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Regulatory News

EPA Proposes Adjustment to Two-Step New Source Review Process

August 29, 2019

On August 9, 2019 EPA proposed the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Nonattainment New Source Review (NNSR): Project Emissions Accounting regulation to clarify and eliminate uncertainty relating to Step 1 of the New Source Review applicability process. EPA had previously issued the Project Emissions Accounting Under the New Source Review Preconstruction Program memorandum explaining that EPA interprets NSR regulations to allow emissions decreases, as well as increases, to be considered during Step 1 of the NSR applicability process as long as the decreases and increases are part of the single project being assessed. The August 2019 rule proposes revisions to the NSR regulations to codify this approach of including both increases and decreases resulting from the project. The rule also proposes to withdraw the Project Netting Proposal released in 2006. The comment period for the proposed rule closes on October 8, 2019.
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Regulatory News

What’s Going on with WOTUS?

May 2, 2019

Last year, Blackstone shared an article explaining that the definition of the waters of the United States (WOTUS) was in limbo. The 2015 Clean Water Rule attempted to provide a clearer definition of WOTUS but has been under numerous court challenges. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) published a proposal to rescind the Clean Water Rule in July 2017, and in February 2018, finalized a delay of the effective date of the Clean Water Rule to February 6, 2020 (the Applicability Date Rule) while they worked on a new rule to replace it. A year later we are still in limbo without a clear definition, but with one on the way. Over the past year there have been lawsuits over the Applicability Date Rule, a court case ruling that delay of lawsuits opposing the 2015 Clean Water Rule were unwarranted, a nationwide injunction issued for the Applicability Date rule, a court vacatur of the Applicability Date rule, court…
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Company News

Alternative Earthen Final Cover Services

April 23, 2019

Blackstone Environmental provides design, monitoring and evaluation services to landfills in the implementation and management of the Alternative Earthen Final Cover (AEFCs). Native grasses, wild flowers, shrubs and trees are key for areas surrounding landfills to eventually mimic the natural state before landfill development, and sustained biodiversity as a result of trees and grasses will provide food sources for different wildlife species. AEFCs are constructed to perform as well as Subtitle D caps and are more cost effective and sustainable over the long term. Additional benefits include final covers that provide a naturally sustainable, ecosystem-based design requiring less maintenance and offering improved structural integrity, water uptake, vegetation health, nutrient recycling and wildlife/aesthetic characteristics. For more information about Blackstone’s AEFC services, contact Kyle Kukuk at 913-956-6223. Photos: Taken at Hamm Sanitary Landfill (HSL) last month outside of Lawrence, Kansas. HSL has been approved under the Kansas Department of Health and Environment Research, Development and Demonstration regulations to construct an AEFC.
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Company News

Project Profile: Stormwater Channel Restoration

January 29, 2019

Blackstone Environmental recently provided water resource engineering to an industrial facility in Nebraska to assist in replacement of an undersized storm water culvert and restoration of channel riprap lining and vegetation. Project An existing channel crossing the culvert system, which consisted of multiple circular corrugated metal pipes, did not provide adequate hydraulic capacity or have the ability to pass woody debris downstream. The existing culverts needed replacement, and the client requested a box culvert to improve hydraulic capacity through the channel. Existing channel banks downstream of the culvert crossing were eroding due to lack of riprap and exposure to the elements over many years. The native soils are highly erodible, which was evident in multiple areas of the storm water channel. Services This project included water resource engineering, streambank stabilization and Corps of Engineers environmental permitting. Blackstone designed a new concrete box culvert for an access road crossing for the main storm water channel running through the facility. The existing culvert was undersized and was…
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Solid Waste News

U.S. Faces Waste Recycling Challenges

January 29, 2019

Changing Markets in China and National Sword Policy By now, most everyone in the solid waste industry and many outside the industry are familiar with China’s National Sword Policy, which became effective in February 2018. The bans, restrictions and tougher contamination standards are an effort by China to improve air quality, reduce pollution and prevent illegal waste smuggling. In the short-term, National Sword and other policy changes are creating major challenges for U.S. recyclers to find new markets or reduce contamination in their materials (since 1992, China has imported 106 million metric tons of plastic waste, or 45% of all plastic waste). In some areas, recyclable materials are ending up in landfills, and municipalities are canceling curbside recycling programs. Over the long-term, it will change the way the U.S. deals with its waste, and hopefully create opportunities for innovation and the development of new domestic markets. A new international organization, the Global Alliance to End Plastic Waste, was established earlier this year to develop solutions…
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Regulatory News

Recent EPA Policy Guidance for Air Quality Permitting

September 13, 2018

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released an applicability letter and draft policy memo that have a notable effect on how stationary source determinations are made for air quality permitting. EPA defines “stationary source” in the federal construction permitting regulations (40 CFR Parts 51 and 52) and the Title V operating permit regulations (40 CFR Parts 70 and 71) as all pollutant-emitting activities that meet three criteria: Belong to the same industrial grouping (same two-digit SIC code); Are located on contiguous or adjacent properties; and Are under control of the same person (or persons under common control). Aggregation of Facilities Using the Common Control Factor On April 30, 2018, EPA issued a letter to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection in response to a request for EPA to review whether Meadowbrook Energy LLC and Keystone Sanitary Landfill, Inc. should be aggregated for air permitting purposes. This memo establishes EPA’s revised interpretation for assessing “common control” when evaluating whether two facilities should be considered…
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Company News

Blackstone’s Scott Mattes and Emily Smart receive EPA L.E.A.F.S. Award

April 25, 2018

Blackstone Environmental is pleased to announce that Scott Mattes and Emily Smart were among the named recipients of an EPA L.E.A.F.S. award made to the City of Dubuque on Thursday, April 19, 2018, for their work on the Peoples Natural Gas Superfund Site redevelopment in Dubuque, IA. The prestigious L.E.A.F.S. award was established by EPA Region 7 to recognize those who have supported the Superfund Redevelopment Initiative through innovative thinking, sustainable practices, and environmental stewardship. A responsible party, developer, site owner, nonprofit, local government or community member who has demonstrated excellence in working cooperatively with Region 7 to guarantee the redevelopment of a Superfund Site is eligible to receive the L.E.A.F.S award. The City’s vision for this Site was executed by a large group of project partners, including multiple federal and state agencies, several responsible parties, consultants, contractors, and a dedicated City Project Management team. The construction of a beautiful and functional bus storage facility and training center on this Superfund Site improved the property,…
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Regulatory News

Superfund Target Lists Released

March 1, 2018

In May 2017, a Superfund Task Force was formed to provide recommendations to streamline and improve the Superfund Program. In July 2017, the Superfund Task Force recommended that EPA develop a list to target Superfund sites for immediate and intense action. This list was developed considering sites that would benefit from the Administrator’s direct engagement and that require timely resolution of specific issues to expedite cleanup and redevelopment efforts. The list is dynamic and will change as sites need to move on and off of the list. EPA has published a list of these sites targeted for immediate and intense action as of December 8, 2017. In January 2018, also in response to Task Force recommendations, EPA released a list of the initial Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) sites with the greatest expected redevelopment and commercial potential. EPA has indicated that they will focus redevelopment training, tools and resources towards the sites on this list.
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Regulatory News

Once In Always In Policy for NESHAP Major Sources Withdrawn

March 1, 2018

In January 2018, EPA issued a guidance memorandum that withdrew the long-standing “once in always in” policy for the classification of major sources of hazardous air pollutants under section 112 of the Clean Air Act, the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants or NESHAPs. A major source of HAPs is a stationary source that has the potential to emit 10 tons per year or more of any HAP or 25 tons per year or more of a combination of HAPs. An area source is a stationary source that does not emit HAPs above these thresholds. EPA’s previous guidance under the Seitz Memo, in place since 1995, stated that once a source became a major source of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), they could not be reclassified as an area source even if potential HAP emissions drop below major source thresholds. Once they were “in” as a major source, that facility would always be in. The new policy allows these sources previously classified as major sources…
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