglés).

Puede ver el mapa de incendios y humo en https://fire.airnow.gov/ o en la aplicación móvil AirNow. Para ver el mapa en español, haga clic o toque el icono del globo terráqueo en la parte superior del mapa y seleccione Español.

Descargue la aplicación AirNow: Apple App Store:  https://apps.apple.com/us/app/epa-airnow/id467653238  EXIT

Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.saic.airnow

EPA and Forest Service Make Popular AirNow Fire and Smoke Map, Additional Wildfire Information, Available in Spanish

EPA Air - Wed, 09/28/2022 - 19:00

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service are making the popular AirNow Fire and Smoke Map available in Spanish as a pilot project to make important air quality resources accessible to Spanish-speaking people living in areas affected by wildfire smoke. Nearly 42 million people in the U.S. speak Spanish at home.

 “Climate change is making wildfires more frequent and severe, making it more important than ever that people living in wildfire-prone areas have access to information they can use to protect their health,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation Joe Goffman. “By using the AirNow Fire and Smoke Map that EPA and the Forest Service are making available, Spanish-speakers in the U.S. will be able to learn what steps to take to protect themselves from wildfire smoke – and when to take them.”

“Improving the quality and accessibility of information about wildfire smoke for the public has long been a goal of our partnership with EPA,” said Jaelith Hall-Rivera, USDA Forest Service Deputy Chief for State and Private Forestry. “By making the Fire and Smoke Map available in Spanish, we are taking a concrete step to eliminate barriers to critical public health information, ensuring limited English proficiency communities are better informed and prepared to address impacts from wildfire smoke.”

The Forest Service-led Interagency Wildland Fire Air Quality Response Program makes Smoke Forecast Outlooks available in Spanish on many fires. These outlooks are issued on wildfires where smoke may be of concern and where specially trained Air Resource Advisors have been deployed. You can access Smoke Forecast Outlooks at https://outlooks.wildlandfiresmoke.net/outlook, or through the Fire and Smoke Map.

EPA and the Forest Service launched the Fire and Smoke Map in August 2020 to provide the public information on fire locations, smoke plumes, near real-time air quality and protective actions to take -- all in one place. To give users the most localized air quality information possible, the map pulls data from monitors that regularly report to AirNow, temporary monitors such as those the Forest Service and air agencies have deployed near fires, and crowd-sourced data from more than 13,000 low-cost sensors that measure fine particle pollution, the major harmful pollutant in smoke. The map shows this data in the familiar color-coding of the U.S. Air Quality Index (AQI).

You can view the Fire and Smoke Map at https://fire.airnow.gov/ or in the AirNow mobile app. To view the map in Spanish, click or tap the globe icon at the top of the map, and select Español.

Download the AirNow app: Apple App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/epa-airnow/id467653238  EXIT

Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.saic.airnow EXIT

Syndicate content