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A Northwest Industry Roundtable Report

Appendix B: Summary of Environmental Regulations Affecting Shipyards


The following summary provides a general description of laws and regulations that apply to shipbuilding and repair facilities. It is not intended to provide an exhaustive explanation of all applicable requirements imposed by local, state and federal agencies. For further information, contact the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) or other appropriate agencies.

Water Pollution Regulations

Shipyards are regulated by the federal Clean Water Act and Oregon Revised Statutes Chapter 468, which are carried out by DEQ. The department operates a waste discharge permit program for discharges to surface water, groundwater, sewers and storm drains, and issues National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. Facilities that discharge directly to surface water must obtain NPDES permits.

Facilities that discharge to a Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW) are called indirect dischargers, and their discharge permits come from the POTW to which they discharge. Indirect dischargers must meet the following requirements:

The discharge cannot:

Indirect dischargers also must comply with metals and toxic organics concentration limits that are the same as or more strict than those prescribed for direct dischargers.

Other requirements may be imposed by municipalities, sewage agencies and other units of local government.


Air Pollution Regulations

DEQ implements the federal Clean Air Act in Oregon, which now has a federally required Title V Air Operating Permit program for major industrial sources of air pollution. A major source of air emission has the potential to emit 100 tons of any regulated air pollutant.

The 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act direct the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate airborne emissions of 189 Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs). To control emissions of these chemicals, the EPA issues National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs). On Dec. 15, 1995, EPA finalized a rule covering air emissions of HAPs from shipbuilding and ship repair surface coating operations. For emitters of HAPs, a major source has the potential to emit 10 tons of any HAP or 25 tons of any combination of HAPs.

Reducing emissions below the threshhold levels described above can eliminate the need to comply with this standard. However, if compliance with this emissions standard is unavoidable, then all affected shipyards were required to submit an implementation plan by Dec. 16, 1996 and were required to use coatings that meet the emissions limits by Dec. 16, 1997.

This emissions standard has other requirements covering implementation plans, work practices, record-keeping and reporting. More information on these requirements is available through state Small Business Assistance Program representatives or local air quality authorities.

Commercial applicators of spray paint within the Portland Air Quality Management Area must use products that comply with state VOC content limits. Commercial applicators include any person who spray paints or contracts for spray painting for commercial or industrial purposes.


Hazardous and Toxic Materials Regulations

The 1976 Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) put in place a national hazardous waste management system that tracks waste from “cradle to grave.” Amendments enacted in 1984 brought small generators into the system and put into place other requirements, including restrictions on land disposal of hazardous waste, guidelines for underground storage tanks, and waste minimization requirements for hazardous waste generators. Examples of regulated waste streams include copper, zinc, cadmium and other heavy metals.

Wastes are determined to be hazardous if they contain any of the items listed on the U.S. EPA’s list of hazardous wastes or if they have any one of four hazardous properties: ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity or toxicity.

Certain other wastes are automatically defined as hazardous unless they are proved not to be. Wastes in this category that pertain to the ship building and repair industry include wastewater treatment sludges, spent grit from dry sandblasting operations, waste paint chips and dust from hull stripping processes, and spent stripping and cleaning solutions.

Each facility that generates or accumulates hazardous waste is designated as a large quantity generator (LQG), a small quantity generator (SQG) or a conditionally exempt small quantity generator (CEG) based on the monthly quantity of generation and accumulation. Compliance requirements are greater for large quantity generators.


Superfund and Emergency Planning, Community Right-to-Know Regulations

Regulations related to cleanup of contaminated sites, emergency planning, and community right-to-know come from the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980, and the subsequent Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA). SARA includes the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). These laws require reporting of spills that exceed a specified amount, which varies depending on the substance, and reporting on the use, storage and disposal of hazardous materials. Reporting requirements include submitting Material Safety Data Sheets for chemicals used, inventories of chemicals stored on-site, and filing a Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) report for facilities that meet certain criteria.

The TRI is a compilation of information contained in the reports submitted to EPA by companies which are in SIC codes 20-39, have 10 or more full-time employees, and use or process any of the more than 650 chemicals on the toxics chemicals list above specified threshold levels.


Pollution Prevention Planning Regulations

In Oregon, the Toxics Use Reduction and Hazardous Waste Reduction Act of 1990 requires hazardous waste reduction plans from facilities that are large toxics users as defined in the state law, or are LQGs or SQGs as defined in federal hazardous waste regulations. While facilities covered by the laws are required to write a plan and report progress toward reaching plan goals, there is no regulatory requirement for implementing identified pollution prevention opportunities or for reducing chemical usage or releases by a specified amount.

The law is administered by DEQ, which provides technical assistance to businesses and industries required to submit hazardous waste reduction plans.


Other Regulatory Requirements

In addition to the environmental regulations described above, shipyards are affected by a number of occupational safety and health regulations. These include requirements for hazards communication in the workplace, emergency response planning, electrical safety, respiratory protection, flammables storage, and noise protection.


Continue to Appendix C: Contacts and Information Resources.

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This report was developed with grant funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and was a joint project of the Business Assistance Programs in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

© 1999, Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center
phone: 206-352-2050, e-mail: office@pprc.org, web: www.pprc.org