EPA Removing Hazardous Materials Following Fires in Maui

Construction & Demolition Recycling by Bob Gaetjens

Maui, Hawaii – EPA says its personnel are working with federal, state and local agencies to remove hazardous material from areas affected by the wildfires in Maui in recent weeks. The EPA’s hazardous materials work is Phase 1 of the overall federal cleanup response. Phase 2 will be debris removal and completed by an agency to be determined. The agency will remove a variety of what it calls “everyday” hazardous materials, including paint, cleaners, solvents, oils, batteries and pesticides. Fuel from pressurized cylinders and tanks will be removed, and the empty containers will be marked for removal during a future second phase, Maui County says in a news release. Workers will also remove items thought to contain asbestos if they are easy to identify, but the property will not be fully cleared of asbestos until the second phase of the hazardous waste removal process. For full text, click here.

EPA Requires Reporting for Nine Additional PFAS

Paint Square

Washington, DC – EPA issued a final rule to update the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) chemical list to identify nine additional per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) subject to reporting requirements. This final rule comes as a follow-up to the EPA’s January announcement of the automatic addition of those nine additional PFAS to the TRI list. The EPA says that reporting forms for these PFAS will be due to the Agency by July 1, 2024, for calendar year 2023 data. For the text of the rule update, click here. For the full text of the article, click here.

PFAS Liability: Congressional Letter Requesting Enforcement Discretion for Privately Owned/Operated Municipal Solid Waste Landfills

JD Supra by Walter Wright, Jr

Washington, DC – EPA has proposed to designate certain PFAS as Comprehensive Environmental, Response, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) hazardous substances. Designation of PFAS as a CERCLA hazardous substance would trigger corresponding requirements such as application of the potentially responsible liability categories (i.e., current owner or operator, former owner or operator [in certain circumstances], transporter [in certain circumstances], and generators) and hazardous substance release reporting requirements (if reportable quantities are released). Concerns have been expressed by various interest groups, including landfills, that they would be unfairly encompassed and subject to Superfund liability/reporting requirements. For the full text, click here.

State of Washington Offering Free Training in Identifying and Managing PCB-containing Building Materials With EPA Grant

WA Dept of Ecology Washington

Through a grant from EPA, the Washington State Department of Ecology is providing training to help business owners, consultants, and contractors safely maintain and abate buildings that contain polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs. These manmade chemicals were widely used in building materials to add flexibility, adhesion, and durability. But they can also pose health risks and contaminate stormwater, soils, sediments, and affect indoor air quality.  For the full text, click here.

Chemical Companies Paying $1B PFAS Settlement

Paint Square National

Chemical solutions company Chemours, alongside manufacturer DuPont de Nemours and agricultural chemical company Corteva, Inc., recently reached an agreement to resolve all per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances-related drinking water claims. According to the release, the companies will collectively establish and contribute a total of $1.185 billion to a settlement fund for United States water systems. The three chemical manufacturers are reportedly facing thousands of lawsuits across the country alleging that PFAS were utilized in their manufacturing processes. For the full text, click here.

Biden Administration Invests in Brownfields Cleanup

Paint Square Washington, DC

EPA announced funding to expedite the assessment and cleanup of brownfield sites in the country. The investments, which total $315 million from President Joe Biden’s Investing in America Agenda, are expected to aid in the advancement of environmental justice. EPA selected 262 communities to receive 267 grants that total more than $215 million in competitive EPA Brownfields funding through the Multipurpose, Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund and Cleanup (MARC) Grant programs. This is reportedly the highest funding level ever announced in the history of the Brownfields Program. For the full text, click here.

Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’ About to Get Their First US Limits

Associated Press by Michael Phyllis and Brittany Peterson

US – The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to propose restrictions on harmful “forever chemicals” in drinking water after finding they are dangerous in amounts so small as to be undetectable. But experts say removing them will cost billions, a burden that will fall hardest on small communities with few resources. Concerned about the chemicals’ ability to weaken children’s immune systems, the EPA said last year that PFAS could cause harm at levels “much lower than previously understood.” For the full text, click here.

PFAS Bans and Restrictions Going Into Effect in States in 2023

Bloomberg Law

National – Laws and regulations restricting “forever chemicals” in more than a half dozen states are entering effect in 2023, including the start of a timeline for a first-in-the-nation ban on PFAS in all products in Maine. The newly effective measures range from labeling requirements to bans of the substance in products including food packaging, firefighting foam, and personal care products. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of chemicals that don’t naturally break down, and so they accumulate in water, soil, and in the human body. Studies have shown that high levels increase the risk of cancer and other adverse health effects. For the full text, click here.

The Pentagon is Not Fully Tracking Lead, Asbestos in Its Privitized Housing, Report Says

Task and Purpose by Max Hauptman

National – Despite the well-publicized prevalence of mold, lead paint, and other unsafe health conditions among private military housing units in recent years, the Defense Department appears to be experiencing issues when it comes to actually monitoring how widespread those problems have become. A recently published report from the DoD’s Inspector General’s office found that the Pentagon does not adequately track if the conditions of privatized housing adversely impact the health of U.S. service members and their families. For the full text, click here

Why the US is Losing the Fight to Ban Toxic Chemicals


National – From a powerful chemical industry that helped write the toxic substances law to an underfunded EPA lacking in resolve, the flaws in the American chemical regulatory apparatus run deep. The flaws of the American chemical regulatory apparatus run deeper than funding or the decisions of the last presidential administration. ProPublica spoke with environmental experts around the world and delved into a half century of legislation, lawsuits, EPA documents, oral histories, chemical databases and global regulatory records to construct a blueprint of a failed system. This is how the U.S. became a global laggard in chemical regulation. For the full text, click here.