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Compliance Assistance

DEFA's quarterly newsletter, The Resource, is distributed to approximately 11,000 contacts made up of local officials interested in DEFA’s financial assistance programs, prior compliance conference and webinar attendees, local health departments, pretreatment contacts, trade associations, economic development contacts, recycling and litter prevention contacts, Ohio Materials Marketplace members and others who have indicated an interest in DEFA’s programs. Check out the newsletter's home page to download entire issues and see articles on other topics.

Spring 2022

Does your business use fluorescent lamps?

If you answered yes, be aware that many types of lamps are hazardous waste, and if they are from a business, they cannot be disposed in the trash. While lamps generated from households are not regulated as hazardous waste, we encourage homeowners to recycle their lamps.

All fluorescent lamps (as well as other types of lamps) contain elemental mercury. Unlike other metals, elemental mercury is a liquid at room temperature and will vaporize when it is not contained. Mercury vapors can be inhaled thus entering the body. Mercury can also enter your body by being absorbed through your skin. Mercury is a toxic substance that can damage the nervous system and also harm the kidneys. When lamps are improperly discarded, the mercury can enter the environment where it combines with organic substances to form a very toxic substance called methyl mercury.

When kept intact, lamps are safe to handle. In addition, lamps are very recyclable. The metal end caps and the glass and the phosphor powder can all be recycled. The mercury is easily recovered and can be reused. Because of this, lamps generated from businesses, that are going to be recycled, can be managed as universal waste. In the universal waste rules, the term lamp applies all hazardous waste lamps including incandescent, fluorescent, metal halide, neon, high-intensity discharge, high-pressure sodium, and mercury-vapor lamps. Lamps may also contain lead and cadmium. Because most lamps exhibit the characteristic of toxicity for heavy metals when disposed, they could be a hazardous waste.

Before you throw any lamps in the trash, you must evaluate the lamps to determine if the lamps are hazardous. If you determine your lamps are hazardous and you choose not to handle them under the universal waste rules, you must manage them as hazardous waste. Although the universal waste compliance standards are not required, you may manage your non-hazardous lamps under the universal waste rule. Since they are very recyclable, Ohio EPA strongly recommends recycling all lamps (even from households) even if they do not meet the criteria for hazardous waste.

The universal waste rules are intended to promote recycling as well as proper disposal by easing certain regulatory requirements such as waste evaluation and manifesting. When managing these wastes under the universal waste rules, a generator does not need to evaluate them, and they are not counted when determining the quantity of hazardous waste generated for the purposes of determining generator status. Furthermore, the nationally recognized universal wastes do not need to be transported on a hazardous waste manifest.

For more information, see our Managing Fluorescent Lamps fact sheet and web page. Questions about managing your fluorescent lamps? please go to our Customer Support Center, contact the Office of Compliance Assistance and Pollution Prevention on their confidential hotline at 800-329-7518, or the Compliance Assurance Section of the Division of Environmental Response and Revitalization’s Hazardous Waste Program at (614) 644-2924, or contact your local district inspector.

Improper packaging is a common universal waste violation.

Bureau of Worker's Compensation - Ohio Safety Congress & Expo

Ohio’s workplaces, like Ohio itself, continue to change. To keep Ohio workplaces safe and healthy, Ohio has held a Safety Congress since 1927. The Ohio Safety Congress & Expo is now the largest free workplace safety conference in the United States. Today’s congress usually features more than 300 exhibits, 200 educational breakout sessions and 7,000 in annual attendance. The event is produced by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC).

The past two years, Ohio EPA has partnered with BWC to offer multiple free webinars at the online event. In 2021 and 2022, more than 5,000 attendees logged on and attended live or listened to a recording of the session.

Webinars Ohio EPA offered in 2022 were:

  • NPDES Construction Stormwater 102. This webinar was complimentary to DEFA’s 2021’s webinar NPDES Construction Stormwater 101, and provided more in-depth information on Ohio’s construction stormwater program and the construction general permit. Topics included the permit approval process, permit coverage transfers, state/local regulations, non-compliance and enforcement, water quality volume and redevelopment, and available resources.
  • Decoding RCRA: Navigating the Basics of Hazardous Waste. This session covered the basic requirements of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to help generators understand how they should manage their hazardous waste. Topics included waste evaluation, container management, satellite accumulation, reporting, and more.
  • Ohio EPA's Air Pollution Permit Requirements. This session was designed to give the audience a basic understanding of the air pollution permit program including when permits are needed, who to contact for assistance, what is contained in a permit, how to comply, how to apply for a permit, and how to prepare for an air pollution inspection.
  • What to Expect During an Ohio EPA Inspection. This session highlighted the inspection process and provided practical tips on how you can prepare your business when an inspector arrives at your company.

Go to Ohio EPA’s YouTube channel to view recordings of these webinars.

Winter 2022

Ohio EPA Launches GIS Mapping Tool for Property Revitalization/Voluntary Action Program

Ohio EPA has launched an online GIS mapping tool the public can use to track and research properties that have completed investigation/remediation work under Ohio EPA’s Voluntary Action Program (VAP). The sites detailed on this GIS application have been granted a Covenant Not to Sue (CNS) by the Agency, which protects the property owner or operator and future owners from legal responsibility to the State of Ohio for further environmental investigation and remediation relating to known releases.

“As Ohio works to open opportunities for economic redevelopment throughout the state, technology like this can make it easier to market Ohio to potential investors,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “Properties that once may have been written off as low-value brownfields are now certified as environmentally ready for commercial or industrial use.”

The announcement coincided with the VAP’s 27th anniversary. Since the program’s launch, records for CNS’s have been housed at county recorder’s offices, as well as within Ohio EPA’s older document storage facilities and applications. With this new online mapping tool, information about properties that have gone through the VAP will be easier to navigate, allowing organizations to better visualize redevelopment opportunities in Ohio communities.

Ohio EPA recognizes the need to remove the environmental and legal barriers that can stall redevelopment and reuse of potentially contaminated and contaminated properties. Through the voluntary efforts of the property owners and associated certified professionals, each of these properties has met the respective environmental standards for safe reuse and redevelopment.

The covenant not to sue protections apply only when the property is used and maintained according to the specified terms and conditions. Since the Voluntary Action Program was created in 1994, more than 15,700 acres of contaminated land on 670 sites in 71 counties have been investigated and/or remediated, and subsequently received covenants not to sue.

Hazardous Waste Biennial Report Due March 1, 2022 

The 2021 hazardous waste biennial report is due on Tuesday, March 1, 2022. Filing is easy, using Ohio EPA's eBusiness Center service called eDRUMS. Due to adoption of new rules on 10/5/2020, more types of facilities must file than just large quantity generators and permitted treatment, storage, or disposal facilities. Reverse distributors of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals and certain types of recyclers must also submit a report. For questions, please email Alexandra Pappas or Paula Canter.

Go to our hazardous waste reporting web page for more information on:

  • Who must file;
  • Quick reference documents;
  • Information on how to file electronically, along with a link to a video on our YouTube Channel; and
  • Links to paper forms and documents.

U.S. EPA’s Environmental Resilience Tools Wizard

The Environmental Resilience Tools Wizard (ERTW) contains tools produced by U.S. EPA that address environmental concerns in disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. It is an online wizard that helps you find the right resource to meet your needs.

The ERTW is intended for use by state, local, and emergency managers who need to address disaster environmental concerns. It may also be of interest to cities and counties implementing hazard mitigation plans, researchers, drinking water and wastewater utilities, and community or environmental organizations.

You do not need to download any software. Once in the wizard, you can find tools using keyword search and the filter. The tools are listed on information cards in the center of the wizard. Each card provides a web link to the tool and describes how to use it to build community resilience to disasters. You can export results as a pdf or csv file. It works best with Chrome or Firefox browsers.

The ERTW contains publicly available tools produced by U.S. EPA, including scientific models, guidance documents, case studies, checklists, datasets, fact sheets, and technical support. They address environmental concerns that may arise in disasters, including air quality, water quality, environmental justice, ecosystems, sustainability, and waste. They may be used for different types of disasters, including oil spills, wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, disease outbreaks, tornados, earthquakes, and chemical or radiological accidents. The ERTW categorizes incidents as: environmental and health emergencies, geophysical disasters, and extreme weather. They may be used during different stages of disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.

The ERTW was developed by U.S. EPA’s Office of Research and Development. To learn more about the research that went into it, check out the resilience tools inventory report at: https://cfpub.epa.gov/si/si_public_record_report.cfm?Lab=NHSRC&dirEntryId=311248. If you have questions about the ERTW, email toolswizard@epa.gov.