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Environmental Regulatory Update – July 2017

Download the full report for July 17, 2017 (pdf)

Recent Developments (Updated July 17, 2017)

DEC Reproposes Solid Waste Regulations

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has made additional changes to its solid waste management regulations following a lengthy public comment period. The original proposal: deleted several outdated rules; consolidated all generally applicable provisions (including definitions) into 6 NYCRR Part 360; organized facility-specific requirements into several broad categories by Part; revised the list of exempt facilities and the criteria/thresholds for requiring registrations versus permits; added new categories of waste management activities to address recently-identified concerns, e.g., wood debris and yard trimmings, metal processing and vehicle dismantling, used cooking oil and yellow grease processing, and biohazard waste management; updated the landfill and other standards to reflect recent technological developments; and revised and updated the beneficial use determination provisions, including establishing a five-year renewal requirement. In response to public comments, DEC revised key definitions; amended the provisions relating to fill material (“historic fill” in the original proposal) to allow easier reuse of excavated materials on-site; significantly revised the composting provisions; loosened the requirements for wood debris and construction and demolition debris storage; added a new subpart addressing navigational dredge material handling and recovery; and revised the provisions relating to landfill gas to avoid interfering with opportunities to market carbon offset credits, among many other changes. The proposed revisions can be found at: www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/81768.html.

Additional Revisions to Industrial Stormwater Permit Available for Review

DEC is accepting comments on additional revisions to the State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Industrial Activity, which was proposed for renewal earlier this year. The MSGP covers discharges of stormwater from facilities in certain industrial categories (i.e., sectors). Potentially regulated facilities must prepare a stormwater pollution prevention plan and notify DEC that they intend to be covered by the MSGP. After proposing numerous changes to the MSGP earlier this year to incorporate federal housekeeping requirements, increase the frequency of benchmark monitoring while eliminating certain reporting requirements, and change certain sector-specific obligations, DEC is now proposing to require electronic reporting of discharge monitoring reports using EPA’s NetDMR system, encourage electronic filing of other forms/reports and incorporate annual dry weather flow monitoring into comprehensive site compliance inspections, among other changes. The reproposed MSGP (GP-0-17-004) and related materials can be found at: www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/41392.html.

EPA Adopts Effluent Limitations Guidelines for Dentists

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) adopted effluent limitations guidelines, set forth at 40 CFR Part 441, to limit discharges of mercury and other metals from dental practices to publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) based on installing and operating amalgam separators or other comparable equipment and compliance with specific best management practices to prevent mercury discharges that bypass the separator. Dentists that typically do not handle amalgam except in emergencies can submit a certification to EPA that exempts them from the rule. In recognition of the unique issues associated with regulating dentists, EPA is requiring dentists to submit a one-time compliance report containing information about the facility and a certification that the discharge meets the performance standard. In New York, the effluent guidelines will apply in addition to the existing hazardous waste regulations addressing dental amalgam set forth at 6 NYCRR subpart 374-4. EPA’s effluent guidelines can be found in the June 14, 2017 Federal Register at: www.gpo.gov/fdsys.

Other Recent Developments

Federal                                                                

  • TRANSITION: The Trump administration has proposed and/or adopted numerous extensions to the effective date of various regulations, including the oil and natural gas production emission standards, risk management plan requirements, effluent limitations guidelines and standards for steam electric power generating sources, and electronic injury and illness reporting requirements. However, a federal appeals court rejected the oil and natural gas rule extension after finding that EPA lacked the authority to adopt it under the Clean Air Act (CAA).
  • AIR: EPA announced that it is extending the deadline for states to designate nonattainment areas under the 2015 ozone national ambient air quality standards one year to October 1, 2018 while EPA reviews the standards.
  • CHEMICAL: EPA announced the availability of risk evaluation scoping documents for the first 10 existing chemicals designated for review under the amended Toxic Substances Control Act.

New York State

  • AIR: DEC set Title V fees for 2017 in accordance with the State’s statutory scheme, which requires all facilities to pay a base fee of $2,500 plus additional per ton fees ranging from $60 to $90. As in past years, the fees do not cover the cost of the Title V program as required by the CAA.
  • AIR: DEC is accepting public input on clean air projects to be funded by $128 million from the nationwide settlement with Volkswagen of allegations that the company cheated on emissions tests of certain diesel vehicles.
  • WATER: EPA issued a third emergency rulemaking imposing lead testing requirements on public school drinking water systems pending adoption of a permanent rule, which was proposed last month.
  • WATER: DEC made its revised Environmental Benefit Permit Strategy rankings available for review; the rankings identify the SPDES permits scheduled for a full technical review in the upcoming year.