Recent and upcoming items related to environmental issues in the State of Tennessee and/or EPA Region IV:
The Department of Environment and Conservation recently announced a second round of Clean Tennessee Energy Grants. The grants total $2.25 million and are intended to fund energy efficient projects in the state. The grant money comes from an April 2011 Clean Air Act settlement with the Tennessee Valley Authority.
TDEC, along with the Tennessee Stormwater Association, the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Tennessee Department of Transportation recently announced grants totaling $127, 500 to five local governments. The Green Development Grant Program is intended to fund green infrastructure and low-impact development grants.
Division of Air Pollution Control
TDEC’s Division of Air Pollution Control will conduct a public hearing on January 29, 2013 to consider comments on proposed amendments to Chapter 1200-3-17, Conflict of Interest. Written comments will be accepted if received by 4:30 p.m. on January 29, 2013.
The next regularly scheduled meeting for Tennessee’s Air Pollution Control Board is January 9, 2013.
Division of Underground Storage Tanks and Division of Solid/Hazardous Waste
Tennessee’s newly combined Underground Storage Tank and Solid Waste Disposal Board will not meet in January 2013. The next regularly scheduled meeting for this board is February 6, 2013.
Division of Water Pollution
Tennessee’s Water Quality Control Board is scheduled to meet on December 18, 2012 at 10:00 a.m.
A Water Contact Advisory has recently been issued for the lower portion of the New River, including a section within the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. The advisory is the result of operational failures at the wastewater treatment plant located in Huntsville, Tennessee.
EPA recently proposed a Consent Agreement and Final Order that assessed an administrative penalty of $171,000.00 to the City of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The EPA alleges that the City improperly discharged untreated sanitary sewage and failed to properly operate and maintain its sewage collection and transmission system.
An updated Regulation Summary Chart has been posted as well as a summary of Administrative Orders from June, July and August.
Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s Division of Air Pollution Control will conduct a public hearing on behalf of the Air Pollution Control Board on December 10, 2012 to consider comments on proposed amendments to Rule 1200-3-26-.01(9), which sets annual fees for air pollution emissions. The fees proposed by the Division are based on the Title V Workload Analysis for the coming fiscal year which will also be available for public hearing.
The proposed amendments increase the major source (i.e., Title V) annual emission fee rate charged to major sources. The proposed rate at which major source actual-based emissions are assessed would increase $1.00 to $40.00 per ton. The rate at which major source allowable-based annual emission fees are assessed would also increase by $1.00 to $29.50 per ton.
The Division is also including in their proposal a higher fee targeted at certain electric generating units (EGUs). As in TVA primarily, if not exclusively. Specifically, the EGUs subject to this higher fee would be any steam electric generating unit or stationary combustion turbine that is constructed for the purpose of supplying more than one-third of its potential electric output capacity and more than 35 MW net-electrical output to any utility power distribution system for sale. Major source actual-based emissions fees for these sources will be $56 per ton and allowable-based emission fees will be $45.50 per ton. The proposed amendment contains a more detailed description of the EGU sources that would be required to pay these fees.
Finally, the proposed rule amendments would remove the requirement for annual consideration of rate changes, and provides that the new proposed fees rates would remain in effect until the effective date of any a rule amendment changing the fees.
Written comments on the amendments will be accepted if received by 4:30 p.m. on December 10, 2012.
TDEC’s Division of Solid Waste Management has proposed amendments to regulations that would clarify how the Division interprets and implements the requirements of the state law known as the Jackson Law. Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-211-701 et seq.
The Jackson Law came into existence in 1989, following frequent backlash from local communities against the siting of new landfills. The backlash was typical of the “not in my back yard” or NIMBY movement. In response to this, Senator Jackson sponsored a bill to establish a process that would give local governments an option to try to stop new landfills from being developed in their communities.
In follow up to our previous post on the availability of the Draft 303(d) list, we have created a comparison of the draft document to the previous 2010 303(d) list. This comparison document highlights all of the changes that are being proposed by the Division and will hopefully assist you in your review of the proposed draft document.
Additionally, the Division has recently issued a Public Notice soliciting data from the public to be used in the development of the 2014 303(d) list of impaired waters and the 2014 305(b) report. The Division would like to have all available data submitted by August 24, 2012.
The Division of Water Pollution Control has announced the availability of the Draft 2012 303(d) list of impaired Tennessee waters. The 303(d) list identifies segments of streams and lakes that currently fail to meet designated water quality standards, or are expected to do so within the next two years. Both the 2012 Draft 303(d) list and the previous 2010 303(d) list are available on the Division’s web site.
Stream segments listed on the 303(d) list are considered threatened or impaired by pollution and become a priority for the Division’s water quality improvement efforts, including more stringent enforcement of existing permit limits and additional or more stringent limits in new and renewed permits. Continue Reading
Rumors have been confirmed that the state is exploring the possibility of moving the entire Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) from its current quarters at the historic L&C Tower to the state-owned Tennessee Tower. While no final decision has been made, it appears that if the logistics can be worked out, TDEC may move once its lease of the L&C Tower expires.
TDEC sources indicate that this potential move is part of the Governor Haslam’s effort to reduce or eliminate leased space for agency offices instead of using state-owned space.
It is expected to be several months before the move can be implemented.
Commissioner of the Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) Robert Martineau released an announcement Tuesday, July 10, 2012, naming Patrick Flood as the new Director of the Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste Management, and Lisa Hughey as the Division’s Deputy Director of Field Office Operations.
Pat Flood is a professional engineer that has been with the design engineering firm AECOM, and was managing its Oak Ridge office. Lisa Hughey has been a division manager for Olin Chlor-Alkali with responsibility for environmental oversight of ten manufacturing plants in North America.
Flood will assume the Director’s position on August 13, and Hughey will start August 1.
TDEC is instituting a pilot program for municipalities to assume primary responsibility for the general permitting of construction stormwater runoff within their jurisdictions. Municipalities regulated by TDEC as Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) have the option to become Qualified Local Programs (QLP). All general construction stormwater permitting in a QLP would be handled by the municipality.
Currently, developers and/or contractors performing construction work in a municipality that is a QLP often have to obtain a general construction stormwater permit from TDEC and a separate permit or approval from the municipality. This frequently results in submitting the same information to, and receiving comments from, both TDEC and the municipality. The proposed QLP program is intended to eliminate this duplication of the effort between state and local government and to streamline the application requirements for developers and/or contractors. Continue Reading
In 2008, EPA established a new national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) standard. This was an 8-hour standard of 0.075 ppm. States were required to recommend a designation of areas that did not meet this standard. TDEC recommended that only the portion of Blount County within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park be designated as Nonattainment, and the rest of the state be designated as Attainment. As a fall-back alternative, TDEC recommended that Knox County and two adjacent partial counties (the northern portion of Blount County and a small portion of Anderson County) also be designated as nonattainment. TDEC acknowledged nonattainment measurements for Blount County at high elevations within the GSMNP, and argued that they were predominantly influenced by long range transport. Continue Reading