Environmental Engineering | Geology | Consulting
Environmental Engineering | Geology | Consulting
The American Petroleum Institute launched a voluntary program that initially will concentrate on reducing wellhead emissions of methane and volatile organic compounds, and ultimately will try to improve other environmental conditions at operations across the US. Twenty-six participating companies will begin to implement the program starting Jan. 1, 2018, API said…[read more at Oil and Gas Journal].
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 31, 2017
Contact: Andrea Morrow
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced today the appointment of Michael Honeycutt, Ph.D. as chairman of the agency’s EPA Science Advisory Board, which provides advice to the administrator on broad scientific matters. “I am pleased and honored to bring my knowledge and experience to this prestigious panel,” says Honeycutt. “It is my goal to direct the other members of the SAB to bring sound science to the reviews that we will make in advising the administrator.” Dr. Honeycutt is the director of the Toxicology Division of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. He has been employed by the TCEQ since 1996 and has managed the division of 14 toxicologists since 2003. He is no stranger to reviewing technical information since his responsibilities include overseeing health effects reviews of air permit applications, overseeing the review of the results of ambient air monitoring projects, and overseeing the reviews of human health risk assessments for hazardous waste sites.
Honeycutt spearheaded the updating of TCEQ’s Effects Screening Levels, or toxicity factors for chemicals. The current TCEQ ESL derivation procedure has been through two independent external scientific peer reviews and multiple rounds of public comment.
Honeycutt brings a wealth of experience to his new position. Currently, he serves as a technical resource for TCEQ management and staff on issues concerning air and water quality, drinking water contamination, and soil contamination. He also serves as an expert witness in public and state legislative hearings, participates in public meetings, and has conducted hundreds of media interviews.
In addition, Honeycutt is an adjunct professor in two departments at Texas A&M University. He has published numerous articles in the peer-reviewed literature, serves or has served on numerous external scientific committees, and has provided invited testimony at Congressional hearings—experience that will serve him well in his new position where he will review research used in EPA decision-making.
As of February 1, 2018, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Air Permits Division (APD) will begin requiring all applicants to submit permit-by-rule (PBR) and standard permit (STDP) registration applications via ePermits.
This requirement will not apply to Concrete Batch Plants, Rock and Concrete Crushers, Hot Mix Asphalt Plants, Polyphosphate Blenders, or portables. Submittal of these application types is not yet available through the ePermits system.
Additional information on the background of ePermits, as well as detailed steps on using ePermits, can be found here: www.tceq.texas.gov/permitting/air/nav/nsr_news.html
The TCEQ is excited to release an updated Modeling and Effects Review Applicability (MERA) Guidance Document with the primary intent of increasing ease of use and clarity.
The updated document includes limited technical changes and additional opportunities for streamlining the health impacts review process while continuing to ensure the protection of human health and welfare. In restructuring the document, some of the less frequently used steps have been removed; however, applicants may continue to request the use of these former steps for a case-by-case analysis.
Questions or comments may be submitted through October 15, 2017 at email@example.com. The final guidance is anticipated to be released at the end of November.
Working together, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality continue to coordinate with local, state and federal officials to address the human health and environmental impacts of Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath, especially the water systems in the affected areas. The TCEQ has approximately 500 people and EPA has 263 people assisting in response to this natural disaster.
As part of this coordination, a Unified Command was established between the EPA, the TCEQ, the General Land Office, and the U.S. Coast Guard to oversee all emergency response efforts. This Unified Command is supported by three operational branches in Corpus Christi, Houston, and Port Arthur. In addition to the EPA, the TCEQ, the GLO, and the USCG, multiple agencies and groups are supporting each of the operational branches, including the Texas National Guard, 6th Civil Support Team; the Arkansas National Guard, 61st Civil Support Team; the Oklahoma Task Force 1; and the Texas State Guard Engineering Group. Branch personnel are working to continuously monitor water and wastewater systems, as well as assess spills or discharges as a result of the storm.
As of Thursday, Sept 14, the following information is available:
Drinking Water: To date, about 2,238 drinking water systems have been affected by Harvey. Of those: 2,014 systems are fully operational, 77 have boil-water notices, and 19 are shut down. Both the EPA and the TCEQ are contacting remaining systems to gather updated information on their status. Assistance teams are in the field working directly with system operators to expedite getting systems back to operational status.
Wastewater and Sewage: The TCEQ has made contact with 1,219 wastewater treatment plants in the 58 counties within the Governor’s Disaster Declaration. Of those, 31 are inoperable in the affected counties. The agencies are aware that releases of wastewater from sanitary sewers are occurring as a result of the historic flooding and are actively working to monitor facilities that have reported spills. Additionally, the agencies are conducting outreach and providing technical guidance to all other wastewater facilities in flood-impacted areas. Assistance teams will continue to be deployed to work directly with system operators to expedite getting systems back to operational status.
On Sept. 12, the EPA approved the Texas Water Development Board proposed approaches to utilize State Revolving Funds from the EPA to address immediate recovery and future resiliency efforts in Texas.
Flood Water: Water quality sampling will be focused on industrial facilities and hazardous waste sites. Floodwaters contain many hazards, including bacteria and other contaminants. Precautions should be taken by anyone involved in cleanup activities or any others who may be exposed to flood waters. These precautions include heeding all warnings from local and state authorities regarding safety advisories. In addition to the drowning hazards of wading, swimming, or driving in swift floodwaters, these waters can carry large objects that are not always readily visible that can cause injuries to those in the water. Other potential hazards include downed power lines and possible injuries inflicted by animals displaced by the floodwaters.
Critical Water Infrastructure: The TCEQ has made contact with the owners of the 340 dams in the impacted areas. There are 15 dams that have reported some type of damage. There have been no reports of downstream damage or loss of life. The TCEQ will be meeting with affected dam owners in the next week.
Additional EPA/TCEQ updates include:
For additional information, please visit the TCEQ’s Hurricane Response website.
View the EPA Story Map about Hurricane Harvey Response activities.
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