What Can We Expect Following the EPA Repeal of Waters of the U.S. Rule?

On September 12th, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the finalized repeal of the 2015 rule that expanded the definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act and limited pollution into surface waters of the U.S. through regulations and permitting. The EPA rule is now expected to cover fewer waterways and narrow existing protections, covering only wetlands adjacent to a major body of water, or ones that are connected to a major waterway by surface water. Opponents of this rule have felt this repeal was long overdue and expect that it will reduce federal permitting requirements for development and industry. HISTORY OF THE RULE Since 1972, the Act has regulated pollutant discharge to surface waters by requiring permitting and regulatory conditions for any industrial polluter, as well as discharges from rural and agricultural landowners and real estate developers. The applicability of the Clean Water Act has been controversial,
Read More

The Most Common Hazardous Waste Management Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Hazardous waste management mistakes are unfortunate, can amount to costly fines, and lead to a tarnished reputation in your community. Fortunately, hazardous waste management mistakes are avoidable. The following errors are a few of the most common violations noted during inspections: 1. Improper Container Labeling Improperly labeling hazardous waste containers can create an unsafe workplace and lead to costly fines. Knowing how to label containers correctly and how to identify waste management mistakes will help your facility stay in compliance and help prevent workplace accidents. The identification and labeling of waste containers notify individuals who may encounter container of its contents and associated hazards. 2. Open Containers Waste containers that are not correctly closed, latched, or sealed are not only a RCRA violation but a workplace safety hazard. Ensuring that employees are trained on the container closure requirements and immediately addressing open containers will keep your facility/site safe and prevent costly
Read More

Are you an Industrial or Hazardous Waste Generator?

The EPA recently issued an update to the hazardous waste generator regulations under Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). This update provides greater flexibility in how hazardous waste is managed and closes gaps in its regulation. Improvements include provisions for episodic generation, name change (and options) from CESQG to VSQG, and other changes. Understanding Regulatory Changes Keeping up to date with these changes is an important part of environmental compliance. Consider the following real-life example: Recently, W&M Environmental was contacted by a local business requesting help with waste compliance issues documented during an unannounced regulatory inspection. The inspector noted multiple alleged violations related to improper hazardous waste management and incomplete waste disposal recordkeeping. Upon review, W&M discovered that the facility had been improperly coding their waste and was erroneously documenting universal wastes as hazardous wastes. The business was under the assumption that their facility was a small quantity generator (SQG)
Read More

Brace yourself for March, it’s just around the corner.

For Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Managers or professionals, the new year brings a new outlook on your job, promises to yourself and your company, and the desire for improvement over the past year. Unfortunately, the new year also brings the crushing realization that March is just around the corner, almost taunting you for becoming cocky in November and December when few environmental reports are due to the State or EPA. March marks the beginning of the annual reporting deadlines. The reporting calendar begins with the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) Tier II report and the Annual Waste Summary (AWS) due March 1st, and then you dive right into the Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWP3) Benchmark Monitoring (BM) reporting and Discharge Monitoring Report, and the Air Emissions Inventory Report (AEIR), all due on March 31.  Individually the reports are not overly difficult or time
Read More

Compliance Reporting: Don’t Let the Deadlines Sneak up on You

  • Compliance Reporting
    January 24, 2019
    11:30 am - 12:30 pm

As the new year comes, so does another opportunity to get it done right. Instead of avoiding the tedium of environmental reporting, dive in head first to prepare your reports accurately and punctually. Join us for our lunchtime webinar, hosted by Nick Foreman, covering the reports due in March: Annual Waste Summary Stormwater Benchmark Monitoring (more…)


Streaming From, Allen, Texas, 75002, United States


The Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) reportedly is starting to require the use of United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) SW-846 Method 5035A, as amended.  The method is also known as Closed-System Purge-and-Trap and Extraction for Volatile Organics in Soil and Waste Samples.  This is a method commonly used for the collection and preparation of solid samples for analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) using purge-and-trap technology. No formal announcement has been made by the RRC concerning VOC or TPH data reported for solid samples collected and prepared using other methods. However, according to the Field Guide for the Assessment and Cleanup of Soil and Groundwater Contaminated with Condensate from a Spill Incident and Statewide Rules 8 and 91, standard methods are left undefined and implied that they are the industry standard and up to the district office or other RRC representative. Additionally, technical coordinator for the
Read More

Understanding OSHA’s New NEP on PSM and EPA’s RMP Final Rule

Facilities that utilize a process that contains any listed (40 CFR 68.130) substances above the threshold quantity are required by the EPA (via the Clean Air Act) to develop and implement a Risk Management Program (RMP). Development of an RMP can be very simple for certain industries to extremely complex for those facilities with multiple regulated substances and processes. EPA’s goal is to prevent off-site impact to the general public. The OSHA Process Safety Management (PSM) standard (29 CFR 1910.119) which focuses on worker safety appears to be the same as an RMP, however, there are key differences. The most important is that they both exist to protect different constituencies and to address different regulations. They also have different threshold limits and regulate different chemicals.  OSHA’s list of Highly Hazardous Chemicals can be found in 29 CFR 1910.119 App A. Reporting requirements are also different. For example, a plant may use over 15,000
Read More

What To Know About Tier II Chemical Reports

The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) of 1986 is a US federal law concerned with emergency response preparedness. Its objective is to encourage and support emergency planning efforts at the state and local levels, and to provide the public and local governments with information concerning potential chemical hazards present in their communities. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administers EPCRA which requires certain businesses to file notifications and reports on their activities involving various hazardous chemicals. Specific implementing requirements are found in Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Chapters 350 – 372. Hazardous chemical reporting is specifically required under EPCRA sections 311-312 to report chemical hazard and inventory information on the hazardous chemicals present onsite at any one time. EPA defines “hazardous chemical” as a “chemical which is a physical or health hazard.” The reporting thresholds for various categories of  hazardous chemicals shown below: The
Read More

Waters of the U.S. – Webinar

W&M’s Aaron Brewer, P.G. conducted a  webinar to help explain the EPA’s new rule defining waters of the U.S. and wetland permitting.  The webinar gives you the basic know-how to define waters of the U.S. and secure a Section 404 permit for your project.  Those well versed in these practices will enjoy Aaron’s perspective from years of private practice. The Clean Water Rule redefining waters of the U.S. was briefly the law of the land in Texas.  This webinar will present the definition of the Clean Water Rule and what it will mean for Texas if it becomes law.  Given that “waters of the U.S.” is one of the most fundamental of environmental definitions affecting an array of environmental permits and protection of natural resources its worth taking the time to get it right.  If you have any question on this webinar please contact Aaron Brewer.

Implementing the Clean Water Rule In Texas

The EPA’s new rule defining waters of the U.S. (the Clean Water Rule) was briefly the law of the land here in Texas.  “Waters of the U.S.” is one of the most fundamental of environmental definitions because it effects an array of extensive legislation including Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and most developments that require filling a pond, wetland, or stream.  From August 28 to October 8, 2015, the new waters of the U.S. definition was in force, but not clearly understood.  It takes time and experience to find the true limits of a new legal definition.  The rule has been blocked by two courts putting off implementation of the new definition for now.  What is at stake in Texas? Here are three of the biggest issues that remain undecided while Texas waits to hear from the courts: 1. Tributaries Under the old rule, waters of the U.S. extended from a
Read More