May 2018 Newsletter

May 9, 2018

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FINALLY!!! We may even get a taste of Spring before the summer weather shows up.  Just remember that the warmer weather brings out the children from their electronic hibernation to ride bikes and play outside.  More of them are back to walking to and from school again.  Please be careful!

It's also time for our four, six or more legged friends to get active.  Bug spray is a must for fieldwork.  We've already had to deal with a new wasp hive in a monitoring well.  If you're in more remote areas, raccoon, dear, and bears, etc., can also be a concern. 

Bob Jackson, Managing Director


Proof of Contamination

In an ongoing case with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP), the EQT Corp. is challenging a ruling on the contamination of groundwater from contaminated soil.  The EQT Corp had a six million gallon fracking fluid impoundment that leaked and contaminated the underlying soil.  The PADEP fined the corporation $1.1 million for the soil contamination and groundwater contamination from migrating contaminants in the oil.                                                     

EQT is challenging the fact that just because there is contaminated soil, there is no proof that it is migrating to the groundwater.  In a subsequent hearing following the assessment of the fine, Judge Kevin Brobson who sat on a select panel, provided an analogy of contaminant migration from soil to groundwater to that of a highway.  He stated that, "the highway is there but, how do you prove that the chemicals took the highway every single day".                                                            

The PADEP countered that the challenge would set up an unmeetable standard of proof stating that it would take "X-ray vision", to be able to prove what is generally an accepted theory of contaminant transport in soil to the underlying groundwater.                                                                           

The case ended with the PA Supreme Court rejecting what became known as the PADEP's "water to water theory" of continued liability which centers around contaminant migration through groundwater to other waterways.  They stopped short of finding that EQT could not be held liable for continued migration of contaminants from the soil just below the impoundment into the groundwater.  The panel has taken the case under advisement.                                                                                          

Source: Law 360, 5/9/2018 - Pa Court Grapples With Proof Behind $1M Fracking fine, Matt Fair.  


Hazardous Waste Management - e-Manifest Information for New York Hazardous Waste Generators, Transporters and Receiving Facilities

On June 30, 2018, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will launch its new electronic manifest system (e-Manifest). E-Manifest is a national system that will enable the regulated community to track hazardous waste shipments electronically. EPA will design, implement and maintain the software for this system.

DEC will update its e-Manifest System web page with New York State-specific requirements that will still apply under the new e-Manifest system as it becomes available.   DEC will also distribute New York State-specific e-Manifest updates through this listserv.  The public may contact the following with e-Manifest related questions:

General e-Manifest (federal requirements, software design, and development, etc.):

EPA e-Manifest e-mail (eManifest@epa.gov)

New York State Requirements: DEC Manifest e-mail (manifest@dec.ny.gov)

When contacting DEC Manifest mailbox, please use the following terms in the subject of your e-mail to assist DEC with routing your inquiry:

  • e-Manifest: Manifesting - questions related to general manifesting requirements in New York State, state waste codes, ultimate disposal method code, etc.
  • e-Manifest: RCRAInfo - questions related to managing e-Manifest accounts using the e-Manifest RCRAInfo software.
  • e-Manifest: Regulations - questions related to the adoption status of the federal e-Manifest Rules in New York State.

Source: NYSDEC@public.govdelivery.com


New Jersey Remediation Fund

In January 2018, Public Law 2017, chapter 353, was enacted.  The law amended various provisions in the Brownfield and Contaminated Site Remediation Act (Brownfield Act, N.J.S.A. 58:10B-1 et seq.) regarding the Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund (HDSRF).

To reflect these amendments to the Brownfield Act, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (Department) has posted an updated version of the "Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund Application Form" and associated instructions; this form is used to for Grant and Loan applications through the Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund (HDSRF) program. The "HDSRF Reference Chart" has also been updated, and a "Table of HDSRF" changes have been added to the Office of Brownfield Reuse's webpage.

The revised application and instructions can be found at www.nj.gov/dep/srp/srra/forms/, and the Table of Changes and Revised HDSRF Chart can be found at www.nj.gov/dep/srp/brownfields/ 

Questions regarding the HDSRF should be directed to 609-984-1790. 


US EPA Enforcement 2017

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 annual enforcement and compliance results highlight site remediation and civil and criminal enforcement results.   "A strong enforcement program is essential to achieving positive health and environmental outcomes," said Assistant Administrator of the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) Susan Bodine. The focus in 2017 was on expediting site cleanup, deterring noncompliance, and returning facilities to compliance with the law. 

Highlights of EPA's FY 2017 enforcement accomplishments include:

  • An increase in the value of commitments by private parties to clean up sites to more than $1.2 billion.
  • An increase in the environmental benefits of EPA Superfund and RCRA Corrective Action enforcement, with commitments to address an estimated 20.5 million cubic yards of contaminated soil and 412 million cubic yards of contaminated water.
  • An increase in the total of criminal fines, restitution, and mitigation to $2.98 billion.  
  • An increase in the years of incarceration resulting from EPA's criminal enforcement actions to 150 years.
  • An increase in the value of actions taken to improve compliance with the law and reduce pollution, to nearly $20 billion.
  • $1.6 billion in administrative and civil judicial penalties, higher than any of the previous 10 years other than 2016.

States and tribes are often authorized to be the primary implementers of federal environmental law. As a result, in FY 2017, EPA continued the trend of reducing the number of individual federal inspections and federal enforcement actions. These numbers do not count informal actions or EPA assistance with state enforcement actions. 

 Looking forward, EPA is developing new measures to help focus the enforcement program on returning facilities to compliance by setting goals to reduce the time between the identification of an environmental law violation and its correction and to increase environmental law compliance rates. Also, EPA is developing measures to fully capture all the enforcement and compliance assistance work the Agency undertakes by tracking informal, as well as formal, enforcement and compliance actions and support to states.

Source: https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-announces-2017-annual-environmental-enforcement-results


NJ Schools Development Authority

Equity Environmntal Engineering LLC recently completed the NJ Schools Development Authority's (SDA) Small. Minority & Women-Owned Business Enterprise Program - Contractor Training Program this month.  It was a 9-week training course in working with the SDA.  Equity is now pre-qualified to work on SDA projects. 


CIANJ

Robert Jackson, a partner with Equity, is now the primary regulatory coordinator for the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey's (CIANJ) Environmental Business Council.  He will be responsible for coordinating and providing regulatory updates for the EBC on a bi-monthly basis.


Calendar

Equity Staff has or will be attending the following events:

R. Jackson -  SDA Training, March-May 16, 2018

F. Moser  - Regional Alliance for Small Contractors - 2018 Contractors Clearinghouse - 4/5/18

J. Vrabel/G. Bove - Vapor Intrusion Guidance Seminar at Montclair State - 4/6/18

P. Jaran and B. Jackson - Conference of Hazardous Waste Remediation 4/??/18

P Jaran, K. Williams, and F. Moser - SAME SBC Conference 5/?/18

A. Kartalyan, J. Walker, and G. Bove attended the Professional Business Communication - Writing For success on May 16, 2018

N. Leitner and R. Jackson attended the Brownfield Coalition of the Northeast on May 23. 2018

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