Changes to Waste, Air, Water & Chemical Regulations Happening

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the White House have been busy suggesting changes to a variety of regulations that could concern you and your business.

Tracking Hazwaste Will Be Electronic

The Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest (E-Manifest) eliminates long paper forms for over 150,000 regulated sites.  Now everything will be reported electronically.   What this means is that it will be easier for regulators to notice when facilities don’t properly track and manage hazwaste shipments.   The final rule was published in February 2014 and will the EPA E-manifest system will be available in 2018.

EPA Is Adjusting Air Regs

Back in 2015, the EPA instituted a new lower national ozone standard of 70 parts per billion.  The EPA reviewed the air quality criteria for ozone and related photochemical oxidants and national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) and is revising the standard to further protect public health and welfare.  This standard will affect large and small facilities, as they will be looking at tougher permits.

Additionally, the EPA is still looking to cut air toxics in a variety of industries as part of their national enforcement initiatives.  Sectors that will need to cut air toxics emissions include landfills, aluminum plants,  brick and clay ceramics and Portland cement manufacturers.

Chemical Safety is A Concern

For the first time in over 40 years, the chemical safety laws we all have been following will be reevaluated and updated.  GOP and Democratic lawmakers are wanting to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).   Possible changes include safety reviews for all chemicals in commerce and allowing the EPA to identify chemicals that should be restricted.  Currently there are over 83,000 chemicals listed on the TSCA Inventory List.

Water Regulations See Strong Opposition

The EPA signed the Clean Water Rule in June 2015 and was to go into affect August 28, 2015.  However, several states opposed the rules definition of protected waters in the United States, as determined by the US Army Corp of Engineers and the EPA.  Several states filed lawsuits against the EPA hoping to stop the changes from going into effect. Under the Clean Water Rule, features like wetlands, prairie potholes, Delmarva bays, vernal pools and irrigation and supply ditched would be protected.  As for now, the Clean Water Rule is stalled, pending federal court decisions.  All prior regulations regarding the definition for waterways are in effect, as they were prior to August 27, 2015.

Other rules that made into the federal register without much opposition include water treatment plants monitoring for additional contaminants.  Agencies evaluated different contaminants and published them in the Final CCL 4 for the Fourth Regulatory Determination.  Additionally, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit holders will be required to submit reports electronically.