Environmental Regulatory Update – October 2016

Posted on October 13, 2016

Download the full report for October 10, 2016 (pdf)

Recent Developments (Updated October 10, 2016)

Agencies Implement NPDES e-Reporting System

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a notice identifying the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) as the “initial recipient” of electronic information under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program, a key step in implementing the agency’s new NPDES e-Reporting system. Under the e-reporting program, NPDES permittees must begin to electronically submit DMRs using EPA’s netDMR system beginning December 21, 2016. The recent notice announcing which agency would be responsible for implementing the e-Reporting program in each state can be found in the September 9, 2016 Federal Register at: www.gpo.gov/fdsys. Information about DEC’s implementation of the NPDES e-Reporting program can be found at: www.dec.ny.gov/permits/105366.html.

EPA Issues Strategy for Addressing Hazardous Waste in Retail Sector

As part of an ongoing review, EPA issued a Strategy for Addressing the Retail Sector under RCRA’s Regulatory Framework outlining its plans for addressing the unique hazardous waste management issues facing retailers, including: difficulties managing pharmaceuticals and aerosol cans, two common retail waste streams; unpredictable waste generation patterns; employee training and turnover issues; and the complications associated with managing hazardous products through centralized reverse distribution programs. The strategy document: summarizes the results of EPA’s investigation into key management issues facing retailers; identifies recent hazardous waste management initiatives that will likely benefit retailers, including proposed changes to the rules governing hazardous waste generators and a special rule addressing management of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals; and identifies upcoming activities to address retail issues, including development of a guide on managing aerosol cans, options for expanding the universal waste program, and developing a policy to address reverse distribution. The strategy document can be found on EPA’s website at: www.epa.gov/hwgenerators/strategy-addressing-retail-sector-under-resource-conservation-and-recovery-acts.

Emergency Rule Requires Lead Testing of Public School Drinking Water 

The New York State Department of Health (DOH) adopted an emergency rule establishing lead testing requirements for public school drinking water. For buildings serving elementary school age children, the first samples were required to be collected by September 30, 2016, with an October 31, 2016 deadline for all other public schools. If the results exceed 15 parts per billion, the school must: prohibit use of the outlet until the problem is remediated; supply the building with adequate potable water; immediately report the test results to the local health department; and notify staff and parents in writing and via the school’s website. Schools also must post a list of buildings found to be lead-free and report the sample results to DOH and others through DOH’s electronic reporting system. The rule does not apply to private schools. The emergency rule and related information can found be at: www.health.ny.gov/environmental/water/drinking.

Other Recent Developments


  • AIR: EPA revised the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for area source industrial, commercial and institutional boilers in response to petitions for reconsideration, addressing issues relating to startup and shutdown, alternative particulate matter (PM) standards for boilers burning ultra-low sulfur liquid fuel, limited use boilers, PM and mercury testing, and malfunctions.
  • AIR: EPA revised its rules governing the exclusion of “exceptional events” that contribute to air quality violations to address issues that have arisen since the rule was first adopted, including clarifying how key terms in the statute should be interpreted, specifying the content and organization of exceptional event submittals, and removing certain exceptional event review deadlines.
  • AIR/CLIMATE CHANGE: EPA proposed to revise its Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Title V operating permit regulations to implement the Supreme Court’s decision invalidating key components of its controversial 2010 greenhouse gas (GHG) tailoring rule, including establishing a significant emission rate for GHGs below which best available control technology will not be required for sources that are otherwise subject to the PSD program.
  • OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a pair of fact sheets addressing the use of metrics in management of project safety management (PSM) facilities and the conduct of root cause analyses following an incident. In a separate notice, EPA made available for comment a series of draft documents addressing the PSM program in relation to explosives and pyrotechnics manufacturing, small businesses, and storage facilities.
  • OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH: OSHA proposed to remove or revise outdated, duplicative, unnecessary and inconsistent requirements, including changes relating to lockout-tagout, chest x-rays, construction-related personal protective equipment, and the inclusion of social security numbers in OSHA records, among other changes.

New York State

  • BULK STORAGE/REMEDIATION: DEC adopted a third emergency rule adding perfluorooctanoic acid and related substances to the list of hazardous substances regulated under the chemical bulk storage program, allowing DEC to regulate the bulk storage of these substances and remediate PFOA-contaminated sites under New York’s Superfund program.
  • WATER: DEC made available for comment a draft document, entitled Maintenance Guidance: Stormwater Management Practices, which provides guidance on how to inspect and maintain the stormwater management practices required as part of new and redevelopment projects.
  • WATER: DEC is accepting comments on proposed changes to the classifications of waterbodies in the Lake Champlain drainage basin, which may potentially result in the imposition of stricter SPDES permit discharge limits on sources discharging in the basin.