Parts-per notation

November 12, 2012

PCBs in caulking materials

Source:, October 26, 2012
By: Stephen R. Berlin, Julie R. Domike and Richard L. Sieg of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) recently settled an enforcement action with The University of Massachusetts System (UMASS) for alleged violations of the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA). This action concerns the System’s discovery that window glazing compound in a UMASS building in Amherst, MA, contains PCBs.

The System is a five-campus public university system operated by the Board of Trustees of the University of Massachusetts. In March 2009, a consultant for UMASS, performing an environmental site assessment for an electrical upgrade project, discovered that window glazing compound was contaminated with PCBs at a concentration of 50 parts per million (ppm) or greater. Subsequent sampling indicated window glazing compound was contaminated with PCB concentrations ranging from 82.2 to 14,000 ppm.

In the agreement, the System agreed to pay a civil penalty, comply with the PCB Interim Measures Plan and remediate unanticipated PCB contamination. Continued noncompliance would be subject to penalties stipulated in the agreement. EPA Regions are increasingly focusing on PCBs in building materials no matter when the building material was used at a facility.…

August 17, 2011

EPA Delays Release of New Ozone Air Quality Standards

Source: Cozen O’Connor’s Energy, Environmental and Utilities Group “News Concerning Recent Developments in Energy and Environmental Law” Newsletter, August 16, 2011

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is mandated by the Clean Air Act to review ozone national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) every five years. Following the latest scheduled review in 2008, President Bush reduced the allowable limit of ozone in the atmosphere from 84 parts per billion (ppb) to 75 ppb. However, state and environmental groups challenged the 2008 rule in court, claiming that the EPA had ignored its own scientific advisory panel’s unanimous recommendation that the limit be set between 60 and 70 ppb. (More information in the 2008 ruling can be found here.)

Shortly after her appointment as President Obama’s EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson announced that the EPA would revisit the standards set by President Bush in 2008. The pending legal challenges to the ozone standards were suspended in 2009 and the EPA was given time to rework the rule. Administrator Jackson stated the final rules would be announced in August 2010. That self-imposed deadline was extended to October, then December, and most recently, until July 29, 2011. However, the EPA has announced that the July deadline will be missed as well.

Business groups and Congressional Republicans have argued that the EPA should wait to readdress the ozone standards until the next scheduled review in 2013. Because higher standards will place many more areas of the United States out of attainment, opponents of the new rule argue that increased fines, federal oversight, and building restrictions will harm business interests, especially in this fragile economy. (A recent study critiquing EPA’s analysis can be found here.) The White House Office of Management and Budget is currently leading the interagency review process. A new deadline for the rule’s release has not been announced.…

March 23, 2011

Madison considers tougher standards for well pollutants

Source: Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, WI), March 22, 2011
Posted on:

With more contaminants being found in city wells, the Madison Water Board is considering a tougher approach to pollutants, including heightened monitoring, filters and other treatments.

Contamination of Madison’s public drinking water wells by industrial pollutants is a growing problem. For example, pollutants are a thorny issue in Well No. 15 on the city’s East Side, and recently the possible carcinogen chromium-6 was found in all but three of 16 operating wells tested for the metal.

Madison is not alone. Lee Boushon, who heads the public water section for the state Department of Natural Resources, said other cities face increased contamination of their drinking water and are considering more aggressive regulatory approaches.…