Sunday, July 31, 2011

RCRA and Clean Water Act Violations Force DOW Settlement

Click this link for the full storyThe most serious RCRA violations resulted from cracks and pits in secondary containment structures for several tanks and pieces of equipment at the Midland facility.  Secondary containment structures are ditches, walls, and other types of structures intended to hold in accidental spills and releases of hazardous waste from tanks and equipment.  Cracks and pits in secondary containment structures threaten the integrity of the structure, which can result in a release of hazardous waste into the surrounding environment.

JP Specialties, Inc. / Earth Shield® is the leading manufacturer of chemical resistant waterstop solutions and has recently begun supplying DOW projects throughout Michigan with chemical resistant waterstop to avoid future RCRA and Clean Water Act violations.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

New York DEC Releases Fracking Report With Secondary Containment Requirements

Penn Yan, NY — The Department of Environmental Conservation released its revised recommendations on mitigating the environmental impacts of high-volume hydraulic fracturing “fracking” July 1.
Those opposed to the practice argue that the recommendations allow the state to apply double standards to protecting drinking water supplies.
The recommendations contain these major revisions:
•High-volume fracturing would be prohibited in the New York City and Syracuse watersheds, including a buffer zone.
•Drilling would be prohibited within primary aquifers and within 500 feet of their boundaries.
•Surface drilling would be prohibited on state-owned land including parks, forest areas and wildlife management areas.
•High-volume fracturing will be permitted on privately held lands under rigorous and effective controls.
•DEC will issue regulations to codify these recommendations into state law.
The Department’s review has resulted in recommendations for controls on high-volume fracturing on private lands such as:
Protecting Drinking Water
• Well water and other water protection: No permits would be issued for sites within 500 feet of a private water well or domestic use spring. No permits may be issued for a proposed site within 2,000 feet of a public drinking water supply well or reservoir at least until three years of experience elsewhere have been evaluated. No permits will be issued for well pads within a 100-year floodplain.
•Additional Well Casing to Prevent Gas Migration: In most cases, an additional third, cemented well casing is required around each well to prevent the migration of gas. The three required casings are the surface casing, the new intermediate casing and the production casing.
Spill control: Flowback water on site must use watertight tanks within a secondary containment. No open containment may be used. Secondary containment for all fracturing additive containers, additive staging areas and flowback tanks will be required.
• Stormwater Control: Strict stormwater control measures will be required.
Regulating Water Withdrawals
A special permit will be required to withdraw large volumes of water for industrial and commercial purposes.
All withdrawals from surface water bodies will be subject to limits to prevent impacts upon ecosystems and other water quantity requirements. Identification of the water source an applicant intends to use will be required. An annual report must be issued on the aggregate amount of water it has withdrawn.
Applicants must have DEC-approved plans for disposing of flowback water and production brine. DEC would institute a process to monitor disposal of flowback water, production brine, drill cuttings and other drilling waste streams that is similar to the handling of medical waste.
Taking Localities into Account
DEC would notify local governments of each well permit application for high-volume fracturing. Applicant must certify that a proposed activity is consistent with local land use and zoning laws. Failure to certify or a challenge by a locality would trigger additional DEC review before a permit could be issued.
Identifying Fluid Chemicals
The 2011 environmental report identifies 322 chemicals proposed for use in New York and includes health hazard information for each as identified by the NYS Department of Health. Applicants must fully disclose to DEC all products utilized in the high-volume fracturing process. Applicants must agree to publicly disclose the names of the additives, subject to appropriate protections for proprietary information. Operators will be required to evaluate using alternative additives that pose less potential risk.
Protecting the Air
Enhanced air pollution controls on engines used at well pads will be required. DEC will monitor local and regional air quality at well pads and surrounding areas. The use of existing pipelines will be required rather than flaring gas.
Conserving Habitats
Disturbing the surface of the land is strictly restricted in forests of 150 acres or more, or grasslands of 30 acres or more, by requiring applicants to comply with best management practices.
The DEC report says the 2009 SGEIS did not adequately consider the community and socioeconomic impacts of high-volume fracturing. DEC officials say they have engaged independent consultants to thoroughly research these types of effects, such as:
• Socio-economic conditions including positive and negative impacts.
• Transportation infrastructure, current road use and the impacts of increased traffic.
• Visual and noise impacts.
DEC expects the research to be completed by July 31. This research will be considered and reflected in the final draft of the report.
Upon final adoption of the permitting standards, DEC will implement a system of oversight, monitoring and enforcement with close consultation with local governments and communities.
A High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing Advisory Panel, composed of outside environmental and industry experts and local government representatives, will be charged with developing recommendations for:
• funding to ensure the proper oversight, monitoring and enforcement by state and county agencies responsible for drilling activities and reviewing water sampling data.
• measures to minimize socioeconomic and other impacts on local governments and communities;
•a fee structure for drilling development.
• a mechanism for the funding of infrastructure improvements.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Earth Shield Supplies Chemical Resistant Waterstop to New GE Sodium Nickel Battery Plant That President Obama Promoted During Recent Visit

President Barack Obama visited the Capital Region Friday, January 7th, 2011 where he touted America's business potential during a trip to General Electric located in Schenectady, NY where he toured a new battery plant with General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt.
The president introduced Immelt as the head of a Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Obama said the panel will focus on getting people back to work and making our nation more competitive on a global level.

During his speech, President Obama said that as the economy slowly recovers, the challenge is to make it easier for people to expand new businesses and for existing companies to hire new workers. The president also said that in order for the economy to fully recover, U.S. companies must expand their exports to overseas markets.
GE is making a move into the sodium-based battery business with a $100 million battery manufacturing plant in upstate New York. The company has previously invested heavily in lithium ion batteries — the batteries of choice for hybrid and electric cars — but the new sodium-nickel-chloride batteries will power GE's hybrid locomotives. The batteries could also be used in data centers, trucking equipment for mining, and alternative energy storage.
GE has held patents on the sodium-based batteries, which store energy produced when vehicles brake, for over five years. The company believes sodium-based batteries are superior to lithium batteries for locomotive purposes because the former provides large amounts of power spread over a long period. In comparison, lithium ion batteries provide short bursts of power that can jolt a vehicle into moving.
Earth Shield® brand chemical resistant waterstop is currently being installed throughout the new battery plant in all the containment areas and trenches. An on-site waterstop welding training class was held on March 9th, 2011, certifying the contractor — Lechase Construction Services of Schenectady, NY. The entire crew was trained over the course of one day and construction commenced immediately. Both retrofit and base seal waterstops were used throughout.
The battery factory, scheduled to open in mid-2011, will provide a much-needed economic boost to Niskayuna, New York, with 350 factory jobs and $100 million in investment — some of which GE hopes will be provided for with government economic stimulus funding. At full capacity, GE's sodium-based battery factory will produce 10 million battery cells (900 MW hours of energy storage) each year.
Earth Shield is proud to be a small part of this factory of the future.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Ireland Oil Regulations Enhanced

The arrival of The Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010 represent the most significant change in oil storage regulations in the province for a generation. Coming into effect on 20 March 2011 and affecting both new and existing oil storage installations, they are applicable to the storage of all kinds of oil including agricultural fuel oil, biodiesel, diesel, gas oil, bioheating oil, heating oil, kerosene, lubricants, oil based solvents, mineral oil, paraffin, plant oil, vegetable oil and waste oils.
Affected Premises
The new Regulations are applicable to all internal and external above ground storage installations with an installed capacity greater than 200 litres at:
  • Commercial premises e.g. shops, garages, offices etc.
  • Industrial premises e.g. factories, quarries, workshops etc.
  • Institutional premises e.g. civic buildings, hospitals, police stations, multi-residential dwellings, blocks of flats, apartments etc.
  • Domestic premises with an installed capacity greater than 3,500 litres
  • Waste oil storage and collection facilities e.g. civic amenity sites
  • Companies who refine and distribute oil and who are not regulated by The Control of Major Accident Hazards (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2000, storing 2,500 tonnes of oil or more.
Single family dwellings with an installed capacity of 3,500 litres or less are not affected by the Regulations, but instead are subject to Building Regulations in the province. Similarly, whilst agricultural installations do not fall within the remit of the legislation, they are covered by The Control of Pollution (Silage, Slurry and Fuel Oil) (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2003.
The scope of the new Regulations at affected installations extends to:
  • Fixed storage tanks
  • Intermediate bulk containers (IBCs)
  • Drums
  • Bowsers and other similar, mobile storage / dispensing tanks
For the first time in Northern Ireland, the Regulations establish minimum legal requirements for the storage of oil at affected premises and installations. Usefully they bring the province largely into line with existing regulations elsewhere in the United Kingdom and in mainland Europe.
Principal Measures
Key requirements of the new regulations in Northern Ireland include:
  • Tanks, drums and any other storage containers must be strong enough to store oil without bursting.
  • Oil storage containers should be positioned to minimise the risk of vehicular impact
  • A secondary containment system (e.g. bund) should be incorporated within the installation to contain any oil spilt from the primary storage container, ancillary equipment or pipework.
  • The secondary containment system must be able to store a minimum of 110% of the primary storage container. Where more than one container is stored, the system must be able to contain either 110% of the capacity of the largest storage container of 25% of the aggregate total - whichever is the greater.
  • The base and walls of any bund must be impermeable to oil e.g. they must be able to contain oil for a minimum of 72 hours. Additionally, the bund must not be permeated by any pipe or valve, capable of draining the storage system.
  • Aboveground pipework must be properly supported and underground pipework must be protected from physical and chemical damage and have adequate leakage protection in place.
In practice, the outworking of the new requirements will be the installation of pre-fabricated bunded oil tanks and the increased use of sump pallets at many oil storage installations in the province.
In England and Scotland, comparable regulations were phased in over a number of years. It is therefore unsurprising to find the same approach has been taken in Northern Ireland. The Regulations, which apply to both new and existing oil storage installations, will be implemented in three distinct stages:
  • All new oil storage facilities must comply by 20 September 2011
  • Existing oil storage facilities within 10 metres of a waterway or within 50 metres of a well, borehole or spring must comply by 20 March 2013.
  • All remaining oil storage facilities should comply by 31 December 2015.
Further Information
In 2009, oil represented approximately 14% of substantiated pollution incidents investigated by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. Whilst there has been a welcome, downward trend in the number of oil related pollution incidents in the province; the number appears to have levelled off at c.220 incidents per annum during recent years. The Agency hopes the introduction of new Regulations will further reduce the number and extent of oil related pollution incidents in the province.
Further information on the new Regulations is available from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.

All material courtesy of and copyright of 

Friday, November 05, 2010

Waterstop for Corner Joints

Earth Shield® Waterstop profile JP540L is the perfect solution for sealing corner joints between wall/wall or wall/slab on environmentally engineered concrete containment structures.  The product is externally applied using factory supplied novolac epoxy, stainless steel Tapcons®, and stainless steel batten bar.

Monday, October 04, 2010

JPS / Earth Shield Waterstop Proudly Sponsor Kenny G at South Coast Winery, Benefitting Shriners Hospitals for Children

This past Saturday at the beautiful, award-winning South Coast Winery in Temecula, CA, smooth jazz master Kenny G performed to a sold out audience with all proceeds benefitting Shriners Hospitals for Children. For the second year in a row, JP Specialties, Inc. (manufacturer of Earth Shield® Waterstop) has proudly sponsored the event which directly impacts the lives of children throughout the world. If you would like to see a short video gallery of the evening, please click here.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Unique Waterstop System Utilized In Idaho Dam Rehab

In early summer season, the reservoir behind Dworshak is about 630 feet deep. At the bottom of the reservoir the water pressure is high. From the top to the bottom of the dam are large, solid, copper “waterstops” between the large concrete monoliths designed to prevent leaks between the monoliths and in the cracks. Since 2009, the District and a contracted architectural-engineering (A-E) firm have been studying and prototyping new urethane waterstop technologies for tall or “high-head” dams. This $1.3 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) technology demonstration will lead to groundbreaking engineering research data for future high-head waterstop repairs at Dworshak and around the world. The urethane waterstop cylinders are being manufactured off site, and installation is expected to begin in late September 2010.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Compliance Q&A

Question - What constitutes an SPCC Plan?
Answer - A sketch or drawing of the site will assist in identification the implementation.
Question - When the SPCC Plan is completed and certified, is it sent to EPA for review?
Answer - No, a certified copy of the Plan is required to be available from EPA on-site review; if the facility is attended at least eight hours a day. If the facility is not attended, then the Plan shall be kept at the nearest company office.
Question - What is the time frame for plan preparation and implementation for a new facility?
Answer - One year from the date the facility begins operation.
Question - Is an SPCC Plan required when a facility has existing preventative systems in place and no previous history of spills?
Answer - The need for an SPCC Plan is determined by criteria; the storage capacity and the location, disregarding existing manmade structures.
Question - When a production lease consists of several operations, such as wells, oil/water separators, collection systems, tank batteries, etc. does each operation require a separate SPCC Plan?
Answer - No, one SPCC Plan may include all operations within a single geographical area when each is addressed in the Plan.
Question - Is every loss of oil or oil product subject to a penalty?
Answer - No, a discharge is defined in 311(a)(2) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act as including, but not limited to, any spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying, or dumping that enters the waters of the United States or on the adjoining shorelines in harmful quantities. If the water is affected, a penalty could be assessed if a spill occurs and is prevented by some means from entering water, no penalty should be assessed.
Question - What is considered to be a harmful quantity?
Answer - Harmful quantity is defined in the Regulations as discharges which affect the water quality standards or cause a film or sheen upon or discoloration of the water or adjoining shorelines.
Question - What are considered navigable waters?
Answer - The waters of the United States. The Coast Guard interpretation includes not only the traditionally recognized navigable waters but all streams, creeks, lakes, and ponds connected to the tributary system in a river basin.
Question - Is one spillage of oil into a municipal storm sewer a violation?
Answer - If oil reaches "navigable water" a violation has occurred and penalties may result. The facility spilling the oil must also have an SPCC Plan implemented. A properly engineered plan and implemented would prevent a spill from occurring.
Question - What penalties are assessed?
Answer - The Regional Administrator to assess a civil penalty up to $5,000 per day for each violation.
Question - Must secondary containment be provided for transfer operations (i.e. for a tanker truck loading or unloading fuel at a facility?
Answer - The secondary containment system should be designed to hold at the least maximum capacity of any single compartment of a tank car or tank truck loading or unloading at the facility. This is not to say that a truck must park within a diked wall for loading/unloading. The regulation allows flexibility here for diversion structures such as curbing or diking to channel a potential spill to a secondary containment structure.
Question - Must an SPCC Plan be sent to EPA for review and/or approval?
Answer - Normally an SPCC Plan is not required to be sent to EPA for approval; however the owners or operators of a facility is required to maintain a complete copy of the Plan at the facility if the facility is normally attended to at least eight hours per day, or at the nearest field office if the facility is not attended. Upon inspection by EPA or representative, a SPCC Plan must be produced for the inspection review. A SPCC Plan must be submitted to EPA for review if either of the following conditions are met: (1) A facility discharges 1,000 gallons or more of oil in a single spill event, (2) a facility discharges oil in harmful quantities as defined in 40 CFR 110 into any waters of the United States in two spill events, reportable under section 311(b)(s) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act; occurring within any twelve month period. If either conditions applies, the owner or operator of such facility is required to submit their SPCC Plan to the EPA within 60 days for review.
Question - Are SPCC Plans required for hazardous substances or hazardous wastes?
Answer - SPCC Plans are required for facilities that store or transport oil of any kind or in any form, including, but not limited to petroleum, fuel oil, sludge, oil refuse and oil mixed with wastes other than dredged soil.
The SPCC regulation, as written does not apply to hazardous substances or hazardous waste. Some RCRA permits may require secondary containment for hazardous wastes on a facility specific basis. Although secondary containment is not required by regulation for hazardous substances, EPA recommends that facility owners strongly consider it as a means of reducing environmental damage and liability resulting from an accidental release.
Question - Is a facility required to develop a SPCC Plan if a spill from the facility is not able to reach any navigable waters of the United States?
Answer - A SPCC Plan is required for any facility which, due to it's location, could reasonably be expected to discharge oil in harmful quantities, as defined in 40 CFR Part 110, into or upon the waters of the United States. The determination to develop a SPCC Plan is the responsibility of the owners or operators of the required facilities.
Question - Are federally-owner facilities subject to SPCC requirements?
Answer - Federally-owned and operated facilities are required to develop a SPCC Plan for any federal facility that meets the applicability requirements.
Question - Do the SPCC regulations spell out design requirements for diking, curbing, etc.?
Answer - The SPCC regulations requires diked areas for storage tanks to be sufficiently impervious to contain any spilled oil. All bulk storage tank installations should be constructed so that a secondary means of containment is provided for the entire contents of the largest single tank plus sufficient freeboard to allow for precipitation. Containment curbs and pits are sometimes used as secondary containments but they may not always be appropriate for some facilities.
Question - What authorities do states have under the SPCC regulation?
Answer - The SPCC Program is a federally mandated program. Executive Order 11735 (August 3, 1973) delegated the authority of the President to promulgate prevention regulations for vessels or transportation, and to EPA (The Regional Administrators) for prevention for transportation related and non-transportation related facilities. States may perform SPCC inspection at the request of EPA; however, the overall review process of the inspection is the responsibility of the EPA. This review process will be handled within the Regional EPA office.
Question - If a tank is taken out of service, what measures must a facility take in order to be exempt from SPCC regulations?
Answer - Any tank taken out of service must have all pipes and fittings sealed off and tanks should be filled with an inert material, such as sand or concrete in order to be exempt from the SPCC regulations.
Question - Are tanks-within-a-tank satisfactory to meet the secondary containment requirement for SPCC?
Answer - Tanks-within-a-tank may provide adequate secondary containment; however, the valving must be designed so that accidental release from the inner tank (from such occurrences as an inadvertent valve opening or a failure) are completely contained within the outer tank.
Question - Must each tank in a tank battery have secondary containment?
Answer - A dike for tank battery is required to contain only the largest single tank within the tank battery plus sufficient freeboard to allow for precipitation. The dike should be sufficiently impervious to contain any spilled oil from the tank battery.

Question - Should above ground tank and underground tanks be subject to inspection?
Answer - All above ground tanks should be subject to periodic integrity testing, taking into account tank design and using such techniques as hydrostatic testing, visual inspection or a system of non-destructive shell thickness testing. Tank supports and foundations should be included in these inspections.
Buried storage tanks represent a potential for undetected spills. A new buried installation should be protected from corrosion by coatings. Buried tanks should be at least be subject to regular pressure testing. To qualify as buried storage, a tank must be completely buried in the earth. Tanks which are in an underground basement or vault do not qualify for underground storage. The reason is that buried tanks usually have some inherent protection by the containment action of the surrounding earth.
Question - Are transformers covered under SPCC compliance?
Answer - Electrical transformers and similar equipment are covered by the SPCC regulation provided that they contain sufficient quantities of oil, and due to location, can reasonably be expected to spill their oil into navigable waters or adjourning shorelines.
Question - If the drainage from a facility discharge into a sewer system is this facility required to have a SPCC Plan?
Answer - If the sewer is a storm sewer or combined sewer, the spill could reasonably be expected to reach navigable waters and thus the plan would be required. If the flow from the sewer is entirely treated in a sewage treatment plant then an engineering assessment should be made by the owner or operator as to whether or not the treatment system could handle the possible volume of oil without exceeding the permitted amount in the plant discharge without causing a harmful discharge. If the system could not handle the oil, then a SPCC Plan would be required. Violations of other sections of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act or other laws may be involved in a spill to a municipal sewer system.
Question - What other regulation or standards may be applicable for oil storage facilities?
Answer - UST (Underground Storage Tank), NFPA (National Fire Prevention Association) and State Fire Marshals.
If you have additional Questions about the SPCC Regulation, please contact the United States Environmental Protection Agency at (214)855-0711.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Please Come See Me Speak at the Temecula Library in August

I'm going to be speaking at the Temecula Library (30600 Pauba Road, Temecula, CA) event entitled "California's Water Problem." The event is sponsored by the Friends of the Temecula Library and will be held on Saturday, August 21, from 1 to 3 pm. A watermelon social will follow.

Please attend the event and learn about the challenges facing California and the world regarding our thirst for water. I hope to see you there.