Clean Water Act/EPA

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently started to increase their crackdown on Clean Water Act (CWA) violations. Since the Clean Water Act was enacted in 1972, this law has had the greatest effect on municipalities (salt/sand storage), industrial facilities (mining/oil/gas) and composting operations. Most business owners in these sectors have had to invest in storage facilities and environmentally conscious products in order to follow the bylaws of the CWA. To understand what structural solutions business owners should be using for hazardous material storage, we first need to understand what the CWA entails.

As the EPA website states,

“The Clean Water Act (CWA) establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulating quality standards for surface waters. Under the CWA, EPA has implemented pollution control programs such as setting wastewater standards for industry. We have also set water quality standards for all contaminants in surface waters.

The CWA made it unlawful to discharge any pollutant from a point source into navigable waters, unless a permit was obtained. EPA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program controls discharges. Point sources are discrete conveyances such as pipes or man-made ditches. Individual homes that are connected to a municipal system, use a septic system, or do not have a surface discharge do not need an NPDES permit; however, industrial, municipal, and other facilities must obtain permits if their discharges go directly to surface waters.”

peats_soil_compost_facility_saA common thought is since this law was enacted over 40 years ago, that a majority of companies in the industrial sector have already made the changes they need to make in order to meet the EPA’s standard. The truth is many businesses haven’t, and just last week the largest composter in St. Louis was found to be discharging storm water into a Coldwater Creek tributary that contained suspended solids and biochemical oxygen demand beyond permitted levels. The company, St. Louis Composting, is required to pay a $24,000 penalty and hire a consultant to ensure that all six of its facilities in the area are in compliance with the CWA. The company not only has to pay the hefty fine, but they’ve also agreed to spend $40,000 on four rain gardens, which was part of their settlement with the EPA.

The honest truth is a lot of the companies that find themselves in trouble with the EPA and in violation of the CWA aren’t even aware they are polluting. There are many different ways to store compost, sand/salt and other industrial waste in an environment friendly way, but what’s the best way?

ClearSpan Fabric Structures provides a variety of relocatable, versatile structures for the sand/salt, compost and the oil and gas industries. These fabric buildings are constructed from the highest grade triple-galvanized steel, which is made to stand up in corrosive environments. All ClearSpan structures come with a 24 mil. polyethylene cover that keeps materials safely stored and covered, preventing hazardous runoff. No matter the industry, ClearSpan buildings can be customized to fit the user’s needs. Whether that be Giant Doors for vehicle entry or vents and fans for ventilation, ClearSpan buildings are totally customizable. The 24 mil. polyethylene fabric cover is also translucent, allowing an abundance of natural light to enter the building, reducing bacteria growth and ensuring a healthy work environment.

As the weather becomes more unpredictable and the EPA increases their enforcement of the CWA, ClearSpan fabric structures continue to provide business owners with piece of mind knowing their hazardous materials are stored safely and in accordance with EPA standards.

For more information, visit http://www.clearspan.com/ or call 1.866.643.1010 to speak with a ClearSpan specialist.

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