Is This A Hazardous Waste?

hazardous wasteWhat seems like a pretty easy question to answer can end up being quite convoluted to get the final answer. If you have ever been fortunate enough to be through an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) inspection for your hazardous waste management, one of many items they will request are profiles for all or select waste streams. The responsibility to properly identify each waste stream as hazardous or non-hazardous falls on the generator.

There are several steps in the profiling process which begins with determining whether the waste is a solid waste. A solid waste is no longer usable in its current state without any type of reclamation or specifically excluded from the solid waste definition. If it is a solid waste, the next step would be to determine if it possesses hazardous waste characteristics, including ignitability, corrossivity, reactivity and/or toxicity. Laboratory testing may need to be performed on the waste stream to determine whether it possess one or more of these characteristics. If the waste stream has significant variability, testing should be done more frequently to account for varying composition.

Even if the waste does not exhibit the stated characteristics above, it still may be a listed hazardous waste. The generator will need to review the non-specific source (40 CFR 261.31) and source specific (40 CFR 261.32) waste lists. For discarded chemicals, the generator will need to review the listed wastes in 40 CFR 261.33.

Generator knowledge will be essential in identifying all products and chemicals that enter into or are in contact with the waste stream. A Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for the virgin product(s) will be helpful in identifying the characteristics which may still be present in the waste stream. The generator must understand the limitations of relying solely on the SDS for several reasons, including the RCRA toxicity thresholds are many times lower than what is required to be listed on the SDS and that other products used in the process generating the waste may change the characteristics.

All documentation used for making this waste determination must be kept in your environmental files for each waste stream, both hazardous and nonhazardous. So next time the EPA or your State regulatory agency asks for waste profiles you will be able to answer without doubt whether or not the waste stream is a hazardous waste.  If you have any question please feel free to talk with one of Bay Environmental Strategies, Inc., experienced professionals at 800 576-2476 ( or for more information look us up at

Perform Your Due Diligence To Protect Your Investment Or Company

ESA PICPerform your due diligence to protect your investment or company from acquiring properties with environmental liabilities. A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment will significantly reduce potential environmental liabilities when employing the ASTM E 1527-13, Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process and an experienced environmental professional.

Many historic industrial and corner gas stations have been redeveloped and present very little visual evidence of their past use. Groundwater and soil contamination may be present just below the freshly cut green grass and new coat of paint. It is a lot more cost effective to understand the environmental liabilities associated with a contaminated property prior to purchase than finding this out after closing.

Feel free to talk with one of Bay Environmental Strategies, Inc., experienced professionals if you have any questions at 800 576-2476 ( or for more information look us up at

ACGIH Publishes Reduced Guideline for Manganese Exposure

acgihManganese exposure occurs when manganese is heated and reacts with oxygen and creates manganese oxide fume. Exposure to this fume can lead to central nervous system damage. This is of special concern for metal fabricators as manganese is present in various welding rods and filler metals. Prolonged or excessive inhalation or ingestion of manganese has the potential to lead to a condition called manganism. Manganism can lead to weakness, lethargy, paralysis, tremors, and speech and psychological issues.


Last year the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) published a new threshold limit value (TLV) for manganese of 0.02 mg/m3. This was updated from the previous ACGIH TLV of 0.2 mg/m3. Although the ACGIH limit has been updated, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has not changed the permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 5 mg/m3. The OSHA limit is federally enforceable unless a state plan has a stricter limit.


In order to comply with the updated guidelines, companies may need to conduct air sampling to verify employee exposure. Based on the air sampling results, companies can determine if additional personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilation, work practices, or a combination of these are required to reduce employee exposure.


Please contact Bay Environmental Strategies, Inc. at 800 576-2476 for additional assistance and information.

So Now You Can Relax because You Have Your Air Permit in Hand…Wrong!

epaSo you have gone through the long, sometimes exhaustive, process of obtaining your state or federal air pollution control permit. It is time to relax right? Wrong! There are many conditions to an air permit and you must comply with all of them. Now is not the time to take your foot off the gas.

Even if you have incorporated the assistance of an environmental consultant, it is your responsibility to make sure that your facility is in compliance with all permit conditions. Conditions with which your facility might need to comply include, but are not limited to:

  • Monitoring operating parameters on pollution control equipment including pressure drops, operating/inlet/outlet temperatures, and filter conditions
  • Calculating daily, monthly, and/or annual air emissions from permitted contaminant sources.
  • Performing stack testing requirements; one-time and/or on-going events.
  • Complying with emission limitations; both process-specific and facility-wide.
  • Preparing and submitting periodic compliance demonstration reports.
  • Preparing and submitting periodic air contaminant emission estimates.
  • Complying with any and all EPA MACT/GACT standards whether or not they written into your permit.

Many individuals assume that because their air permit is finally in hand they can relax. Again, that is the wrong time to do so. There are many conditions within the permit with which you must comply as long as the processes/facility is in operation. If you would like any assistance complying with these requirements, please contact Bay Environmental Strategies, Inc. (BAY) at 800-576-2476.

What Is Vapor Intrusion?

vapor intrusionVapor intrusion is when chemical vapors from contaminated soil or groundwater enter a building.  The majority of the time these chemicals come from commercial or industrial activities such as dry cleaners or petroleum spills or releases.  These chemicals contain volatile organic compounds (VOC).  When soil and groundwater is contaminated, the VOCs evaporate.  In cases of vapor intrusion, the VOC’s evaporate into a structure above instead of safely into the outside air.  These vapors can enter a building through cracks in the foundation slab or through utility lines or floor-wall cracks of a basement.  Special equipment is required to test for VOC’s as they are usually colorless and odorless.


If a contaminated site is undergoing cleanup near your home or business, the party responsible for the clean-up may request permission to investigate for vapor intrusion on your property.  If potentially harmful vapors are identified in the building, a vapor mitigation system can be installed.  This sub-slab depressurization system captures the vapors below the foundation and vents them outside the building.  These systems are also used to prevent radon from entering a residence.  Additional testing may be required after the system is installed to ensure it is operating properly.  These systems will be utilized as long as the threat of vapor intrusion exists.  In some cases where the contaminant source is eliminated, the mitigation system is no longer needed.


If you have questions or would like assistance investigating potential vapor intrusion issues on your property please contact Bay Environmental Strategies, Inc. at 1 800-576-2476.

ASTM E1527-13: A New Standard In Due Diligence

untitledLast year in 2013, on December 30, the United States EPA recognized that the revised “ASTM Standard E1527-13 – Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process” met the requirements of the “All Appropriate Inquiry (AAI)” Rule when conducting a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA).

A Phase I ESA completed in accordance with ASTM E1527 is widely recognized as the gold standard to conduct environmental due diligence when buying, or providing financing for, industrial and commercial properties.

So Why The Change?

ASTM E1527-13 was developed in accordance with ASTM’s protocol for review of its own standard practices and guides. ASTM standards, including E1527, have a maximum “shelf life” of 8 years. The last revision was in 2005, with the issuance of the prior standard E1527-05.

So What Changed?

E1527-13 was not a complete re-write of the prior version of the standard. For the most part, the new standard includes some additional guidance and clarifications which include:

  • Review of regulatory agency records as a vapor migration assessment
  • Updated definition for the Recognized Environmental Condition (REC) to be better aligned with the AAI requirements;
  • The Historical Recognized Environmental Condition (HREC) definition is updated to limit how the HRECs are applied to prior releases that were addressed to unrestricted residential use;
  • Adding a Controlled Recognized Environmental Condition (CREC) definition is used in risk-type closures, where the contaminants were permitted to stay under specific conditions;
  • There is a new definition for the terms, ‘environment’ and ‘release’ that aligns with CERCLA definitions;
  • Created an appendix stated: “Business Environmental Risk” which provides resources and references for common issues.

How Does This Affect A Previously Completed Phase I ESA?

The development of the new ASTM standard does not mean that a Phase I ESA completed under the previous standard is no longer viable.  The liability protections are the same as they were when the Phase I ESA was completed. EPA’s newly amended All Appropriate Inquiry rule does not eliminate any reference to the prior ASTM standard (E1527-05). According to the EPA, they will publish an additional proposed rulemaking to remove the reference to the ASTM E1527–05 standard in the AAI rule sometime in the near future.

While technically the previous standard is still adequate to meet AAI, the EPA “strongly encourages” and “recommends that environmental professionals and prospective purchasers” use ASTM E1527–13 when conducting AAI compliant Phase I ESA’s to identify releases and threatened releases of hazardous substances at commercial and industrial properties.

So how does this affect your buying or lending?

Requiring the use of ASTM E1527-13 guarantees that your Phase I ESA was conducted in accordance with the latest standard and insures compliance with EPA’s AAI. The additional guidance and clarifications provided in the new standard will provide you a more complete environmental due diligence.

Additionally, ASTM E 1527-13 has been formally adopted and is required by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Federal Housing Administration (FHA) when completing a Phase I ESA utilizing their loan programs.


EPA NOC for Boilers Subject to Tune-ups Due July 19th (With a Twist)!

powerhouse-epa-boiler-mactFor those Area Source facilities which are subject to the new EPA Boiler MACT (40 CFR Part 63, Subpart JJJJJ), an important deadline is fast approaching. The Notification of Compliance (NOC), due July 19, 2014, is required for all existing Area Source facilities which were required to complete either the One-time Energy Assessment or an initial Tune-up Work Practice. Both the Energy Assessment and Tune-up were due March 21, 2014.

Unlike previous compliance notification reports; however, the EPA has stated that they will not accept paper certifications. Instead, the report needs to be submitted using the EPA’s Compliance and Emissions Data Reporting Interface. CEDRI will be new to most users, but can be accessed through the same web-based server as that used to complete EPA Toxic Release Inventory Reports and Greenhouse Gas Summary Report. Be sure to check with local/state authorities to make sure that a separate location notification is not also required in paper format.

If you need any assistance setting up an account with CEDRI and/or filing the NOC, please contact Bay Environmental Strategies, Inc. at 888-576-2476.

Planning for Hazardous Materials Before Renovation or Demolition Projects

tylerDo you have an upcoming renovation or demolition project on your schedule? For building owners and contractors, it is important to remember that building materials may contain hazardous toxins that may require specific handling, removal and disposal methods. Construction materials that are commonly encountered on the job site that may require specific care and disposal are:




Asbestos can be a cancerous causing substance that can cause numerous diseases and health concerns. It is a fibrous material that is still used today in several building materials because of its superior strength and excellent insulating properties. It can be found in adhesives, caulks, electrical panels, drywall, fireproofing, flooring tiles, insulation, paints, plaster, and exterior roofing materials. A licensed asbestos inspector can help you sample and identify asbestos containing material (ACM) on your project site. It is recommended for a single family homes and multi-family units (2-4 units) and required for any building undergoing a controlled fire exercise, multi-family units (larger than 5 units), commercial, and industrial buildings that inspections and all friable ACM is removed before work starts.  


Chlorofluorocarbons and Halons (CFCs)


CFCs contribute towards a loss in ozone which increases our chances of exposure from the sun’s Ultraviolet rays (UV). This increase the chance for skin, eye, and immune system concerns. CFCs are commonly found in bubblers, cooling units, heat pumps, and refrigeration appliances. Halrons are used in fire extinguishing devices. A project site walkthrough before demolition or renovation can help you identify CFC and Halron containing units.




Lead is commonly found in pre 1978 residential, commercial, and industrial exterior and interior paints. Lead can also be found in emergency lighting units. If lead is ingested and inhaled, it cause serious neurological and internal organ concerns. A licensed inspector can help sample and identify lead containing substances on your project site. Remember many buildings contain several layers and coats of paint.




Mercury is contained in several pressure and temperature monitoring devices. It can also be found in agricultural, dental, and electrical devices.  When exposed to an outside environment, Mercury slowly vaporizes which releases dangerous vapors that can go unnoticed by building owners and contractors. The harmful vapors can lead to several neurological and birth defects.


Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)


PCBs are a cancer causing substance that can be found in caulk, electrical equipment, oils, and specialty paints. An environmental consultant can help you sample and identify PCB containing material on your project site. Labeling PCB containing materials before renovation or demolition can help limit the chance of exposure and contamination.


Performing a site walk through with an environmental consultant can help identify and ensure proper disposal of any hazardous materials that may exist on your project site. Collecting an inventory and gaining an understanding of all building materials on your project site can  help ensure hazardous materials do not impact public safety and the environment during your renovation or demolition project.


More information on handling hazardous materials before your renovation and demolition project can be found at:

Environmental Management Systems (EMS) and Wisconsin’s Green Tier Program

isoSince the 1970s, there have been significant advancements in environmental policy and regulations from the EPA and States.  These policies and regulations have set a minimal standard for pollution prevention including waste management and improving air and water quality.

In 1996, the ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standard (EMS) was first published, setting the framework and foundation for companies that wanted to go beyond just meeting regulatory requirements.

Benefits of a successful EMS include:

  • A benchmark for environmental improvement
  • Effective control of processes by management
  • Self-evaluation by the organization
  • Reduce operating costs and liabilities
  • Identify weaker areas of the environmental system for improvement
  • Employee involvement and ownership of processes
  • Employees are proven competent in their tasks
  • Increased customer and community confidence
  • Drives continual improvement of technology

Places all legal requirements under an operating management system. Specific to Wisconsin, the Green Tier law was originally signed into legislation in 2004. The purpose of the Green Tier law was to provide companies the opportunity to go beyond compliance and pursue environmental initiatives that are not possible under traditional regulations. Companies participating in Wisconsin’s Green Tier program build a EMS following the clauses within ISO 14001; however, are not required to become an ISO 14001-certified company.

Environmental Management Systems, either certified through ISO 14001 or under Wisconsin’s Green Tier program, make good business sense for most companies. Resulting benefits include meeting customer directives, employee participation, streamlining compliance, and continuous improvements. Information on Wisconsin’s Green Tier program can be found at

The framework of an EMS is built on the Plan, Do, Check, Act Cycle. Elements of the program include developing Environmental Policy, identifying Environmental Aspects, setting Objectives & Targets, evaluation of program (audits), continuous improvement, communication and management support.