Quick Tour of Environmental Regulations
This simple page was originally written for students in my course
Hazardous Waste Management. These resources may be of use to other
The course is recommended for environmental-track majors in geography
other disciplines. It is organized according to the major federal
regulatory programs in the United States. Contact me for details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CLEAN AIR ACT
We will get to information about Toxic Release Inventory and other CAA
data through EPA's Surf Your Watershed. We will navigate as follows:
1) Go to http://www.epa.gov/surf
2) Find the Naragansett Watershed by inputting a ZIP Code (02324)
3) Go to the Air / AIRS information
4) Choose Antonelli Plating Company in Providence - and examine the
AIRS and RCRIS data
5) Look at a dry cleaner for comparison
Note that for any kind of information provided, a link to an
of that source is also provided. For example, we will click on "AIRS"
step 3 before looking at a specific facility, to see what kinds of data
are available, how they are collected, and under what authority.
We will find EPA documents for a few Super fund sites. To begin, we
go directly to the EPA's Envirofacts database. Note that the Surf
in many cases (such as above) points to data contained in the
database. We will navigate as follows:
1) Go to http://www.epa.gov/enviro
2) In the "Generate Reports" area, choose "Super fund Data."
3) Use the Geography Search feature to find a site of interest. Let's
choose Woburn, Mass. (Do not check the "NPL Sites Only"
4) Notice that we find 17 sites, but only 2 are NPL. In loose usage,
these are sometimes called "CERCLIS" vs. "CERCLA" sites. The former
been investigated and therefore remain in the CERCLIS database
of their status; the latter have made the NPL, and are eligible for
fund action. Having a "CERCLIS" site is not necessarily a big
5) Click on the EPA ID number for Wells G&H to get a summary page
for the site. Then click on both the ROD and the Super fund Fact
MAPPING FOR ENVIRONMENTAL AUDITS
It is possible to obtain maps
of EPA listed facilities, including air, RCRA, CERCLIS, and more. We
navigate as follows:
1) Go to http://www.epa.gov/enviro
2) In the "Maps on Demand" area, choose "Zipinfo."
3) Enter a ZIP code for which we would like to obtain a map.
4) Select parameters for mapping. In a work situation, you could save
yourself a tremendous amount of money by carefully choosing these
You can even save as ArcInfo!!!!
5) Submit required information, and check for results.
The processing takes anywhere from several minutes to several
but before this system was implemented similar maps could takes weeks
cost thousands of dollars to assemble!
SEARCHING CFR 40
Most environmental regulations are in CFR Title 40. We will navigate to
where we will look for Title 40. We will then navigate to Volume 2 --
paper volume number 2 of these regulations, which happens to include
50 & 51. Notice what each of these parts is for. Let's explore them
Then let's look at equivalents for Massachusetts:
Massachusetts : http://www.mass.gov/dep/service/matrix.htm
In some cases, state regulations read and are structured exactly like
the federal regulations.
EPA (and other agencies) are required to publish Final Rules and
Sunshine Act Meetings, and Proposed Rules in the daily Federal
This is now searchable. Let's look for recent Proposed Rules for a
industry. We will begin at:
It is possible - and even likely - that a person (business) could be
of a set of regulations but unfamiliar with the techniques required to
meet that regulation. For example, specific laboratory techniques might
be needed to verify compliance with a discharge limit. For this reason,
EPA publishes a wide variety of guidance documents. They do not
have the force of law or regulations, but they provide more detailed
of how to comply with the regulations. An example is at: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/policy/release/faciliti.htm
Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute
at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell: http://www.turi.org/.
Any questions? Contact me at email@example.com.
James Hayes-Bohanan, Ph.D.
Bridgewater State College
Revised: April 21, 2009