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Environmental Business Council of New England's Environ101: Wastewater Series


John McAllister gave a presentation last night (4/29/10) at the Environmental Business Council of New England's Environ101: Wastewater Series,  at Lir Pub on Boylston Street in Boston.  John's presentation gave background on the importance of treating wastewater, the regulations of on-site subsurface disposal systems under Title 5, as well as a brief overview of small package treatments regulated under the DEP's Groundwater Discharge Permit. 

The powerpoint slides can be downloaded here, unfortunately though, you won't be able to download the charm provided during the presentation. 

If you would like further information on any wastewater and/or permitting issues, feel free to contact John or Kevin Klein at 508-747-7900 extensions 117 and 130, respectively.

Learn about Norfolk Ram's wastewater treatment and on-site systems.

Superfund Cleanup Tax Opposed


The U.S. Congress has recently proposed reinstatement of the ‘Superfund' tax under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), which expired in 1995. The original Superfund tax was historically imposed upon industry in order to fund the cleanup of abandoned toxic waste sites in the country. Since its expiration the funding for cleanup has come from general revenues from corporate taxes. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) has introduced a bill to reinstate the original tax, which placed a feedstock tax on 42 industrial chemicals and crude oil.  The chemical industry strongly opposes reinstating the tax, however, fearing that it will drive more of an already ailing domestic chemical industry offshore to countries like China who do not impose a tax of this type. The original tax was designed to create a trust fund for cleanup of orphaned sites. The fund grew larger than originally expected and did not run out money until 2003. It is uncertain at this time how fast, if at all, the bill will proceed. If enough support is garnered, however, the bill could pass as a rider to another bill.  A weak Superfund program may lead to undesirable consequences concerning cleanup of toxic and hazardous waste sites.


Newton MA Stormwater Management Fee


In 2008 the Town of Cohasset, MA  adopted a Stormwater Bylaw.  Norfolk Ram Group, LLC (Norfolk) serves as Stormwater Agent for the Town of Cohasset under the direction of the Conservation Commission (the local board which administers the Stormwater Bylaw).  As Stormwater Agent, Norfolk has had several discussions with the Town Manager and Conservation Commission about ways and mechanisms to help the Town to pay for on-going and necessary stormwater improvement projects.  Some Town stormwater projects have been for improving water quality in coastal and water supply watersheds, and some for control of significant flooding in low lying areas, and some projects address both water quality and flooding.  Paying for maintenance of these systems is also an on-going issue.  The approach adopted in the City of Newton, MA (within the Charles River Watershed) seems to be working, and this is an approach that Cohasset may want to consider.  See the attached article on the Newton Stormwater Fee.

Learn about Norfolk Ram's Municipal Engineering Services.

Seminar - Thursday, April 29, 2010 at Lir Pub (5:30 - 7:30)

John McAllister is scheduled to make a presentation on the "Design and Implementation of Title 5 Systems and Small Package Treatment Plants" this Thursday, April 29, 2010 from 5:30 - 7:30. The presentation will be made as part of an event put on by the Environmental Business Council of New England's Environ101 series.  The presentation will take place at Lir Pub on Boylston Street in Boston, MA. For more information and register for the event (free of charge) please visit the Environmental Business Council's website

NAPL Trapping Cap


See the recent article in the  Civil Engineering Journal, concerning a "Dense Non-aqueous Phase Liquid (DNAPL) Trapping Cap"  that passively vents gases related to the decomposition of organic matter, while retaining the coal tar that was mobilized by the gas bubbles.

This reminded me of a similar cap designed and implemented by Norfolk years ago at a site that was in a flood plain for an abutting river in the Boston Metro-West area. 

Norfolk's system was designed to control, capture, and treat DNAPL related contaminants.  The Norfolk site was different in the following ways:

1. Instead of coal tar, we had chlorinated solvents.

2. Instead of permeable gravel, we used sand.

3. Instead of a clay cap, we used a plastic membrane (anchored with soil on top).

4. We encouraged removal by air sparging below the cap.

5. We included a soil vapor extraction system to capture and treat the solvent gases trapped by the cap.

EPA Developing Stricter Environmental Standards for Four Chemicals


EPA announced on Monday, March 22, that the agency will be developing stricter risk standards for four suspect carcinogens; tetrachloroethylene, trichloroethylene, acrylamide, and epichlorohydrin. Tetrachloroethylene (PCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE) are common groundwater and surface water contaminants and often require treatment in water supplies. PCE is a common dry cleaning and industrial solvent.  Lisa Jackson of EPA announced that new rules will be issued for these chemicals in the next year with the focus being to protect drinking water supplies. Ironically, acrlyamide and epichlorohydrin are impurities that can occur from water purification.

If you require more information on treatment of groundwater or have a contamination problem you need help solving, contact Brian V. Moran, P.E. at (508) 478-1276 X12.


EPA Reviewing Atrazine Risk


According to a recent article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), USEPA is revisiting risk assessment associated with the herbicide Atrazine.  Atrazine is one of the most commonly used herbicides in the U.S. It has been used for over 50 years with the heaviest use occurring in mid America agricultural states.  The agency is trying to incorporate human epidemiology data and incident data into risk assessments for the chemical.  The Agricultural Health Study is a collaborative of EPA, NEIHS, and the National Cancer Institute and is tracking the effects of exposures in some 90,000 people. EPA is evaluating the scientific factors to combine the incident data with epidemiology effects to integrate pesticide risk assessments.

If EPA can finalize this draft approach, the process will likely be incorporated into other pesticide evaluations, as well.  EPA is also trying to utilize human incident data from poison control centers into human health risk assessments, although the quality of the data for this use is debatable. Although many are critical of the new approach, it may provide a better alternative to the old approach of extrapolating human health risk data from rat studies to humans.

Submitted by Brian V. Moran, P.E., LSP

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