News and Analysis
This week Ohio EPA officially posted to its website the new Industrial Storm Water General Permit, which takes effect June 1. Among the posted resources are a fact sheet and responses to comments made by the OMA and other interested parties. The new permit will expire May 31, 2022.
OMA staff and members worked with Ohio EPA over the past year to ensure that the new permit did not become more stringent than the previous iteration. 5/18/2017
The OMA remains committed to the common sense regulation of slag. In written testimony before the committee, OMA’s Rob Brundrett said: “The bill recognizes that slag is a valuable product and not a waste under Ohio’s water laws. Senate Bill 2 exempts slag from excessive regulation while at the same time requiring that slag be used in a matter that conforms with appropriate water quality standards …”
Last week a federal judge ruled the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must pay the past costs of disposing dredged material from the Cuyahoga River into contaminant areas around Lake Erie.
The court also said that the Army Corps was wrong to delay dredging of the river while it argued with the state regarding the disposal of the dredged material.
Ohio EPA and the Army Corps have been arguing over whether sediment dredged from the Cuyahoga River is clean enough for open lake dumping. The Army Corps insists it can be safely dumped into Lake Erie. Ohio EPA contends the material is full of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and therefore should not be dumped into Lake Erie.
Manufacturers who depend on the dredging to clear transportation channels have been held hostage while the parties argue through the courts about disposing of the material. Hopefully last week’s hearing brings parties closer to a final solution. 5/11/2017
If you store oil or oil products, you could be subject to the Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) regulations. These federal regulations (40 CFR Part 112) require that certain procedures, methods and equipment be used to prevent and contain discharges of oil or petroleum products. This includes the development of a spill prevention and response plan.
The SPCC regulations apply to non-transportation-related facilities that store oil or petroleum products in greater than threshold quantities and, due to facility location, a discharge could reasonably be expected to reach a waterway (including sewer pathways).
Here’s a good fact sheet from Ohio EPA on the subject. 5/10/2017
High disposal fees and raw material costs can be a financial drain on your metal finishing operation. To remain competitive and go beyond compliance, pollution prevention (P2) can be the easiest and best management choice for reducing these costs and waste issues. Read more from Ohio EPA. 5/4/2017
Regulated businesses must either apply for an industrial storm water discharge permit or submit a no-exposure certification (NOEC). This Ohio EPA article will help you understand the NOEC and changes you can make that may make you eligible for the NOEC. 5/4/2017
The Ohio Air Quality Development Authority (OAQDA) is a non-regulatory agency created by the Ohio General Assembly in 1970 to provide for the conservation of air as a natural resource of the state by preventing or abating air pollution. It accomplishes this by helping businesses finance air quality facilities.
OAQDA is committed to helping businesses obtain the most productive equipment in the most cost-effective ways possible to improve air quality and energy efficiency. Many companies realize both tax savings and lower utility bills through their energy efficiency projects.
And within the OAQDA, the Clean Air Resource Center (CARC) helps small businesses (100 employees or less) find the most cost-effective ways to meet the requirements of the Clean Air Act.
Read more about OAQDA services here. 5/4/2017
After breezing through the Senate 33-0, Senate Bill 2 had its first hearing in the House. Members heard sponsor testimony from the bill sponsor Senator Cliff Hite (R-Findlay) and also heard testimony from Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler.
The bill focuses on a variety of Ohio water issues ranging from public water systems to Lake Erie dredging. The bill also includes a provision the OMA has strongly advocated which would recognize slag as a marketable product and not a waste under Ohio’s water laws. Specifically the bill exempts slag from excessive regulation, while at the same time requiring that it be used in a manner that conforms with appropriate water quality standards. A second hearing is expected next week. 4/27/2017
Ohio EPA Director Craig W. Butler was in Sandusky this week to announce the launch of the new online platform whereby Ohio businesses can advertise and acquire scrap and by-product materials that might otherwise be destined for disposal in landfills. The new Ohio Materials Marketplace is a free online platform allowing these organizations to connect and find solutions to material reuse and recycling needs, thereby, facilitating the shift towards a circular, closed-loop economy.
Examples of materials posted on the marketplace (and their potential re-uses) include common items such as bulk wooden pallets (mulch base) or used bricks (building materials). Other items reflect materials from industrial processes such spent foundry sand (to be mixed with potting soil), and specialized items such as spent hydro-treating catalyst (metals recovery).
Along with browsing for materials, users of the marketplace can post “wanted” items, thereby, seeking items that may serve as substitutes for raw materials or other items they currently purchase. Examples of such requests that have been posted thus far include bulk alumina oxide (for metals harvesting/recovery) and bulk food waste in packaging (to be used for aerobic digestion/energy recovery).
In the circular economy, products and by-products recirculate productively through reuse, remanufacturing, recycling and maintenance. Users of the Ohio Materials Marketplace can make or save money by finding a market for their unwanted materials and avoiding landfill tipping fees; buyers save money by having access to sellers’ discounted (or free) materials; Ohio’s environment benefits by having more material removed from the waste stream.
Ohio is the first state in the U.S. to adopt a circular economy program of this scope and scale.
Last month, Ohio EPA hosted a webinar on its new industrial storm water general permit. The permit is now expected to be renewed in May 2017. Ohio EPA continues to compile responses to the comments provide by stakeholders.
You can also watch a recording on how to submit an electronic storm water permit here. 4/6/2017