News and Analysis
This week, the OMA Environment Committee held its first meeting of 2020 to review numerous regulatory and legislative matters that could affect Ohio manufacturers. Guest speaker Anne Vogel, the governor’s assistant policy director for energy and environment, briefed members on the H2Ohio initiative and state monitoring of PFAS levels in drinking water.
Tim Ling, Plaskolite’s corporate environmental director, updated members on Ohio’s storm water permitting. Additional meeting topics included Lake Erie remediation plans, hazardous waste rules, and the potential effects of the U.S. EPA’s 2015 ozone standard on Ohio cities.
The next meeting of the OMA Environment Committee will be Thursday, May 28. All members are welcome to register. 2/12/2020
Anne Vogel with Gov. Mike DeWine’s office spoke this week to the OMA Environment Committee.
This week, Ohio EPA hosted a meeting with interested parties, including the OMA, to discuss the likely possibility that Ohio’s southwest region will soon be designated as an area in “moderate non-attainment” of the federal ozone standard — which was lowered to 70 parts per billion during the Obama administration.
The region’s status change from “marginal” to “moderate” non-attainment will trigger additional compliance requirements under the federal Clean Air Act. This change in designation will likely result in NOx Reasonably Available Control Technology, VOC Control Technique Guidelines, emissions offsets, and other new programs to be initiated for Ohio to reach attainment.
A meeting is scheduled for later this month in Cleveland to address these same concerns, as Northeast Ohio also appears to be headed for a new designation of moderate non-attainment. The OMA will be working with members and Ohio EPA on this important issue, which could affect manufacturers and Ohio’s overall economy. 2/13/2020
The deadlines for filing Ohio EPA’s hazardous waste and air reports are nearing.
The Hazardous Waste Report (HWR) is due March 1. (Because this is a Sunday, Ohio EPA will receive the reports on Monday, March 2.) The report is required of any facility that generated more than 2,200 pounds of hazardous waste (or 2.2 lbs. of acute hazardous waste) during any one calendar month in 2019. Treatment, storage, and disposal facilities are also required to submit an HWR. Ohio EPA encourages electronic filing using this site.
Meanwhile, some of the key deadlines for required air reports include:
- Feb. 18 – Permit Evaluation Report (for some facilities);
- April 15 – Annual Emissions Report;
- April 30 – Title V Compliance Certification; and
- April 30 – Quarterly Compliance Report.
Reminders of these annual reporting requirements were sent via U.S. mail last week. 2/13/2020
Late last week, two freshman legislators Rep. Mary Lightbody (D-Westerville) and Rep. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) introduced House Bill 497. The bill would require Ohio to set its own drinking water standard for per and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals — more commonly known as PFAS.
This group of chemicals has been manufactured since the 1940s for use in a variety of industries around the globe and in a wide range of products — from firefighting foam to stain-resistant carpets. PFAS are ubiquitous in the environment, and there is much debate and disputed science surrounding the potential effects of these chemicals.
Recently, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine ordered Ohio EPA and the Ohio Department of Health to implement an action plan for the testing of more than 1,500 public water supplies. Instead of creating an Ohio standard, the state has shown deference to U.S. EPA in setting a national maximum containment level for PFAS. The OMA has been heavily engaged in this issue. Members interested in learning more should contact Rob Brundrett. 2/13/2020
The Ohio EPA reports that seats for the agency’s annual Compliance Assistance Conference, set for March 31 – April 1, are nearly sold out. The event, to be held at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, will provide information and contacts to help businesses comply with state and federal environmental standards. Among the presenters will be U.S. EPA Region 5 Administrator Kurt Thiede. 2/13/2020
To keep members updated in the area of environmental regulation, the OMA Environment Committee will hold its first meeting of 2020 at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 12, in Columbus. Guest presenter will be Anne Vogel, who helps oversee energy and environmental issues for the DeWine administration. Register to participate in person or by phone. 2/6/2020
The Ohio Lake Erie Commission has released its draft Lake Erie Protection and Restoration Plan 2020 (LEPR) for public comment. According to Ohio EPA, the LEPR, last published in 2016, “reflects actions that the Ohio Lake Erie Commission and its member agencies will take over the next several years to protect, preserve, and restore our Great Lake.”
The Ohio Stormwater Association, in collaboration with Ohio EPA, is offering a free webinar to manufacturers who want to learn more about the permitting process for the agency’s stormwater program. Set for 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 12, this one-hour event will feature best practices and tips on how to comply. 2/4/2020
Ohio EPA’s winter newsletter reports that registration is open for the agency’s annual Compliance Assistance Conference, set for March 31 – April 1, 2020 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. The conference provides information and contacts to help your company comply with state and federal environmental standards. Among the event’s presenters will be recently appointed U.S. EPA Region 5 Administrator Kurt Thiede. 1/27/2020
State officials have announced the release of an update to the Ohio Domestic Action Plan aimed at reducing phosphorus in Lake Erie under the bi-national Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. It’s the first such iteration of the plan since Gov. DeWine’s H2Ohio program was enacted. The plan focuses on four aspects:
- Establishing science-based priorities for agricultural management practices and state programs to support H2Ohio efforts to encourage farmers to implement science-based best practices;
- The importance of wetland restoration and outlining ODNR efforts to create, restore, and enhance wetlands for nutrient reduction as part of H2Ohio;
- Updated actions for communities, including H2Ohio support for home sewage treatment system remediation;
- Integrating the role of watershed planning at the local level for siting projects to reduce nutrients efficiently, including a distribution of the load reduction throughout the Maumee River watershed based on the Ohio EPA Nutrient Mass Balance method.
Previous versions of the plan required Ohio EPA to pursue legislation that would require all treatment works discharging wastewater containing phosphorus to achieve at least a monthly average effluent concentration of 1 mg/L phosphorus. The OMA and its nutrient water working group has worked tirelessly with Ohio EPA and others to ensure manufacturing is not disproportionately harmed by any new regulations on nutrients. Public comments can be emailed by March 2, 2020. 1/30/2020