PPM Sponsors Mississippi Gulf Coast Brewery Tour

Please join PPM at the MEDC (Mississippi Economic Development Council) Annual Conference and register for the Gulf Coast Brewery Tour sponsored by PPM on July 12, 2018 in Biloxi, MS.

Brewery Tour Registration – $35/attendee
LIMITED SEATS (Only 31 seats available)

12 – 12:45 PM: Join us for the Networking Shrimp Boil
1 PM: Bus Departs from IP Casino
1:15 PM: Bus Arrives at Crooked Letter Brewery
1:15 – 2:30 PM: Brewery Experience
2:30 PM: Bus departs Crooked Letter Brewery
3 PM: Arrive at Chandeleur Island Brewing Company
3 – 4:30 PM: Brewery Experience
4:30 PM: Depart Chandeleur Island Brewing Company
5 PM: Arrive at IP Casino Resort Spa
Posted in Blog, Company News, Mississippi, News

ILTA – Introduction to Terminals: Environmental Compliance Basics

The International Liquid Terminal Association held its Annual Convention at the Marriott Marquis in Houston, Texas, June 11-14, offering educational opportunities for pipeline terminal industry professionals of all skill levels and types.  PPM Consultants has been integral in the preparation and implementation of a two day training class on “Introduction to Terminals”.  The class covers a multitude of topics and PPM Principal and Senior Engineer Zane Hood has been teaching the “Basics of Environmental Compliance at Terminals” for several years running.  In the past, Mr. Hood and other PPM professionals have taught portions of the class on Regulatory Agency’s, Large Spill Response incidents, Security and other topics.  The course receives excellent feedback as a resource to terminal managers, environmental health and safety professionals, developers looking to invest in the terminal industry, project managers and many others.  Professionals are also able to receive continuing education credits for participation in the two-day course.

Posted in Alabama, Blog, Environmental Compliance, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, News

Northwest Florida Brownfields Redevelopment Forum to be Held in Marianna Florida

Please join Trey Hess and Ben Clabaugh at the Northwest Florida Brownfields Redevelopment Forum to be Held in Marianna Florida, Thursday, June 14, 2018 from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM (CDT).

Posted in Brownfields, EPA News & Regulations, Florida, News

Proposed Risk Management Program (RMP) Reconsideration Rule

More than 5 years after President Obama issued Executive Order (EO) 13650, sending us down this winding road, the EPA is proposing changes to a final rule, the Risk Management Program (RMP) Amendments (82 FR 4594, January 13, 2017) to better address potential security risks and reasonable consideration of costs. The proposed changes are intended to promote better emergency planning and public information about accidents and maintain the trend of fewer significant accidents involving chemicals regulated under the RMP rule. The proposal reflects issues raised in three petitions for reconsideration of the RMP Amendments as well as other revisions the EPA identified in its review of that rule. The proposed rule was signed on May 17, 2018. A public hearing is scheduled for June 14, 2018, and the proposed rule has a 60-day comment period.

The RMP Reconsideration Rule proposes the following changes to the RMP Amendments final rule:

  • Rescinding all accident prevention program provisions of the RMP Amendments rule (i.e., third party audits, safer technology and alternatives analyses, incident investigation root cause analysis, and most other minor changes to the prevention program) so that EPA can better coordinate revisions to the RMP rule with OSHA and its PSM standard and reduce regulatory costs. (An alternative proposal would retain certain minor changes to the prevention program provisions.)
  • Rescinding most of the public information availability provisions of the RMP Amendments rule that would have provided redundant, less secure means of access to information that is available through better controlled means, while retaining the provision requiring a public meeting after an accident but with minor language modifications.
  • Modifying the emergency coordination and exercise provisions of the Amendments rule to address security concerns raised by petitioners and give more flexibility to regulated facilities in complying with these provisions.
  • Establishing compliance dates that are:
    • one year after the effective date of a final rule for the emergency coordination provisions,
    • two years after the effective date for the public meeting provisions,
    • four years after the effective date for the emergency exercise provisions, and
    • five years after the effective date for incorporating new Subpart G data elements into a facility’s risk management plan.

EPA is reconsidering the final RMP Amendments Rule based on objections highlighted in three petitions submitted to the Agency under Clean Air Act section 307(d)(7)(B) and based on its own review of that rule. The proposal addresses:

  • potential security risks associated with new information disclosure requirements introduced in the final rule,
  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATF’s) finding that a key incident affecting US chemical safety policy, a fire and explosion in West, Texas, was caused by a criminal act (arson) rather than being the result of an accident,
  • concerns with EPA’s economic analysis, and
  • concerns that EPA did not coordinate its rulemaking with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Rule History

August 1, 2013 – President Obama issued Executive Order (EO) 13650

March 14, 2016 – EPA published the Proposed Rule

January 13, 2017, the Final Rule was published in the Federal Register

February 28, 2017 – EPA receives petition requesting reconsideration and stay for the Final Rule

March 16, 2017 – Final Rule  provides 90-day stay of the effective date of the RMP amendments

April 3, 2017 – EPA Proposed Rule to further delay RMP amendments until February 19, 2019

June 9, 2017 – EPA Final Rule to further delay RMP amendments until February 19, 2019

May 17, 2018 – EPA Proposed Rule on several changes to the RMP amendments

 

Contributed by Isaac Smith, Environmental Compliance Manager
Posted in Alabama, Blog, Environmental Compliance, EPA News & Regulations, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, News

EPA Final Area Designations for National Ambient Air Quality Standards

On April 30, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published their Final Area Designations for the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone Established in 2015. EPA has designated 51 additional counties in 22 states as ozone nonattainment areas.

The Clean Air Act directs state air agencies to take steps to control ozone pollution in nonattainment areas based on the severity of the air quality at the time of designation. Classifications range from “marginal” to “extreme” based on air quality monitoring data. There are two methods states may use to meet federal ozone emission standards: 1) to mandate reformulated gasoline or 2) impose lower RVP requirements for conventional gasoline during the summertime ozone season beginning June 1 through September 15 each year.

The EPA strengthened federal ozone standard in 2015 by lowering the attainment level for ground level ozone from 75 parts per billion to 70 parts per billion measured over an 8- hour period. Last November, EPA indicated that 85 percent or 2,646 counties nationwide would be in attainment with the new 70 parts per billion standard. The remaining 51 counties are designated as nonattainment. Eight remaining counties in San Antonio, Texas area will be classified in July 2018, according to the EPA.

Nonattainment areas are required to meet the 70 parts per billion ozone standard as quickly as possible, but no later than the maximum attainment date associated with each classification. The maximum attainment date for each classification are:

  • 3 years for marginal areas;
  • 6 years for moderate areas;
  • 9 years for serious areas;
  • 15 years (or 17 years)  for severe areas; and
  • 20 years for extreme areas.

States must detail how they will comply with the 70 parts per billion standard in revised state air quality implementation plans (SIP) submitted to the EPA for approval. Areas classified as Marginal are not required to submit plans demonstrating how they will meet the ozone standards. For all other nonattainment areas, states have three to four years after the effective date of final designations to develop and submit required SIP elements to EPA, depending on area classification.

  • To see EPA’s Ozone Designation website, click here
  • To see the EPA Fact Sheet, click here
  • To see a detail list of the newly designated nonattainment areas, click here.

To see a map of the newly designated nonattainment areas, click here.

Posted in Alabama, Blog, Environmental Compliance, EPA News & Regulations, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, News, Texas

2015 Ozone Rule Timeline (Update)

On April 30, 2018, the EPA took the next step in the Clean Air Act (CAA) process to implement the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) by designating nearly all the remaining areas.  Eight counties in the San Antonio, Texas area will be designated by July 17, 2018.

The EPA touted a reduction in the number of areas of the country designated as nonattainment with the 2015 standard, relying on CAA waivers for emissions associated with natural “background” ozone and “exceptional events” such as wildfires to explain the reduction.

Counties and areas classified as nonattainment can face significant challenges in the form of air permitting delays, restrictions on industry expansion within the area, as well as impacts to transportation planning.  These challenges commonly lead to reduced economic development in and around the nonattainment area in addition to greater EPA involvement and oversight in air permitting.

After nonattainment areas are designated, states will have up to 3 years to produce State Implementation Plans (SIPs), which outline measures to reduce emission levels to attain and/or maintain the NAAQS. SIPs must be codified through an EPA review and approval process which can also take years to complete. Finally, under the CAA actual attainment of the standards is allowed to stretch over a 3-year to 20-year period, depending on the severity of the area’s pollution.

The EPA said that it followed state recommendations when identifying 51 nonattainment areas in 22 states and the District of Columbia, but noted that the agency acknowledges that high levels of background ozone are often “outside the control of state and tribal air agencies.” The EPA said there are more than 10 percent fewer counties being designated as nonattainment compared to the designations issued in 2012 for the 2008 ozone standard.

On December 21, 2017, EPA responded to state and tribal recommendations by indicating the anticipated area designations for the portions of the country not already designated for the 2015 ozone standards.  These responses will start a 120-day period for states and tribes to provide additional information before EPA determines the final designations.  EPA will also be opening a 30-day comment period for the public to provide input on these designations before they are finalized.

On November 6, 2017, EPA designated 2,646 counties as Attainment/Unclassifiable for which the states recommended a designation of Attainment or Attainment/ Unclassifiable. These are counties with one or more monitors attaining the 2015 ozone NAAQS or counties for which the EPA does not have reason to believe are violating the 2015 ozone NAAQS or are contributing to a violation of the 2015 ozone NAAQS in another county.  Designations for more than 400 counties remain outstanding.

 

Rule History

December 17, 2014 – Ozone NAAQS Proposed Rule published in Federal Register (FR)

October 26, 2015 – Ozone NAAQS Final Rule published in FR

June 28, 2017 – Scott Pruitt announces 1 year extension (Oct 1, 2018) on initial area designations

August 2, 2017 – Scott Pruitt withdraws notice delaying initial area designations

October 1, 2017 – Statutory requirement date for initial area designations by EPA

November 6, 2017 – EPA designates most of the U.S. “attainable/unclassifiable”

December 21, 2017 – EPA responds to state and Tribal Recommendations

April 30, 2018 – EPA publishes additional designations for the 2015 Ozone standard

 

Contributed by Isaac Smith, Environmental Compliance Manager
Posted in Alabama, Blog, Company News, Environmental Compliance, EPA News & Regulations, Louisiana, Mississippi, News

May Membership Breakfast

Trey Hess, director of brownfields and economic development at PPM Consultants, will be speaking for the Partners for Environmental Progress (PEP) on “Economic Impacts of Brownfields Redevelopment” Thursday, May 17th at The Membership Breakfast.

The event will cost $25, begin at 6:30 a.m. and end at 8:00 a.m. at a new location, Heron Lakes Country Club. You can register online here or fill out this PDF and email it to tharris@pepmobile.org by Monday, May 14th.

Contributed by Drew George, Marketing Intern
Posted in Alabama, Blog, Brownfields

Louisiana Designated as Attainment/Unclassifiable for the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS)

 

On April 30, 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took the next step in the Clean Air Act (CAA) process to implement the 2015 Ozone NAAQS by designating nearly all the remaining areas.  The EPA touted a reduction in the number of areas of the country designated as nonattainment with the 2015 standard, relying on CAA waivers for emissions associated with natural “background” ozone and “exceptional events” such as wildfires to explain the reduction.

In somewhat of a surprise to some, all areas of Louisiana were designated as attainment/unclassifiable.  This was a big win for the 5 parishes in and around Baton Rouge and was made possible due to the EPA’s 2016 revisions to the 2007 Exceptional Events Rule (EER).

Exceptional events are naturally occurring or unusual episodic events that are not reasonably controllable and that can adversely affect air quality and may inhibit the ability of an area to attain and/or maintain the NAAQS.

On November 8, 2017 Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) submitted an initial notification to EPA flagging the ozone exceedance episode on September 14th which was believed to be caused by wild fires in the Pacific Northwest. Further investigation and modeling supported the assertion that the regionally elevated ozone measurements and exceedance detected at the Dutchtown monitor was a direct result of the smoke transported from the fires. The information was public noticed on March 1, 2018 as “Exceptional Event Demonstration for Event at Dutchtown Monitor on September 14, 2017.”

Without the EER providing an avenue to identify the elevated ozone measurements recorded by the Dutchtown monitor, this monitored exceedance directly impacted the attainment status of the five parish area.

For more information on the EER and Wildfire/Ozone Implementation Guidance, the EPA developed this PowerPoint.

Background – NAAQS Designations Process

After EPA sets a new NAAQS or revises an existing standard for each criteria air pollutant, the Clean Air Act requires EPA to determine if areas the country meet the new standards.

States and tribes submit recommendations to the EPA as to whether or not an area is attaining the national ambient air quality standards for a criteria pollutant. The states and tribes base these recommendations on air quality data collected from monitors at locations in urban and rural settings as well as other information characterizing air quality such as modeling. After working with the states and tribes and considering the information from air quality monitors, and/or models, EPA will “designate” an area as attainment or nonattainment for the standard.

If the air quality in a geographic area meets or is cleaner than the national standard, it is called an attainment area (designated “unclassifiable/attainment”); areas that don’t meet the national standard are called nonattainment areas.  In some cases, EPA is not able to determine an area’s status after evaluating the available information.  Those areas are designated “unclassifiable.”

Counties and areas classified as nonattainment can face significant challenges in the form of air permitting delays, restrictions on industry expansion within the area, as well as impacts to transportation planning.  These challenges commonly lead to reduced economic development in and around the nonattainment area in addition to greater EPA involvement and oversight in air permitting.

Contributed by Isaac Smith, Environmental Compliance Manager
Posted in Blog

2008 8-Hour Ozone Maintenance Plan Revision for Baton Rouge

In 2008 EPA revised the 8-hour ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) from 0.08 part per million (ppm) to 0.075 ppm. The Baton Rouge area, consisting of five parishes (Ascension, East Baton Rouge, Iberville, Livingston, and West Baton Rouge), was designated nonattainment for the 2008 ozone NAAQS.  In 2016 EPA approved a State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision to provide for maintenance of the NAAQS in the area (maintenance plan) and redesignated the area to attainment (81 FR 95051, December 27, 2016).  Among the air pollution controls included in the maintenance plan was the continued use of low RVP gasoline in the area.

On January 31, 2018, Louisiana submitted a SIP revision making changes to the maintenance plan for the Baton Rouge area. This revision demonstrates that the relaxation of the 7.8 psi federal RVP requirement would have no impact on maintaining the 2008 8-hour NAAQS. Louisiana’s analysis utilized EPA’s 2014 Motor Vehicle Emissions Simulator (MOVES2014a) emission modeling system to project revised on-road and non-road mobile source emission inventories for the 2011 base year and future years 2022 and 2027.

The maintenance plan creates Motor Vehicle Emissions Budgets (MVEBs) for criteria pollutants and/or their precursors to address pollution from cars and trucks. The MVEB is the amount of emissions allowed in the SIP for on-road motor vehicles; it establishes an emissions ceiling for the regional transportation network. The previously approved Maintenance Plan established MVEBs for the Baton Rouge area for the years 2022 and 2027. Using the MOVES2014a model and evaluating the 9.0 psi RVP scenarios in 2022 and 2027, the average daily on-road NOx and VOC tons per day (tpd) emissions are less than the previously approved budgets.

The EPA is proposing to approve a revision to the Louisiana SIP that would modify the Baton Rouge area maintenance plan for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS which demonstrates that relaxing the federal RVP requirements for gasoline in the Baton Rouge area would not interfere with the area’s maintenance of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS or any applicable requirement of the CAA. EPA is also proposing to approve the 2022 and 2027 MVEBs included in this maintenance plan revision. The relaxation of the federal RVP requirements for gasoline in the Baton Rouge area will be addressed in a separate rulemaking.

Click here for a link to the Federal Register notice.

Background Information

On April 19, 1987, EPA determined that gasoline nationwide was becoming increasingly volatile, causing an increase in evaporative emissions from gasoline-powered vehicles and equipment. Under CAA section 211(c), EPA promulgated regulations on March 22, 1989 that set maximum limits for the RVP of gasoline sold during the regulatory control periods that were established on a state-by-state basis in the final rule. On June 11, 1990, EPA promulgated more stringent volatility controls establishing maximum RVP standards of 9.0 pounds per square inch (psi) or 7.8 psi (depending on the state, the month, and the area’s initial ozone attainment designation with respect to the 1-hour ozone NAAQS).

The December 12, 1991, Phase II rulemaking explains that EPA believes that relaxation of an applicable RVP standard is best accomplished in conjunction with the redesignation process. In order for an ozone nonattainment area to be redesignated as an attainment area, section 107(d)(3) of the Act requires the state to make a showing, pursuant to section 175A of the Act, that the area is capable of maintaining attainment for the ozone NAAQS for ten years after redesignation. Depending on the area’s circumstances, this maintenance plan will either demonstrate that the area is capable of maintaining attainment for ten years without the more stringent volatility standard or that the more stringent volatility standard may be necessary for the area to maintain its attainment with the ozone NAAQS. Therefore, in the context of a request for redesignation, EPA will not relax the volatility standard unless the state requests a relaxation and the maintenance plan demonstrates, to the satisfaction of EPA, that the area will maintain attainment for ten years without the need for the more stringent volatility standard.

Section 211(h)(l) of the CAA requires the EPA to set a maximum gasoline RVP standard of 9.0 psi during the summer ozone season, June 1- September 15. The lower RVP requirement is intended to reduce evaporative emissions of VOC, which are precursors of ozone. This section requires EPA to establish more stringent RVP standards in nonattainment areas “as the Administrator finds necessary to generally achieve comparable evaporative emissions in nonattainment areas, taking into consideration the enforceability of such standards, the need of an area for emission control, and economic factors.” Furthermore, §21l(h)(2) provides the Administrator may impose a RVP requirement lower than 9.0 pounds per square inch (psi) in any area formerly an ozone nonattainment area, which has been redesignated as an attainment area.”

Contributed by Isaac Smith, Environmental Compliance Manager and Amanda Polito, Project Manager
Posted in Blog

Update on the Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule

On November 28, 2016, EPA published the Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule which became effective on May 30, 2017. This rule finalizes a much-needed update to the hazardous waste generator regulations to make the rules easier to understand, facilitate better compliance, provide greater flexibility in how hazardous waste is managed and close important gaps in the regulations. This final rule includes over 60 changes to the hazardous waste generator regulations that clarify existing requirements, increase flexibility, and improve environmental protection. These changes also reorganize the regulations to make them easier to follow and make certain technical corrections. The list below provides examples of some of the more significant changes in the final rule for each category.

Provisions to increase flexibility for generators of hazardous wastes

  • Allowing very small quantity generators (VSQGs) (previously known in the federal regulations as “conditionally exempt small quantity generators”- CESQGs) to send hazardous waste to a large quantity generator (LQG) that is under the control of the same person and consolidate it there before sending it on to management at a RCRA-designated facility, provided certain conditions are met. In some situations, organizations in industry, government, and academia may have satellite locations that qualify as VSQGs and that could take advantage of this provision to send their materials to an LQG within their company and ultimately to manage the hazardous waste in an environmentally sound manner rather than as an exempt waste.
  • Allowing a VSQG or a small quantity generator (SQG) to maintain its existing generator category in the case of an event in which the VSQG or SQG generates a quantity of hazardous waste in a calendar month that would otherwise bump the generator into a more stringent generator regulatory category. Under this provision, generators that satisfy the listed conditions do not have to comply with the more stringent generator standards when an unusual event such as a cleanout or an act of nature causes its generator category to temporarily increase.

Improvements of environmental protection

  • Updating the emergency response and contingency planning provisions for SQGs and LQGs to include Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPC) among those emergency planning organizations with which a generator may make response arrangements and to require that new and existing LQGs submit quick reference guides with the key information when they either develop or update their contingency plans to local responders for easy access during an event.
  • Requiring periodic re-notification for SQGs every four years (SQGs only notify once under the current system).
  • Revising the regulations for labeling and marking of containers and tanks to clearly indicate the hazards of the hazardous waste contained inside.

Provisions to improve generator compliance

  • Clarifying inconsistent guidance on which generator category applies when a generator generates both acute and non-acute hazardous waste in a calendar month.
  • Revising the regulations for completing the RCRA biennial report to be consistent with the current instructions distributed with the form.
  • Replacing the phrase “conditionally exempt small quantity generator” with the phrase “very small quantity generator” to be consistent with the other two generator categories—LQGs and SQGs.

Reorganization of the hazardous waste generator regulations

  • Moving the VSQG regulations from section 261.5 of Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) into 40 CFR part 262, where the regulations for SQGs and LQGs are located.
  • Moving a number of the generator regulations that are currently located in other parts of the hazardous waste standards into 40 CFR part 262 to replace the current lists of cross references.

Technical corrections

  • Correcting inadvertent errors in the regulations, obsolete programs, and unclear citations.

Below is an update on where the Gulf South State Environmental Agencies are in adopting the Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule and where you can find more information for your facilities in these states:

Alabama (ADEM) – ADEM held a public hearing on March 21, 2018 to consider the proposed rule.  The proposed rules can be found here.

Florida (FDEP) – FDEP has plans to adopt the rule by July 2018.  A presentation regarding the matter can be found here.

Georgia (EPD) – The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GAEPD) has adopted the new federal regulations. For more information, visit here.

Louisiana (LDEQ) – According to the LDEQ Hazardous Waste Website, The State of Louisiana has not adopted the hazardous waste generator improvements rule at this time, however, the EPA 2017 Instructions and Forms Booklet includes forms to be completed by states that have adopted the rule.  Sections 12-15 and 17 of the RCRA Subtitle C Site Identification Form do not apply to Louisiana reporters at this time.

Mississippi (MDEQ) – MDEQ is currently in the process of incorporating the Generator Improvements Rule into the Mississippi Hazardous Waste Management Regulations. In considering the adoption of these regulations, MDEQ is seeking public comment on these proposed revisions through April 10, 2018, and a public hearing on the action will be held April 10 at 1:30 in the Commission Hearing Room at MDEQ’s Office at 515 East Amite Street in Jackson. The public notice is found here.

If your state is not listed above, here’s a comprehensive State-By-State Table (as of October 2017) here.

Contributed by Trey Hess, Brownfield Redevelopment Director
Posted in Blog