The third quarter of 2019 saw a  in fines and settlement agreements from the EPA for environmental enforcement actions related to air, pesticides, toxic substances, stormwater and hazardous wastes. This announcement was followed by two Executive Orders issued in October to  of significant guidance documents from federal agencies.

In addition to these updates, we selected some articles this month from Brown and Caldwell’s BLR source that cover updates regarding adding hazardous substances to spill regulations and speculative accumulation:

No new regulations for CWA Section 311

The EPA announced that it will not include any new regulations to prevent  under the Clean Water Act, Section 311, at this time. Agency officials explained that new regulations are not necessary to regulate spills of hazardous substances because the “existing cumulative framework of regulatory requirements adequately serves to prevent and contain CWA HS discharges.”

The agency determined that the data regarding HS discharges and their impacts (taken from hazardous spills reported to the National Response Center and the results of voluntary surveys) did not support issuing new regulatory requirements under Section 311.

Do not speculate about speculative accumulation

Understanding the term “speculative accumulation” is essential if you are overseeing compliance with regulations governing hazardous waste and hazardous secondary materials (HSMs). HSMs are excluded from the regulatory definition of solid waste and RCRA Subtitle C regulations as long as they meet the EPA’s criteria for legitimate recycling and are not “speculatively accumulate.”

 and a more recent FAQ provide additional information about speculative accumulation.

EPA looking for HAB policy feedback

The EPA says it will consider public comments on whether additional criteria should be used to determine when harmful algal blooms (HABs) in freshwater are events of “national significance,” and therefore entitled to federal mitigation assistance.

Congress recognized the danger of HABs in 1998 when it passed the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act.

In July, NOAA solicited  on developing a national significance policy for marine and coastal HAB events. The EPA has followed with the current solicitation to inform a national significance policy for freshwater HAB events.

About the experts

Meghan Krishnayya, Indianapolis, is the Compliance & Permitting Service Line Director for Brown and Caldwell, with expertise in environmental regulatory program strategy development and implementation.

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