How bad can it be? The $8.1 million answer

It’s hard to believe that in 2011 there are still those that hold a naïve view of environmental due diligence and ask either implicitly or explicitly, “How bad can it be?”

I have no background (beyond what’s in the article) on the Kraft settlement of $8.1 million for contaminated groundwater.  But this much is stated in the article, Kraft never owned or operated the facility; at a minimum, this settlement can help provide the answer to the aforementioned question about how bad it CAN be.

 Here is a link to the article:,0,5628714.story

Also, here is a link our Environmental Minute on a related subject


Clean Water Act Enforcement: Mines to Beef Feedlots

A couple of environmental enforcement headlines caught my attention recently, both relating to the Clean Water Act (CWA).  According to a news release by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), US Silver Corporation settled a CWA violation to the tune of $87,000.  According to the EPA, the violations included “unpermitted discharges of mine tailings…”

The second story in Brownfield states, “The EPA’s Region 7 has issued administrative compliance orders to seven concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas instructing them to correct violations of the Clean Water Act.”

The violations at the feedlots included, “…wastewater discharges by unpermitted medium and large CAFOs, discharges by a large CAFO in violation of its NPDES permit, failures to maintain adequate storage capacity for wastes, and a large CAFO’s failure to adequately track its land application activities…”

This is not the first EPA initiative focused on livestock agriculture (see our December 28, 2010 & November 8, 2010 blog entries) and not likely to be the last.

If you have questions, concerns or need assistance with compliance relating to the Clean Water Act, contact Matthew Schroder, P.E. ( at 248-932-0228.

EPA News Link:

Brownfield News Link:

Soil Chemistry “Class” returns to Toronto

Did you miss Dr. James Dragun’s course on soil chemistry last year? You will have another opportunity this year as he is again teaching at the Contaminated and Hazardous Waste Site Management Course ( on June 6 -10, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario.  This is an excellent course for anyone involved in site assessments and/or site remediation activity.

Also, thought it was worth “re-mentioning” a recent article by a couple of my colleagues that appeared in Environmental Science and Engineering, Vapour intrusion from soil or groundwater: A challenge for property owners. (

Finally, we will be at CANECT again this year (May 16-18th).  Look for our “Rock Solid Environmental” display in the conference area; we’ll have technical representatives attending the display. 

If you have questions or need any additional information, contact Christopher Paré, P.Geo, ( at 519-979-7300.

The “Skinny” on the SPCC Exemption: What is and is NOT Exempt

On April 12, 2011, the long sought after exemption for milk containers under the Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan rules was announced by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  This exemption has been “in the works” since January 2009, but for a number of reasons, didn’t get finalized until last month.

What does this mean to dairy producers? According to the EPA, “The exemption is for all milk and milk product containers, piping and appurtenances, but does not exempt containers that store other oils, such as petroleum oil at dairies, milk producers and milk product manufacturing facilities. These facilities will not have to account for, or address the exempt milk and milk products containers in their SPCC Plans” (emphasis added)

So, if you are a dairy producer, the storage of milk is now exempt; however, you may be required to have an SPCC plan for all other regulated oils (e.g., storage of gasoline, oil, diesel fuel, etc…).

Provided you meet the conditions for the extension, your new deadline for development and implementation of an SPCC plan is November 10, 2011. For a more detailed discussion of the SPCC rules as they relate to the dairy industry, see our October 15, 2010, blog

National Milk Producers Federation has developed an SPCC plan template for dairy producers to use. This allows you to evaluate the applicability of the SPCC plan regulations at your facility and self-certify, if applicable (

As compliance/implementation may involve some capital improvements, it would be prudent to evaluate your applicability as soon as possible.  If you wait until the fall of 2011 to prepare and implement your SPCC plan, you may risk missing the deadline.

If you have any questions about applicability of the SPCC plan or require assistance in preparing your plan, contact Christopher Paré ( or Matthew Schroeder, P.E. ( at 248-932-0228.