March 1, 2009

Within the past few years the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), state and local regulators in certain parts of the county, including Minnesota, have been increased the frequency of checking the condition of plating room floors. Regulators are concerned that incidental spillage of plating materials during drag out and as a result of other plating operations can degrade floor surfaces over time. Regulators maintain that plating materials can be released through cracks in the floors into underlying soils underneath the source and, in certain cases, pose a threat to groundwater resources.

Regulators from the EPA, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and metropolitan counties have increased the frequency of their inspections of plating and metal finishing facilities. Regulators have cited numerous plating and metal finishing operations in the Twin Cities and outstate Minnesota for violations of “preparedness and preparation” regulations that apply to hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facilities and generators of hazardous waste. The MPCA is recommending that hazardous waste generators adopt floor management plans that provide for frequent floor inspections, the rapid cleanup of spills, additional training of employees who work with these issues, an assessment of the condition of plating surfaces (including floors under operating lines and tanks), and, where appropriate, repair and replacement of deteriorated floors. Implementation of these measures will require considerable efforts and, in many cases, substantial financial resources.

A copy of the MPCA’s floor management plan is found at:http://www.pca.state.mn.us/publications/w-hw3-46b.doc.  An MPCA Fact Sheet describing “Floor Management Plans for the Metal Finishing Industry” is found at:http://www.pca.state.mn.us/publications/w-hw3-46a.pdf.    Hessian & McKasy environmental attorney Joseph Maternowski has represented numerous plating and metal finishing operations in enforcement actions brought by federal, state and local authorities.

Mr. Maternowski is a shareholder at Hessian & McKasy and serves as Chair of the Firm’s Environmental Law Attorney Practice Group. For information on legal service packages including those related to enforcements and compliance matters, please see:http://www.enviroattorney.net/sample-price-list.php

The views expressed here are my own and do not reflect the views of my employer, Hessian & McKasy. P.A.

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