Thursday, March 31, 2011

Restoration & Remediation Magazine - The RRP Rule: One Year Later

In this month's issue of Restoration & Remediation Magazine, Mr. John Banta wrote an excellant article regarding the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Lead Paint regulation - Renovation, Remodeling, & Painting Rule.  The article covers the history of the rule and discusses enforcement issues.

As the article discusses the roll-out period for firms to become certified by filing their paperwork and paying their fees to the EPA, as well as for the Certified Renovators supervising these jobs to be trained, was extended to the end of 2010, but the effective date for using lead safe work practices remained April 22, 2010.  As Mr. Banta indicates in his article "this means...that any firm performing work for hire in target housing or child-occupied facilities built prior to 1978 is required to follow the regulations, even if their paperwork hasn’t been processed or even filed."  However, this grace period is over.

The EPA may audit the records of any firm in violation of the regulation for up to three years after the job is complete and be fined up to $37,500 per occurrence per day. If the violation of the law is willful, the fine can be doubled and jail time may be assigned by the courts.  This law applies in all federal jurisdictions; except states, tribes, and territories that EPA has approved to administer their own RRP programs.  According to the article those states are, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Carolina, Mississippi, Kansas, Rhode Island, Utah, Oregon, Massachusetts, and Alabama have had their programs approved in lieu of the Federal program. Approved State programs must be at least as strict as the EPA regulations.
Don't forget tomorrow is the EPA Information Session at Hofstra and if you have any questions please post them here or at Future Environment Designs Forum, and I will try to get an answer to your questions.


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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hofstra is Hosting an Information Session on EPA's Lead RRP Law.

Environmental journalism supports the protecti...Image via WikipediaThe Guest Speaker will be Jeanette Dadusc, the RRP Coordinator, Region 2 for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  I will be attending this free information session on Friday, April 1, 2011 at 11:30 AM at Breslin Hall.  If anyone has any questions they wish me to ask, please post them here or on the Future Environment Designs Forum.  Maybe I will see you there.
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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Jury Selection Begins in the Deutsche Bank Building Fire Trial

Deutsche Bank Building damaged by falling debr...Image via WikipediaThe Engineering News Record (ENR) of New York wrote an excellant article on the beginning of jury selection for the manslaughter trial of site safety manager Jeffrey Melofchik, 49, who worked for Bovis; Mitchel Alvo, 58, the cleanup director for subcontractor John Galt Corp.; Salvatore DePaola, 56, a Galt foreman; and Galt itself on the fire that occurred in 2007 at the former Deutsche Bank Building.  The article does an excellant job of providing a history of all that has occurred since the fire occurred in 2007.  Including the Manhattan District Attorney's investigation, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) investigation, and the New York City investigation.  Based on the article it would seem the Manhattan District Attorney will have an uphill battle getting a conviction on this trial.
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Monday, March 28, 2011

EPA Proposes to Add Area Near Hicksville, New Cassel, Westbury, Hempstead and Salisbury, N.Y. to the Federal Superfund List

Map of regional administrative divisions of Ne...Image via WikipediaMarch 8, 2011 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that they are proposing consolidating areas in Hicksville, New Cassel, Westbury, Hempstead and Salisbury in Nassau County, N.Y. into one site and adding it to the Superfund National Priorities List of the country’s most hazardous waste sites.  Ground water throughout the site is contaminated with harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The Magothy aquifer, Nassau County’s primary source of drinking water, has likely been impacted by the contamination.  Residents of the affected towns are currently receiving drinking water that is being treated to remove the VOCs.  EPA has conducted an initial investigation of the site, and the Superfund designation will allow EPA to further investigate the extent of the contamination and its sources and remediate it.  EPA will solicit input from the public before reaching a final decision on whether to add the area to the Superfund list.

With the proposal of this site to the Superfund List, a 60-day comment period will begin during which EPA solicits public input regarding this action.  For instructions on how to submit comments, go to http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/pubcom.htm or contact Dennis Munhall at (212) 637-4343 or munhall.dennis@epa.gov.

VOCs are often used as ingredients in paint, solvents, aerosol sprays, cleaners, disinfectants, automotive products and dry cleaning fluids.  Repeated and direct exposure to VOCs can cause serious health effects including damage to the liver, kidneys and central nervous system.
“By placing the site on the federal Superfund list, EPA can do the extensive sampling needed to determine the best ways to address the widespread ground water contamination in this area of Long Island,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck.  “Residents of Long Island rely on ground water as their source of drinking water.  It is imperative that Long Island’s drinking water is protected from toxic contamination. Placing these areas on the federal Superfund list is an essential step to cleaning up this water contamination. EPA needs to take a more comprehensive look at the contamination and any potential health and environmental threats it poses.”
New York State had been examining a number of areas contained in the newly proposed site individually, and determined that the contamination would be better addressed as one large site.  Ground water testing by EPA in 2010 confirmed the presence of elevated levels of VOCs in 11 public water supply wells, six in Hicksville, four in Hempstead and one on Westbury.  The impacted towns have installed treatment systems to remove VOCs from the contaminated ground water before it goes into the water distribution systems, and to monitor water quality and the treatment systems regularly.
A variety of past industrial and commercial activities in the area may have caused the ground water contamination, although investigations by the New York State Department of Environmental Protection (NYSDEC) have yet to identify the specific sources contaminating the wells.  NYSDEC has investigated 17 facilities in the New Cassel industrial area between Frost St. in New Cassel and Swalm Ave. in North Hempstead.  NYSDEC and some of the entities in the New Cassel industrial area potentially responsible for the contamination have already installed systems to remove contaminants from the ground water at and near some of the sites.  The New Cassel industrial area is just north of the four contaminated wells – the Bowling Green wells – in Hempstead.
With all Superfund sites, EPA does an extensive search to identify and locate the parties potentially responsible for the contamination and make them pay or perform the cleanup work.  The majority of Superfund cleanups are performed by or paid for ny polluters, not tax dollars.  Superfund money s used for EPA oversight costs and when no responsible party can be identified.

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Engineering News Record of New York Interviews William Rapetti

Tower Crane in Venice, Italy
Engineering News Record (ENR) of New York interviewed William Rapetti after his acquittal of manslaughter charges stemming from the deadly collapse of a 200-foot tower crane in Manhattan in 2008.  The interview was well done and provides the reader with a glimpse of the tenacity and perserverance it takes to defend yourself against unfair charges.  In addition, it gives you a look at the process of when you are charged with manslaughter, and what a person and his family goes through when you become the target.  An very good read and the reporting was done very fairly.
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Successful PACNY Conference Gets Even Better The Second Day - Part 2

Roundtable Participants - Mr. Alonge, Mr. Yehl, Mr. Garcia, & Mr. Hart
The exhibit hall, which was open both days and the first day reception was in, was alot of fun with over 25 vendors represented including Aramsco, DiVal, Grayling, Fiberlock, United Rentals, NY State Laborers Cooperation & Education Trust, Ashtead Tecchnology Rentals, and Cornerstone Training Institute, to name a few. One of the interesting items in the exhibit hall was the Liftpod by JLG that DiVal was displaying (Provides over a 360 degree range of motion, ability to work with both hands up to 14 feet, easily transports in common vehicles). DiVal has a PACNY show special on this product for $1,999. See photos from the conference and the exhibit hall, at our Picasa web album.
Unfortunately, due to the need to check-out of the hotel before 11 AM, we missed Paul Watson's, of ATC Associates, "A Discussion about Mercury."  That brought the conference to the main event, Christopher Alonge, PE, of New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) discussing "Code Rule 56 Update." As in previous presentations, Mr. Alonge was nice enough to provide his presentation to the attendees at this link: http://www.pacny.org/docs/2011-ICR-56-Changes.pdf.  The attached presentation includes changes made by NY Department of State regarding the Fire/Life Safety proposed changes we have seen in Mr. Alonge's previous presentations.  Examples include changing the requirement of a code compliance technician to a code compliance officer for notification/variance sign-off, requirements for required exists, emergency lighting, and portable fire extinguishers. NYSDOL will also be creating a code compliance course for code enforcement officials that will be 4-hours of in-service training. Mr. Alonge is anticipating a schedule of June 2011 for publishing and October 2011 for finalizing. Still not sure if there will be a adoption period. The biggest uproar and most questions during the Q&A period was regarding the proposed NYSDOL change that all asbestos has to be removed before any demolition, renovation, or remodel. This change brought about the most questions and concerns from the audience. After Mr Alonge's presentation an industry roundtable Q&A was moderated by Mr. Sean Hart, of AECOM Environment, and consisted of Mr. Alonge; Mr. Joe Cantone, of Colden Corporation; Mr. Peter DeLucia, of AAC Contracting; Mr. Darren Yehl, of LeChase Construction Services; and Angelo Garcia, III, of FED.
I was honored to be selected on the panel again this year.  I enjoyed meeting people that I've met year after year and unfortunately only get to meet at this conference.  It seems to me the PACNY organization seems to be getting better and better each year, and I look forward to seeing it continue its growth well into the future.
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Record Turnout Makes For A Successful PACNY Conference - Part 1

Linda Reinstein of ADAO, Keynote Speaker
 On March 10-11, 2011, we went to the Professional Abatement Contractors of New York's (PACNY) 15th Annual Environmental Conference at Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York.  The event this year was well attended with over 220 attendees.  Future Environment Designs (FED) increased our participation this year, by deciding to become one of the Conference Sponsors and joined the other vendors in the Exhibit Hall.  We enjoyed our placement next to Ciotti Enterprises and enjoyed several discussions with Jeff Cooper the operations manager.  Ciotti Enterprises is a Central New York waste hauler handling demolition debris, municipal solid waste, and are Part 364 permitted by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), enabling them to handle asbestos and contaminated soil hauling.
The conference began with the usual introductions by this year's conference chair person Deb Johnson, of Aramsco, and the current President of PACNY Kevin Canaan, of AAC Contracting Inc.  Mr. Canaan then introduced the keynote speaker Ms. Linda Reinstein, the President/CEO/Co-founder of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO).   We first met Ms. Reinstein when she did our radio program "Keeping Your Family Safe from Asbestos".  She started her presentation announcing the Senate passage of the seventh annual resolution that establishes “National Asbestos Awareness Week".  Her presentation included these facts regarding global occupational exposure to asbestos: greater than 107,000 workers die annually; 1,523,000 years lost due to premature mortality and disability; construction workers are 11 times more likely to contract mesothelioma, and 1.3 million workers exposed to asbestos.  These are some sobering numbers regarding asbestos, in addition the fact that mesothelioma treatment can exceed $1 million without a guarantee of success, should be a rememberance of why the asbestos abatement industry is important.
Ron Williams, the Assistant Syracuse Area Director for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), was the next speaker and discussed emerging safety and health issues and current remediation enforcement actions.  Regarding emerging issues he discussed falls in residential construction, crowd management, distracted driving, workplace violence, and residential construction (effective 6/16/11).  Mr. Williams also discussed 27 fatalities in OSHA Region 2 last year (10/1/09 - 9/30/10); 38% of fatalities were Hispanic/Latino (2nd highest in the country); Syracuse area conducted 527 inspections (33% were in construction) resulting 1,348 serious violations averaging $979 per serious violation.  OSHA's new penalty structure went into effect on 10/1/2010 increasing serious violation from $1,100 to $3,000 and repeat violations will now look back 5 years versus 3 years, previously.
Bob Krell of IAQ Technologies discussed "Practical Approaches to An Energy Efficient Indoor Environment" visit http://www.iaq.net/ for a copy of his presentation, Victoria Pretti of New York State Department of Health Environmental Laboratory discussed "An Overview of ELAP, PCM, and PLM Analysis", and Richard Washburn of New York State Commission on Public Integrity discussed "Ethics and the Construction Industry".  All three were excellant presenters, though I would give the award to best presenter to Mr. Washburn for keeping a topic that could be very boring and scary, very interesting, entertaining and led to alot of discussions afterwards regarding construction industry practices that probably need to change.  Ms. Pretti discussion on the Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP) was informative, visit their website at http://www.wadsworth.org/labcert/elap/asbestos.html regularly to ensure your laboratory is approved to analyze samples.  Delisted labs are updated on the website within 24-hours.  The 7402 method for analysis of asbestos air samples is approved by ELAP.  Other important information is ELAP is currently reworking the asbestos bulk sample methods to require labs to reduce friable asbestos samples if they have matrix interference, this will lead to an increase in costs for lab analysis for certain samples.  The reception after the last speaker, Mr. Washburn, was excellent and the pass around food was excellant and Saranac Brewing Company's Pomegranate Wheat Beer was very good and went well with the snacks and the hors d'ourves.  Day one ended with the anticipation of the next day with Mr. Chris Alonge and the roundtable discussion.
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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Long Island OSHA Rep Speaks to the Association of Facilities Engineers

List of references to Long Island places in po...Image via WikipediaOn Tuesday, March 8, 2011, Mr. Anthony Ciuffo, CSP, the Long Island Area Director of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) gave an overview of OSHA's function in the workplace and what OSHA currently doing in the area.  His presentation was to the Long Island Chapter of the Association of Facilities Engineers (AFE) which held this meeting at the Hofstra University Club.  The event was sponsored by Hofstra University Continuing Education.
The presentation covered the typical taglines we've come to hear from other OSHA representatives - strong enforcement; partnering for a purpose; emergency preparedness; rule making in requiring an injury illness prevention program (I2P2); and safety and health management systems.  Top ten inspection targets for the Long Island area are:
  1. Fall hazards in construction
  2. Heavy highway and bridge construction
  3. Gut rehab and demolition
  4. Amputations
  5. Warehousing
  6. Construction
  7. Landscaping & Horticultural
  8. High Hazard 50
  9. Isocyanate
  10. Lead
For OSHA's calendar year, last year saw 343 inspections (on Long Island).  Average serious violation before October 2010 was $1,200, after October 2010 the average serious violation has increased to $2,400.
Dinner was included in the meeting and the organization several future meetings and a golf outing planed in the future.  For more information on AFE visit their website at: http://www.afechapter4.org/

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

EPA's Local Coordinator for the Lead Paint Rule at Hofstra University

On Friday, April 1, 2011 (that's right on April Fool's day), Jeanette Dadusc, MS, MPA the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Region 2 Coordinator for the Lead Based Paint  - Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) rule will be the guest speaker at a free information session at Breslin Hall at Hofstra University.  To register or for more information, visit ce.hofstra.edu/EPAinfo or call 516-463-7200.
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Wednesday, March 09, 2011

NYC Title 15 Revisions Took Effect February 3, 2011

We recently received an email from Steven A. Camaiore, P.E., the Deputy Director of the New York City Environmental Protection - Environmental Compliance Asbestos Control Program.  In the email he advised that Title 15, Chapter 1 RCNY Asbestos Control Program Rules & Regulations were revised and the new Rules took effect February 3, 2011.  Find the revised rule at: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dep/html/asbestos/asbestos.shtml

In addition, he also advised that the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP) will be strictly enforcing the following provisions of Title 15, Chapter 1 RCNY Asbestos Control Program Rules & Regulations effective May 1, 2011:

“§ 1-01 (j) (3) DEP may deny any application for an asbestos abatement permit pursuant to section 1-26 of these rules, or a variance application pursuant to section 1-03 of these rules, where any party to the asbestos project, including but not limited to the abatement contractor, building owner, and air monitoring company, has docketed, unpaid civil penalties imposed by the Environmental Control Board for violations of these rules, sections 24-146.1 and 24-146.3 of the Administrative Code, or NYSDOL ICR 56.”

Companies with outstanding penalties can pay their outstanding penalties in any of the following ways:

• On-line at http://nycserv.nyc.gov/NYCServWeb/NYCSERVMain

• By phone at (212) 504-4041

• By mail:
New York City Department of Finance,
345 Adams, 3rd Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Attention: Timeko Hunte

• In person at any Finance Business Center. For location and hours of operation, visit: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dof/html/contact/contact_visit.shtml.

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Tuesday, March 08, 2011

15th Annual PACNY Environmental Conference

Turning Stone Resort & Casino does a great job of clearing snow when it occurs.
Getting ready for my annual pilgrimage to the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York for the 15th annual Professional Abatement Contractors of New York (PACNY) Environmental Conference.  The conference agenda is posted on their website at http://www.pacny.org/conferences.asp.  It should be alot of fun as past conferences have been.  Keynote Speaker Linda Reinstein, President of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), should be very interesting.  In addition, looking forward to the presentations from Ron Williams from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Victoria Pretti from New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) discussing the Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP), and Chris Alonge from New York State Department of Labor (NYS DOL) discussing the 2011 changes to Industrial Code Rule 56 (ICR56).  In addition, the vendor area is a great place to see new equipment being used in the industry and to netwrok and meet clients, (friendly) competitors, and vendors.  The Turning Stone Resort and Casino as always is a really fun place to gamble and enjoy a show or dancing.  In addition, it is our understanding that the Casino is no longer a dry one (they now serve alcohol).  All in all it should be an informative and fun time, if you get a chance come visit me at our booth this year in the vendor area, we look forward to meeting you. 
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Friday, March 04, 2011

Remedial Investigation of Gowanus Canal Identifies Widespread Contamination, Health and Ecological Problems

Looking south along Gowanus Canal from Gowanus...Image via WikipediaOn February 2, 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a press release regarding the results of the remedial investigation of the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, New York.  This investigation confirmed the widespread presence of more than a dozen contaminants, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and various metals, including mercury, lead and copper, at high levels in the sediment in the Gowanus Canal. PAHs and metals were also found in the canal water. PAHs are a group of chemicals that are formed during the incomplete burning of coal, oil, gas, wood, garbage, or other organic substances. PCBs were used as coolants and lubricants in transformers, capacitors, and other electrical equipment. PCBs are suspected carcinogens and can have neurological effects. PAHs are also suspected carcinogens.  The investigation also identified characteristics of the canal that will influence future plans for a cleanup.  A companion human and ecological risk assessment found that exposure to the contaminants in the canal poses threats to people’s health and the environment.


“The findings of the investigation of the Gowanus Canal confirmed that contamination of the urban waterway is widespread and may threaten people’s health, particularly if they eat fish or crabs from the canal or have repeated contact with the canal water or sediment,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck. “The next step is the review of options for cleaning up the Gowanus, so we can move ahead with a full-scale cleanup of the canal that will result in a revitalized urban waterway.”
Based on the results of the investigation and the human and ecological risk assessment, EPA will commence work on a study that will outline all of the options for addressing contamination in the Gowanus Canal.  This study, called a feasibility study, will take place over the coming months.  It is anticipated that a draft feasibility report containing an assessment of all options will be completed by the end of this year.  
During the investigation, EPA collected and analyzed more than 500 samples of sediment from the Gowanus Canal and more than 80 water samples for the presence of various contaminants. EPA also collected more than 200 fish, including striped bass, eel, white perch and blue crab, to analyze their tissue for contaminants. Air samples were collected at street level and at heights at which people would breathe while boating on the canal.
For more nformation visit EPA's website at: http://www.epa.gov/region02/superfund/npl/gowanus/

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Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Businessman Pleads Guilty To Failing To Conduct An Asbestos Inspection

Postcard: Erie Railroad Station, Jamestown, Ne...Image via WikipediaSorry we've been so busy we are just getting to this bit of information.  About Mesothelioma.net reported on Thursday, October 28, 2010 that a Bemus Point, New York businessman, Daniel Black, 56, pleaded guilty in federal court to failing to conduct an inspection before an asbestos removal project, exposing workers and neighbors to deadly asbestos fibers.  Mr. Black, president of Blackstone Business Enterprises Inc., a sheet metal and structural steel fabricator in Jamestown, New York, faces up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine for the Clean Air Act Violation.  Blackstone Business will also pay a $205,000 penalty to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for citations related to improper asbestos removal and an additional $25,000 to the New York Department of Labor.  Black also pleaded guilty to tax-related violations that came to light during the asbestos investigation. 
According to the About Mesothelioma.net report in 2008, Black hired four temporary workers to remove asbestos insulation from steam pipes and cut down the steam pipes as scrap metal as part of a renovation of a four-story building at 100 Blackstone Avenue in Jamestown. The four men were exposed to asbestos during the renovation work, U.S. Attorney William Hochul, Jr., told The Post-Journal.

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Tuesday, March 01, 2011

CDC Public Health Matters Blog - Discusses NYC Pandemic Response

Electron microscope image of the reassorted H1...Image via WikipediaOne February 11, Scott Harper a Career Epidemiology Field Officer  (CEFO) for the Centers for Disese Control (CDC) posted "Battling Disease Outbreaks in the Big Apple."  Mr. Harper is stationed at the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene and currently leads surveillance and response activities for influenza, zoonotic, and vectorborne diseases.  The posting discusses New York City's most recent disease importation that came in the form of pandemic H1N1 Influenza in 2009-10.  It makes interesting reading and gives you an idea what life as a CEFO is like.  Hope you find it as interesting as I did.


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