Air Toxics Regulations
On December 20, 1991, LDEQ promulgated new regulations which will govern new and existing major stationary sources of toxic air pollutants in Louisiana. These regulations are an important step in meeting the goal to achieve a 50 percent reduction in total toxic air releases in Louisiana from the 1987 levels by December 1996.
The regulations list approximately 100 toxic air pollutants in Louisiana which are designated by class as follows: Class I- known and probable human carcinogens; Class II- suspected human carcinogens and known or suspected human reproductive toxins; Class III- acute and chronic non-carcinogenic toxins. Under the air toxics regulations, Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT), which is the best method to reduce emissions, is required for any major source which emits any Class I or Class II pollutant at or above the minimum emission rate listed for the pollutant.
The regulations also require compliance by all affected sources with listed Ambient Air Standards for each toxic air pollutant. The ambient air standard is a concentration which may not be exceeded in the air beyond the property line of a facility. Compliance with MACT and ambient air standards must be achieved by December 1996.
In addition to control technology requirements and ambient air standards, regulated sources must comply with several other requirements under the rule. These include annual emissions reporting (see TEDI), emissions testing and monitoring, discharge reporting, permitting of facilities, and establishment of standard operating procedures to ensure continued compliance with the rule.
Global Toxics Release Inventory
EPA administrator is promoting the idea of a global TRI. The TRI has provided information for U.S. communities to use in decision- making and prioritizing environmental matters. A worldwide plan would provide the first toxics assessment for the entire planet. The promotion is more than just talk, as the broad support for this type of program in western Europe proves. The European Community's cohesion is growing tighter every year and a TRI program there seems inevitable. But within Europe and in some Third World countries, the concern has focused on economics. These countries want a global program that will balance the needs of the environment with their economic needs.
Steps toward a global TRI are being made, but the various agendas of the different nations will make general acceptance of a plan slow and difficult.
Stratospheric Ozone Depletion
The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 and subsequent EPA regulations imposed many other requirements to reduce releases of stratospheric ozone depleting chemicals. Three requirements which directly impact citizens are listed below:
- Effective July 1, 1992, stationary air conditioning, chillers and refrigeration systems can only be serviced by certified technicians. During servicing there can be no venting of CFCs to the atmosphere.
- Effective August 13, 1992, motor vehicle air conditioning systems can only be serviced by certified motor vehicle air conditioning technicians. During servicing there can be no venting of CFCs to the atmosphere.
Effective November 15, 1992, only certified motor vehicle air conditioning technicians can purchase CFCs in containers of less than 20 lbs. (this will eliminate the purchases of the 12 to 14 oz. cans by "back yard" mechanics.)
Dry Cleaners' Dilemma
Most dry cleaning facilities have reduced their emissions over the past ten years due to improvements in equipment and dry cleaning procedures. Emissions of dry cleaning solvents is the major environmental issue faced by this industry.
There are three types of dry cleaning equipment available today:
- transfer units
- dry-to-dry units
- non-venting MACT units.
The transfer units represent the least expensive and most efficient in terms of cleaning a large volume of clothes in a short period of time with low labor costs. In general, these units have the highest solvent emissions and consumption rates. Dry-to-dry units are more expensive and less efficient in terms of the amount of clothes cleaned and labor costs. However, these units generally have far lower emissions and solvent consumption rates compared to transfer units. Non-venting MACT units represent the Maximum Achievable Control Technology in terms of solvent emissions. Unfortunately, the non-venting MACT units are the least affordable to many existing businesses at this time.
In general, the recovery and recycling of solvent chemicals in dry cleaning operations is not economically attractive. This is because the cost of the additional equipment is very high compared to to the value of the recovered material. In order to reduce emissions, dry cleaners must incur additional expenses for the dry-to-dry or non-venting MACT units. The savings associated with reduced solvent consumption is not offset by these additional expenses. Consequently, facilities replacing equipment in order to reduce emissions or utilize Maximum Achievable Control Technology may have to pass the additional cost on to the consumer.
Ozone is a colorless gas formed as the result of a complex chemical reaction between volatile organic compounds (VOCs), oxides of nitrogen (NOX), and oxygen. Formation of ozone occurs both at ground level and in the upper atmosphere. For more information on upper atmosphere ozone, please refer to the TRI 1990 report.
Ground level ozone formation can be a problem, causing severe respiratory impairment at high concentrations. Ozone is not included as one of the 300 or more chemicals of the EPCRA Section 313 list since it is not directly emitted into the air. However, many of the chemicals in Section 313 are VOCs which may contribute to ground level ozone formation. There are currently six parishes designated as non-attainment areas by EPA. The status of five of these parishes is currently under review by the EPA.
A parish is declared to be in non-attainment for ozone when there is more than one exceedence of the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for that pollutant in a calendar year. The primary standard for ozone is 0.124 parts per million for a one hour average. This concentration of ozone equals 99 on the Pollution Standard Index (PSI) scale. A PSI value of 100 or above is considered unhealthy.
Industry has been working on the problem as evidenced by the emissions data from the six parish area around Baton Rouge. The data showed that NOX emissions have been reduced 39,151 tons per year between 1985 and 1990. Volatile organic compound emissions have also dropped 14,758 tons per year in the same time period.
Industry and LDEQ formed the Ozone Task Force in 1989 to study this problem. (See the 1988 TRI Report, page 22.) In 1990, after a three-day episode of unhealthful air in the Baton Rouge area, facilities were asked to propose reductions of ozone precursors in their operations. More than twenty-eight facilities agreed and volunteered to institute what is now called administrative controls when LDEQ finds them justified. On August 20, 1990, the assistant secretary of the Office of Air Quality advised the participating facilities that a multi-day ozone episode had been predicted. The administrative controls were implemented at more than twenty-eight facilities. This resulted in an overall 13 percent NOX reduction and a 16.86 percent VOC reduction. The controls are thought to have lead the goal of preventing the formation of high concentration of ozone. Only one hour of exceedence at one monitoring station was recorded when, under similar conditions, more hours of exceedences at several sites would have been anticipated.
How You Can Help
What can you do to help? A study conducted under the auspices of the Ozone Task Force has determined that approximately 18 percent of the NOX emissions and approximately 7 percent of the VOC emissions come from automobile and mobile sources. So by doing the following you can help reduce the amount of ozone precursors released into the air, and thus help make a difference in the environment that we all share.
- Keep your automobile tuned.
- Check the emission control system in your car.
- Pump gas after dark.
- Car pool and do no unnecessary driving.
- Keep your gas tank full, and
- Have a gas cap with a good seal.
A significant portion of the reported releases to Louisiana's surface waters each year consists of phosphoric acid and sulfuric acid that comes from four phosphoric acid manufacturing facilities. These facilities discharge stormwater runoff into the Mississippi River. This stormwater runoff comes from rainfall that falls on gypsum (a manufacturing by-product) storage piles, picking up residual acid as it runs off. These discharges are in accordance with permits which were granted by LDEQ and EPA .
The amount of rainfall, its pattern and the facility's ability to recycle stormwater runoff dictate the volume of the discharge into surface waters. For example, the volume of surface water releases dropped significantly in 1989 even though the rainfall amount was higher than those in 1988 and 1990. However, when a situation of either intense rainfalls over short periods of time or sustained moderate rainfall occurs, the facilities may not be able to recycle all of the rainwater and acid products. Under these circumstances, the facilities may have to discharge the remaining stormwater runoff into the Mississippi River.
After several years of research and engineering to reduce the amount of fertilizer chemicals which are released into surface waters, options to alleviate this situation have been selected. Plans are being implemented by Agrico in St. Charles and St. James Parishes and Arcadian in Ascension Parish. Agrico will be draining portions of its gypsum storage piles in order to recover more of the chemicals. Agrico is also planning to cover its gypsum piles with soil and grass which will reduce the contact of rainwater with the gypsum. Arcadian has substantially completed the initial project of its voluntary reduction program and is now undertaking new projects including installing a grass cover on portions of its gypsum piles to further improve the quality of its surface water discharges. When these measures are fully implemented, tremendous overall reductions in surface water releases will be observed in Louisiana.
Dioxin is only one of the family of 75 chlorinated compounds known as chlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins. The dioxin most commonly referred to is 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD). TCDD, like all of the dioxins, is a by-product of most combustion processes, including burning of wood and common fuels and white paper manufacturing. Since it is a by-product it is not reported under Section 313 of EPCRA.
TCDD is considered the most toxic substance produced by man because harmful effects have been demonstrated in laboratory animals at minute amounts. These toxic effects include birth defects, cancer and death. Acute exposure in humans causes a severe, persistent form of acne called chloracne. Other possible human effects include liver damage, weight loss, digestive disorders, impaired immunity, spontaneous abortions, birth defects, and cancer.
The main sources of TCDD are:
- Dioxin has been detected at trace levels in fish collected nationwide, and it has been found in white paper products. These levels, measured in parts per trillion and quadrillion, are only detectable through the use of highly complex instrumentation and elaborate laboratory procedures.
- Since dioxin has been found in fish collected below paper mills, many paper manufacturers have made changes in their bleaching process to reduce the production of dioxin.
Applications of TRI Data
The Office of Water Resources (OWR) has utilized the TRI database as a tool for identifying dischargers of specific compounds which have been found in fish tissue. Two examples of this application are:
1) Hexachlorobenzene and hexachlorobutadiene have been detected in fish from the Calcasieu River and Bayou D'Inde, one of its tributaries. Utilizing the 1987, 1988, 1989, and 1990 TRI data, the OWR found that PPG Industries, Inc. is the only facility which reports releases of these 2 compounds in Calcasieu Parish.
2) Mercury has been found in fish tissue in the Ouachita River at levels near and above the federal Food and Drug and Administration (FDA) alert level. The OWR utilized the TRI data to determine whether any dischargers within the Ouachita River watershed in Louisiana reported water releases of mercury or mercury compounds. However, no mercury or mercury compound releases into the Ouachita River were found in the TRI database.
Examples of Industry Initiatives
The Star Enterprise Louisiana Plant refinery in St. James parish reduced their total ammonia releases from 1987 to 1991 by 99.7 percent or 10.1 million pounds. This reduction was due to the installation of a new sour water stripping unit at the refinery. The sour water stripping unit uses steam to remove ammonia and sulfides from wastewaters generated in the refining process. Once the ammonia and sulfides have been removed, the water is considered non-hazardous, and is either returned for reuse in the refinery or discharged to the refinery's effluent treatment system. The ammonia-rich overhead vapors from the sour water stripping facilities is routed to on-site sulfur recovery processes. Here, the vapors are burned separately with enough oxygen to convert the ammonia to free nitrogen and water. Prior to the installation of these new units, the refinery disposed of the sour water in underground injection wells. These wells have now been permanently closed. The Star Enterprise Louisiana Plant refinery participates voluntarily in EPA's "Industrial Toxics Project", or 33/50 Program, and has committed to a 33 percent reduction in emissions for the 17 selected chemicals (see page 39 ) by 1992 and 50 percent or greater reduction by 1995.
Mercury in Fish
Mercury is a metal that occurs as a silvery, heavy liquid. It can occur in the environment in several forms. Metallic mercury is used in thermometers, barometers, mirror coatings, and in making chemicals and electrical equipment. Mercury can also combine with other chemicals, such as chlorine, carbon, or oxygen to form other inorganic or organic mercury compounds. Low levels of mercury in the ocean and lakes contaminate and build up in some species of fish.
The presence of elemental mercury in water or sediments is not sufficient to cause a problem. There are special conditions that must occur before mercury can be taken up by fish or the organisms fish eat. These conditions include water or sediment with a high content of organic matter, is devoid of oxygen, and that contains a bacteria that lives under these conditions. Given these conditions, mercury can be converted into methyl mercury, which is the form that is absorbed by fish and/or the food they eat.
When methyl mercury is released into the water, small organisms living in the water accumulate it. As these small organisms are eaten by small fish, the methyl mercury is concentrated in the smaller fish. When small fish are eaten by bigger fish, methyl mercury is again concentrated in the bigger fish. Because of this magnification (biomagnification), the highest mercury concentrations are usually found in different predator species. Therefore, the primary source of human exposure to mercury is through the consumption of predator fish such as the different species of bass.
The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have found mercury contamination in soils and wildlife at Upper Ouachita and D'Arbonne National Wildlife refuges, located in Ouachita and Union parishes, respectively. Testing of soils and sediments at both refuges, and of fish, raccoons and great blue herons at Upper Ouachita Refuge have revealed levels of contamination that pose a potential public health hazard, as well as a threat to wildlife species and habitats. As a result of the testing, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service strongly recommends that no fish or raccoons taken on either refuge be consumed.
Mississippi River Fish Sampling
The Mississippi River Fish Sampling Program was developed as a result of a previous whole body fish tissue studies which detected elevated levels of a limited number of priority pollutants. Compounds detected in earlier studies included PCBs, DDT and it's metabolites, chlordane and other persistent polychlorinated compounds. Because these earlier studies looked at whole body concentrations of pollutants, it was not a valid way of looking at the risk to humans from consumption of Mississippi River fish and shellfish. However, it did indicate the presence of pesticide contamination in fish taken from the Mississippi River. In order to determine risk, a study was initiated to analyze edible portions, primarily fillets, from fish taken from the Mississippi River.
Fish were collected at six sites along the Mississippi River from the Arkansas State Line to Venice, Louisiana, with 5 of the 6 sites occurring between St. Francisville and Venice. Fish and shellfish samples were collected by LDEQ from March, 1990 - March, 1992. An electro-shocking rig, hoop nets, hook and line and traps were used to collect the specimens. The three target species were blue catfish, small mouth buffalo and white bass.
In the first year of the study banned pesticides were the principal contaminants in fish. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) action levels were not exceeded in any of the samples from this year, indicating that consumption of fish taken from the Mississippi River did not pose an immediate health threat. However, a consumption advisory was considered based on Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (LDHH) guidelines for advisories and bans. Due to the preliminary nature of these findings an advisory was not issued and will not be issued until the 3-year study project is completed and LDHH, in conjunction with LDEQ, feels that it is necessary to do so.
All tissue samples from the first two years of the study contained detectable concentrations of at least one of the priority pollutants. On the basis of the first two years of data, future analysis of tissue samples for the Mississippi River Fish Sampling Project will be limited to metals, pesticides, and PCB's. These were the compounds found most frequently and at the highest levels. Dropping the other compounds from analysis will permit additional samples to be taken for only those compounds which have been detected at frequencies or concentrations of concern. As was noted earlier, any necessary advisories will not be issued until the conclusion of this project. Following the third year of sampling, a final report will be issued detailing any recommended actions to be taken. This delay is warranted because most mean concentrations did not exceed FDA action levels, and cumulative risk assessment levels are only slightly over the LDHH advisory level of 1 x 10-4 (or .0001). Cumulative risk is the combined risk of contracting cancer from consuming Mississippi River fish contaminated with all compounds at mean levels.
Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program
In October 1989, the state nominated the Barataria-Terrebonne Estuarine Complex as an estuary of national significance and requested the development of a comprehensive management plan. In October 1990, a cooperative agreement between the state of Louisiana and EPA was signed, enabling work to begin on the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP), one of 17 nationwide, and one of four in the Gulf of Mexico region. The BTNEP contains the largest acreage of any of the 17 programs, encompassing approximately 6000 square miles in the Mississippi Deltaic Plain. The area is host to many recreational, commercial and industrial activities, and is important habitat for migrating waterfowl, commercial and sport fish species, fur-bearing animals and aquatic and terrestrial plants.
Through the BTNEP, the state will be able to further evaluate and develop solutions to the many serious environmental problems that threaten the estuarine complex. The program will have a catalytic effect on presently evolving plans and programs for wetland restoration and water quality management and will provide a forum and integrating structure for the many diverse efforts presently going on at the federal, state, and local level.
The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) was established in 1972 under the Clean Water Act. Section 402 of that Act requires U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to administer a national permit program to regulate discharges of pollutants into the waters of the U.S. and sets out the basic elements of that program. The Act also allows States to request authority to administer the program in place of EPA. To date 37 states and territories of a possible 56 have received EPA approval for NPDES programs. Louisiana is now seeking assumption of the NPDES program.
After the process of acquiring NPDES delegation and upon EPA approval, the State assumes primary responsibility for issuance of permits and administration of the NPDES program. Day-to-day program operation is the State's function. EPA's involvement after approval is more limited. EPA continues to provide legal and technical assistance in permit issuance and program administration and retains an active role in enforcement. EPA continues to establish rules and develop effluent guideline and pretreatment standards for direct and indirect dischargers. In a large part, however, the federal role is to oversee state programs.
The State seeks NPDES authority to make the industrial, commercial and municipal permitting process more consistent and streamlined. With state authority the industry only has to apply for one permit that covers all state and federal guidelines instead of applying for separate permits. Accessibility and clarity of permitting is improved which make the permits easier for the public to review.
Louisiana has sent our Statutes and Regulations to EPA, they have reviewed and commented, we changed our statutes and regulations in the Legislature and have sent the revised version back to EPA for additional comments. The anticipated time of assumption of the NPDES for Louisiana is July 1994.
Mobile Sources - Stage I and II Vapor Recovery
In an effort to reduce the emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC) during the refueling of motor vehicles, regulations have been promulgated as required by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The six parish ozone non-attainment area around the city of Baton Rouge is the area most affected.
In accordance with Stage I Vapor Recovery Regulations, the recovery of gasoline vapors is required during the filling of underground storage tanks. Stage I regulations affect 19 parishes throughout the state. Stage I controls consist of two hoses which are used when filling the underground storage tank. One allows the passage of gasoline from the tank truck to the underground storage tank, and the other captures the vapors released while the gasoline is pumped to the underground storage tank.
In addition, gasoline facilities, dispensing 10,000 gallons or more of gasoline per month are required to install controls as specified by Stage II Vapor Recovery Regulations. Stage II controls consist of two hoses used when filling your vehicle tank at the gas pump. One allows the passage of gasoline from the pump to your vehicle, and the other captures the vapors released while pumping the gas.
Motor Vehicle Emissions Control
One of the many provisions of the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments, Title I requires that areas of the country which have been identified as having serious ozone problems implement an enhanced Inspection and Maintenance program, otherwise referred to as I/M. The six parish ozone non-attainment area around Baton Rouge includes East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge, Iberville, Pointe Coupee, Livingston and Ascension parishes.
Motor vehicle emissions are responsible for a significant percentage of the ozone forming pollutants in the Baton Rouge ozone non-attainment area. Therefore, industrial emission reductions alone will not solve our ozone and air quality problems. If Louisiana does not implement an enhanced I/M program as mandated by the federal government, the state faces serious sanctions including loss of federal highway funds, loss of federal funds for state environmental programs, and new stricter requirements for industrial expansion in the area. In addition to these penalties, the EPA could also implement a federal I/M program in the Baton Rouge ozone non-attainment area. Besides being required by federal law, the I/M program is necessary if we hope to achieve compliance with the ozone standard and provide a healthier environment for our citizens.
In or around the 8th century, A.D. the Chinese began printing from engraved wooden blocks. Printing has since developed into a multi-billion dollar industry in the U.S. alone with hundreds of thousands of employees.
Nearly every item you purchase has some form of printing on the packaging or labels. Nearly everyone comes in contact with printing every day. Even in the electronic age, the printed page still plays a pivotal role in our information driven society.
The Clean Air Act of 1990 affected the printing industry most directly. Title I deals with reducing the use of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in areas of the country with high concentrations of ground level ozone. Title III list and restricts the use of 189 chemicals , many which are used in the printing industry.
The majority of printers are classified as Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators (CESQG), meaning they generate less than 220 pounds of hazardous waste per month. A few large print shops are Small Quantity Generators (SQG), which means they generate between 220 and 2200 pounds per month of hazardous waste.
Printing facilities must dispose of waste inks, used cleaning solvents, and photo processing chemicals as hazardous waste. The chemicals used during the printing operation - ethylene glycol and isopropyl alcohol in press water systems and petroleum distillates as cleaning compounds - are not usually discharged directly to the atmosphere, such as through an exhaust stack. Silver recovery systems prevent photo processing divisions from discharging silver halide crystals to city sewers above threshold limits. The benefit derived from adopting these disposal measures greatly exceeds their cost.
The printing industry has made great strides toward a greener environment. Vegetable and soy based inks are now readily available. Water miscible washes and alcohol substitutes are now very popular and effective. As government and industry work together we continue to make progress toward a safer environment.
As recycled paper and vegetable - or soy - based ink becomes more widely available, the decision to include logos that indicate use of these materials increasingly rests with the customer.
The initial Toxic Emissions Data Inventory (TEDI) submissions were made during the summer of 1992. All stationary major sources of air toxic pollutants were required to submit a yearly inventory of the 100 listed air toxic pollutants emitted during calendar year 1991. A major source is any stationary source that emits or has the potential to emit 10 tons or more per year of any one toxic or 25 tons or more per year of any combination of air toxics. Over 200 facilities reported emissions totaling over 119 million pounds of air toxic pollutants during 1991. The recurring submission is due July 1. Subsequent TEDIs for reporting year 1992 and after will include the reporting of an additional list of approximately 100 supplemental air toxic pollutants. LDEQ makes TEDI information available to the public upon request and publishes an annual report comparing reported emissions to the 1987 base year profile.
A Summary of SEP's
Companies cited by the EPA for violations of environmental laws pay fines which are calculated to recover any economic benefits that occurred during the noncompliance period and which include a "gravity" amount depending on the severity of the offense. Settlement of the fines, however, have been successfully negotiated with EPA through the use of alternative payments also known as "Supplemental Environmental Projects" (SEP's) whereby the violator undertakes some significant pro-environmental activity subsequent to the offense in exchange for a reduction in the gravity portion of the fine. A SEP, according to EPA guidance documents, must 1) have a "nexus", (or relationship) to the violation, 2) go above and beyond merely correcting the violation, and 3) be more than a "sound business practice." Such projects provide businesses with opportunities to make sound pro-environmental contributions in any of several areas:
- Pollution Prevention (source reduction) through process modification,
- Pollution Reduction that goes beyond permitted discharge limits,
- Environmental Restoration of property beyond any damages caused by violations,
- Environmental Auditing within the facility to uncover potential violations, or
- Environmental Public Awareness projects that are enforcement related.
In fiscal year 1991 EPA negotiated penalty reductions in 168 out of 776 cases nationally (National Law Journal, August 17, 1992) using supplemental environmental projects to settle violations under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the Emergency Planning and Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). SEP expenditures are often many times more than the value of the fine reduction, and represent a creative investment plan designed to benefit the company, EPA, and the public interest.
Louisiana Corporate Response Challenge
In 1990, as part of the Louisiana Corporate Response Challenge, DEQ encouraged 32 Louisiana chemical manufacturing facilities to submit pollution reduction plans based on chemical release data reported for 1988. For the past four years, DEQ tracked the progress of participating companies in achieving Toxic Release Inventory reductions in air, land and water. On November 2, 1994, eight of these participating facilities were recognized for having achieved the greatest reductions. Two companies, Vista Chemical Co. and PPG Industries were recognized for honorable mention.
On November 7, 1986, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defined "land disposal" to include, but not be limited to, any placement of hazardous waste in landfills, surface impoundments, waste piles, injection wells, and land treatment facilities. EPA granted individual states the right to impose more stringent disposal restrictions than the federal restrictions in order to strengthen the states' program standards.
The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ), which regulates the hazardous wastes that are injected, has reviewed seven petitions for exemptions to allow the disposal of prohibited hazardous wastes by deepwell injection. Final review of these No Migration Petitions have been completed, and the following five facilities were approved with added conditions which are currently under appeal: ANGUS CHEMICAL COMPANY (Ouachita Parish), CECOS INTERNATIONAL (Calcasieu Parish), CYTEC, formerly American Cyanamid Company (Jefferson Parish), DuPONT CHEMICAL COMPANY (St. John the Baptist Parish) and RUBICON CHEMICAL INCORPORATED (Ascension Parish). Approval (with conditions) for ROLLINS ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES (Iberville Parish) was granted without appeal, and the petition for BASF CORPORATION (Ascension Parish) is still pending.
Any person seeking an exemption to allow land disposal of a prohibited hazardous waste by deepwell injection must submit to the LDEQ a petition meeting all the requirements in the LAC 33:V.2242 of the hazardous waste regulations, (entitled, "Exemptions to Allow Land Disposal of a Prohibited Waste By Deep Well Injections"). The following is a brief summary of the LAC 33:V.2242. The petition must show that no other economically and environmentally reasonable alternative for disposal into an injection well is available. The petitioner must demonstrate to a reasonable degree of certainty that the waste shall be permanently confined in the injection zone for as long as the waste remains hazardous, or that there will be no migration into the air, land, or waters of the state where a discharge is not permitted. The petitioner must also show a good-faith effort to use economically and technically feasible and environmentally sound methods that provide for use, reuse, reclamation, waste reduction, or other methods in a manner other than constituting disposal. A program or plan must be in effect to reduce the volume and toxicity of the waste generated. The company must show that the best available technology is being used to reduce the toxicity, corrosiveness, virulent or infectious character, or volume of the waste. The company must also show that the waste cannot be further reduced through production modifications, nor can the waste be reclaimed or reused.
The risk associated with the practice of deepwell injection is the possible contamination of ground and/or surface water due to vertical or lateral migration of waste from the injection zone. Hazardous wastes are not treated before injection and most are highly toxic. For the 1993 reporting year, 158,066,288 million pounds of TRI compounds were deepwell injected, which constitutes 34.38 percent of all TRI chemicals/compounds released/transferred during that time.
There is a growing concern about the need to manage government more efficiently. This is especially true of environmental regulations. Studies across a spectrum of influential organizations such as the Heritage Foundation, American Council for Capital Formation, and Resources for the Future all indicate current cost/benefit ratios of environmental regulations may be negative. They warn that we are spending too much for the amount and type of environmental protection we are getting. These studies do not contend that we are over protecting the environment but rather that the present regulatory structure protects it inefficiently.
The idea that our environmental regulatory structure is inefficient is no longer the domain of a few conservative publications or Washington "think tanks", but has become main stream consensus in environmental economic curriculums across the nation. It has also become accepted political opinion as demonstrated by executive orders from contemporary presidents, both democratic and republican, from Ronald Reagan to Bill Clinton. President Clinton's recent Executive Order 12866 stresses this concern:
"The American people deserve a regulatory system that works for them, not against them: a regulatory system that protects and improves their health, safety, environment, and well-being and improves the performance of the economy without imposing unacceptable or unreasonable costs on society;... We do not have such a regulatory system today."
The consensus need for a more efficient public sector is accompanied by the government's acceptance of management philosophies such as Total Quality Management (TQM). TQM and similar programs stress internal feedback systems which measure the accomplishments of programs in order to constantly improve their performance.
So what does all of this have to do with environmental indicators?
Environmental indicators measure actual changes and trends in our environment: whether the air is cleaner, whether fish populations have gone up or down on a particular stream, or whether flood insurance claims losses are increasing or decreasing statewide. Indicators are useful for helping us determine what effects our regulations are really having on the environment and whether they are efficient and effective. Are the department's programs really cleaning up the state's air and water, if so by how much? Where? Could we expend our resources in other areas more efficiently? These are all questions which environmental indicators will help us answer.
Equally important, environmental indicators serve as educational tools for the public. The most well known example of an environmental indicator is the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) . The TRI report is undoubtedly one of the most successful, non-regulatory, pollution prevention efforts to date. It is also a good example of a misused and not well understood indicator. TRI is a measure of emissions, not environmental or human health hazard. Environmental indicators must be developed with great care to ensure they are understandable and that they are used correctly.
The DEQ is presently developing an environmental indicators program that will become an integral part of its strategic planning process. We are using a two fold approach in its development. First, the department has set up a steering committee, composed of citizens, industrial and agricultural representatives, and other state agencies to recommend to the department the types of environmental indicators that should be developed. These will include indicators for air and water quality, solid and hazardous waste, health, and habitat protection and any others the steering committee feels need to be addressed. The steering committee's balanced membership should help ensure that the indicators which are developed in this program are understandable and so avoid some of the misuse of past indicators.
Second, the department is starting several technical committees, composed of doctors, biologists, chemists, etc. which will specialize in specific areas such as air and water pollution, health, ecosystem habitat, coastal wetlands and others as needed. The technical committees will identify existing data bases and examine them for data availability, consistency in collection, geographic coverage, etc. The technical committees will also recommend changes which should be made to existing data bases to improve their performance as indicators.
The two committees will work together to recommend a set of environmental indicators for the state. The scope of this project will extend beyond the jurisdiction of our department. The committees will look at issues of environmental quality and health across the state without being limited by agency jurisdictions.
The first meeting of the two committees was on April 12, 1994 when an all-day workshop on environmental indicators was presented by Gil Bergquist, Ph.D. of Florida State University. The two committees began by addressing issues from the LEAP to 2000 environmental risk program which included 35 different concerns ranging from air toxics to municipal wastewater.
Some of the results the DEQ hopes to obtain from the environmental indicators program are to:
- Identify environmental issues which need to be addressed;
- Evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of current programs;
- Analyze effectiveness of current data collection activities; Use environmental indicators data when allocating fiscal resources.
- In addition the department plans to develop several public education documents including a state-of-the-environment report.
Environmental indicators data will provide the department with information that can be used to help pinpoint where its resources can most efficiently be used to protect the health of the people in Louisiana and our environment. Most importantly, this data will provide a written record of the state of our environment and help the public and scientists better understand our current environmental health and ecological conditions.
DEQ's Environmental Justice Program
DEQ's Environmental Justice Program was established as a pilot program initially funded through an EPA grant in November, 1993. The program is designed to provide citizens of the state facing environmental hazards and/or living next to environmental hazards an opportunity to learn more about the technical aspects of environmental issues and to provide, through the Environmental Justice Panels, as forum for ordinary citizens to come together with industrial representatives and governmental officials to discuss and resolve environmental justice concerns. LDEQ envisions the Environmental Justice Panel as the catalyst for breaking down obstacles of class and race that, in the past, have created obstacles to meaningful dialogue between industry and their neighbors. The panel should provide a forum to address and resolve environmental and social justice concerns identified by both groups, serve as an opportunity to work collectively to solve their own problems and educate both the community and the facility about co-existence.
As part of the educational process for the panels and as part of TRI Outreach to the communities, TRI Workshops are given to introduce the data as a tool to further enhance the understanding of chemicals in the communities. The workshops focus on the basics of reporting and provide information on the various resources available to the communities, including DEQ, Office of Public Health, libraries, and universities. The workshops also provide communities with specific chemical information facilities that have a local impact. The training provided by the TRI Workshops allows community members to engage in meaningful dialogue about emissions with industry officials. It also assists in developing an equal status among panel participants.
Geographic Information System
In December 1990, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (LDHH), Section of Environmental Epidemiology (SEE) was awarded a Congressional appropriation for "Database Development for Surveillance of Health Outcomes and Environmental Indicators in Louisiana". The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) received equal funding to work with LDHH on an environmental health geographic system (GIS) for the state. The need for state capacity building and the importance of research in the field of environmental health were emphasized in the appropriation bill. SEE chose an Intergraph GIS to analyze and map health, environmental and population data. It is expected that the use of these datasets will generate hypotheses on environmental health effects. SEE's GIS component is now referred to as SEEGIS.
Four distinct projects have been developed within SEEGIS: 1) LDHH (completed 1991); 2) a lead study of Metropolitan New Orleans and Lafourche Parish, Louisiana; 3) a pilot project in Ascension Parish, Louisiana; and 4) statewide environmental health surveillance. 5) St. Charles Parish Health Screening Survey. The development of these projects has prompted cooperation between diverse agencies and interests. Local, state and federal government staff routinely work with representatives from the legislature, special interest groups and universities, with the development of Community Assistance Panels, and public meetings as needed.
The LDHH database inventory includes information such as type of data, reason for collection, location data, and access requirements. The seven datasets covered are the Tumor Registry (TR), Live Birth File, Stillbirth File, Death File, All Causes of Death File, +Patient Data System, and Public Water Supply.
The lead study of Metropolitan New Orleans utilizes GIS to assess the relationship of the pattern of blood levels in children to soil lead levels, socioeconomic status, race, and age of the housing. The databases are organized by Census Tract (approximately 4,000 people) and provide information on risk of exposure under a variety of urban conditions. The Metropolitan New Orleans data will be compared to similar data from Lafourche Parish in order to view urban and rural exposures in relation to one another. This study will be completed in March of 1995.
The pilot project in Ascension Parish was designed to demonstrate GIS capabilities and expand the methodology for environmental health surveillance. The health data for the pilot project are 1985-1992 low weight births. Environmental parameters for the pilot project consist of sampling data from the parish's 130 public water wells. Hazardous waste sites and industrial monitoring stations were mapped, as were registered private water wells. Socioeconomic data from the 1990 Census, and High Risk Behavior data from 1985-1992 Live Birth File records were mapped as well. All data is mapped at the Census Block Group level (approximately 640 people). However, around the parish's three Superfund sites (Cleve Reber, Dutchtown, and Old Inger), a two mile buffer was generated so that health and demographic data can be analyzed in more detail, and the populations at highest risk from potential exposure can be identified. The pilot project was completed in late 1994 and is currently in peer review at the Agency for Toxic Release and Disease Registry (ATRDR).
Eventually, all of Louisiana will be mapped to the Census Block Group level for five types of health outcomes: cancer mortality, cancer incidence, congenital abnormalities, low birth weight, and stillbirths. The Louisiana Tumor Registry began collecting data for south Louisiana in 1983. By late 1995, Louisiana will be mapped for the five health outcomes, including seven years of cancer incidence data, and the rest of the state will be mapped for cancer mortality and the birth outcomes. Environmental parameters statewide will include Toxics Release Inventory data, and possibly other datasets from LDEQ. In addition, a user-friendly computerized menu system to access demographic data for Public Health Assessments of Superfund Sites is underway and will be completed in 1995. Public involvement will continue throughout.
The Health Assessment component of SEE is currently conducting health screening survey to identify health complaints from possible dust exposure in Destrehan, Louisiana.
According to EPA's Quick Reference Fact Sheet (September, 1993). President Clinton signed Executive Order #12856 on August 3, 1993, requiring federal facilities to comply with planning and reporting provisions of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) of 1986 and the Pollution Prevention Act (PPA) of 1990. All federal facilities will now be required to adhere to the same planning and reporting provisions of federal right-to-know and pollution prevention laws that cover the private sector. This executive order goes beyond EPCRA requirements in an attempt to set a new standard for federal facilities to adhere to right-to-know principles and a pollution prevention ethic.
The summary of the major requirements is as follows:
- "Compliance with EPCRA emergency planning and response requirements."
- "Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) reporting for releases and transfers of toxic chemicals."
- "Development of a pollution prevention policy statement."
- "Development of voluntary goals to reduce total releases and off-site transfers of toxic chemicals."
- "Establishment of a plan and goals for eliminating or reducing unnecessary acquisition of products containing extremely hazardous substances or toxic chemicals."
- "Accessibility to strategies, plans, and reports to the public".
This executive order is effective immediately. It requires that all federal facilities that manufacture, process or otherwise use any of the listed chemicals above the threshold limits must submit a toxic chemical release inventory form or Form R. The first reports must be submitted for the 1994 reporting year on July 1, 1995.
TOXIC RELEASE INVENTORY
E X P A N S I O N
With 5 years of experience behind the program, EPA, other federal agencies, Congress, and the public have recognized the need to expand the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) beyond the original chemicals and chemical categories and beyond the relatively limited reporting universe. Currently, reporting is required from facilities that fall within the reporting criteria for manufacturing Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes 20-39. Recently, federal facilities were mandated to report under TRI by Executive Order 12856. The first reports from these facilities will be due July 1, 1995.
It has become increasingly evident to the public and private sectors that they have access to information on a relatively small number of important chemicals. Congress has echoed this recognition in the Right-to-Know More bills that were put forward in the 102nd Congress. EPA and State regulatory agencies have integrated TRI information as a critical component in their environmental decision making process and in many cases are constrained by the lack of similar information on chemicals of concern not covered by the TRI. While TRI has been successful in focusing attention on the initial list of chemicals and in many cases fostering emissions reductions and pollution prevention activities, that same focus has highlighted the need to expand beyond that initial list and to include additional chemicals that exhibit similar characteristics.
With this in mind, EPA has developed a three-phase approach to the expansion of TRI. Phase One has already been implemented by the final rule announced in November of 1994 adding 286 chemicals and chemical categories to the list of reportable toxic chemicals under EPCRA Section and Section 6607 of the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990. The addition of these chemicals and chemical categories is based on their acute human health effects, carcinogenicity or other chronic human health effects and/or their environmental effects. EPA believes that expanding the chemical list will provide citizens with a more complete picture of chemicals that affect their communities. The expansion will also allow industry to focus attention on more pollution prevention or source reduction opportunities. In addition to the chemical expansion, EPA also made it easier for small businesses to provide communities the information they need about low volumes of chemical releases through use of a shorter reporting form. Phase Two of the expansion proposes to require major non-manufacturing industries to report under Section 313. EPA's initial analysis indicates that industrial sectors, such as energy production (electric, gas, and other utility services), materials distribution (transportation services, pipelines), materials extraction (mining, oil and gas extraction), and waste management (electric, gas and sanitary services, business services) along with certain elements of transportation (especially airports), have significant releases of TRI-listed chemicals. The circle on the page 19 demonstrates the potential industries targeted for expansions. An official proposal on this phase of the expansion is expected by the middle of 1995. In Phase Three, EPA plans to develop a Chemical Use Inventory (CUI). This phase will proceed along two tracks, modifying the existing TSCA Inventory Update Survey to include information on consumer and industrial end-users of manufactured chemicals and broadening TRI to include facility-level chemical use and exposure data. Phase Three is planned after implementation of Phases One and Two.
EPA published the final rule in the Federal Register on December 1, 1993, adding 32 chemicals and 2 chemical categories to the TRI chemical list, effective January 1, 1994 for reports due on July 1, 1995. Of the new chemicals, 21 chemicals and 2 chemical categories are Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) chemicals and 11 chemicals are listed as hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs).
Pollution Prevention Act
The Pollution Prevention Act (PPA) of 1990 requires that manufacturing facilities which already report under Section 313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) must also report source reduction and recycling information. EPA proposed to add this information, which is mandated by Section 6607 of the PPA, to the existing Form R by incorporating some new sections to the form; for example: quantities of the chemical (prior to recycling, treatment, or disposal) entering any waste stream or released to the environment; quantities of the chemical recycled at the facility and elsewhere; quantities of the chemical treated at the facility and elsewhere; information on source reduction activities and methods used to identify those activities; quantities of the chemical released in one-time events not associated with the production processes; quantities of the chemical expected to enter any waste stream or be recycled in future years; and production ratio or activity index for the reported chemical.
The PPA established as a national initiative a preferred hierarchy for the handling and disposing of TRI chemicals.
The PPA defines "source reduction" as any practice that reduces or eliminates the creating of pollutants through:
more efficient use of raw materials, energy, water and other resources, and
the protection of natural resources by conservation.
The PPA further defines "source reduction" as any practice which:
- reduces the amount of hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant entering any waste stream or otherwise released into the environment (including fugitive emissions) prior to recycling, treatment, or disposal, and
- reduces the hazards to public health and the environment associated with the release of such substances, pollutants or contaminants.
A few facilities submitted a brief narrative, describing in more detail, source reduction activities that occurred during reporting year 1994.
LAROCHE INDUSTRIES INC.
LaRoche Industries Inc. Baton Rouge facility is a specialty aluminas chemicals plant that produces a wide range of products. The manufacturing process for a major product, a catalyst substrate used by the petroleum industry, employed the use of anhydrous ammonia in its operations. This material was discharged to water as a toxic discharge. In September of 1993, after substantial research and testing, a portion of the operations was converted to a new non-toxic process. Based on the plant trial, all operations using anhydrous ammonia were converted to the new process by January 1, 1994. Toxic releases from the Baton Rouge plant dropped from 1,200,000 pounds to 0 and have remained there since that time
CYTEC INDUSTRIES INC.
Cytec Industries Fortier Plant manufactures a variety of chemical products used in the water treating, paper, mining and plastics industries. Cytec's Fortier Plant significantly reduced the emissions reported under SARA Title III for 1994 by approximately 100 million pounds or 83% when compared with data from 1993. The decline in emissions by the facility is the result of the successful startup of the sulfuric acid regeneration unit (which accounted for 63% of the reduction) and a change in reporting requirements by EPA (which accounted for the remaining 37% of the reduction). Prior to the reporting change, Cytec Industries had determined that the facility had reduced overall emissions approximately 52% from the previous reporting year, based on the emission reduction projects. In actual pounds, this reduction represents a reduction from 120 million pounds to approximately 58 million pounds. However, with the reporting change, Cytec was able to report even further reductions. In actual pounds, the TRI releases for 1994 decreased from 120 million pounds to approximately 20 million pounds.
ARCADIAN FERTILIZER, L.P.
Arcadian Fertilizer, Geismar facility began a program in 1992 to further enhance reductions of phosphoric acid discharges to the Mississippi River. Phosphogypsum stacks by their very nature contain phosphoric acid that cannot be recovered directly back into the process. Rainfall on uncovered stacks both runs off and filters through the stacks, picking up phosphoric acid along the way. Since our rainfall in Louisiana is much higher than in other phosphoric acid producing states, more phosphoric acid-containing water is produced than can be consumed in the plant. Excess water must be discharged in compliance with regulatory permits. The idea is to discharge only water of high quality. Arcadian segregates water of differing quality to facilitate the discharge of the highest quality water. The most cost effective method of increasing water quality is to cover the gypsum stacks with grass. The grassing program has shown success in cleaning surface runoff water while reducing infiltration into the stacks. Prior to a change in reporting requirements, Arcadian Fertilizer would have reported for 1994, total releases of approximately 21 million pounds, down 5% from our 1993 total of 22 million pounds. The reporting requirement change further reduced Arcadian's 1994 total releases to 41% or approximately 13 million pounds.
IMC-Agrico is the nation's largest producer of phosphate fertilizers and operates three manufacturing sites in Louisiana. Gypsum, an unavoidable by - product of phosphate fertilizer production, is stacked as required by the EPA at the company's Faustina and Uncle Sam locations in St. James Parish. These stacks were maintained without cover before the 1990's. As a result, rain falling on the stacks flushes residual fertilizer nutrients left in the gypsum. Much of the rainwater that came into contact with the gypsum was recovered and recycled back into the plant, however, during heavy rains not all of the water could be recovered and the excess was discharged under permit into the river. In December, 1991, IMC-Agrico made a voluntary commitment to LDEQ to reduce TRI discharges to the Mississippi river in 1994 by 75 percent from the 1988 "baseline" year. This was to be accomplished with a program to prevent contamination of rainwater falling on those stacks. An underdrain network of special piping was installed to collect water from within the inactive gypsum stacks for recycling back into the plant. The sides of the stacks were contoured and the surface capped with an 8-inch layer of clay, then planted with grass. Evaporation ponds atop the inactive stacks were provided with synthetic liners to prevent water from entering the stack and recharging the stack water system. In order to cover the stacks, this project utilized 100,000 truckloads of clay and 20 tons of grass seed. This would be equivalent to covering 900 football fields with a foot of clay and spreading enough grass seed to fill two Greyhound buses. The synthetic liner would be enough to cover Interstate 10 from Baton Rouge to LaPlace, and the underdrain pipe would be enough for the same distance. In 1987, the company reported total releases of approximately 124 million pounds. In 1994, discharges fell 89% to 13.5 million pounds, which exceeded the voluntary commitment of 75%. The change in reporting requirements further reduced IMC-Agrico's 1994 report to 90% or 12.9 million pounds.
Pesticides in Louisiana
Recently, the USEPA added approximately 280 chemicals and chemical categories to the EPCRA section 313 toxic chemical list. The new list of chemicals is effective for the 1995 reporting year, with reports due to the state and EPA on or before July 1, 1996. Facilities subject to the reporting requirements are manufacturing facilities in the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes 20-39. A majority of the newly added chemicals are the active ingredients of pesticides. These pesticides are reportable under EPCRA if a facility manufactures, processes, or otherwise uses them above threshold levels. Use of the pesticide at facilities not included in the SIC codes 20-39 are not subject to reporting under EPCRA. However, if the listed pesticide is applied to crops that are part of a reporting facility, that amount must be included in the "otherwise used" threshold determinations.
The addition of these particular chemicals to the toxic chemical list raises several questions. What do we currently know about the pesticides in our environment? How are pesticides most commonly used? What are the health effects associated with pesticides? Based on the information available to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ), the pesticides that have been identified in our environment have been mostly attributed to agricultural runoff. Specifically, pesticides have been identified in drinking water taken from several waterbodies in the state. Four agencies, including LDEQ, collect water samples for pesticides. However, pesticides are regulated by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF), which operates the majority of the state's water sampling stations for pesticides. LDAF collects the risk data and prepares the information in hardcopy form. More information on pesticide monitoring can be obtained from the LDAF Pesticide Water Monitoring Program or the Groundwater Monitoring Program. LDEQ and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) also maintain a few sampling stations in the state. USGS prepares an annual report detailing parameters sampled at eight individual stations and LDEQ prepares a report on monthly sampling from two stations. Both agencies provide the data in hard copy form upon request. Information on water at all public supplies may be obtained through the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (LDHH). This agency is an excellent source for information on exposure and risks associated with pesticides. LDHH prepares a quarterly summary report for EPA and it is available in hard copy form.
Other information is available on the risks associated with pesticides. EPA's Non-Cancer Risk Work Group, in Unfinished Business: A Comparative Assessment of Environmental Problems, discussed pesticides in surface waters, namely nonpoint source discharges. Louisiana's own comparative risk assessment, Project Leap to 2000, also discussed pesticides in surface waters in the areas of drinking water and recreational fish contamination. EPA and LDEQ agree that pesticides in surface waters are a serious concern.