Jan 13, 2020

2020 PFAS Seminar on remediating PFAS contaminants

The 2020 PFAS Seminar that will bring together renowned industry leaders with knowledge on remediating PFAS contaminants in surface water, groundwater, drinking water, wastewater/bio solids, and recycled water.  Learn what's working now!

 
Keynote Speaker
Mike Abraczinskas, Director
North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality
Division of Air Quality
Presenting:  Emerging Compounds from an Air Perspective - A Case Study of Atmospheric Deposition of PFAS/GenX

More information and registration here:

Jan 10, 2020

Occupational Reproductive Hazards for Female Surgeons in the Operating Room

JAMA: Importance  Higher rates of infertility and pregnancy complications have been found for female surgeons compared with the general population. Several reproductive hazards are present in the operating room and may be associated with these findings. Hazards should be identified and controlled to minimize risks.

Observations: 
Studies comparing surgeons with the general population show increased rates of infertility and pregnancy complications, including conditions affecting both mother and fetus, such as spontaneous abortion, preterm delivery, growth restriction, and congenital abnormalities. Attention has focused on older age and demanding working conditions of pregnant surgeons; however, there are reproductive hazards present in the operating room that might also be contributing. Relevant hazards include radiation, surgical smoke, working conditions, sharps injury, anesthetic gases, and intraoperative use of toxic agents. Published evidence is limited to retrospective studies. Robust data are often unavailable to guide specific dose-response relationships, making it difficult to quantify risk and create occupational safety guidelines. Nevertheless, regulatory agencies have set exposure limits for some agents, relying on limited evidence. Various workplace interventions have shown success in reducing exposure levels for many reproductive hazards and should be adopted by surgical workplaces.

Conclusions and Relevance:
 
Reproductive hazards exist in the operating room that may contribute to pregnancy complications and infertility in surgeons. Information and guidance should be given to female surgeons and trainees of reproductive age, and efforts should be made in the workplace to control exposures but not restrict female surgeons' activities unnecessarily.

Jan 9, 2020

Wanted: Water Department Manager in Milwaukee

Water Department Manager in Milwaukee to help their company grow.

What You Will Be Doing
  • Implement Corporate Strategic Plan
  • Create Business Unit Plan (BUP) to direct development of staff and products
  • Recognize staffing needs, assist with hiring
  • Assist Marketing in preparation of Proposals: project plan and approach, staff assignments, fee development and risk assessment
  • Review draft agreements. Provide input and approval for scope and fee
  • Build teams, and assign staff to projects based on knowledge, skills and availability
  • Monitor department performance and evaluate staff regularly (client satisfaction, project schedule, project budget, billings, QA/QC)
  • Anticipate future work surplus or shortage
  • Plan department efforts, workload and budget
  • Develop department standards and perform quality control review
  • Direct staff efforts and development according to plans and personal skills; support in achieving goals
  • Assist with planning, developing, coordinating and ensuring the successful completion of projects
  • Lead single and multi-disciplined projects
  • Represent the company in client and agency meetings to resolve questions and to plan and coordinate work
  • Communicate and coordinate efforts and ideas with peers and management team
  • Provide technical guidance and mentoring of project team members
  • Develop and enhance client relationships and business growth
  • Represent the company and become active with water industry organizations

If you are a Water Department Manager with experience, please apply at:

Contact info
Kevin Peterson
Phone: 949.381.7453

Jan 8, 2020

Despite everything, U.S. emissions dipped in 2019

From the GRIST

Surging natural gas was the biggest reason for coal's demise. Gas comes with its own problems for the climate– burning it releases carbon, and leaks release methane — but replacing coal with gas led to a decline in globe-warming gases, Houser said. Renewable energy from hydroelectricity, solar power, and wind turbines, increased 6 percent in 2019. So despite President Donald Trump's vows to resurrect coal, it's still sliding into history.

The same can't be said of gas-powered cars and gas-fired furnaces — for the moment, those look locked in.

A chart showing year-on-year changes in U.S. GHG emissions by sector for 2017–19. In 2019, the power sector saw its emissions decrease by 166 million metric tons, relative to 2018.Clayton Aldern / Grist

Cleaning up the electrical grid is a great first step to cleaning up other sectors. With enough low-carbon electricity, more people could drive electric cars and ride electric trains. Builders could start installing electric heat pumps rather than gas furnaces in houses. "But that's not going to happen on its own," Hauser said.

Nudging people toward clean electricity requires policy: Efficiency standards, building codes, incentives, and taxes. Some state and local governments are making these changes, but at the federal level, the Trump administration is doing its best to stop them. As a result, the country's energy use seems to have its own laws of motion. It takes a lot of work to change direction, but it's relatively easy to let things keep running as normal. You can see that in coal's continued slide, as well as in the status quo in emissions from factories, cars, and buildings.

134 million Americans – more than 41% – lived in counties with unhealthy levels of either ozone or particulate pollution

The American Lung Association's 19th annual "state of the air" report found that 134 million Americans – more than 41% – lived in counties with unhealthy levels of either ozone or particulate pollution in 2014-2016. In a country with over 270 million vehicles, America's air suffers from tailpipe pollution. Health impacts of air pollution include asthma and respiratory illness, heart disease and stroke, cancer, low birth weights due to reproductive toxicants, premature death, and traffic morbidity and mortality. In Massachusetts, where one in 11 people already suffer from asthma, these vehicular implications are particularly concerning.

Read full at:

Can adoption of pollution prevention techniques reduce pollution substitution?


The open source journal PLOSOne had a recent article of potential interest to the P2 community. The researchers used TRI data to determine the extent to which adoption of P2 practices reduces pollution substitution. They found that adoption of P2 techniques reduces toxic air and water releases equally, but it is associated with increases in treated and recycled wastes over total releases to the environment. The conclude that:

"We find that adopting greater numbers of P2 techniques contributes to increases in wastes emitted for treatment and recycling over total releases. Specifically, process and equipment modifications have a greater effect than do raw material, product, and procedure modifications. These results suggest that the potential of P2 techniques in reducing or eliminating overall reliance on toxics in manufacturing may be limited, as facilities focus on reducing releases to the environment through combining end-of-pipe and in-process waste management strategies with particular types of P2 techniques that do not necessarily address the root causes of toxic wastes. Thus, pollution control policy should emphasize waste minimization, considering the life cycle of toxics, and prioritize the use of raw material and product modification. As noted by Ranson et al. [6], raw material and product modifications are likely to be more resource intensive, thus grants and technical assistance programs should target them."


You can download the full article at https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0224868.

EPA's Final Rule to add hazardous waste aerosol cans to the universal waste program

From HAzMat-TSP

"The Environmental Protection Agency is adding hazardous waste aerosol cans to the universal waste program under the Federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulations. This change will benefit the wide variety of establishments generating and managing hazardous waste aerosol cans, including the retail sector, by providing a clear, protective system for managing discarded aerosol cans". 

"Aerosol cans are widely used for dispensing a broad range of products including paints, solvents, pesticides, food and personal care products, and many others. The Household & Commercial Products Association (HCPA) estimates that 3.75 billion aerosol cans were filled in the United States in 2016 for use by commercial and industrial facilities as well as by households. Aerosol cans can account for nearly 40 percent of retail items that are managed as hazardous waste at large retail facilities".

With this rule, EPA adds hazardous waste aerosol cans to those "universal wastes" regulated under title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), part 273. This change in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulations is expected to reduce regulatory costs for a wide variety of establishments generating and managing aerosol cans, including the retail sector, by providing a clear, protective system for handling hazardous waste aerosol cans".



STATE PROGRAMS

"The aerosol can universal waste programs in California, Colorado, New Mexico, Ohio, and Utah allow for puncturing and draining of aerosol cans by universal waste handlers, as long as specific management standards and waste characterization requirements are met".... "EPA used these state programs as models for this rule". 



RULE HISTORY

"The federal Universal Waste program, established in 1995, creates a streamlined mechanism for collection and recycling of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous waste. From 1995 to 2018, four waste streams had been added to the federal Universal Waste program". 

"EPA is adding aerosol cans to the list of universal wastes because this waste meets the factors found at 40 CFR 273.81 that describe hazardous waste appropriate for management under the streamlined universal waste system. Adding aerosol cans to the Universal Waste Rule simplifies handling and disposal of the wastes for generators, while ensuring that universal waste aerosol cans are sent to the appropriate destination facilities, where they will be managed as a hazardous waste with all applicable Subtitle C requirements to ensure protection of human health and the environment. Management as universal waste under the final requirements is also expected to facilitate environmentally sound recycling of the metal used to make the cans".

"The streamlined universal waste regulations are expected to:

Ease regulatory burdens on retail stores and others that discard aerosol cans,

Promote the collection and recycling of aerosol cans, and

Encourage the development of municipal and commercial programs to reduce the quantity of these wastes going to municipal solid waste landfills or combustors".


AEROSOL CAN

"EPA is finalizing a definition of "aerosol can" that is consistent with language in the DOT regulations. In the final rule, aerosol can is defined as a non-refillable receptacle containing a gas compressed, liquefied or dissolved under pressure, the sole purpose of which is to expel a liquid, paste, or powder and fitted with a self-closing release device allowing the contents to be ejected by the gas. Using language from the DOT regulation will help ensure consistency across Federal regulatory programs, avoid unnecessarily narrowing the scope of the rule to aerosol cans that aerate their product, and will not inadvertently include compressed gas cylinders in the definition of aerosol can". 



HAZARD WASTE

"Aerosol cans frequently contain flammable propellants such as propane or butane which can cause the aerosol can to demonstrate the hazardous characteristic for ignitability (40 CFR 261.21).[3] In addition, the aerosol can may also be a hazardous waste for other reasons when discarded. More specifically, an aerosol can may contain materials that exhibit hazardous characteristics per 40 CFR part 261, subpart C. Similarly, a discarded aerosol can may also be a P- or U- listed hazardous waste if it contains a commercial chemical product found at 40 CFR 261.33(e) or (f)".



CYLINDERS

"Because compressed gas cylinders, unlike aerosol cans, require special procedures to safely depressurize, it would not be appropriate to include them in the final rule. Finally, because the DOT language is more inclusive than the proposed language, it better matches the intent of the proposal to apply to all types of aerosol cans, including cans that dispense product in the form of paste or powder, and would not require states that have already added aerosol cans to their universal waste program to change their regulations".



NON-ACUTE EMPTY

"Under 40 CFR 261.7(b),[19] a container that has held non-acute hazardous waste is "empty" if (1) all wastes have been removed that can be removed using the practices commonly employed to remove materials from that type of container, e.g., pouring, pumping, and aspirating (applicable in all cases), and (2) no more than 2.5 centimeters (one inch) of residue remains on the bottom of the container or inner liner, or (3) no more than 3 percent by weight of the total capacity of the container remains in the container or inner liner if the container is less than or equal to 119 gallons in size. In addition, a container that has held a hazardous waste that is a compressed gas is empty when the pressure in the container approaches atmospheric pressure".

ACUTE EMPTY 

"In the case of a container that has held an acute hazardous waste listed in 40 CFR 261.31 or 261.33(e), the container is considered empty when it has been triple rinsed or has been cleaned by another method that has been shown in scientific literature, or by tests conducted by the generator to achieve equivalent removal, per 40 CFR 261.7(b)(3)". 

"EPA also considers a container that has held an acute hazardous that is a compressed gas to meet the definition of empty when it approaches atmospheric pressure, as defined in 40 CFR 261.7(b)(2).[20] EPA is not aware of a chemical commonly found in aerosol cans that would be listed as an acute hazardous waste, but if such an aerosol can product does exist, it would have to meet the 40 CFR 261.7(b)(2) or (3) standard to be considered "empty" under the regulations". 



RECYCLING AEROSOL CANS

"However, in the case of aerosol cans being recycled, rather than disposed of, aerosol cans that have been punctured and drained prior to recycling are considered exempt scrap metal under 40 CFR 261.6(a)(3)(ii), and therefore all such punctured cans would be exempt from hazardous waste requirements when recycled".

(NOTE), "California does not allow off-site commercial processors  to puncture and drain aerosol cans without a permit and requires those handlers that do puncture and drain cans to submit a notification and guidance in effect in Minnesota at the time of publication of the final rule also allows handlers to puncture and drain their aerosol cans".

This final rule is effective on February 7, 2020. To view and download a copy of the full text in EPA Universal waste aerosol webpage:

https://www.epa.gov/hw/increasing-recycling-adding-aerosol-cans-universal-waste-regulations 

 Link to the Federal Register:

https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-12-09/pdf/2019-25674.pdf  

EPA will have approximately $5.5 billion in WIFIA loans to finance approximately $11 billion in water infrastructure investment with its 2020 appropriation.

Congress provided $55 million in budget authority for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program in the "Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020," (Appropriations Act) signed by the President on December 20, 2019. The appropriation is divided into two parts:
  • $5 million for approximately $500 million in loans exclusively to State infrastructure financing authority borrowers under the State infrastructure financing authority WIFIA (SWIFIA) program
  • $50 million for approximately $5 billion in loans to all eligible borrowers under the WIFIA base program

EPA estimates that it will publish a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for both the base program and SWIFIA program in May 2020. This timing is necessary due to the additional requirements mandated by the Appropriations Act, which must be completed prior to issuing the 2020 NOFA.

Read more at:
https://www.epa.gov/wifia