August 2019

EPA to Verify Environmental Indicator Determinations Nationwide

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the U.S. EPA (EPA) has determined that EPA regions should be reminded that the status of RCRA Corrective Action Environmental Indicator (EI) determinations on EPA public-facing websites is accurate and up to date. The reminder stems from a recently completed audit of EPA’s communication of human health risks posed by sites in the EPA Office of Land and Emergency Management programs. The OIG discovered that EPA’s Cleanups in My Community public website was not depicting the most up-to-date EI information for a Region 5 RCRA Corrective Action site in Indiana. EPA guidance requires that prior EI determinations remain in effect only as long as they remain true and must be changed when the regulatory authority becomes aware of contrary information. As a result of the OIG audit, EPA regions soon will be verifying that the status of human health and groundwater EIs (some of which are 20 plus years old) are accurate and up to date. Factors such as the vapor intrusion pathway, trichloroethene toxicity, and emerging contaminants such as per- and polyfluoroalkyls (PFAS) will undoubtedly result in changes to some EI determinations.

The Dry Cleaner Dilemma, Part 2 – The Phase II ESA

In the previous instalment of the Dry Cleaner Dilemma, we reviewed the potential short comings that could surface associated with the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) of a former dry-cleaning operation. In this instalment, we will examine potential problems associated with the typical Phase II ESA. The typical approach to Phase II ESAs is to install a handful of soil borings, collect a soil sample or two from each boring, and potentially a grab sample of groundwater. The results can be revealing; however, they produce little information concerning the primary exposure pathway at former dry cleaner properties, which is through vapor intrusion (VI). So how should we approach these sites?  

Updated CERCLA Common Elements Guidance Released

On July 29, 2019 US EPA (EPA) released important guidance on the “common elements” that a prospective property owner or operator must establish to achieve and maintain statutory landowner liability protections for bona fide prospective purchasers, contiguous property owners, and innocent landowners. The Guidance is provided in the form of memo from Susan Parker Bodine titled Enforcement Discretion Guidance Regarding Statutory Criteria for Those Who May Qualify as CERCLA Bona Fide Prospective Purchasers, Contiguous Property Owners, or Innocent Landowners (“Common Elements”). The July 29, 2019 guidance supersedes EPA’s March 2003 “Interim Guidance Regarding Criteria Landowners Must Meet in Order to Qualify for Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser, Contiguous Property Owner, or Innocent Landowner Limitations on CERCLA Liability (‘Common Elements’)”

EPA Sets FY 2020-2023 National Compliance Initiatives

Every few years, US EPA (EPA) sets national initiatives to focus enforcement and compliance resources and expertise on what the current administration feels are the most serious environmental issues or priorities facing the country. EPA recently announced its National Compliance Initiates for fiscal year (FY) 2020-2023. Consistent with the administration’s focus on compliance over enforcement, the (FY) 2020-2023 initiatives appear less ambitious than in past years. 

Ohio EPA Releases Draft Explosive Gas Monitoring Rule

On July 25th, the Division of Materials and Waste Management of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) announced changes to the explosive gas rule for municipal solid waste landfills. The rule, 3745-27-12 of the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC), first enacted in 1988, sets out the requirements for monitoring explosive gas migration at solid waste landfills. An interested party fact sheet describes the changes to the rule. The draft rule is available here.

The rule applies to any licensed municipal solid waste landfill facility that accepted waste on or after June 1, 1994; closed solid waste landfills that ceased waste acceptance between July 1, 1970 and May 31, 1988 that has received notification from Ohio EPA that the rule applies because of site-specific conditions; and closed solid waste landfills that ceased solid waste acceptance after May 31, 1988 that has an occupied structure within a thousand feet of the horizontal limits of waste placement. The rule also applies to solid waste landfills that are required by an order from the Director, the approved board of health, the environmental review appeals commission, or court order that requires a new or revised explosive gas monitoring plan.

Because the rule has been substantially revised, the old rule will be rescinded and will be replaced by the new rule. The Ohio EPA is seeking comments from stakeholders, consultants, and environmental organizations who may be affected by the changes. On July 30, 2019, the Ohio EPA extended the comment period to September 26, 2019.

When this rule becomes effective, all landfills that fall under this rule must submit a new or revised explosive gas monitoring plan that complies with this rule to the Ohio EPA no later than 270 days after the effective date of the revised rule. This includes facilities with currently approved explosive gas monitoring plans.

Comments may be submitted by email to or by mail to: Michelle Mountjoy – Rules Coordinator, Ohio EPA Division of Materials and Waste Management, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, OH 43216-1049

Cox-Colvin & Associates, Inc.

Project Spotlight

Coming Soon in the September Newsletter

  • EPA Issues Policy to Enhance Partnerships with States
  • PFAS Update
  • Strategies for Keeping your Data and Documents Alive
  • Groundwater Sustainability

Upcoming Events

Cox-Colvin & Associates, Inc. personnel are actively involved in the technical and regulatory aspects of the environmental field as it evolves. Cox-Colvin will be participating as presenters, sponsors, or exhibitors at the following environmental conferences in the coming months.

September 9-11, 2019: AARST International Radon Symposium and Trade Show in Denver, Colorado

September 18-20, 2019, 16:55: Craig A. Cox, CPG will be presenting The Importance of Sanitary Sewers as the Expected Preferential Pathway in Vapor Intrusion Evaluations. Also, stop by our booth and see Craig Cox and Laurie Chilcote at the RemTech Europe Conference in Ferrara, Italy.