Pollution 101. (Water Disposal).Some colleges and universities are paying stiff fines while others are voluntarily cleaning up their acts as regional offices of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), independent agency of the U.S. government, with headquarters in Washington, D.C. It was established in 1970 to reduce and control air and water pollution, noise pollution, and radiation and to ensure the safe handling and (EPA EPA eicosapentaenoic acid.
n.pr See acid, eicosapentaenoic.
n. ) use education and enforcement to increase schools' compliance with federal environmental laws. Samantha Fairchild, director of the Office of Enforcement, Compliance, and Environmental Justice for EPA Region 3, says, "In general there seems to be a lack of understanding among colleges and universities that they are members of the regulated community, that oftentimes the things they are doing in these little villages are under the purview The part of a statute or a law that delineates its purpose and scope.
Purview refers to the enacting part of a statute. It generally begins with the words be it enacted and continues as far as the repealing clause. of environmental laws."
Colleges and universities, which do indeed function as self-contained mini-villages, conduct a wide range of operations that must comply with such laws as the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), enacted in 1976, is a Federal law of the United States contained in 42 U.S.C. §§6901-6992k. It is usually pronounced as "rick-rah" or "Wreck-rah. , the Clean Water Act, and the Clean Air Act. Potential problems include hazardous waste Hazardous waste
Any solid, liquid, or gaseous waste materials that, if improperly managed or disposed of, may pose substantial hazards to human health and the environment. Every industrial country in the world has had problems with managing hazardous wastes. produced by research labs, art studio supplies such as paints and thinners, leaks in underground storage tanks (which can spread oil and gasoline through soil and groundwater), and power plants and boilers (which can exceed allowable emissions of air pollutants such as particulate matter particulate matter
n. Abbr. PM
Material suspended in the air in the form of minute solid particles or liquid droplets, especially when considered as an atmospheric pollutant.
Noun 1. ).
EPA Regions 1, 2, 3, and 9 are targeting college and university officials with an integrated strategy of speeches, press releases, and inspections. Enforcement varies among regions because states can choose to adopt regulations wholesale, or they can make them more stringent, says Peggy Bagnoli, an environmental engineer and co-lead for the College and University Sector of EPA Region 1.
Region 1, which covers the states of New England New England, name applied to the region comprising six states of the NE United States—Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. The region is thought to have been so named by Capt. , began focusing on university compliance in early 1999 after inspectors found violations at Yale and the University of New Hampshire New Hampshire, one of the New England states of the NE United States. It is bordered by Massachusetts (S), Vermont, with the Connecticut R. forming the boundary (W), the Canadian province of Quebec (NW), and Maine and a short strip of the Atlantic Ocean (E). . Problems included failure to properly close or label hazardous waste containers, failure to separate incompatible hazardous waste, and lack of necessary permits. "[In Region 3] we have done eight or nine inspections and found violations at all but two colleges," Fairchild says.
In one of New England's largest cases, the University of Rhode Island History
The University was first chartered as the state's agricultural school in 1888. The site of the school was originally the Oliver Watson Farm, and the original farmhouse still lies on the campus today. at Kingston agreed to a settlement valued at more than $1 million for violations including those above. Joshua Secunda, senior enforcement counsel for EPA Region 1, reports in the August 2001 National Environmental Enforcement Journal that if incompatible wastes had been released together, a reaction could have generated toxic gases or an explosion.
Regional offices are encouraging schools to take advantage of the EPA's college and university self-audit initiative. Campuses can conduct a self-audit, and must notify the EPA of any violations within 21 days of discovery and correct the violations within 60 days or request an extension. There is no penalty for not self-auditing, but if a university meets nine self-audit criteria--which include, for example, that the reported violation has occurred only once in the past three years and poses no imminent threat Imminent threat is a standard criterion in international law, developed by Daniel Webster, for when the need for action is "instant, overwhelming, and leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation. to human or environmental health--any fines that would have been levied may be reduced by up to 100%. EPA regions across the country may offer additional incentives. In New England, for example, universities meeting the nine criteria will also be put on a low-priority inspection list for 18 months. So far, 140 schools have signed up to conduct self-audits.
As a direct result of its self-audit, Wesleyan University of Middletown, Connecticut, is pilot-testing nonchemical treatment of boiler water, says Harry Kinne, director of Wesleyan's facilities operations. Wesleyan's power plant foreman researched and suggested the idea. Kinne says, "The audit has reinforced that it is everyone's responsibility to help the university remain in compliance and come up with new ways to reduce our environmental impact."