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Fall 2005-08 Enforcement delay of Pollution Prevention Regulation

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Number 61
Fall 2005
Private sector obtains pollution prevention regulation relief

Enforcement delay of Pollution Prevention Regulation

Enforcement of the Pollution Prevention Regulation has been delayed for ten months by the Puerto Rico Solid Waste Authority.

This regulation was promulgated on June 1, 2004, pursuant to the authority vested on the Puerto Rico Solid Waste Authority by Act No. 310 of September 2, 2000, commonly referred to as the "Pollution Prevention Act." It became effective on June 30 of the same year.

"Pollutant"

The private sector is particularly affected by the far-reaching requirements of the local regulation as it applies to owners or operators of facilities, public or private, new or existing, which produce pollutants.

"Pollutant" is defined broadly to include any substance, element, compound, mixture or solution which degrades the natural state of air, water, or soils as a direct or indirect result of human activity. The term also includes those substances listed in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Toxic Release Inventory, established under 42 U.S.C. §11023 and 40 C.F.R. Part 372, as amended.

Company policy and T.R.I. report

Of interest to our readers, the regulation calls for affected facilities which emit pollutants to adopt a written company policy on pollution prevention, including a commitment to implement technical and economically feasible alternatives to prevent contamination as part of commercial or industrial processes.

"Major facilities," those having more than ten employees, or which file a Toxic Release Inventory Report with EPA, must prepare and implement an evaluation or audit identifying sources of contamination and technical options to prevent such contamination. The document must identify the amount of pollutants taken out of the production process through recycling initiatives and their source. Air emission releases, wastewater discharges, hazardous and non-hazardous waste production, including recycled wastes, must be accounted for in the document as well.

The first evaluation or audit was due on or before six months of the effective date of the regulation. Thereafter, evaluations or audits are due at the Solid Waste Authority on a biennial basis.

"Minor facilities"

For "minor facilities"-those having fewer than ten employees-requirements are less stringent, and include a Solid Waste Authority site inspection based on an Inspection Guide, to evaluate potential pollution prevention and reduction practices available to the minor facility.

Enforcement delay

Since promulgation of the Pollution Prevention Regulation, the regulated sector has voiced its concern about the onerous nature of several of the planning and reporting requirements.

Recognizing that it will take some time for both the regulated sector and the Solid Waste Authority to establish an effective framework in which to seek enforcement of the some of the regulation's requirements, the agency decided to delay compliance with the regulatory requirements of Chapters 7 and 8 for a ten-month period, as noted by Authority Executive Director Javier Quintana Méndez on September 30, 2005.


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