Public involvement is an essential component of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and when the Federal Government produces accessible documents, individuals with disabilities can review and engage with the project. It’s also the law! Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires Federal documents and websites to be compatible with assistive technologies, which make them accessible to individuals with disabilities. This section was created in 1998, as Congress recognized the need for regulations governing accessibility in technology and electronic devices. On January 19, 2017, the U.S. Access Board issued a final rule that requires contractors to provide Section 508-compliant deliverables for media that will be released to the public. Therefore, digital NEPA documents, such as Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) or Environmental Assessments (EAs), need to be Section 508-compliant. By creating high-quality documents that conform with Section 508 rules, you will ensure that the greatest number of people will have the opportunity to engage with the project and provide their comments.Read More
Our nation’s infrastructure faces increasing risks from extreme weather and other changes to climatic conditions. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has identified 16 critical infrastructure systems that are essential to our security and economic prosperity. These systems depend on various physical facilities and assets to provide a range of essential services like energy, clean water, transportation, and communication. Examples of essential assets include roads, bridges, power plants, electrical transmission lines, water treatment plants, and communication towers, all of which are potentially vulnerable to severe weather and other effects from climatic changes. This Pulse article identifies current and likely future changes to the environment and explores the concepts of adaptation and resilience as they apply to infrastructure.Read More
Join Chris Rua, CHMM on May 21, 2019 at the 2019 National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP) Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. Chris, a Senior Compliance Specialist with PHE, will be presenting a paper on why a sustainable approach to construction and demolition (C&D) waste management is not only good for our environment, but can reduce regulatory compliance burdens and add to the bottom-line.
Facility managers tasked with the responsibility of sustainably managing their wastes often run up against some significant challenges when dealing with C&D waste. This is especially true for federal facility managers/engineers that are required to comply with Executive Order 13834, Efficient Federal Operations, which mandates that federal agencies implement waste prevention and recycling measures in a manner that increases efficiency, optimizes performance, eliminates unnecessary use of resources, and protects the environment. Register today and learn about the challenges of managing construction and demolition waste, tips for cost saving measures, and potential opportunities for sustainable management.
The last 30 years have transformed the way we understand and address human impact on the environment, and have increased emphasis on conducting business in an environmentally sensitive manner. Since its founding in 1988, PHE has been helping businesses and government agencies achieve a balance between mission-effectiveness and protection of our natural resources. With three decades of hard-earned experience, PHE’s commitment to helping our clients navigate complex environmental requirements – and address new environmental and societal challenges – is stronger than ever!Read More
Managing refrigerant and refrigeration systems can be a challenge for facilities and facility managers due in part to expanding regulatory requirements. Section 608 (Refrigerant Management Requirements) of the Clean Air Act was updated to expand requirements for managing ozone-depleting substance (ODS) refrigerants to now also include ODS substitutes. ODS substitutes which are now regulated include hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) (e.g., R-410A, R-407C and R-134a), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) (e.g., R-116), and hydrofluoro-olefins (HFOs) (e.g., 1234YF). These are collectively referred to as “non-exempt ODS substitutes.”Read More
Navigating compliance with complex environmental regulations is an ongoing and challenging process that facility operators must plan for and manage daily. Nonetheless, violations do occur, and are growing more expensive. In 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency again raised the cost for violations for several of its programs, after also raising penalties in 2017. For example, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous waste violations were increased to $72,718 per day, per violation. Keeping apprised of current trends in environmental compliance is one approach to help prioritize the management of your own environmental liabilities and avoid violations and fines.Read More
As Americans, we have come to expect that our drinking water supply will be safe and reliable, and with a few notable exceptions such as the situation in Flint, Michigan, this is a reasonable expectation. Federal, state, and local governments have invested billions of dollars to ensure that water delivered to our homes and workplaces is safe to consume. However, routine systems, equipment, and activities have the potential to contaminate water supplies and water systems. By understanding and implementing cross-connection protection practices, we can help to minimize the risk of contamination to our potable water supplies.Read More
Several administrations have made attempts to "streamline" the NEPA process, and in January of this year President Trump issued Executive Order (EO) 13766 Environmental Reviews and Approvals for High Priority Infrastructure Projects, followed in June by EO 13807 Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure Projects. The goal of these efforts is to reduce the overall timeline for environmental reviews, with an emphasis on optimizing efficiency, interagency coordination, and reducing unnecessary burdens. In response to the President's Executive Orders, in September 2017, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued an "initial list of actions" it will take to enhance and modernize the federal environmental review process, which includes development of a framework for implementation of "One Federal Decision," new guidance for implementing NEPA, and a review of existing CEQ implementing regulations to identify needed changes and clarifications. However, the implementation of these new Executive Orders and related changes to review processes, guidance, and potential regulatory changes will ironically take some time.Read More
The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) requires most federal and industrial/commercial facilities to report information related to their use of hazardous materials. For federal facilities, Executive Order (EO) 12856, Federal Compliance with Right-To-Know Laws and Pollution Prevention Requirements, first established EPCRA reporting requirements, which were later emphasized in EO 13693, Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade.
This article reviews EPCRA reporting requirements, summarizes some of the hazardous materials that are commonly reported and those that are sometimes overlooked, and provides tips and insights to help facilities remain in compliance.Read More
On November 28, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its final Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule in the Federal Register. The new rule makes over 60 changes to the existing Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) generator regulations. Although some of the changes are minor or simple clarifications, many are significant and potentially applicable to every industry that generates hazardous waste. The new rule reorganizes the regulations to make them more user-friendly, clarifies many ambiguities and contradictions, and addresses previously documented gaps in the regulations.
Here are ten things that you should know about the new rule prior to it taking effect.Read More