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SF Regional Board attempts to clarify vapor intrusion approach

The San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board recently issued a  fact sheet  summarizing changes to its approach to remediating environmental impacts and mitigating vapor intrusion (VI) at properties impacted with volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  This follows a January 2019  update  to the Board’s vapor intrusion environmental screening levels—which...
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Even Your Parking Structure Violates Prop 65

The Prop 65 “Clear and Reasonable Warnings” updates that became effective in August 2018 contain lots of traps for the unwary, including one that you might not have noticed: tailored Prop 65 warnings are required at each of the public entrances to your enclosed parking facilities. To avail your regulated...
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Superior Court Invalidates Hexavalent Chromium Drinking Water Standard

Earlier this month,  Judge Christopher E. Krueger  of the  Sacramento Superior Court  issued an order invalidating the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for  hexavalent chromium . The  California Department of Public Health  (“DPH”) established an MCL of 10 μg/L, or parts per billion (ppb), pursuant to a rulemaking effort that concluded in 2014...
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RCRA Update: New Hazardous Waste Generator Rule Goes Into Effect in May 2017

EPA’s final  Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule  (“Rule”), which goes into effect on May 30, 2017, contains approximately 60 revisions to the hazardous waste generator regulatory program. The revisions focus on improving efficiency, and compliance for hazardous waste generators—which is quite appropriate given EPA’s estimated hazardous waste non-compliance rate...
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Shell Pays Big for Double Dipping with the UST Fund

Last week, the  California State Water Resources Control Board  (State Water Board)  announced  that it permanently banned 100 of Shell Oil Company’s underground storage tank (UST) claims from the California  UST Cleanup Fund  (Fund) for allegedly claiming reimbursement through false or misleading statements on its claim forms.  The State...
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U.S. EPA’s Proposed Rule Would Modernize NPDES Regulations

Earlier this month, the United States EPA proposed a rule (“Proposed Rule”) that would update and revise National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) regulations. Rather than reopening the existing NPDES regulations for comprehensive revision, the Proposed Rule would make “specific targeted changes to the existing regulations” that align the...
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Proposed Rule Adding Vapor Intrusion Component to Hazard Ranking System Will Likely Appear in Federal Register This Month

A  proposed rule that would add a vapor intrusion component to the Hazard Ranking System (“HRS”), the primary screening tool for the CERCLA National Priorities List (“NPL”), is scheduled for publication in the Federal Register this month.  NPL listing is a prerequisite for designation as a federal Superfund site...
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Required Action on the Horizon for California Consumer Products Companies

Yesterday, the Department of Toxic Substances Control (“DTSC”) released its draft Stage 1 Alternatives Analysis Guide (“Guide”) under the California Safer Consumer Products program.  Public comments are being accepted on the Guide through October 24, 2015, and DTSC is specifically asking commenters to “provide the names of tools, methods, approaches, and data sources not already...
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State Water Board Approves Composting General Order

Earlier this month, the California State Water Quality Control Board (“State Water Board”)  approved  a General Order for Waste Discharge Requirements (“WDRs”) for composting operations, which will streamline and standardize permitting processes and regulate water quality at new and existing composting facilities.  While the General Order was approved with...
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EPA Must Consider Costs in Deciding Whether to Regulate HAPs From Power Plants

Last week, in  Michigan v. EPA , the U.S. Supreme Court held that it was unreasonable for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) to refuse to consider costs in connection with its finding that it was “appropriate and necessary” to regulate hazardous air pollutant (“HAP”) emissions from power plants...
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The Sunset Will Last a Little Longer - UST Fund Extended

On September 25, 2014, Governor Brown signed  SB 445 (Hill)  Underground storage tanks; hazardous substances: petroleum: groundwater and surface water contamination into law (UST Law).  The UST Law was an urgency measure that took effect immediately. The UST Law makes changes to the  Underground Storage Cleanup Fund (UST Fund...
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Substantive Dispute over Land Application of Biosolids Remains Unresolved

Form over substance continues to obscure the substantive issue presented in the case of the  City of Los Angeles (City) vs.Kern County (County) . At its core, the dispute involves the land application of biosolids. Biosolids are organic material produced during the processing and treatment of wastewater. Historically, waste...
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City’s Decision to Not Prepare an EIR Upheld Under Substantial Evidence Standard

Earlier this month, in Latinos Unidos De Napa v. City of Napa, the California Court of Appeals upheld the city of Napa’s determination that it did not have to prepare an environmental impact report (EIR) under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) when enacting minor changes to its general plan and...
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ASTM Issues New Standard For Phase I Environmental Site Assessments

On November 6, 2013, ASTM revised its standard for conducting Phase I environmental site assessments, known as Standard E1527-13 (entitled “Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process”).  ASTM E1527-13 is the first revision to the ASTM Phase I standard since its 2005 revision of the standard (known as...
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EPA ISSUES NEW SUPERFUND GUIDANCE

Settlement plays a fundamental role in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) Superfund enforcement program. Potentially Responsible Parties (“PRPs”) seeking to resolve their liability through the settlement process should take note that EPA recently issued two new guidance memoranda on its settlement procedures.  One memorandum sets forth revised procedures for...
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Is Your Vehicle a CERCLA Facility?

While we tend to think of a CERCLA “facility” as the real property where environmental contaminants have come to be located, it is important to remember that CERCLA’s definition of “facility” is actually much broader than that and can serve to open the door to “Potentially Responsible Parties” not considered in...
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CEQA EXCEPTION FOR BIKE LANES NEARING THE FINISH LINE

While most attempts to push-through last-minute CEQA reform were parked until next year, one bill, AB 2245, glided through the legislature and now heads to the finish line on Governor Brown’s desk for signature.  The bill, which provides streamlined environmental review for certain bike lane projects, was unanimously passed by...
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California State Water Board’s Low-Threat UST Case Closure Policy Is Now Effective

On May 1, 2012, the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) adopted via Resolution No. 2012-0016 the Water Quality Control Policy for Low-Threat Underground Storage Tank Case Closure (Low-Threat Closure Policy).  The Low-Threat Closure Policy finally became effective on August 17th.  This should be good news for the thousands of UST sites in California...
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LITIGATION UPDATE: Writ of Certiorari filed in Solutia, Inc. v. McWane, Inc.

Recently, Solutia Inc. and Pharmacia Corporation filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to overturn the Eleventh Circuit’s ruling that a Potentially Responsible Party (“PRP”) conducting a cleanup pursuant to a consent decree is foreclosed from bringing a cost recovery action against other PRPs under...
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LITIGATION UPDATE: CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT GRANTS REVIEW OF L.A. LIGHT RAIL CASE

On August 8th, the California Supreme Court granted review of the Second District Court of Appeal’s decision in Neighbors for Smart Rail v. Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority.  As previously blogged in April, the Second District found that a lead agency’s use of projected future conditions to measure the environmental impacts that a...
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CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT EXPANDS AVAILABLE POLICY LIMITS TO COVER ENVIRONMENTAL CLAIMS

On August 9, 2012, the California Supreme Court handed down its much anticipated decision in  State of California v. Continental Ins. Co.  The California Supreme Court held that the “all sums” method of allocation applies in California and that an insured can horizontally stack all successively triggered policies in...
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