Blog

26 Oct
Environmental Justice
Recent Advances in Environmental Justice

“Far too many of our most disadvantaged Americans continue to live in communities where clean water clean air, and a healthy environment aren’t a reality.” ~ Senator Tom Carper, Chair of Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (DE).

Environmental justice (EJ) seeks to provide “fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies” (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – EPA).

Almost immediately upon taking office, the Biden-Harris Administration took swift and significant action to promote EJ efforts. Executive Order (EO) 13990 Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis and EO 14008 Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad both direct federal agencies to develop EJ strategies to address the disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental impacts of their programs on minority and/or low-income populations. The Justice40 Initiative has made it a goal that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain federal investments are funneled to disadvantaged communities overburdened by pollution. And EPA’s FY 2022-2026 Plan added a fourth principal to support Biden’s Justice40 initiative—advance justice and equity—and states that “EJ and civil rights will be embedded into EPA’s programs, policies, and activities to reduce disparities in environmental and public health conditions.”

Growing Momentum

The focus on EJ continues to gain momentum with a slew of additional significant actions taken recently to further elevate EJ priorities and deliver on the Administration’s promises to advance justice and equity.

Inflation Reduction Act

On August 12, 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022 passed. The IRA grants funding to EPA to help accelerate EJ efforts in the following areas.

AreaFundsAction/Objective
Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reduction Fund$27 billionProvide financing to support GHG reduction projects in low-income and disadvantaged communities.
Environmental and Climate Justice Block Grants$3 billionEmpower community efforts and advance EJ projects (e.g., community-led air pollution monitoring, prevention, and remediation; mitigating climate and health risks from extreme heat and wildfires; climate resiliency and adaptation; and reducing indoor air pollution).
Protecting Children$50 millionProvide grants and technical assistance to schools serving low-income communities to address environmental issues, develop school environmental quality plans, mitigate air pollution hazards, and improve health and safety for students and staff.
Clean Ports$3 billionProvide funding for zero-emission port equipment/technology and to help ports develop climate action plans.
Superfund Petroleum Tax$11.7 billionReinstate the Superfund petroleum tax to help ensure polluters are held accountable for the true cost of cleanup work.
Enforcement Technology$25 millionHold polluters accountable by improving enforcement technology; target enforcement on several of the nation’s environmental laws (e.g., Clean Water Act (CWA), Clean Air Act (CAA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)).
Cleaner Emissions from Trucks and Heavy-Duty Vehicles$1 billionSupport a zero-emission vehicle infrastructure.

New EPA Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights 

On September 24, 2022, EPA announced a new national Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights to help elevate EJ to the highest levels of government. According to EPA, this office will commit more than 200 staff in EPA headquarters and across 10 regions to help solve environmental challenges in underserved communities. The intent of this office is to:

  • Improve EPA’s ability to incorporate equity, civil rights, and EJ principles and priorities into all EPA practices, policies, and programs.
  • Support the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people in development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.
  • Engage communities with EJ concerns and increase support for community-led action through grants and technical assistance.
  • Enforce federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination based on race, color, or national origin; sex; disability; or age by applicants for and recipients of EPA federal financial assistance.
  • Provide services and expertise in alternative dispute resolution, environmental conflict resolution, consensus building, and collaborative problem solving.

The new office will ensure that implementation of the IRA’s funding programs meet the Justice40 Initiative. Office staff will also work with the Office of Land and Emergency Management to equitably carry out EPA’s final EJ Action Plan (see below).

Environmental Justice Action Plan for Land Protection and Cleanup Programs

September 30, 2022, EPA announced its finalized EJ Action Plan: Building Up Environmental Justice in EPA’s Land Protection and Cleanup Programs (EJ Action Plan). The plan outlines projects, tools, and practices to be applied to the Superfund, Brownfields, Emergency Response, Solid Waste Management, RCRA Corrective Action, and Underground Storage Tank (UST) programs to improve the quality of cleanups in communities with EJ concerns.

The EJ Action Plan is supported by Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investments, including $1 billion to initiate cleanup of 49 previously underfunded Superfund sites and accelerate cleanup at dozens of other sites.

EPA states four main goals for the EJ Action Plan:

  1. Strengthen compliance with cornerstone environmental statutes by developing a “Good Governance” process and referral list to help address communities’ ongoing environmental concerns.
  2. Incorporate EJ considerations during the regulatory development process by assessing impacts to pollution-burdened, underserved, and tribal communities when developing regulations and tools to identify, track, and consider the implications of EJ-related factors throughout the Superfund process.
  3. Improve community engagement in rulemakings, permitting decisions, and policies by providing earlier and more frequent engagement with pollution-burdened and underserved communities and increasing technical support and risk communication resources.
  4. Implement President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative through grant application resources and grant award decisions.

Improved Environmental Management

With EPA focused on more regulations, more enforcement, and improved climate change and EJ, environmental management needs to play an integral role in company strategy. Companies must take the time to be informed, be prepared, and be proactive. Establish companywide priorities and goals and commit the appropriate resources to ensure programs and systems are in place to achieve regulatory compliance and align with EPA’s priorities for the future.

If you would like help evaluating your current risk level and assessing your priorities, please contact KTL. 

26 Sep
CAPPA 2022
2022 CAPPA Conference: KTL Case Study on Managing EHS Compliance

The Central region of APPA (CAPPA) is back hosting the 2022 Annual Conference in Lincoln, Nebraska this October–and KTL is looking forward to being part of the technical agenda this year! With the constant state of change in Higher Education, every interaction with students, faculty, staff and our business partners, vendor, etc. is important to improvement and growth in facilities. This year’s conference is filled with business and educational sessions to help support facilities management professionals in educational institutions.

KTL will be joining Southeast Missouri State University’s Autumn Gentry to present the following case study:

Using Microsoft 365 and SharePoint® to Manage EHS Compliance: University Case Study
October 10, 2022 | 11:00-11:55 a.m.

This presentation will discuss how educational facilities can use Microsoft 365 and SharePoint as a tool to manage EHS compliance programs. We will provide an overview of applicable EHS regulations, discuss how 365/SharePoint can be used to address university-specific needs, and provide a demonstration of Southeast Missouri State University’s “live” EHS management system.

21 Sep
pesticides
Progress on PFAS

On October 18, 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its comprehensive Strategic Roadmap to tackle per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination. The roadmap focuses on increasing investments in research, leveraging authorities to act now to restrict PFAS chemicals from being released, and accelerating cleanup of PFAS contamination.

Under this roadmap, more and more facilities are starting to be directly impacted by mitigation efforts and pending regulatory action. Just recently, EPA took the following actions to protect individuals and communities from the health risks posed by these “forever chemicals”.

Proposed Hazardous Substances Under Superfund

On August 26, 2022, EPA has issued a proposal to seek public comment on designating two of the most widely used PFAS as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, aka Superfund). This proposal applies to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), including salts and structural isomers.

Like other PFAS, PFOA and PFOS can accumulate and persist in the human body for long periods of time. The intent of this rulemaking is twofold:

  1. Increase transparency around releases of PFOA and PFOS; and
  2. Help hold polluters accountable for cleaning up their contamination.

If finalized, the rulemaking would trigger reporting of PFOA and PFOS releases, providing the EPA with improved data and the option to require cleanups/recover cleanup costs. According to EPA, a release of PFOA, PFOS, or any other hazardous substance does not always add a site to the National Priorities List (NPL), necessitate cleanup, or result in an enforcement action.

EPA suggests this potential rulemaking would:

  • Improve EPA, state, Tribal nation, and local community understanding of the extent and locations of PFOA and PFOS contamination throughout the country.
  • Help communities avoid or reduce contact with these potentially dangerous chemicals.
  • Encourage better waste management and treatment practices by facilities handling PFOA or PFOS.
  • Potentially accelerate privately financed cleanups and mitigate potential adverse impacts.
  • Allow EPA to recover cleanup costs from a potentially response party or require such a party to conduct the cleanup.
  • Better protect public health.

EPA anticipates issuing an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the next several weeks and will seek public comment once that is published.

Removal from Pesticide Products

On September 1, 2022, EPA proposed to remove 12 chemicals identified as PFAS from the current list of inert ingredients approved for use in pesticide products. Unlike active ingredients, inert ingredients are used to enhance pesticide effectiveness and product performance (e.g., extend shelf life, improve ease of application). EPA reviews safety information for inert ingredients before they can be included in a pesticide.

While these 12 PFAS are no longer used in any registered pesticides, EPA decided to remove the chemicals from the list of approved inert ingredients to prevent any further requested use in pesticide products.

EPA continues to evaluate pesticide active ingredients to determine if any meet the definition of PFAS or create other concerns.

Study on Leaching

In a recent study released on September 8, 2022, EPA confirmed that plastic containers made of fluorinated high-density polyethylene (HDPE) are likely to leach PFAS substances into pesticides and other liquid products that are stored in them. The data shows that the amount of PFAS that migrates into liquid products increases with storage time. This study further demonstrates the persistent and cumulative nature of PFAS.

Ongoing Challenges

KTL does not see the challenges associated with PFAS going away any time soon. If anything, we anticipate more facilities will be directly impacted by mitigation efforts and regulatory action to support the Strategic Roadmap, such as those outlined above. Proper usage strategies, a comprehensive environmental management system (EMS), and a forward-thinking Emergency Response Plan will remain vital tools for companies potentially dealing with PFAS to effectively manage the associated risks.

If you are facing challenges related to PFAS or would just like a fresh set of eyes to evaluate your current environmental risk level, please contact KTL. Our staff has hands-on experience assessing environmental risks and developing strategies to minimize them to the extent possible. Our team writes Emergency Response Plans and routinely works with Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) to coordinate emergency response efforts and exercises to keep communities informed and safe. In addition, we have a strong network of partners that can assist with testing and remediation strategies, when necessary.

19 Sep
Meet Our New Employees
KTL Expands EHS Resources

KTL is pleased to welcome the newest member of our EHS team!

Coulter Wood, CEM, CPEA, Senior Consultant

Coulter Wood, CEM, CPEA, is an is an environmental compliance and energy management leader with over 20 years of industry and consulting experience in providing expert regulatory and technical guidance, conducting energy and environmental compliance audits, leading corporate sustainability efforts and environmental capital expenditure projects, and managing energy sourcing and procurement. Coulter has extensive knowledge of state and federal environmental regulations. He has completed inspections and reports for emissions stack testing and Title V permitting, air emissions inventories, hazardous waste generation, storm water sampling, SPCC Plans, and NPDES authorizations and permits. He has also developed environmental and energy management systems. Coulter is a Certified Environmental Manager (CEM) and Certified Professional Environmental Auditor (CPEA). Coulter is based in Des Moines, Iowa. Read his full bio…

cwood@goktl.com | 507.208.9126

14 Sep
RMP Amendments
Safer Communities by Chemical Accident Prevention Proposed Rule

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Risk Management Program (RMP) Rule is no stranger to change and controversy. Just what the RMP rule entails has been the subject of debate since EPA published the first RMP Amendments in January 2017. Since that time, rules related to RMP requirements have been published, petitioned, delayed, vacated, reissued, and reconsidered.

As the most recent action in the ongoing RMP saga, EPA proposed on August 31, 2022 to strengthen the RMP regulations with the Safer Communities by Chemical Accident Prevention (SCCAP) proposed rule.

RMP Background

RMP was promulgated in 1996 under the Clean Air Act (CAA) Section 112(r)(7) in 40 CFR Part 68. The goal of the RMP program is to prevent accidental releases of toxic substances that can cause serious harm to the public. To do this, the program requires subject facilities to develop and implement an RMP for their specific operations that:

  • Identifies the potential effects of a chemical accident.
  • Identifies steps the facility is taking to prevent an accident.
  • Spells out emergency response procedures should an accident occur.

RMP covers 140 regulated toxic or flammable substances at approximately 11,740 facilities nationwide, including agricultural supply distributors, waste/wastewater treatment facilities, chemical manufacturers and distributors, food and beverage manufacturers, chemical warehouses, oil refineries, and other chemical facilities.  One area of industry that is highly impacted but frequently overlooked is facilities with ammonia refrigeration units that hold more than 10,000 lbs. of ammonia. This has become a focus for much recent EPA enforcement.

Proposed Amendments

The proposed SCCAP amendments include a number of requirements that were originally promulgated by the Obama Administration EPA in 2017 and subsequently rescinded during the Trump Administration in 2019, plus several new requirements considering impacts of climate change, environmental justice concerns, employee participation, and enhanced community notification.

SubpartAreaProposed Rulemaking
Prevention Program (Subparts C & D)Natural Hazards & Power LossNatural hazards (including those from climate change) and loss of power must be addressed in Program 2 hazard reviews and Program 3 process hazard analyses (PHAs). Justification is required in the Risk Management Plan when hazard evaluation recommendations are not adopted.
Prevention Program (Subparts C & D)Facility SitingFacility siting should be addressed in hazard reviews and explicitly define the facility siting requirement for Program 2 hazard reviews and Program 3 PHAs. Justification is required in the Plan when facility siting hazard recommendations are not adopted.
Prevention Program (Subparts C & D)Safer Technologies & Alternatives Analysis (STAA)Considerations for STAA and practicability of inherently safer technologies and designs are required for a) RMP-regulated processes under NAICS code 324 and 325 within one mile of another RMP facility under NAICS code 324 or 325; b) RMP-regulated hydrofluoric acid alkylation processes classified under NAICS code 324. Justification is required in the Plan when STAA recommendations are not adopted.
Prevention Program (Subparts C & D)Root Cause AnalysisA formal root cause analysis incident investigation is required when facilities have an RMP-reportable accident.
Prevention Program (Subparts C & D)Third-Party Compliance AuditsThe next scheduled compliance audit must be conducted by a third party when an RMP-regulated facility experiences a) two RMP-reportable accidents within five years; or b) one RMP-reportable accident within five years by a facility with a Program 3 process under NAICS code 324 or 325 within one mile of another RMP facility under NAICS code 324 or 325. Justification is required in the Plan when third-party compliance audit recommendations are not adopted.
Prevention Program (Subparts C & D)Employee ParticipationEmployee participation is required in resolving PHAs, compliance audits, and incident investigation recommendations and findings. Stop work procedures must be outlined in Program 3 employee participation plans. Program 2 and 3 employee participation plans must also include opportunities for employees to anonymously report RMP-reportable accidents or other non-compliance issues.
Emergency Response (Subpart E)Community Notification of RMP AccidentsNon-responding RMP facilities are required to develop procedures for informing the public about accidental releases. Release notification data must be provided to local responders, and a community notification system must be in place for RMP-reportable accidents.
Emergency Response (Subpart E)Emergency Response ExercisesField exercises (with mandatory scope and reporting requirements) must be conducted with a 10-year frequency unless local responders indicate that frequency is infeasible.
Information Availability (Subpart H)Enhanced Information AvailabilityFacilities must provide chemical hazard information upon request to residents living within six miles of the facility in the language requested.
Other Areas of Technical Clarification (Subparts A, C, D)Minor Regulatory Edits· Require Program 3 process safety information be kept up to date.
· Make Program 2 & 3 requirements consistent for recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices (RAGAGEP).
· Retain hot work permits for five years.
· Further define “storage incident to transportation” and the retail exemption.
· Require RAGAGEP review in PHAs.

Focus on Environmental Justice

In January 2021, President Biden signed Executive Order (EO) 13990, “Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis”.  EO 13990 directs Federal agencies to “immediately review, and take action to address, Federal regulations promulgated and other actions taken during the last four years that conflict with national objectives to improve public health and the environment; ensure access to clean air and water; limit exposure to dangerous chemicals and pesticides; hold polluters accountable, including those who disproportionately harm communities of color and low-income communities; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; bolster resilience to the impacts of climate change; restore and expand our national treasures and monuments; and prioritize both environmental justice and employment.”

The proposed changes to RMP are an outgrowth of EO 13990 and a February 2022 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report recommending EPA amend the RMP rules to ensure that affected facilities are considering the risks associated with climate change.

According to EPA, RMP facility accidents occur more frequently in predominately minority communities. Persons of color make up 50% of those individuals living within one mile of RMP facilities; low-income individuals comprise 42% of those living within one mile of RMP facilities. Many of these communities live near multiple RMP facilities. These populations are particularly at risk of exposure if an accidental release at an RMP facility occurs.

In line with EO 13990, the intent of the SCCAP proposed rule is to further protect vulnerable communities from chemical accidents, especially those living near facilities with high accident rates. Proposed changes would require RMP-regulated facilities to better consider surrounding communities and the consequences of potential chemical accidents.

Deadlines

If finalized, the SCCAP rule will require RMP facilities to update their programs and plans to consider new data elements, prepare additional reports, and implement or update their notification procedures and field exercises to meet new deadlines:

  • Three (3) years after effective date of final rule, facilities must implement provisions for:
    • New STAA
    • Incident investigation root cause analysis
    • Third-party compliance audit
    • Employee participation
    • Emergency response public notification
    • Exercise evaluation reports
    • Information availability information
  • Four (4) years after effective date of final rule, RMP-regulated facilities must update and resubmit their Risk Management Plans with new and revised data elements.
  • Facilities must comply with the revised emergency response field exercise frequency provision by March 15, 2027 or within 10 years of the date of an emergency response field exercise conducted between March 15, 2017 and the date of publication.

What’s Next

The SCCAP proposed rule is likely to be as controversial as its predecessors due to its potential impacts on RMP-regulated facilities across industries. Interested parties should take the time to submit comments by October 31, 2022 during the 60-day public comment period.

In the meantime, KTL will continue to follow and provide updates on the SCCAP proposed rule. KTL has experience working with a broad cross-section of industries impacted by RMP, particularly chemical companies. We have created RMP and General Duty Clause audit protocols and conducted audits and investigation/improvement programs following significant release events. In addition, our team provides Tier II and TRI reporting, writes plans for OSHA and Emergency Response, and routinely works with Local Emergency Planning Commissions (LEPCs) to coordinate emergency response efforts and exercises to keep communities informed and safe.

Regulatory enforcement-driven projects such as those related to RMP require skills in regulatory strategy, negotiations, expert analysis, presentations and testimony—and, equally important—trust and relationship building. KTL can work with companies to:

  • Identify/understand/prioritize compliance risks
  • Outline steps to improve performance and safe operations
  • Define organizational roles and responsibilities
  • Streamline compliance methods
  • Plan and conduct required tabletop exercises and coordinate with local emergency response
  • Implement, monitor, and continually improve performance
29 Aug
MECC 2022
MECC 2022: KTL Presents on Compliance Management Systems

KTL is excited to be joining the 2022 Midwest Environmental Compliance Conference (MECC) as a featured presenter live and in-person in Kansas City, Missouri. MECC examines the new environmental reality under the Biden Administration. The conference takes a fresh, regional approach to the increasingly difficult task of environmental compliance, permitting, enforcement, and other critical environmental issues that impact Midwest facilities and institutions.

KTL’s presentions are part of the workshop’s technical agenda:

City of Lincoln Transportation and Utilities Compliance Management System: A Demonstration
September 13, 2022 | 10:00-10:35 a.m.

See how the City of Lincoln, NE Transportation and Utilities Department is leveraging Microsoft 365® to build regulatory compliance management tools that help track permit requirements and other compliance obligations. Features include requirements database, workflows with email notifications, status tracking, document and records management, staff communication / collaboration tools, and management reporting.

EHS Information Management System using Microsoft 365 and SharePoint
September 13, 2022 | 3:40-4:15 p.m.

Effective information management is critical to complying with EHS regulations, but many organizations lack the resources to manage, maintain, and demonstrate compliance. This presentation will demonstrate how Microsoft 365® and SharePoint® can be used as tools to create organizational efficiency and meet regulatory compliance obligations. KTL and Southeast Missouri State University will share the university’s SharePoint site and demonstrate how they are using the system to effectively manage EHS programs, including chemical management, air quality, and refrigerant management. This session will walk through features of SharePoint, provide tips to keep tools remain simple yet effective, and highlight how SharePoint can be expanded into an effective technology platform to ensure ongoing compliance.

28 Jun
Hazardous Waste Recycling
Hazardous Waste Recycling: What You Need to Know

Many hazardous wastes can be recycled safely and effectively. As with most materials, recycling has a variety of benefits. For hazardous waste, this includes fulfilling two goals of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA):

  1. Reduce the volume of waste materials that must be treated and disposed of, and
  2. Reduce the consumption of raw materials and energy.

Beyond these environmental impacts, hazardous waste recycling can also provide significant economic benefits to generators, including increased production efficiency, reduced costs associated with purchasing new materials, reduced (or eliminated) RCRA regulatory requirements, and stronger corporate stewardship and a “green” image.

Know Your Options—and Regulations

Used or residual waste-like materials—the byproducts of hazardous waste—are called secondary materials. A hazardous secondary material may be recycled in one of a few different ways, including use, reuse, and reclamation.

EPA has developed hazardous waste recycling regulations to promote the reuse and reclamation of useful materials in a manner that “balances the conservation of resources, while ensuring the protection of human health and environment.” The level of regulation depends on the material and how it is recycled. For example, recycling activities that pose a significant threat are subject to strict hazardous waste regulations. Conversely, the Agency grants regulatory relief for many types of “lower risk” recycling to reduce the regulatory and compliance burden.

Direct Use or Reuse

Secondary materials can be used or reused as an ingredient in an industrial process to make a product or as an effective substitute for a commercial product. Since direct reuse of hazardous materials presents a low risk to human health and the environment, EPA does not regulate these activities unless waste will be burned or placed on the land (see below).

Reclamation

Reclamation involves processing secondary material to recover a usable product. Certain reclaimed materials may be exempt from hazardous waste regulations, while others are subject to full regulation based on the level of threat posed by reclamation activities. For example, EPA standards for handling precious metal waste are significantly less stringent than for other hazardous wastes, and reclaimed scrap metal is exempt from all hazardous waste regulations.

Use Constituting Disposal

This type of use involves direct placement of wastes or products containing wastes on the land (i.e., land application). EPA strictly regulates land disposal of hazardous waste due to the potential for soil and groundwater contamination.

Combustion for Energy Recovery

Hazardous waste can be recycled by burning it for its fuel value. This activity is regulated as strictly as any other type of hazardous waste combustion. Combustion units must obtain a permit and meet performance and operating standards under the boiler and industrial furnace regulations.

Selecting a Reputable Hazardous Waste Recycler

When poorly managed, hazardous waste recycling can become a significant—and dangerous—waste management problem. It is the generator’s responsibility to ensure their hazardous secondary materials are being handled legitimately by recyclers.

Recyclers should be open to periodic inspections of their facilities and audits of their operations to ensure they are fit to handle hazardous secondary materials. EPA recommends asking questions of hazardous waste recyclers to ensure the legitimacy of their operations:

  • What is the facility’s site/ownership history? Is the facility financially sound? Does it have adequate pollution liability insurance and provisions for closure and cleanup costs, if necessary?
  • Does the facility have a history of environmental compliance? Has there been any previous contamination at the site? Has the facility been subject to any enforcement actions? Does the facility’s record indicate a commitment to sound environmental stewardship? Does the facility have all required permits?
  • What are the general housekeeping practices at the facility?
  • Does the facility employ responsible practices, such as waste screening and acceptance procedures, residuals management, drop-off and tracking protocol, and certificates of recycling?
  • Is there a reliable market for the saleable products or intermediates that are made from recycling hazardous secondary material? Can the recycler provide names/locations of business, landfills, incinerators to which it sends products/residuals? Can the recycler supply certification of final disposition of materials?
  • Are any residuals generated from the recycling process managed in a way that is protective of human health and the environment? Does the recycler have an EHS management system to ensure environmentally sound management practices?

A thorough accounting of all materials handled should be readily available from the recycler, including the following:

  • Documented evidence that their process meets requirements for recycling hazardous waste, as codified in 40 CFR 266.
  • Notification to EPA of activities for transportation, operation of a TSDF, or generation of regulated waste.
  • Documented reclamation process, including all downstream and outsourced processes.
  • Completed, compliant manifests for shipment of regulated wastes.
  • Records showing the facility is not speculatively accumulating.

As best management practice, recyclers may also provide certificates of reclamation to offer generators additional assurance. Certifications that operations meet internationally accepted environmental, health, and safety (EHS) management standards (e.g., ISO 14001/45001) provide additional assurance that programs and processes are in place to comply with applicable regulations and reduce the generator’s liability.

As generators use recyclers, it is important to monitor environmental and financial metrics. When working with a reputable recycler, hazardous waste recycling can result in cost savings through reduced material/energy consumption and avoided disposal cost. It can alleviate environmental compliance obligations. And it can help promote an environmentally friendly reputation.

13 Jun
Meet Our New Employees
KTL News: New EHS Resources

KTL is pleased to welcome the following new EHS resources to our team!

Christen Hoffman, Senior Consultant

Christen is an EHS professional with over ten years of industry experience providing EHS compliance management, leadership, and support for industry. She is particularly skilled in company culture, environmental risk management, streamlined compliance systems and associated training programs, annual reporting, root cause analysis, hazardous waste management, and air quality compliance. Christen also excels at using digital innovation (Microsoft 365 and SharePoint) to maximize the value efficiency of EHS programs. Christen is based in Ames, Iowa. Read her full bio…

choffman@goktl.com | 913.306.7023


Sam Lechnir, EIT, Consultant

Sam joins KTL with nearly five years of experience working in both the public and private sectors to provide environmental compliance and remediation services. In particular, he has strong experience using state and federal regulations to develop permit applications; employing investigative methods with various media; conducting data assessments/evaluations; and implementing remediation technologies. As a certified EIT, Sam has valuable knowledge of the process of engineering and uses this to optimize quality and efficiency on projects. He is based out of our Madison office. Read his full bio…

slechnir@goktl.com | 608.588.5116


23 May
Integrated Management System
Benefits of an Integrated Management System

According to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), are currently more than 80 Management System Standards (MSS)—80 different standards designed to help companies improve their performance across a diverse range of areas and sectors.

Most companies these days have some sort of management system, whether formal (e.g., ISO, Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI)-benchmarked standard, industry-specific) or informal. And, because most companies have various aspects and functions to their operations, many actually may have more than one system to organize processes and business objectives.

While management systems by ISO’s definition are designed to “help organizations improve their performance by specifying repeatable steps that organizations consciously implement to achieve their goals and objectives,” having multiple systems to manage often overlapping requirements (i.e., regulatory, certification, supply chain, internal) can create redundancies, inefficiencies, extra work, and overall confusion.

Integrated Management Systems: The Basics

A management system is the organizing framework that enables companies to achieve and sustain their operational and business objectives through a process of continuous improvement (i.e., Plan-Do-Check-Act). It is designed to identify and manage risks through an organized set of policies, procedures, practices, and resources that guide the enterprise and its activities to maximize business value.

A management system should be a means to better align operational quality, safety, environment, food safety, security, energy, etc. with the business. An integrated management system does just this. It aligns an organization’s various systems and processes into one complete framework, enabling the organization to work as a single unit to implement specific best practices organization-wide, fulfill the requirements of multiple standards, and meet a unified set of business objectives.

Integration Business Benefits

Ultimately, the various MSS have many common points—and all work towards the goal of making the organization more effective and efficient. Developing an integrated management system allows organizations to align the standards, find common management system components (e.g., terminology, policies, objectives, processes, resources), and add measurable and recognizable business value, including the following:

Greater consistency. An integrated approach creates greater consistency across business facets when it comes to terminology, processes, procedures, expectations, etc., and, in turn, greatly improved focus on a common set of business objectives. With an integrated system, organizations can ensure that processes, methods, and practices are in place, documented, and consistently applied across the entire organization. A common documented framework such as this helps alleviate duplication of efforts, allows for a more complete view of the functional needs of the entire organization, and reduces variability in performance.

Optimized processes and resources. Integrated systems allow companies to optimize processes and resources and, subsequently, reduce the time it takes to do certain activities. Integrated management systems help organizations to maintain requirements and associated documents concurrently—particularly through use of an information system—streamlining the process and allowing the organization to focus on improvements rather than maintaining multiple systems. A common system enables better use of resources and better collaboration and communication across the company.

More strategic approach. Organizations can take a more strategic approach with an integrated management system because it focuses on managing all aspects of the business, not just one area. It provides clear methods and processes to identify and prioritize risks, set and monitor goals, communicate risks to employees and management, and allocate appropriate resources to mitigate them. It also establishes a common language among managers, executives, and employees, which enables better goal setting, priority ranking, and allocation of resources. As a bonus, integrated systems also make it much easier to implement an organization-wide information system capable of tracking and reporting on common activities and key performance metrics.

Forward-thinking. More and more organizations are expecting more from the companies they work with—and that includes management systems. The push for best practices over just regulatory compliance is a growing trend. Reliable and effective regulatory compliance is commonly an outcome of consistent implementation of a management system. Beyond that, an integrated management system allows organizations to more effectively manage those risks (i.e., compliance, financial, legal liability, brand reputation) that can significantly impact the entire supply chain.

Help from the Standards

Standards organizations such has ISO are making it as easy as possible to implement an integrated management system—whether formal or informal—because, plain and simple, it just makes business sense. For example, ISO has adopted a Harmonized Structure (formerly known as High-Level Structure) to make sure every ISO MSS is structured in the same way with ten universal sections. The ISO MSS also use Annex SL, which dictates how the MSS should be written and, again, is consistent across the various MSS. These efforts simplify use, streamline protocol, and encourage standardization across the ISO MSS.

Beyond that, ISO has published a Guide to Integrating Management System Standards (revised in 2018) to help organizations implement integrated management system design—ISO or not. According to Michael McLean, Convenor or the ISO working group that developed the handbook, “Many organizations benefit from multiple management systems to help them ensure their systems and processes are in line with their objectives and help them maintain their business model through ever-changing environments. This handbook provides a practical guide for organizations to effectively align their management systems with their strategies, plans, and operations.”

Taking the Next Steps

If you are operating with multiple management systems—or even if you have no management system at all—there are some basic steps to creating an integrated management system:

  1. Invest the time to understand the current scope of operations, functional departments, compliance requirements, governance structure, etc. across the entire organization as a whole, not just siloed departments.
  2. Conduct a gap assessment to evaluate the current (“as-is”) condition of any formal or informal management system(s) against the desired (“to-be”) condition (e.g., ISO, GFSI, industry-specific).
  3. Create a development and implementation plan outlining tasks and resources required to close any identified gaps and achieve those objectives.
    • Determine key components of the integrated management system required to achieve business objectives.
    • Identify common elements to be standardized and incorporated into an integrated system (e.g., policies, procedures, processes, metrics, training).
    • Determine what information technology can support and streamline an integrated management system.
  4. Provide relevant training to all interested parties to truly operationalize the management system across the organization.

Whether formal or informal, integrated management systems provide organizations—both big and small, in any industry—a pillar for sustainable growth. By developing and implementing an aligned management system, organizations can achieve more consistent, reliable, and efficient performance across many areas, while adding measurable and recognizable business value.

21 Apr
EPA Strategic Plan
EPA’s Strategic Plan for the Future

On March 28, 2022, the Biden-Harris Administration submitted to Congress the President’s budget for fiscal year (FY) 2023 to support the Administration’s agenda to “build a better America, reduce the deficit, reduce costs for families, and grow the economy from the bottom up and middle out.”

Included in this budget is a historic investment of $11.881 billion to advance key priorities in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) FY 2022-2026 EPA Strategic Plan, including targeted objectives and outcomes in the areas of climate change; environmental justice; compliance enforcement; clean land, air, and water; and chemical safety.

Unprecedented Commitments

Every four years, EPA issues a Strategic Plan that communicates the Agency’s vision, priorities, and strategies for accomplishing its mission to protect human health and the environment. Since William Ruckelshaus served as the first Administrator of the EPA from 1970 to 1973, the Strategic Plan has been built on three foundational principles: follow the science, follow the law, be transparent.

The FY 2022-2026 Plan renews EPA’s commitment to these principles and adds a fourth to support Biden’s Justice40 initiative: advance justice and equity. Current EPA Administrator Michael Regan describes the EPA Strategic Plan as “bold and unprecedented in its commitment to advancing environmental justice and civil rights and tackling climate change.”

Roadmap to Protecting Human Health and the Environment

In the new Strategic Plan, EPA has established a roadmap to address climate change and environmental justice, in addition to its five programmatic areas of enforcement and compliance, air quality, water quality, land revitalization, and chemical safety. The Plan outlines the following seven long-term performance goals (LTPGs) and related objectives and quantifiable outcome to achieve by 2026.

Goal 1: Tackle the Climate Crisis

EPA is focused on further reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by promulgating rules to reduce pollution from the power sector, setting vehicle emission standards, and partnering with the public and private sectors communities (especially those underserved and disproportionally at risk) to increase energy efficiency in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors.

In addition, there is $100 million in grants to support efforts to reduce GHG emissions and increase resiliency in the nation’s infrastructure and $35 million to implement the American Innovation in Manufacturing Act to continue phasing out GHGs.

Goal 2: Take Decisive Action to Advance Environmental Justice and Civil Rights

Environmental justice and civil rights will be embedded into EPA’s programs, policies, and activities to reduce disparities in environmental and public health conditions. This includes:

  • Ensuring 80% of significant EPA actions with environmental justice implications clearly demonstrate how the action responds to environmental justice concerns.
  • Identifying and implementing opportunities to integrate environmental justice and achieve civil rights compliance into planning, guidance, policy directives, monitoring, and review activities.
  • Supporting Justice40 commitment to ensure at least 40% of the benefits of federal investments in climate and clean energy reach overburdened and underserved communities.
  • Requiring all state recipients of EPA financial assistance to have foundational civil rights programs in place.
  • Strengthening civil rights enforcement in communities with environmental justice concerns through civil rights and compliance reviews, audits, and community outreach.
  • Proposing a new national environmental justice program office to coordinate and maximize the benefits of the Agency’s programs and activities.

Goal 3: Enforce Environmental Laws and Ensure Compliance

EPA intends to continue its enforcement path, holding environmental violators and responsible parties accountable. Significant investments are being made to enforce and assure compliance with the nation’s environmental laws, including $213 million for civil enforcement efforts, $148 million for compliance monitoring efforts, and $69 million for criminal enforcement efforts.

The Agency also has plans to improve inspections by sending 75% of EPA inspection reports to facilities within 70 days of inspection and conducting 55% of annual EPA inspections at facilities that affect communities with potential environmental justice concerns.

Goal 4: Ensure Clean and Healthy Air for All Communities

EPA has budgeted $1.1 billion to improve air quality and reduce localized pollution, reduce exposure to radiation, and improve indoor air for communities across the country. This plan includes reducing ozone season emissions of nitrogen oxides, improving measured air quality in counties not meeting the current National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), reducing U.S. consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and preventing 2,250 lung cancer deaths annually through lower radon exposure.

Goal 5: Ensure Clean and Safe Water for All Communities

Approximately $4 billion is dedicated to upgrading the nation’s drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, with a focus on underserved communities. This includes reducing the number of community water systems still in noncompliance with health-based standards; leveraging EPA’s water infrastructure finance programs (CWSRF, DWSRF, WIFIA); providing Tribal, small, rural, or underserved communities with technical, managerial, or financial assistance to improve their drinking water or wastewater systems; and protecting and restoring waterbodies and watersheds. There are 20 new targeted water grant programs available to support EPA’s goal to ensure safe drinking water and reliable water infrastructure.

Goal 6: Safeguard and Revitalize Communities

Protecting communities from hazardous waste and environmental damage that can harm communities and that poses a risk to public health and safety continues to be a top priority. $1.15 billion is being allocated to EPA’s Superfund programs and $215 million for Brownfields programs to clean up and restore land to productive use, including:

  • Bringing human exposures under control at an additional 60 Superfund sites.
  • Completing 225 Superfund cleanup projects that address lead as a contaminant.
  • Cleaning up an additional 650 brownfields properties.
  • Making an additional 425 RCRA corrective action cleanups Sitewide Ready for Anticipated Use (SWRAU).
  • Conducting an additional 35,000 cleanups at leaking underground storage tank (UST) facilities.
  • Increasing the percentage of updated permits at RCRA facilities to 80%.
  • Ensuring that 40% of annual emergency response and removal exercises that EPA conducts or participates in incorporate environmental justice.

Goal 7: Ensure Safety of Chemicals for People and the Environment

There is a large focus on strengthening EPA’s commitment and ability to successfully implement the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). $124 million and 449 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff for TSCA efforts will support EPA-initiated chemical risk evaluations and regulations. This includes completing at least eight High Priority Substance TSCA risk evaluations annually and initiating TSCA risk management actions within 45 days of completing the evaluation.

In addition, EPA has set aside $126 million to increase its understanding of human health and ecological effects of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) pollution, restrict its uses, and remediate PFAS that have been released.

Short-Term Focus

For the short-term, EPA has also identified three FY 2022-2023 Agency Priority Goals (APGs), which are intended to “jumpstart actions and showcase progress toward Administrator Regan’s priorities related to climate change, environmental justice, and civil rights” by September 30, 2023:

  1. Phase down the production and consumption of HFCs by 10% to be consistent with the schedule in the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act. This would decrease the U.S. consumption limit to less than 273.5 MMTCO2e in 2023.
  2. Deliver tools, guidance, metrics/indicators, and training for EPA and its Tribal, state, local, and community partners to advance environmental justice and external civil rights compliance.
  3. Clean up contaminated sites and invest in water infrastructure to enhance the livability and economic vitality of at least ten overburdened and underserved communities.

Set Your Goals

With EPA focused on more regulations, more enforcement, and improved climate change and environmental justice, environmental management needs to play an integral role in company strategy. Companies must take the time to be informed—particularly in the strategic areas described above—be prepared, and be proactive. Establish companywide priorities and goals and commit the appropriate resources to ensure programs and systems are in place to achieve regulatory compliance and align with EPA’s Strategic Plan.

If you would like help evaluating your current risk level and assessing your priorities, please contact KTL. 

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