BLOG

HSE MATTERS

How secure are your PSM processes?

Highly hazardous chemicals such as toxics, reactives, flammable liquids and gases are used in many industries such as food processing, chemical manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, plastics, paints, etc….  If not properly designed, maintained, and managed safely during manufacture, transport, storage, and use, these chemicals can cause disastrous incidents with significant property damage and potentially fatal-consequences. OSHA and EPA both regulate industries with chemicals over certain threshold quantities through their Process Safety Management (PSM) and the Risk Management Plan (RMP) standards,…

Read More

Evaluating Workplace Health Exposures

Under the OSH Act, employers are required to identify and evaluate health hazard(s) in their workplaces, which includes exposures to air contaminants, chemicals, biological and physical hazards. More than 6 million workplaces in the U.S. are covered by OSHA’s permissible exposure limits (PEL) established for over 500 chemicals listed in tables Z-1, Z-2, and Z-3.  Most of OSHA’s exposure limits are 8-hour time-weighted averages (TWA), however, there are short-term exposure limits (STEL) based on 15 minute exposures, ceiling or peak limits that…

Read More

13 Elements of a Fire Door Inspection

Routine visual inspections and operational testing of fire doors is critical to a building’s maintenance and the life safety of its occupants. Fire doors inspected in accordance with the requirements set forth by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 101, Life Safety Code, and NFPA 80, Standard for Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives, require that all fire door assemblies be inspected not less than annually, after installation and maintenance work. Visual inspections and operational…

Read More

Conducting Effective Hazard Assessments

Often during inspections, audits, or accident investigations, we encounter nonexistent, inadequate, or inaccurate hazard assessments. One of the “root causes” of workplace injuries, illnesses, and incidents is the failure to identify or recognize hazards that are present, or that could have been anticipated.  A critical element of any effective safety and health program is a proactive, ongoing process to identify and assess hazards. OSHA requires that hazard assessments be performed in many standards including, but…

Read More

6 Benefits of Partnering to Improve HSE Performance 

Businesses most valuable assets are their workforce.  As such, managing health, safety, and environmental (HSE) aspects and impacts play a critical role in managing a business.  However, for many businesses, managing an HSE system is often overwhelming trying to navigate complex and everchanging regulations, and often do not have the resources to manage internally. For many smaller to mid-sized companies, the responsibilities of managing HSE aspects and impacts often fall on human resources, supervisors, or…

Read More

Major Benefits of Third Party Inspections & Audits 

Performing routine inspections and periodic audits are essential for a company to implement a process that assesses risk and liabilities while developing accurate policies, procedures, and training to continuously improve HSE performance.  Inspections (hazard identification) and audits (program evaluation) are critical to the successful implementation of an effective and continuously improving HSE management system.    Inspections of workplace hazards must be integrated into a company’s HSE program to ensure that hazards are appropriately identified, evaluated (severity,…

Read More

EPA News

- Air and Radiation (OAR)

WASHINGTON — Today, Feb. 28, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the launch of the $3 billion Clean Ports Program to fund zero-emission port equipment and infrastructure to tackle the climate crisis and improve air quality at U.S. ports as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. The funding opportunities were created under President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act — the largest climate investment in history — and will advance environmental justice by reducing diesel pollution from U.S. ports in surrounding communities, while creating good-paying jobs. EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan made this announcement at an event in Wilmington, North Carolina with Governor Roy Cooper today as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America tour.

“Our nation’s ports are among the busiest in the world, helping us to create good jobs here in America, move goods, and grow our economy,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Today’s historic funding announcement reflects President Biden’s vision of growing our economy while ensuring America leads in creating globally competitive solutions of the future. Today we’re making $3 billion available to install cleaner and more efficient technologies while cutting air pollution to protect the people who work at and live near ports.”

“Our country’s ports feed our supply chains to put food on our tables, keep our businesses running and provide for our everyday needs,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “We are deeply grateful to the Biden Administration for the investments that have helped fix our supply chain, rebuild our infrastructure and create thousands of good paying clean energy jobs.”

“Communities living near America’s ports have borne the brunt of some of the worst air pollution coming from shipping, trucking, and maritime industries,” said John Podesta, Senior Advisor to the President for International Climate Policy. “Today’s historic announcement from EPA is an investment in a cleaner, healthier future for those communities.”

“President Biden and Vice President Harris believe every person deserves clean air, clean water, and a healthy environment. Communities near our nation’s ports are disproportionately impacted by air pollution and other environmental hazards, and this funding will help reduce emissions while creating good-paying jobs as we transition to a clean energy future,” said White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory. “Today’s announcement will help ensure families who live, work, and play near our ports have cleaner air to breathe and a healthier environment as we work to advance the President’s ambitious environmental justice agenda.”

“For decades, ports have been hubs of pollution — but thanks to President Biden, we are turning them into hubs of American innovation,” said Assistant to the President and National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi. “There’s an incredible array of new technologies that can make ports cleaner and greener, all while creating good-paying jobs and strengthening American supply chains. The Clean Ports Program is demonstrating how these technologies can work together to deliver clean air for our children, cut down on harmful climate pollution, and achieve fully zero-emission operations. That’s a gamechanger for port communities, for workers, and for America’s economy. That’s environmental justice – long overdue.”

The Clean Ports Program will help advance the President’s commitment to environmental justice and the Justice40 Initiative, which sets the goal that 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments in climate, clean energy, and other areas flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution. In addition to these efforts, EPA strived to ensure that near-port community engagement and equity considerations are at the forefront of our program design, including by evaluating applications on the extent and quality of community engagement efforts.

The Clean Ports Program is designed to help ports across the country transition to fully zero-emissions operations — serving as a catalyst for transformational change across the freight sector. To achieve this, EPA is releasing two separate Notice of Funding Opportunities (NOFOs) as part of the $3 billion. The nearly $2.8 billion Zero-Emission Technology Deployment Competition will directly fund zero-emission port equipment and infrastructure to reduce mobile source emissions at U.S. ports. Eligible uses of funding include human-operated and maintained zero-emission cargo handling equipment, harbor craft and other vessels, electric charging and hydrogen fueling infrastructure, and a number of other technology investments. Applications under this competition will be evaluated under multiple tiers in order to ensure that funds are distributed across ports of different sizes and types, and to ensure funding for ports serving Tribal communities.

The approximately $150 million Climate and Air Quality Planning Competition will fund climate and air quality planning activities at U.S. ports — including emissions inventories, strategy analysis, community engagement, and resiliency measure identification. Together, these opportunities will advance next-generation, clean technologies that will more safely and efficiently drive the movement of goods and passengers at our nation’s ports, a critical part of America’s supply chain infrastructure while reducing pollution and advancing environmental justice.

The funding for the two grant competitions is available to port authorities; state, regional, local, or Tribal agencies that have jurisdiction over a port authority or port; air pollution control agencies; and private entities that apply in partnership with an eligible entity above, and that own, operate or use facilities, cargo-handling equipment, transportation equipment, or related technology of a port. The funding can be used for projects at water ports (coastal and inland) as well as projects at facilities where goods are transferred between rail cars and trucks (dry ports).

Ports are the transportation and commerce hubs that make the U.S. economy hum. In our global economy, efficient and effective ports are central to our economic viability and prosperity. At the same time, they are places where large concentrations of diesel equipment converge — including ships, trucks, rail, and non-road machinery. These diesel engines, particularly older engines found in many ports, operate near where people live, work, and play, emitting air pollution that can harm human health and contribute to climate change. This historic investment in clean technologies at ports that reduce exposure to air pollution will protect public health, particularly for communities surrounding ports. The Clean Ports Program will also help to ensure that meaningful community engagement and emissions reduction planning are port industry standard practices.

The new program builds on the success of EPA’s Ports Initiative and the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act programs, which have invested over $196 million to implement 207 diesel emissions reduction projects at ports with an additional $88 million to multi-sector projects that involve ports. Using the Ports Initiative and DERA’s strong foundation as a launchpad, the Clean Ports Program will drive transformational change across the freight sector. This new Clean Ports Program is one of several complementary programs funded by the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that can help reduce emissions at ports, including the Department of Transportation’s Port Infrastructure Development Program, which will be releasing a NOFO shortly. Visit a new interagency webpage summarizing federal funding opportunities for low- to zero-emission port technologies.

In addition to protecting human health and the environment, the program will create new jobs in the domestic clean energy sector and enhance U.S. economic competitiveness, through innovation, installation, maintenance, and operation of zero-emissions equipment and infrastructure. The program’s historic investment in zero-emission port technology will promote and ensure the U.S. position as a global leader in clean technologies.

The deadline to apply for the two Clean Ports Program NOFOs is May 28. Eligible applicants can apply for funding through one or both NOFOs.

Zero-Emission Technology Deployment Competition NOFO

Climate and Air Quality Planning Competition NOFO

To learn more about the Clean Ports Program, applicant eligibility, selection process, and informational webinar dates, please visit the Clean Ports Program webpage. Questions may also be directed to [email protected].

- Region 09

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has entered into an Administrative Order on Consent with S & W Atlas Iron & Metal Co. Inc. over claims of Clean Water Act violations at its facility in Los Angeles, California. Under the terms of the agreement, the company will undertake several steps to upgrade their treatment system and to prevent stormwater pollutants—including metals—from discharging onto the grounds of Jordan High School and into Compton Creek, a tributary of the Los Angeles River.

“Tackling the harmful pollution carried in stormwater is a vital part of the Clean Water Act. This order requires Atlas to improve their stormwater treatment and eliminate any water pollutant discharge from leaving the site and reaching Jordan High School,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “EPA is committed to protecting human health and the environment by reducing exposure to lead and heavy metals, especially for children and communities with environmental justice concerns.”

Pollutants from industrial facilities that are carried by stormwater, if not properly managed, can impact water quality and aquatic life. This occurs when rainwater washes over surfaces at industrial sites, picking up harmful pollutants like chemicals, metals, and sediments before flowing offsite into nearby streams, rivers, and lakes. The Clean Water Act requires that certain industrial facilities, such as S &W Atlas Iron & Metal, obtain permits to control the discharge of pollutants in stormwater runoff to water bodies. These facilities must develop and implement stormwater pollution prevention plans.

EPA alleges that for the 2022-2023 monitoring period, S &W Atlas Iron & Metal exceeded the limits for levels of iron, zinc, and copper in its discharge. These limits are meant to protect the Los Angeles River. Additionally, EPA alleges that S & W Atlas discharged stormwater through unauthorized breaches in a perimeter wall onto Jordan High School property. To settle these EPA claims of violations, S & W Atlas has agreed to:

Submit and implement a Stormwater Containment Plan. Operate and maintain the stormwater treatment system and stormwater/oil separator according to the manufacturer’s manual. Include standard operating procedures in the Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP). Require and provide frequent training for employees according to the updated SWPPP.

EPA conducts inspections and takes enforcement actions as part of its mission to protect public health and the environment. EPA will monitor S & W Atlas Iron & Metal’s progress and take further action should the company fail to meet its obligations.

Learn more about the stormwater permits under the Clean Water Act.

Read more about the EPA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System and the Clean Water Act.

For more information on reporting possible violations of environmental laws and regulations visit EPA’s enforcement reporting website.

Learn about EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and X.

- Region 02

NEW YORK  - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that the Scorpio Recycling, Inc. Superfund site in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico is among the over 100 sites across the country getting more than $1 billion for cleanup projects as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. This funding is made possible by the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and will launch new cleanup projects at 25 Superfund sites and continue other cleanups at over 85 Superfund sites.  

Thousands of contaminated sites exist nationally due to hazardous waste being dumped, left out in the open, or otherwise improperly managed. These sites can include toxic chemicals from manufacturing facilities, processing plants, landfills and mining, and can harm the health and well-being of local communities in urban and rural areas. More than one in four Black and Hispanic Americans live within three miles of a Superfund site.  

"People living in Puerto Rico have seen firsthand how transformative the Superfund program can be for communities,” said Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia.  “This investment in America and in Puerto Rico builds on the historic progress we have already made in recent years to ensure that communities living near the most serious uncontrolled, or abandoned contaminated sites get the protections they deserve.”   

“The Biden-Harris Administration continues its steadfast support for Puerto Rico in our collaborative efforts to protect our natural resources. Following last week’s announcement of $63.3 million from the EPA for water resources and infrastructure work, today we are pleased to announce another allocation for cleanup at the Scorpio Recycling, Inc Superfund site.  This area, which was a metal recycling facility until 2010 in Toa Baja, is one of the 100 sites across the Nation that will receive more than $1 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The $3.1 million that EPA is allocating to Puerto Rico will be used to further the cleaning efforts and address contamination at the site. Once again, actions speak louder than words, and my administration will continue working with the federal government to protect our environment and the health of all American citizens living in Puerto Rico, “said Governor Pedro R. Pierluisi.

The Scorpio Recycling Inc. site in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico was a 6-acre metal recycling facility that bought all types of metal and sold it to foundries in the United States, Brazil, Spain and Japan. The facility began operating in 1972. The site was poorly operated, and the soil became contaminated with acids, lead and other metals. EPA has addressed the immediate risks by excavating and removing battery casings, miscellaneous debris, and stabilized soil contamination on portions of the site by treating the soil with trisodium phosphate as a temporary mitigation measure to immobilize the lead. 

EPA BIL funding will be used to install a gravel cover in an industrial area and soil cover in a conservation area of the site.  This work which has an estimated value of $3.1 million and will be the last work planned to address contamination at this site. The work is expected to be fully completed in 2028. 

Today’s investment is the final wave of funding from the $3.5 billion allocated for Superfund cleanup work in the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. So far, EPA has deployed more than $2 billion for cleanup activities at more than 150 Superfund National Priorities List sites.  

Thanks President Biden’s commitment to addressing legacy pollution and improving public health, EPA has been able to provide as much funding for cleanup work in the past two years as it did in the previous five years while delivering on President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which set a goal to deliver 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution. 

EPA is committed to advancing environmental justice and incorporating equity considerations into all aspects of the Superfund cleanup process.  Thus far, nearly 80% of the funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has gone to sites in communities with potential environmental justice concerns. Out of the 25 sites to receive funding for new cleanup projects, more than 75% are in communities with potential environmental justice concerns based on data from EJSCREEN

President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is restoring the health and economic vitality of communities that have been exposed to pervasive legacy pollution. The historic investment made by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law strengthens every part of the Superfund program, making a dramatic difference in EPA’s ability to tackle threats to human health and the environment. In addition to funding cleanup construction work, the investment is enabling EPA to increase funding for and accelerate essential work needed to prepare sites for construction and to ensure communities are meaningfully involved in the cleanup process. In 2023, EPA continued to fund Superfund pre-construction activities such as remedial investigations, feasibility studies, remedial designs, and community involvement at double pre-Bipartisan Infrastructure Law levels. 

In 1980, Congress passed the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERLCA), known as Superfund. The law gave EPA the authority and funds to hold polluters accountable for cleaning up the most contaminated sites across the country. When no viable responsible party is found or cannot afford the cleanup, EPA steps in to address risks to human health and the environment using funds appropriated by Congress, like the funding provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. 

To see a list of the 25 sites to receive funding for new cleanup projects, visit EPA’s Superfund webpage.

To see highlights from the first two years of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding at Superfund sites, visit EPA’s Cleaning Up Superfund Sites: Highlights of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Funding website.

For more information about EPA’s Superfund program, visit EPA’s Superfund website

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

24-18

Chemical Safety Board News