Spring 2017 Environmental Compliance Update

From the desk of Gavin Biebuyck, Principal

Pennsylvania Wastewater & Stormwater

If you have not yet signed up for eDMR Reporting, do it now! As Liberty previously reported last October [PA DEP Updates Industrial Stormwater General Permit], PA DEP is now requiring all NPDES permit holders to submit Discharge Monitoring Reports (DMRs) electronically. Permit holders were required to sign up for “eDMR” electronic reporting by 12/21/16 and reporting through eDMR is now required semi-annually with reporting due on July 28, 2017 for the January – June period and on January 28, 2018 for the July – December period. Note that PA’s new Industrial Stormwater General Permit (PAG-03) now mandates semi-annual stormwater sampling/analysis and reporting for most industrial sectors that were previously subject to annual inspections only.

PA DEP has recently (April 2017) sent NPDES permit holders reminder letters titled “eDMR Use Requirement” that take the form of a “Notice of Violation” requiring eDMR registration within 15 days of receipt of the letters. These letters state that civil penalties up to $10,000 per day could be imposed for failure to register. Liberty has assisted many of our clients with eDMR registration and we are actively working with permit holders and PA DEP to identify “representative outfalls” for stormwater sampling to minimize the burdens and costs associated with the new semi-annual stormwater sampling requirements.

Federal EPA Rule Update

The White House has delayed the effective date of five new federal rules that were finalized in 2016 and EPA is widely expected to weaken its legal defense of several other key federal rules that face Court challenges. Some of these new rules to watch over the next several months include:

  1. Superfund Vapor Intrusion Pathway Requirements. Contaminated soil and groundwater remediation projects have increasingly had to consider vapor intrusion into buildings as an important human health risk pathway.  The federal rule that has been delayed would require examination and inclusion of vapor intrusion inhalation health risks in ranking site risks under the Superfund program.
  2. Air Dispersion Modeling Guidelines. Long awaited EPA guidelines for computer modeling of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and chemical precursors.  These guidelines have been generally viewed as helpful by certain industry sectors and the delay in implementation could adversely impact new projects requiring air quality impacts modeling.
  3. Formaldehyde Standards For Composite Wood Products. This includes plywood, MDF, and particleboard as well as products such as kitchen cabinets containing these products. The rule being delayed imposes testing, labeling, recordkeeping, and import certification requirements to ensure these materials are “TSCA Title VI compliant”.
  4. Startup, Shutdown and Malfunction (SSM) exemptions. The DC Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to issue a decision soon in the Walter Coke v. EPA case challenging EPA’s authority to require State air agencies to eliminate SSM exemptions from their regulations. Facilities with SSM exemptions in current air permits will potentially be impacted by this decision.
  5. Refrigerant regulations for HFCs. A Court challenge to EPA’s authority to regulate the replacement refrigerants HFCs has broad implications for industry. EPA tightened the refrigerant management rules in late 2016, [US EPA New Refrigerant Management Requirements Under the Clean Air Act] but industry groups have challenged EPA’s authority to regulate these greenhouse gases under the ozone depleting chemical provisions of the Clean Air Act. The HFC refrigerant 134a that is now in wide us as a substitute for CFCs and HCFCs has been a particular target for phase-out and additional leak regulation by environmental groups and by international greenhouse gas regulatory programs.