Climate Change and Sustainability in Massachusetts in the Current Political Climate Reply

Deregulation around climate change has had scientists, citizens, and organizations deeply unsettled in recent months. If looking from the outside in at the message being sent by the federal government, it appears that the U.S. has deprioritized sustainability and is actively revoking its support for the fight against climate change. It wouldn’t be out of place to think this, either. For example, in recent months, the U.S. has pulled out of the Paris Agreement, passed an executive order to revoke the Clean Power Plan, and most recently, the U.S. has revoked a ruling to ban hydrofluorocarbons (HFC’s) in refrigeration and air conditioning.

Regarding HFC’s…

  • On 8/8/17, a federal court ruled that HFC’s cannot be banned.
  • The reversal is due to a technicality in how the Clean Air Act is being used to support the EPA’s effort to ban HFC’s.
  • HFC’s have been and are of increased concern due to their high global warming potential, relative to CO2. In other words, for every one unit of CO2 removed from the environment, a one unit addition of HFC’s to the environment negates the CO2 removed from a global warming standpoint, and leaves the atmosphere with even more greenhouse gas (GHG).

But not so fast! There is a very different story unfolding in Massachusetts (and many other states around the U.S.).

First, for some country-wide good news related to the revoked HFC ban, despite this ruling, U.S. chemical companies are still committed to producing climate friendly HFC alternatives, per the Montreal Protocol in which approximately 150 countries vowed to phase out HFC’s beginning in 2019.

Meanwhile in Massachusetts, on August 11, 2017, Massachusetts published six final regulations to reduce GHG emissions in the Commonwealth. Granted, this was in response to a Supreme Judicial Court ruling (Kain v. DEP, May 2016), requiring the Commonwealth to “beef up” its emission reductions efforts. Enter Governor Baker’s Executive Order No. 569 – “Establishing an Integrated Climate Change Strategy for the Commonwealth” – and the resulting amendments (or new regulations) made to meet 2020 statewide emissions limits set in the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA). Below, those regulations are summarized, and more details can be found on the MassDEP website.

 

Regulation 310 CMR 7.72

Reducing Sulfur Hexafluoride Emissions from Gas-Insulated Switchgear (GIS)

What is it? Establishment of annually declining, mass-based limits added to existing max leak rates for SF6.
Who is affected? -Large utilities

-Federal reporting GIS owners

Why Was it implemented? Adding the mass-based limits is accounting for potential SF6 increased emissions associated with deployment of new GIS equipment – not accounted for prior to revision.

 

Regulation 310 CMR 7.73

Reducing Methane Emissions from natural Gas Distribution Mains and Services

What is it? Establishment of annually declining emission limits on Massachusetts gas operators in 2018, 2019, and 2020. This regulation establishes the annually declining limits on GHG emissions.
Who is affected? -All Massachusetts gas operators

-Gas operators with a Gas System Enhancement Plan (GSEP) order from Department of Public Utilities (DPU)

Why Was it implemented? Emissions limits were not established in the Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2020. It simply required updates and fixes to leaks. Per the GWSA, limits needed to be imposed to ensure reductions.

 

Regulation 310 CMR 7.74

Reducing CO2 Emissions from Electricity Generating Facilities

310 CMR 7.75

Clean Energy Standard

What is it? Two regulations to reduce CO2 emissions from Power plants in Massachusetts.

7.74 sets a minimum percentage of electricity sales that utilities and competitive suppliers must procure from clean energy sources.

7.75 sets a sector-wide, annually declining limit on aggregate CO2 emissions from twenty-one large fossil fuel-fired power plants in Massachusetts.

Who is affected? -All owners and operators of an electric generating facility
Why Was it implemented? These two regulations are intended to increase procurement of clean energy (from utilities) and ensure emissions reductions associated with fossil fuel-powered power plants.

 

Regulation 310 CMR 60.05

Global Warming Solutions Act Requirements for Transportation

What is it? Establishment of annually declining aggregate targets on CO2 emissions from Massachusetts’ transportation system.
Who is affected? -MassDOT; MPO’s; RTA’s; DEP; EOEEA
Why Was it implemented? Previous regulation did not include requirements for the MassDOT to meet enforceable limits on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

 

Regulation 310 CMR 60.06

CO2 Limits for State Fleet Passenger Vehicles

What is it? New regulation setting limits on CO2 from passenger vehicles owned and leased by the Commonwealth’s Executive Offices.
Who is affected? Executive Offices that own or lease 30 or more passenger vehicles, as determined by the MassDEP.
Why Was it implemented? To reduce CO2 emissions from certain Commonwealth owned or leased vehicles through imposition of mass-based limits that decline each year from 2018 through 2025.   This requires each Executive Office to monitor, record, and report CO2 emissions from vehicles.

 

Industry in Massachusetts has stayed on course in terms of preparing for and doing their part to mitigate climate change through often extensive sustainability programs. Consistent with these efforts is the message that Massachusetts continues to stay the course as well, as evidenced by these new regulations.

For more information on this topic, please contact Cristina Mendoza at 508-970-0033 ext. 128 or by cell at 774-249-2418, or email cmendoza@capaccio.com.

Capaccio’s Cristina Mendoza Receives EBC’s Ascending Leader Award Reply

Capaccio Environmental Engineering, Inc. (Capaccio) is pleased to announce that Cristina Mendoza was selected as a 2017 Environmental Business Council (EBC) Ascending Leader Award recipient. The Award recognizes young, ascending professionals in the energy and environmental sectors who demonstrate exceptional leadership and industry involvement early in their careers. Recipients are also considered leaders within their respective companies, who manage high profile projects and provide mentorship to their peers. They are active in their communities both professionally and personally through leadership positions in business associations, non-profit organizations, and civic groups.

Ms. Mendoza is an Environmental Scientist at Capaccio, an award-winning, women-owned, 30-person environmental, health and safety consulting and engineering firm based out of Marlborough, MA. While still in college/graduate school, Ms. Mendoza began working as an intern at Capaccio and quickly demonstrated her capabilities and willingness to learn by assisting with several high profile projects.

In 2015, she was hired full-time as an Environmental Scientist/Sustainability Consultant and continued to further develop her knowledge and expertise in the sustainability arena. She also became involved with EBC’s young professionals and became a member of EBC’s Ascending Professionals Committee (Member since 2013 – Leadership Team Member since Summer 2014) and planned a program event on sustainable, responsible, impact investing. She also began serving as a member and facilitator of the Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) Sustainability Roundtable, which plans and executes events throughout the year on sustainability topics.

In January 2016, she was promoted to the ES II level, and increased her responsibilities by also becoming the leader of Capaccio’s Sustainability and Systems group. In this role, she lends her technical expertise, ensures internal resource development, and facilitates technical group strategy. Her knowledge has been tapped in live presentations such as the 2017 SESHA (Semiconductor Environmental Safety and Health Association) Symposium where she presented on the topic of ‘The Power of Aligning EH&S with Business Aspirations’.

Ms. Mendoza holds a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Science (2014) and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) (2015) from Clark University.

Other recipients of the award included Lauren Ballou, Environmental Planner, VHB; Kathleen Brill, Associate, Foley Hoag LLP; Heidi Lemieux, Senior Project Engineer, Sanborn, Head & Associates, Inc.; and Matthew Waldrip, Environmental Engineer, Eversource Energy. Recipients were honored on August 10 at the EBC Annual Summer Garden Party in Boston, Massachusetts.

Now in its 25th year, Capaccio lives and breathes its mission of “helping industry and the environment prosper” with a commitment to leading our industrial and institutional clients toward sustainable growth. Through our responsiveness, integrity and cost-effective solutions, we have enabled our clients to become among the leading greenest and financially performing companies. In 2016, CAPACCIO was named #1 Best Firm to Work For by Zweig Group. Visit us at www.capaccio.com or learn more about our total solution the EHS DashboardTM at www.ehsdashboard.com.

 

Why your wastewater treatment system may need a check-up Reply

Industrial wastewater treatment systems serve a key purpose by treating pollutants not capable of being handled by the local municipal treatment system. This helps to reduce pollution and cost to taxpayers to operate and maintain municipal collection and treatment systems.

Why would your wastewater treatment system need an Annual Checkup?

When you receive an annual physical, the doctor checks you for basic vitals…heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, height and weight. A typical wastewater treatment system audit will perform the same function, ensuring that:

  • Permits are current
  • Facility is complying with the key portion of the permit
    • Sampling has been performed
    • Reports have been submitted
  • Regulations are met
    • 257 CMR 2 – Wastewater Grading/Staffing/Operator Certifications
    • 314 CMR 7 – Sewer System Extension and Connection (Permits)
    • 314 CMR 12 – Operation and Maintenance of the IWPS
    • 360 CMR 10 – MWRA Specific Requirements (if applicable)
    • Local regulations
  • System functioning as expected
    • Have alarms been triggered? If so, how frequently?
    • Have there been any discharge violations? Were they reported?

Provided there are not any obvious issues, the doctor (or the auditor) will generally give you the okay and send you on your way. But what happens when the issues are not so clear?  What happens when you complain of some neck and back pain?  Well, you get sent to a specialist where they perform more testing and review more specific symptoms.  The same can be true for a focused review of your industrial wastewater treatment system and programs…take it a step or two beyond the typical audit.

A more effective audit/review should include evaluating the treatment system periodically.

Many treatment systems are designed, installed, and rarely revisited during the lifespan of a facility. This can lead to a variety of lingering problems.  You can treat the symptoms (adjusting the existing treatment system) or you can rid yourself of the disease by addressing the problem causing those symptoms (updating the system itself).  Some problematic areas to review include:

  • Process changes affecting the system’s treatment ability
  • Out-dated controls
  • Alarm notifications when operator is not nearby
  • Lack of secondary containment around chemical addition equipment
  • Limited automation of the system– increasing operator difficulty
  • Manual log maintenance by the operator

Performing an engineering evaluation of your treatment system and identifying/prioritizing areas for improvement can help increase the ease of operation of the system, increase safety to the operators, proactively provide flexibility for future process/manufacturing expansions and improve compliance of the system. Consider the cost in lost production, if the wastewater treatment function was no longer operating.

Just like you need to take care of yourself with an annual check-up, your wastewater treatment system also needs TLC to keep it functioning properly.

As part of our 25th Anniversary, CAPACCIO is offering a free one-hour industrial wastewater treatment system review to ensure it is still performing as it should. These evaluations also provide TCHs for your operators.

To schedule your free evaluation, please contact Matt Melvin, PE, at mmelvin@capaccio.com or 508-970-0033 ext. 143.

Additionally, 2017 is also a TCH renewal year for wastewater treatment operators. Please visit our website at http://www.capaccio.com/services/training/wwt_index.html or contact Matt if you would like to enroll in any of our courses or obtain your TCHs through the free evaluation.

 

New OHS Standard ISO 45001: Progress Towards Finalization Reply

Each year, nearly 2.2 million workers die as a result of an occupational injury or illness. This statistic is burdensome to organizations and society as a whole. To encourage a strong occupational health and safety program, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has been working on the development of a new Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Standard; ISO 45001. This standard aims to provide organizations with the framework to manage the prevention of work related injuries, illnesses, and deaths.

ISO 45001 has been drafted to include many of the same concepts set forth in OHSAS 18001. The main differences between the two standards is that ISO 45001 has a much stronger focus on the context of an organization and requires top management to provide leadership in the development, management, and tracking of their company’s OHS Management System. It is expected that OHSAS 18001 will be withdrawn once the new ISO 45001 standard is published. Organizations certified to OHSAS 18001 will need to transition to ISO 45001 within three years of its publication.

Currently the new OHS Standard is in its second draft. A preview of this version is currently available for review.  For the next four months, the OHS Standard will be undergoing the translation and ballot phase of the review process. If a Final Draft International Standard (FDIS) is not required, the new ISO 45001 standard could be published as early as November 2017. If a FDIS is required, publication could be pushed back to the second quarter of 2018.

For more information please contact Bob King at 508-970-0033 ext. 113 or bking@capaccio.com or Katie Grasso at 508-970-0033 ext. 134 or kgrasso@capaccio.com.