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Agency Documents , Alerts, Comments
EPA's PCB Data Request Letter to 23 Companies (Oct. 26, 2011)
EPA Science Advisory Board Grants Deadline Extension for Comments on PCB Expert Panel (Aug. 9, 2011)
Coalition Request to EPA for Extension of Time to Comment on Expert Panel (Aug. 5, 2011)
Health Study: Japanese PCB Study of Yusho Patients Shows No Increased Mortality Risk (Feb. 2011)
AGA /Multi-party Letter to EPA Requesting Additional 45 Days to Comment on PCB Advance Notice (July 20, 2010)
AGA PCB Testimony at EPA Hearing in Chicago (May 18, 2010)
AGA Cover Letter for PCB Response to EPA (Nov. 18, 2009)
AGA PCB Response to EPA (Nov. 18, 2009)
PCB Survey Additional Responses (Nov. 6, 2009)
USWAG Letter Supporting GE Comments on PCB Dioxin-Like Toxic Equivalence Guidance (Oct. 28, 2009)
USWAG Letter to EPA re Environmental Justice NY PCB Building Caulk Suit (Oct. 27, 2009)
EPA Letter to AGA Regarding Oct. 17, 2008 PCB Meeting (Dec. 18, 2008)
PCB Inspection at a Gas & Electric Utility in Region 3: Alert and EPA PCB Inspection Checklist (July 19, 2006)
Notes from NAS Committee Meeting on Assessment of the Health Implications of Exposure to Dioxin (November 22, 2004)
USWAG Letter to EPA Region 5 Describing Electric Utility PCB Reduction Programs (Jan. 29, 2004)
New AGA PCB Task Group Is Developing Recommended PCB Rule Changes (Jan. 14, 2004 Alert)
AGA PCB Update - AGA PCB Workshop - EPA Q&A Session - EPA Plans (Nov. 10, 2003)
Letter and Task Order from EPA to NAS for Report Evaluating Science for the Dioxin Reassessment and "Appropriateness of Including Dioxin-Like PCBs" (Oct. 29, 2003)
AGA Alert - EPA Issues Interpretive Statement Saying PCB Ban on Distribution in Commerce Does NOT Apply to Real Property (August 14, 2003)
EPA Interpretive Statement Clarifying that TSCA Ban (August 14, 2003)
PCB Spills on Concrete - EPA Finally Revises C.F.R. To Remove Court-Vacated Requirement (June 20, 2003)
Meeting with EPA on PCB Fix-it Rule (May 22, 2003)
USWAG Recommended Amendments to PCB Mega Rule (April 2003)
USWAG Response to EPA Contractor re: Impact of Possible PCB Rule Changes on Electric Utilities (August 29, 2002)
Good News! EPA Clarifies Distribution in Commerce Ban Does Not Restrict Sales of Natural Gas Pipe Systems; AGA Still Seeking Broader Clarification for Real Property (July 26, 2002)
EPA Contractor Letter Seeking Information about PCB Rule Revision Impacts (July 17, 2002)
EPA Letter Clarifying that PCB Distribution in Commerce Does Not Restrict Sales of Natural Gas Systems (July 15, 2002)
Transco Settles with Justice Dept - $1.4 million civil penalty & corrective action along gas pipeline for PCB, hazardous waste, and storm water discharge issues (March 4, 2002 Federal Register notice)
Letter to Michael Shapiro, EPA, Regarding PCB Distribution in Commerce (Feburary 20, 2002)
Court Decision Overturns PCB 'Technical Rule' for Contrete and Other Porous (Jan. 30, 2001)
PCB Technical Rule Court Decision in USWAG v. EPA (Jan. 30, 2001)
EPA Final Rule Defers Land Disposal Restrictions for PCBs in Metal-Contaminated Soil (January 29, 2001)
AGA Alert - Court Issues Decision on PCB Mega Rule (Aug. 22, 2000)
Final Pipeline PCB Abandonment and Disposal Q&A Guidance (March 1999)
Final Pipeline PCB Use and Reuse Authorization Q&A Guidance (March 1999)
PCB Technical Corrections Rule, 64 Fed. Reg. 33755 (June 24, 1999)
Highlights of Questions & EPA Answers at the AGA PCB Workshop (July 29, 1998)
PCB Mega Rule Amendments, 63 Fed. Reg. 35384 (June 29, 1998)
The Complete PCB Rule - 40 C.F.R. Part 761
Photo Gallery

 Highlights of Questions & EPA Answers at the AGA PCB Workshop (July 29, 1998) 

General Process Question:

1. How should obvious/typographical errors be handled?

Answer: EPA is still reviewing the regulations and all spelling and typographical errors will be corrected in the final rule through technical corrections. Changes will be posted on EPA's web site. EPA urged people to call in if they locate any such errors. Also a compendium of questions and answers posed by stakeholders will be available on EPA's web site.

"Potential Source" Questions:

2. What is a potential source? What is not a potential source?

Answer: The intent is to leave the definition of a source flexible. If PCB's are introduced upstream of the system, then the gas utility is not introducing PCBs in a source. A source would be present if the gas utility introduced materials containing PCBs into their system (such as oil in compressors.)

[Note: We anticipate further clarification from EPA in what EPA is calling its Q&A Protocol.]

3. How can you document the absence of a source of PCB on your system?

Answer: Use historical data gathered from liquid collection points.

4. Please clarify if a valve can be considered a "source" (related to grease)?

The intent of the PCB regulations was to focus on removing PCBs from the system in areas where they are known to be located. Valves and other "little things" were not intended to be defined as sources.

[Note: We anticipate further clarification from EPA in what EPA is calling its Q&A Protocol.]

5. Are gas meters considered "sources" under the rule?

Answer: No. The intent was to focus on the large problems such as oils in compressors. The regulation was designed to allow flexibility to treat PCBs where they create large problems in the system and provides a break for smaller points in the system. EPA reiterated that a source would include oils that were introduced into the system by the LDC such as compressors or electrical systems and where such oils were used as part of the mechanical systems. If oils containing PCBs were not deliberately introduced into the equipment for a useful purpose, then the equipment is not a source.

[Note: We anticipate further clarification from EPA in what EPA is calling its Q&A Protocol.]

Use Authorization Question:

6. Do engineering measures/methods under the use authorization to reduce PCB concentration include the continuing and ongoing removal of pipeline liquids or condensates?

Answer: Yes

Characterization & Sampling Questions:

7. Can historical records be used for purposes of characterizing pipe for abandonment or disposal?

Answer: Historical records can be used to define "use" in continuing to comply with the regulation. However, gas utilities must characterize pipe for disposal at the time of disposal. If historical records consistently show no contamination in the area of disposal, there is no need to retest before disposal.

8. Can we collect "historical" samples between now and August 28, 1998? Is this a grace period?

Answer: Yes, natural gas utilities can test at any time before August 28, 1998, and these samples will be considered historical samples (see, 761.30). However, it is risky to rely on a small data set to presume you have a certain level of contamination. You should never rely on a single sample when considering historical contamination.

9. Before abandonment of pipeline 74" diameter, what are the limits on length of pipe to be tested and to be abandoned (contiguous section of pipe)? Must they be pigged if there are no liquids present at the ends?

Answer: There is no length restriction for testing pipe. You should take samples at the two ends of the pipe to be abandoned. There should be no free flowing liquids in pipe that is scheduled for abandonment.

10. How does the EPA intend to deal with pre-August 1998 abandonment if in the future it is discovered that PCB's greater than 50ppm leached from abandoned pipe?

Answer: The Mega Rule is effective after August 28, 1998. Actions taken before that date are under the jurisdiction of EPA's Enforcement Section.

11. What are the guidelines for wipe-sampling irregular surfaces; e.g. compressor internal parts?

Answer: Subpart P, 761.316(c) defines sampling for small irregular surfaces. Also 761.308 defines sampling protocol for flat surfaces (see page 34567). If either protocol is not sufficient, the company can propose an alternate sampling protocol under 761.79(h). Also the company still has the option to continue using existing ATPs.

12. What can you do to show that liquids have been removed? (It is not economical or realistic to pig distribution systems - entire subdivisions containing valves, etc.)

Answer: If you check for liquids in the low collection points there is no need to check at the higher elevations (EPA assumes that liquids will collect at the low spots via gravity.) The company needs to evaluate presence or lack of presence of liquids from the low collection point samples.

13. How should one treat water that has come in contact with PCBs (such as liquids found in low pressure drips)? If low pressure distribution pipe that is classified as greater than 50 ppm is infiltrated by water (from infiltration of groundwater, flood or broken water main), can low pressure water be sampled and then disposal handled in accordance with the PCB test on the infiltration water?

Answer: 761.79(b)(1) provides options for disposal of material contaminated with PCBs (see page 35458).

14. May we use a GIS (mapping database) based map to describe our system?

Answer: YES.

15. Can you mix liquids containing levels between 50-500 ppm together? Can you mix liquids less than 50 ppm? Can you mix liquids that are all above 500 ppm?

Answer: Yes. The batch will be regulated at the level of the greatest hit. The liquids are regulated at the time of removal from the system and must be tested before they are mixed with liquids from other generation points.

Inaccessible Pipe Question:

16. Why was the provision for abandonment under roads and streams deleted? Final rule has different language.

Answer: It was taken out because it was duplicative. 761.60(a)(5)(i)(C) (see page 35446 middle of the column) allows for the same disposal options without the location restriction.

End User & Customer Line Question:

17. Does the rule for less than 4" pipe apply to every short segment of customer service line (half inch) that may be replaced? A) service lines? B) customer owned service lines?

Answer: Under 761.30(I) "use" provision, the regulations apply only to sellers or distributors of natural gas -- not to the customers or third parties.

The applicability of 761.60 to customers will be answered in the EPA's Q&A protocol.

Sampling for Abandonment of Pipe in Subdivision:

18. Can you cap or sample at two ends when the pipe has more than two ends? References are made to sampling and/or capping at both ends. Not all sections of pipe to be abandoned are linear and therefore may have multiple ends. Must one sample or cap at all ends, or only two main ends?

Answer: You MUST cap at all ends when abandoning pipe

EPA Contact Question:

19. Abandonment is not listed as a separate specific issue on the FOB contact handout. Who at EPA should we talk to about that subject?

Answer: Denise Cucera.

PCB Spill Questions:

20. Does any quantity of PCB spill trigger the cleanup requirements? Please clarify if any small quantity of PCB spill triggers the PCB Remediation Waste requirement (i.e., contact EPA Region with characterization, plan, etc.)

Answer: 761.61(a) defines requirements related to spill cleanup. Also 761.125(a)(1) sets out the reporting requirements in addition to reporting requirements triggered by other relevant regulations (Clean Water Act, CERCLA, NCP etc). The spill cleanup policy is optional and there is no EPA enforcement as long as the company complies on its own.

21. If you have a PCB spill after the effective date of the new rule that contaminates equipment, can you cleanup the equipment per the PCB spill cleanup policy and continue to use the equipment or as a condition of continued use must you also decontaminate it per new 761.79 in addition to the spill policy?

Answer: You can continue to use the equipment after cleaning it in accordance with the spill cleanup requirements. See, 761.20(c)(5) and 761.30(u).

Recycling & Reuse & Storage for Reuse Questions:

22. What can you do with pipe that has been slated for reuse for another purpose at a later date? In other words, how specific must "location" information be for reuse storage? It is difficult to say where a valve or any other piece of equipment may be used five years from now.

Answer: Companies can store pipe that has an identified reuse in accordance with 761.35. However, this section was not intended for pipe that does not have an intended reuse. "It needs to be usable where you say it is usable." EPA's intent was to decrease the use of pipe as scrap where material is not used -- to reduce the amount of scrap just lying around at a junk dealers.

23. What are the physical requirements (diking, berms) for storage of dry pipe PCB Articles for Disposal?

Answer: EPA borrowed the storage procedures from the RCRA program. See 761.65(c)(9) (see page 35454; 1st column). Also, if an applicable method is not provided a company can propose a risk-based storage procedure to the EPA.

24. The Mega-Rule permits reuse of contaminated pipe for uses such as electrical cable, optic fiber. How does this relate to distribution in commerce prohibition? (see 761.30)

Answer: This will be answered in EPA's Q&A Protocol.

25. In subdivisions, where all of the main is being renewed, the main may be cut in 30 different places. Is it necessary to test at every one of these places even if they are not very far away from each other? Will testing of the main feeds into the area be enough without having to breakup the pipeline segment every 40'?

Answer: Should apply for 761.62(c) risk based sampling approval. Need to state in application the basis of presumption that the different subdivisions of the pipe contain the same level of contamination. However, if samples are taken from multiple sections they can be subdivided.

Decontamination Question:

26. What decontamination procedures require a permit?

Answer: Any procedures not listed in 761.79 require a permit. EPA's intent was to allow low impact decontamination procedures. High impact procedures are those that involve heat or pressure.

Disposal, Abandonment and Storage for Disposal Questions:

27. Can large pipe (74' diameter) be abandoned if wipe tests show 50- 500 ppm PCB's ? Can it be abandoned using Nitrogen Gas, caps and Cathodic Protection?

Answer: Once pipe is abandoned the intent is to prohibit reuse of the pipe by a third party. Therefore, one needs to have a permanent abandonment measure such as filling pipe with grout.

28. Can caution tape be used to alert parties that pipe was contaminated?

Answer: This procedure would need to be submitted as an alternate disposal measure under the risk-based approach. See section 761.62©. However, a more permanent option would most likely be required.

29. With respect to equipment from affiliated companies that we want to consolidate for disposal, the rule clarifies that a company can accept such equipment without becoming a "commercial storer" (see revised definition of "commercial storer") Is there a similar exception from manifesting? Can we send the equipment to an affiliate in internal documents or do we have to use a uniform manifest?

Answer: This will be answered in EPA's Q&A Protocol.

30. Can products other than cement be used to abandon pipe less than 4" that runs under rivers or streams? Section 761.60(b)(5)(i)(C)(2) refers to "any diameter" and requires that when pipe is filled, it must be 50% filled with cement, if it runs under a river or stream. Does the requirement for cement fill apply to less than four inch diameter pipe or does 761.60 (B)(S)(i)(A)(2) apply? (761.60 (B) (S) (i) (A) (2) is silent on rivers and streams).

Answer: This section is not attempt to trump abandonment options allowed for 4" pipes. Therefore can use other options than cement. Cement was chosen for pipe with diameters over 4" because of its greater permanence.

PCB Marking Questions:

31. Where a natural gas utility owns the customer meters, whether industrial or residential, and the meter has liquids greater than 50 ppm, must the utility mark the meter with mark L? (creating public concern).

Answer: Yes. See section 761.30. Also the Preamble states that above-ground units with potential exposure of liquids would trigger marking/labeling requirements. (page 35396)

More on Recycling and Smelters:

32. Do recyclers and smelters commonly meet the requirements of scrap metal recovery under 761.72?

Answer: Yes. EPA knows of at least several that are currently complying with the PCB regulations.

Remedial Actions under Existing Consent Orders:

33. Will promulgation of Mega-Rule impact or change remediation actions that are proceeding under existing consent orders? If so, please explain.

Answer: Section 761.61(a)(10(ii) (page 35448; column 2) provides for self-implementing cleanup. This is not bound nor does it supersede other cleanup requirements. This is not a mandatory provision, and the company can request to do a risk-based cleanup governed under 761.61(c).

Another Characterization Question:

34. Is the use of organic solvents for characterization of PCBs required?

Answer: EPA will clarify this in the Q&A Protocol.


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