Rick Shoyer of Advanced GeoServices attended the PFAS Policy Symposium on September 27, 2019 in Washington, DC and he had the opportunity to hear USEPA Administrator Mr. Andrew Wheeler and other distinguished guests discuss the current PFAS regulatory policies and the 30 PFAS bills currently under consideration in Congress.Read More
On August 23, 2019 New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law an act to update and strengthen the Site Remediation Reform Act (SRRA). The new changes provide additional guidance for the Act that has been in existence since 2009 and that takes effect immediately. Highlights of the Act include:
Oversight – LSRPs must oversee all remediation aspects of the site
IECs – responsible parties could potentially have to include vapor intrusion
Reporting - the reporting obligation could now be construed to extend to unoccupied structures. If an LSRP is contracted to work on a specific portion of the site that has a discharge, they must disclose that information to the NJDEP and may be applied to unoccupied structures.
Funding - a surety bond is an approved remediation funding source
Hardship – Responsible parties can apply for financial hardship if they can prove that their financial obligations will be adversely detrimental to them. Responsible parties can negotiate an Administrative Consent Order to lessen their financial obligations.
Outreach - Municipalities and county or local health agencies must be notified in writing prior to starting a remedial investigation. The NJDEP reserves the right to require public outreach to occur biennially and can include either written notice/fact sheet and/or a sign posted at the site.
For more information or if you need assistance navigating these complex changes, contact:
PFAS Action Team;
PFAS Pilot Study;
Land Recycling Program Regulatory Package
Staff Sampling Training
Drinking Water Sampling Plan
EPA PFAS Action Plan
Sources, Impacts, & Water Supplier Needs
Redevelopment of the Willow Grove Site
The Pennsylvania PFAS Action Team was created in September 2018 by Governor Wolf to address PFAS issues within the Commonwealth. The Action Team is led by the secretaries of Environmental Protection, Health, Military and Veteran Affairs, Community and Economic Development, Agriculture, and the State Fire Commissioner.
Steve Kirschner leads the Montrose Emerging Contaminants Team, which is comprised of professionals that address PFAS issues impacting sampling, remediation, brownfields, water treatment, stormwater, air, laboratory instrumentation, chemistry, toxicology, industrial, water supplier, and municipal issues. Montrose is able to combine our expertise from various experts nationwide to help our clients address their PFAS issues. To learn more about the PA PFAS Action Team meeting or to discuss, contact:
New Operational Tasks as part of the Underground Storage Tank (UST) regulations published by USEPA are effective as of October 13, 2018. Many states have adopted the 10/13/2018 effective date. Pennsylvania published their new UST regulations on December 22, 2018 and changes will be effective by December 22, 2019. The regulations require owners and operators to perform a monthly walkthrough inspection of spill prevention equipment (tank fill spill bucket, fill pipe and fill cap) and have an annual test of electronic and mechanical release detection equipment. All containment sumps must be visibly inspected and the “hand held release detection equipment” (tank gauging stick) must be inspected annually.
Specific UST components (spill prevention equipment, overfill devices, and containment sumps used for interstitial monitoring) must now be tested every three years. The initial testing must be performed by the next required Facility Operational Inspection (FOI) deadline within the period December 21, 2019 and December 21, 2021. Each location’s next FOI deadline is noted on the tank registration.
The tank fill spill bucket and containment sump testing must be performed by a PADEP-certified individual and the test is generally a hydrotest, using water. If the tank fill spill bucket fails testing, no additional deliveries to the UST are permitted until a repair or replacement occurs. The testing water becomes a regulated waste, and may be a hazardous waste. There can be several strategies to minimize the waste and not create a hazardous waste. Many testing companies are drumming the test water for the owner or operator to manage.
USTs as part of an emergency power generator system were previously deferred from enforcement for release detection, but the revised regulations require these systems to have tank and piping release detection equipment. The revised regulations are problematic for these UST systems since there is generally both a suction and pressurized product line from the generator. For many locations, the piping leak detection may require a new installation of double wall piping. This would require an environmental assessment when the existing piping is removed. Many of the emergency power generator UST systems also have a fuel polishing unit, with piping that extracts and returns the fuel from the UST on a scheduled timeframe and duration. The fuel polishing piping would also require leak detection.
States with an approved UST program were required to update their own regulations by October 13, 2021 but many have adopted the 10/13/2018 effective date. States that do not have state program approval (i.e. New York) had the regulations effective 10/13/2018 only under federal enforcement.
UST owners and operators should consult with an environmental engineering consulting firm to devise a pathway to compliance. Advanced GeoServices Corp, a Montrose Environmental Group company, can assist with compliance issues and can provide guidance on implementing the required testing and inspections. We are currently scheduling site reviews and providing insight on waste minimization. To book your consultation and/or schedule a visit, contact our expert:
Bob May, PE, CHMM
Senior Project Professional
Professional Engineer: DE, NJ, NY, PA, VA, and WV
Professional Geologist and Hydrogeologist, Washington #2075
Certified Hazardous Material Manager (CHMM) – Master Level #3872
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection – Subsurface Investigator and UST Installer, Closure and Tank Testing #22646
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection N2 Industrial Wastewater Operator #599516
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection S2 Industrial Wastewater Operator #748191
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Water System Operator #W12660
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Wastewater System Operator #S12382
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection UST Inspector #1389
OSHA 30-hour A Guide to Voluntary Compliance – General Industry
OSHA 40-hour HAZWOPR Standard Hazardous Waste Operations Emergency Response (29CFR1910.120)
Delaware has revised the sediment and stormwater regulations from the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC). These changes went into effect on Feb. 11, 2019.
The revised sediment and stormwater regulations will address runoff from the most frequent rainfall event; stormwater volume control; stormwater management for redevelopment; and plan approvals for construction of residential, utility and poultry house projects.
In addition to addressing legislative actions, the revised regulations include simplified criteria for the approval of smaller, less impactful projects. The revised regulations include standards and specifications for each of 17 post-construction stormwater management best management practices (BMPs), and expand the section in the regulations on stormwater offsets to include details regarding fees-in-lieu, banking and stormwater management offset districts.
The revised stormwater and sediment regulations can be found at: http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/swc/Pages/SedimentStormwater.aspx
If you have questions about stormwater and sediment issues in Delaware, please contact:
The Subcommittee on Energy has introduced the PFAS Federal Facility Accountability Act of 2018. This bipartisan legislation requires federal agencies to cooperate with states as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination is detected in communities near federal facilities, such as active military installations, former military installations, or National Guard facilities. For affected states, the individual State Agreements must be executed within 1 year of the Bill enactment. If passed into law, this bill will help speed up coordinating the response between state and federal agencies in handling these contaminants.
PFAS comprises a group of chemicals used in firefighting, manufacturing, and common household and consumer products and are deemed a threat to human health and the environment. These chemicals can be found in water, soil, air, and wastewater and were frequently used in firefighting foam commonly used at federal facilities.
Advanced GeoServices and its sister companies have been actively working on PFAS projects and other emerging contaminants and can assist you with your PFAS issues.
For more information on this legislation and PFAS, contact:
Rick Shoyer, LSRP
Senior Project Consultant
Advanced GeoServices, a Montrose Environmental company, attended USEPA's (EPA) Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Community Engagement event in Horsham, PA on July 25th. The all-day event featured panels consisting of Federal, State, local government, community and then a listening session from the public. Common themes from the communities were that PFAS standards are greatly needed and without enforceable standards:
- The public cannot be protected, and
- The regulatory communities cannot mandate cleanups.
The communities with impacted water supplies from the military bases were unanimous in that the Federal Government who contaminated the water supplies should pay for the remediation and any required water treatment, not the residences.
It was apparent from the event, and Advanced GeoServices’ own experience, that there are major differences in the assistance the public and municipalities were receiving from State and Federal agencies - depending upon what State and EPA Region you were located. States, such as PA, have taken a low profile in developing PFAS standards and seem to have gotten fewer assistance with medical monitoring, remediation costs and other environmental studies than other states and regions.
EPA stated there will be a push to have PFAS listed as a hazardous substance under CERCLA. This will then provide the enforcement teeth for Superfund to require investigations and cleanups and go after reimbursement from the polluters. EPA also stated they believe air emissions are a major migration pathway of PFAS and they are working on procedures for air sampling and analytical standards.
The major water providers, like Aqua PA, are using EPA's Health Advisory Level (HLA) of 70 ppt for PFOA/PFOS. Tainted water supplies below these limits are not being treated, even though recent toxicological data for PFOA and PFOS suggest these limits (maybe 7 to 10 times higher than they should be) to be considered safe for human consumption. There are between 2,500 to 3.500 individual PFAS, and only a handful have been studied for toxicological affects. The ones that have (e.g., PFNA, PFHxS, PFBS, and GenX) all suggest that standards should be closer to 10 ppt. Probably the most alarming news was how much PFAS contamination is continuing to be discharged through stormwater runoff from these federal military bases and airports into the waterways because of lack of enforceable standards and regulations.
The science and engineering for understanding and addressing PFAS contamination is still evolving. Advanced GeoServices and it's sister Montrose companies are actively working on multiple PFAS-related projects. Montrose senior technical personnel will be attending the next USEPA sessions in Colorado and the following session in North Carolina to stay abreast of this national issue.
If you have any questions regarding the Horsham event or other #PFAS questions, please contact:
Senior Project Consultant
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP), Southeast District provided a regulatory update on a variety of topics on June 18, 2018:
- The District is still trying to fill several Section Chief positions and is hopeful they will be filled in the near future.
- The Land Recycling Program Technical Guidance Manual (TGM) is currently being updated with a goal of it being finalized later this year. Several plan changes include:
- Combining the vapor intrusion guidance into the TGM, and
- Separating the toxicological tables out of the TGM, which will allow the PADEP to more readily make changes in the future.
- The Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) investigations of the Department of Defense (DoD) bases in Warminster and Horsham, as well as, the Easton Road PFC and Ridge Run PFC HSCA sites. To date, the sources of the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act (HSCA) sites have not been identified. The District has reported that the PADEP is requiring some industrial National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit renewal applicants to provide data on PFAS; however, the PADEP does not have any current plans to follow in the footsteps of New York State or New Jersey and develop state Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCL’s) or initiate/mandate PFAS investigations at potential source sites.
Thanks to the Society of Women Environmental Professionals, Philadelphia Chapter for arranging the PADEP update.
For more information on this topic, contact:
Steve Kirschner, P.E.
Senior Project Professional
The contamination of the Flint, Michigan, drinking water system has increased awareness of the issues associated with childhood exposure to lead which can suppress growth, decrease IQ scores, and lead to convulsions, coma, and death. The Flint water crisis triggered a nationwide call for water testing – for lead – a substance many thought had been managed with the phasing out of leaded gas and paints.
On February 15, 2018, USEPA Administrator Scott Pruitt convened a meeting of fellow cabinet members and their departments to develop a national strategy to protect children from lead exposure and declared a “War on Lead”.
Some states are already addressing the issue. In particular, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) is tackling lead contamination by requiring all drinking water system owners (whether public or private) to enhance testing for lead. To support system owners and to maintain consistency across the state, NJDEP developed a template for a Lead and Copper Sampling Plan that all drinking water systems were required to fill-in and submit to NJDEP for approval before launching the new sampling protocols in 2018. These templates required system-specific information like water source, water treatment, bulk purchasers, licensed operator(s), standard and alternate sampling sites, sampling method, sampling frequency, testing methods, reporting, public education, and required notices in the event of detected lead levels exceeding drinking water standards.
One requirement is a system-wide map showing water distribution systems and sampling locations to demonstrate how the entire system is represented by the selected sampling locations. In NJ, these Lead and Copper Sampling Plans work hand-in-hand with Water Quality Parameter Sampling Plans, which address other potential contaminants based on source-specific constituents and/or site-specific treatment processes.
GPM Associates, an Advanced GeoServices company, has worked with clients, including town-based public water utilities, private water systems supporting mobile home parks, and schools, to develop Lead and Copper Sampling Plans. Part of the NJDEP process has included correcting NJDEP records regarding actual water treatment and which water sources are associated with each treatment facility.
As with any program which increases the number of samples and sampling frequency, the new sampling protocols have resulted in increased costs for clients to meet the new NJDEP requirements. GPM Associates, an Advanced GeoServices company, supports clients in exploring where testing can be performed in-house using USEPA-certified equipment, including training clients in the use of the equipment. In some instances, less than $1,000 in sampling equipment can help clients realize cost-savings in excess of $15,000.
Our experience in NJ can be leveraged in other jurisdictions to assist clients in developing the needed data to demonstrate compliance with Safe Drinking Water Standards relative to Lead, and other possible constituents of concern.
If you would like to learn more about lead sampling plans and protocols, please contact:
The Trump administration compiled a list of about 50 infrastructure investment priorities nationwide, with a focus on shovel ready projects that promote public safety, national security and economic development, according to McClatchy’s Kansas City Star. Improved infrastructure could mean safer, more efficient and more economical travel and transport in the Greater Philadelphia region.
The proposed projects, selected from a larger list developed by the National Governor’s Association (NGA), represent an investment of $137.5 billion and are estimated to create 193,350 direct jobs. These are full time equivalent, year long positions related to on-site labor and professional services for the design and construction of these projects.
Philadelphia stands to gain, with a proposal to repair or replace 15 bridges on I-95. This is estimated to be an $8 billion investment that will generate 15,800 direct jobs during the construction phase.
The NextGen Air Traffic Control System, a priority of Pennsylvania Congressman and House Transportation Chair Bill Shuster, would upgrade the nation’s air traffic control system to a satellite-based system. The benefits? Shorter flight times, fuels savings, increased safety, and the ability to increase air traffic capacity by 50%. Implementing this system would generate 2,300 direct jobs.
Beyond public safety - and the immediate jobs for civil engineers, structural engineers, road builders, geotechnical experts, stormwater experts, construction workers, concrete suppliers, and steel workers – these infrastructure investments buttress existing economic growth that relies on strong infrastructure.
As Craig Ey highlighted in his recent report in the Philadelphia Business Journal, “Greater Philadelphia is on a roll.” The city and surrounding burbs are alive with new projects from new manufacturing (Proconex) and innovation hubs (Wexford and Schuylkill Yards). But, as Ey notes, “infrastructure remains a concern, as bridges and highways continue to age” and our rail system struggles with structural and operational challenges. No one sets their watch by SEPTA.
The Brookings Institute’s analysis of thriving metropolitan areas, considers infrastructure connectivity to be a key competiveness factor.
Consider, for example, the area’s warehousing/industrial big box and logistics sectors. “The Eastern Pennsylvania Big-Box/Logistics market’s 5.5% year-to-date growth ranks the region as one of the most rapidly expanding in the U.S., confirming its first tier status among national industrial markets.” (Colliers, Research Report Q3 2016). Eastern Pennsylvania, the Lehigh Valley, and New Jersey have emerged as one of the most robust regions for big box development, like the fulfillment center Advanced GeoServices helped Urban Outfitters develop, due to proximity to customers, strong transportation infrastructure, and available workforce. The growth in internet ordering, especially for food and beverage, drives the need for strategically located and effectively designed warehouse facilities. Eastern Pennsylvania offers one-day truck driving access to four metropolitan statistical areas. 46 million people, with a combined income of $1.46 trillion, live within a 200-mile radius. Safe, right sized highway and transport infrastructure are fundamental to this sector.
Improving I-95 must, of course, be a part of a much more comprehensive approach to strengthening the region’s infrastructure.
Trump’s administration plans to rely on public-private partnerships and tax credits to finance. Project criteria are public safety or national security emergencies; 30% design and engineering work complete (“shovel ready”); direct job creation; and the potential to increase U.S. manufacturing.
Senior Senate Democrats unveiled a $1 trillion infrastructure plan. One big difference – that plan relies on direct federal spending.
Tomorrow, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure will hold a hearing on “Building a 21st Century Infrastructure for America”. Expert testimony will come from BMW, FedEx, the AFL-CIO, and others.
For more information, contact:
Senior Project Consultant
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) recently changed its classification of Trichloroethylene (TCE) from "possible human carcinogen" to human carcinogen in its recently released Toxicological Review of Trichloroethylene (EPA/635/R-09/011F, September 28, 2011).
The Toxicological Review is provides specific details and rationale for USEPA's Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) pertaining to TCE. TCE is a chemical widely used by industry and is often found at contaminated sites, including hundreds of Superfund facilities across the country.
Trichloroethylene is a colorless, volatile organic compound. It is nonflammable and has a sweet odor. TCE is often used as a solvent to clean metal parts or used to create other chemicals. At one time it was used as a surgical anesthetic.
Trichloroethylene can be released to air, water, and soil. TCE is a problematic compound in soil and water since it breaks down very slowly and is removed mostly through evaporation to air. However, TCE does breaks down quickly in air, making it very likely that it will be included as a contaminant of concern in future vapor intrusion standards.
According to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR), "Exposure to moderate amounts of trichloroethylene may cause headaches, dizziness, and sleepiness; large amounts may cause coma and even death. Eating or breathing high levels of trichloroethylene may damage some of the nerves in the face. Exposure to high levels can also result in changes in the rhythm of the heartbeat, liver damage, and evidence of kidney damage. Skin contact with concentrated solutions of trichloroethylene can cause skin rashes. There is some evidence exposure to trichloroethylene in the work place may cause scleroderma (a systemic autoimmune disease) in some people. Some men occupationally-exposed to trichloroethylene and other chemicals showed decreases in sex drive, sperm quality, and reproductive hormone levels. There is strong evidence that trichloroethylene can cause kidney cancer in people and some evidence for trichloroethylene-induced liver cancer and malignant lymphoma. Lifetime exposure to trichloroethylene resulted in increased liver cancer in mice and increased kidney cancer and testicular cancer in rats. It is not known whether children are more susceptible than adults to the effects of trichloroethylene. Some human studies indicate that trichloroethylene may cause developmental effects such as spontaneous abortion, congenital heart defects, central nervous system defects, and small birth weight. However, these people were exposed to other chemicals as well."
Advanced GeoServices has spent decades working on sites contaminated with TCE. We have designed many solutions for this complex compound and can help you find a solution for your site. For more information about trichloroethylene, contact:
Steve Kirchner, P.E.
Senior Project Consultant
Pennsylvania recently updated its requirements for the General Permit for Discharges of Stormwater Associated with Industrial Activity, which include:
- New sector-specific requirements;
- Stormwater pollutants benchmarking;
- Semi-annual outfalls inspections and sampling;
- eDMR system reporting;
- Annual renewal; and
- Annual renewal, including reports and $500 payment.
If you have a General Industrial Stormwater Permit, these new regulations will affect you. Contact us so we can help you understand how these new requirements will affect you:
Steve Kirschner, P.E.
Senior Project Consultant
On August 27, 2016, the PA Bulletin published an amendment to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's (PADEP) Land Recycling Program (25 Pa. Code, Chapter 250), changing the administration of the Program. Chapter 25 of the Pa. Code (The Land Recycling Program) was created to implement standards to clean up soil and/or groundwater contamination from releases of various toxic chemicals.
The new amendments update the Medium-Specific Concentrations (MSCs) that are a part of the State-Wide Health Standards. These updates provide clear information on the acceptable level of contamination at a site based on the intended use of the property, and provide a uniform endpoint to the remediation process. Each site will have specific MSCs for each contaminated substance based on toxicological health risk:
1) specific constituents in groundwater at points of compliance,
2) specific constituents in soil, where there may be direct contact through ingestion or inhalation, and
3) specific constituents in soil that may leach into groundwater.
These amendments will help further promote the remediation and redevelopment of brownfield sites and bring these sites back to productive use for their communities.
To learn more about these regulations or to discuss your brownfield site, contact:
Chris Valligny, LSRP
Bernie Beegle, PG, CPG
Senior Project Professional
Man-made chemicals Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA, also known as C8) and Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) were commonly used in the manufacturing process years ago, but have been phased out due to potential health risks. PFOA has been linked to many diseases, including thyroid disease, high cholesterol, and some cancers. However, these compounds still persist in many drinking water supplies because of the strong carbon-fluorine bond.
In response to these chemicals being identified in many regional water supplies, USEPA has issued a new health advisory to address these potentially harmful chemicals . The agency “issued a lifetime drinking water health advisory of 70 parts per trillion for human exposure to the manmade chemical,” per Albany’s Times Union.
To read more about contamination guidelines visit Water Online’s Drinking Water Contaminant Removal Solutions Center.
If you would like to discuss this issue, please contact:
On October 7, 2015 the Delaware Superior Court ruled that the 2014 Sediment & Stormwater Regulations were invalid. Why? The very definition of "regulation" came to light. The Technical Document issued by DNREC to provide guidance for following the new regulations was being enforced by DNREC as if it were law. If it was intended to be enforced in this way, the Technical Document should have followed Delaware’s Administrative Procedures Act (APA) procedures for adoption as the regulations had.
DNREC has appealed the Court's decision. In the interim, DNREC has adopted emergency sediment and stormwater regulations, reinstating the 2014 regulations invalidated by the Court and is adopting the Technical Document as part of the regulations. The interim regulations were adopted under the state's APA and will be in effect for 120 days and may be extended for an additional 60 days while the regulations and Technical Document go through the formal adoption process as required by state law.
More information on this decision:
- Court Decision
- DNREC adopts interim emergency sediment and stormwater regulations as appeal is filed with state Supreme Court
If you would like to discuss this issue in depth or would like to discuss your site issues, please contact:
Barry G. Stingel, RLA, ASLA
Senior Landscape Architect & Land Planner
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 2 Brownfields team is holding Brownfields Grant Writing Workshops: Helping Applicants Understand Grant Requirements. The workshops will help local governments and nonprofit organizations better understand proposal criteria and selection process for EPA's brownfields assessment, revolving loan fund and cleanup grants. The following topics will be addressed during the workshops:
- EPA brownfields grant types and eligibility requirements
- The grant application process, including threshold and ranking criteria
- Proposal tips and strategies
- Q&A Session
PowerPoints will be available prior to the events. Please review the PowerPoint presentations prior to attending the event and have questions ready.
Participants will also be notified of several free webinars being scheduled, one of which will be hosted by EPA National Brownfields office in HQ.
FY2016 grant competition guidelines and resources to assist in developing your proposal:
Proposals due date is December 18, 2015!
Who Should Participate?
Local, county, and regional governments and nonprofit organizations (who are currently considering to apply for an EPA Brownfields assessment, revolving loan fund and/or cleanup grant for FY16) are strongly urged to participate.
How to Register
Registration is free; email email Dejesus.email@example.com and indicate which workshop you wish to attend. We encourage you to register early, as seats are limited.
Yocasta De Jesus
Project Manager, Brownfields Section
U.S Environmental Protection Agency
290 Broadway, 18Fl
New York, NY 10007
Phone: 212 637-4340
Fax: 212 637-3256
November 4, 2015 (Wednesday)
EPA – Edison facility
9:00am – 1:00pm
November 5, 2015 (Thursday)
Niagara County, NY
Vantage Center Suite One
10:00am – 1:00pm
November 5, 2015 (Thursday)
Montclair State University
9:00am – 1:00pm
November 12, 2015 (Thursday)
EPA Regional Office
9:00am – 1:00pm
November 12, 2015 (Thursday)
Waterfront Technology Center at Camden
9:00am – 1:00pm
OSHA’s Hazard Communication (Hazcom) standard has been Globally Harmonized!
Employers have until June 1, 2016 to meet the final compliance dates for updating employee training and company Hazcom GHS programs. Several deadlines have arrived and passed, including:
- December 2013 - Employer’s initial requirement to train employees on the new hazard classification and labeling system
- June 1, 2015 - Chemical manufacturer requirements to update labels and Safety Data Sheets to meet the new required formats
As a result of the re-evaluation of chemical hazards in order to properly identify and categorize the hazards, employers must provide additional training and make any final changes to their Hazcom/GHS programs by June 16, 2016.
For assistance with OSHA compliance issues, contact:
Twenty years later, OSHA finalizes rules for confined space entry in the construction industry. The new rules follow much of the same requirements as in the general industry rule. Read more below in a great article from Doug Day in Municipal Sewer & Water magazine. Advanced GeoServices’ Certified Industrial Hygienist/Certified Safety Professional has been providing confined space entry training for years and can help your business comply with these new regulations.
OSHA Confined Space Rule for Construction Begins in August
By Doug Day
May 21, 2015
Since 1994, OSHA has been working on a confined space entry rule for the construction industry. See what will change on Aug. 4 as the rule goes into effect.
Workers in the construction industry now have the same confined space protections that those in manufacturing and general industry have had for more than 20 years. The new rule, published May 4 and effective Aug. 3, incorporates most of the general industry rule and includes several provisions specific to construction hazards.
OSHA regulations for the construction industry used to have just a training requirement — employees working in confined spaces had to be instructed about the hazards, necessary precautions and the use of protective emergency equipment. The new rule has five key new requirements according to information published by OSHA:
- Detailed provisions on coordinating activities when there are multiple employers at the work site to ensure hazards are not introduced into a confined space by workers performing tasks outside the space (e.g., a generator running near the entrance of a confined space causing a buildup of carbon monoxide).
- A competent person must evaluate the work site and identify confined spaces, including permit spaces (those that may have a hazardous atmosphere, engulfment hazard or other serious hazard that can interfere with a worker’s ability to leave the space without assistance).
- Continuous atmospheric monitoring whenever possible.
- Continuous monitoring of engulfment hazards. For example, when workers are performing work in a storm sewer, a storm upstream could cause flash flooding. An electronic sensor or observer posted upstream could alert workers at the first sign of the hazard.
- Allowance for the suspension of a permit, instead of cancellation, in the event of changes from the entry conditions list on the permit or an unexpected event requiring evacuation of the space. The space must be returned to the entry conditions listed on the permit before re-entry.
Three other provisions of the new construction rule clarify requirements that already exist in the general industry standard:
- Employers who direct workers to enter a space without using a complete permit system must prevent workers’ exposure to physical hazards through elimination of the hazard or isolation methods such as lockout/tagout.
- Employers relying on the aid of local emergency services must arrange for responders to give the employer advance notice if they will be unable to respond for a period of time.
- Employers must provide training in a language and vocabulary the worker understands.
OSHA’s online FAQ says companies that work in both construction and general industry will meet OSHA’s requirements by following the new construction rule (Subpart AA of 29 CFR 1926). Employers should review the agency’s website for more specific information on how the rule might affect them.
“This rule will save lives of construction workers,” says Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels when announcing the new 621-page construction industry regulation. “Unlike most general industry work sites, construction sites are continually evolving, with the number and characteristics of confined spaces changing as work progresses. This rule emphasizes training, continuous work site evaluation and communication requirements to further protect workers’ safety and health.”
Work on the new rule began in 1994 when OSHA agreed to establish regulations specific to the construction industry when it settled a lawsuit concerning the general industry rule. Michaels says the rule will prevent an estimated 780 serious injuries and save the lives of five construction workers annually.
If you have questions about this Rule, please contact:
The USEPA has issued its long awaited new rules under the Clean Water Act. An extension public comment period preceded these new rules that look to further protect the quality of the nation’s waters. As with most federal regulations, various parties differ on the appropriateness of the new rules. Some calling it a shameful power grab by the federal government while others hailing it as much needed regulations to protect an invaluable national resource. These rules will have significant impacts on future land development. Click here for more information.
If you have questions about this rule or would like to discuss how this may affect your project(s), please contact:
Chris Reitman, P.E.
Senior Environmental Engineer
Dan Wright, P.E.
Senior Civil Engineer
As of January 1st 2015 OSHA has changed requirements for reporting work related fatalities or severe injuries. In the past, employers were required to report all fatalities and or when three or more workers were hospitalized during the same incident. The new law requires:
- Employers are required to report all work related fatalities within 8 hours, and
- Employers are required to report all inpatient hospitalization, amputations and loss of an eye within 24 hours of finding out about the incident.
The new reporting requirements are intended to help prevent further severe injuries and fatalities by identifying the problem and taking preventative measures.
3 Ways for Reporting an Incident:
• Call 1-800-321-6742 (24 hour hotline);
• Call the closest OSHA Area Office; and
• Report online using http://www.osha.gov/report_online (coming soon).
For more information visit the OSHA website or contact: