Celebrating Earth Day a Little Differently This Year

Earth Day isn’t ideally spent under shelter-in-place orders. That’s why this Earth Day, our team continues the fight against COVID-19 providing decontamination services, so we can all enjoy being outside sooner.

Emphasizing the importance of sustainability throughout our business practices, we are constantly striving for innovations to reduce hazardous waste impacts. Additionally, in past years we have participated in local initiatives like beach cleanups and e-waste recycling events, extending our commitment from the office to after hours in the community. Although our annual Earth Day events had to be postponed, we continue our movement towards a more sustainable future and look forward to participating in local events whenever we are able.

See here for a list of our coronavirus related services.

ACTenviro’s Decontamination Services

When facing unprecedented challenges, it can be unclear how to ACT. Under the current circumstances, workplace contamination is a significant and pressing concern. Whether it’s proactive or reactive, ACTenviro’s Decontamination Services guarantee a safe and seamless return to work. ACTenviro continues to support and serve our fellow essential industries on the frontlines of this pandemic, ensuring their necessary operation and safety.

Additional COVID-19 Focused Services:

  • Preventative Decontamination Services
  • COVID-19 Decontamination Services
  • Providing field oversight of a contractor’s decontamination/sanitization activities
  • 24/7 Emergency Response Services
  • Environmental, Health, and Safety Consulting Services
    • Back-Up HazMat Technician
    • Back-Up EH&S Roles
  • Continued Onsite Services with open communication
    • Federal Regulations l Regulatory Compliance

Contact your account manager or get a free quote

Labeling Hazardous Waste Containers for Off-Site Transportation

Part 1 of this series covered federal (RCRA) requirements for hazardous waste accumulation labels, and Part 2 covered California accumulation label requirements, but what about labeling requirements for off-site shipment for disposal?

In order to transport a hazardous waste container for disposal, the container must meet U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) requirements for hazardous materials shipments in addition to applicable state/federal hazardous waste labeling requirements, since hazardous waste is, by definition, a hazardous material.

RCRA regulations (40 CFR § 262.32) require the following information on containers prepared for off-site transportation:

  • The words “Hazardous Waste”
  • The statement “Federal Law Prohibits Improper Disposal. If found, contact the nearest police or public safety authority or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.”
  • Generator’s name, address and EPA identification number
  • Manifest Tracking Number
  • EPA Hazardous Waste Codes

DOT regulations (49 CFR § 172.301) also require the following information for non-bulk containers (< 119 gallons):

  • The complete DOT shipping description including UN identification number, “Proper Shipping Name” (PSN), Hazard Class/Division (including subsidiary hazards), Packing Group and “Reportable Quantity” (RQ), if applicable
  • The name and address of the designated recipient
  • DOT hazard label(s) for the material

There are specific size requirements for the UN/NA numbers:

  • The UN/NA number on packages with a maximum capacity of 5 L (1.3 gal.) or 5 kg (11 lbs.) or less “must be marked in a size appropriate for the size for the package”
  • Packages with a maximum capacity of 30 L (8 gal.) or less, or 40 kg (66 lbs.) max. gross weight, or cylinders with a capacity of 60 L (16 gal.) or less must be marked with characters at least 6 mm (0.24 in.) high
  • Larger packages must be marked in characters at least 12 mm (0.47 in.) high

That’s it for hazardous waste shipping labels. We already covered federal and state accumulation container labels in Parts 1 and 2 of this 3-part series. Remember, though, that this is just a brief summary of DOT hazardous materials shipping issues – there are some other DOT issues for bulk shipments (> 119 gallons), some specific requirements for different hazard classes and a variety of exemptions and exceptions.

49 CFR Part 172 has complete information on DOT labeling requirements, but if you have any other questions about off-site shipping, transportation or any other hazardous waste issues, ACTenviro is available to help! Contact us at [email protected].

– James Kapin, MPH, CIH, CSP
Director of EM Services

Safety Is Our Highest Priority, and We Have the Trophy To Prove It

We couldn’t be prouder to have claimed the annual Highest Fleet Winner award from our trucking insurance program group captive! The hardware in the picture is ours to keep and display for a year – just like the Stanley Cup.

This group shot of our San Jose branch and Corporate team members encapsulates several of the factors that put us in position to win awards like this one:

  • Safety is the first of ACTenviro’s core values (“The foundation of our culture – not a goal, an expectation.”)
  • We have a named safety program, proACTive, as shown on the banner that drivers see each time they exit our yard
  • proACTive has four cores of its own, which are represented by the acronym I CARE:
    • Involvement
    • Commitment
    • Accountability & Rewards
    • Expectations
  • Further to the Commitment point, the picture was taken after one of our frequent, branch-wide safety meetings
  • The trophy itself is being held up by Nicole Martinez, one of the co-chairs of our San Jose branch’s employee-led safety committee

We at ACTenviro have a lot to celebrate over the holiday season, but nothing is worthier of celebration than sending our employees home safe to their families at the end of each workday. To everyone who had a hand in us winning this award, congratulations!

Preparing RCRA LQG 2019 Biennial Reports – We’re Here if You Need Us

Federal regulations require all RCRA hazardous waste Large Quantity Generators (LQGs) to submit a report, every 2 years, summarizing the waste they generated and where it went. This “Biennial Report” is due by March 1 of each even-numbered year, and it covers hazardous waste generated the previous year (2019, this go-round).

You may ask, “How do I know whether this applies to me?” Simple:

  • You are a RCRA LQG if your site generates in any month more than 1,000 kilograms of hazardous waste, more than 1 kg of acutely hazardous (P-list) waste or more than 100 kg of acute hazardous waste spill debris or residue.
  • Only RCRA hazardous waste counts towards this total, not non-RCRA waste (for California generators), universal waste or medical waste.

The Biennial Report includes the EPA Site Identification (Site ID) form for your site plus one “waste generation and management” (GM) form for each RCRA waste generated, with certain exclusions and exceptions. More information on the forms and reporting requirements can be found at https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2019-11/documents/excerpt_biennial_report_rcra_subtitlec_forms_and_instructions_september_2019.pdf.

For California generators, Biennial Reports must be submitted through the EPA RCRAInfo system (https://rcrainfo.epa.gov/rcrainfoprod/action/secured/login). Other states may have different requirements for submittal. Whatever your state, reports for 2019 activities are due by March 1, 2020, so it’s high time to start preparing and gathering your hazardous waste information!

If you have any questions or, better yet, would like assistance preparing your 2019 Biennial Report, please reach out to your ACTenviro account manager. If you don’t already have an account manager, email us at [email protected] and we will route you to the appropriate person.

– James Kapin, head of the ACTenviro EMS team

Need Hazardous Waste Sampling and Analysis? Know These Things First

At ACTenviro, we assist our clients in sampling and analyzing chemicals for multiple different purposes, including:

  • – Industrial hygiene monitoring
    – Waste determination
    – Site clearance

Once collected either by ACTenviro field staff, our clients or, occasionally, third parties, samples are taken to certified local environmental laboratories in our respective locations for analysis. In some cases, the certified lab performs the collection, too.

Alternatively, our technicians may conduct analysis of field samples while at the job site, testing liquids for corrosivity levels with pH strips or using Spilfyter-brand classifier strips to detect the presence of certain contaminants in surface residue.

Regulatory Overview (California-Specific)
The Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP) is responsible for implementing the California Environmental Laboratory Improvement Act of 1989. Per the California Water Boards,

  • Under the Act, accreditation is required of an environmental laboratory for producing analytical data for California regulatory agencies, such as the Division of Drinking Water (DDW), The Department of Toxic Substances Control, the State Water Resources Control Board, the Regional Water Quality Control Boards, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The data may be used to demonstrate compliance with applicable requirements of drinking water, wastewater, food for pesticide residues, shellfish testing, and hazardous waste sections of the California Health and Safety and Water Codes.

ELAP’s mission is to “implement a sustainable accreditation program that ensures laboratories generate environmental and public health data of known, consistent, and documented quality to meet stakeholder needs.” In California, ACTenviro partners exclusively with ELAP-certified laboratories.

Certified Analysis
Samples collected for certified analysis are typically either wipe samples, solid soil samples or liquid samples. The laboratories typically provide ACTenviro or our clients setups that are prepared ahead of time with deionized (DI) water or pre-saturated with methanol, hexane or nitric acid.

Samples that are collected in the field by ACT or others are documented on a Chain of Custody (COC) form that details the sample ID number, date and time sampled, matrix, and number and type of containers, as well as the analysis required and specific turnaround time (TAT) requested. Check out the picture accompanying this piece for more detail on the COC form.

Wipe Samples
Wipe samples are collected by ACTenviro personnel that have been trained to follow the Brookhaven National Laboratory Protocol for Surface Wipe Sampling for metals. The guidelines can be found here. Typically, wipes can be utilized for detecting the presence of metals, VOC, SVOC or for verifying pH levels. Wipe samples are often collected as support evidence to validate the effectiveness of cleaning and decontamination efforts for site closures or employee
exposure mitigation.

Sampling plans including statistical analysis may be prepared for complex projects. In simpler situations, we merely sample the surfaces most likely to have been exposed to chemicals or contaminated residues, as required by the client and/or regulatory agency.

Liquid Samples
Liquid samples are often collected for storm water discharge analysis or for waste determination purposes such as analysis for water content, metals analysis, etc.

Solids or Soils Samples
Bulk solids are typically also periodically collected for waste determination and soil samples are also collected for waste determination or site clearance.

Soil samples are typically collected into soil sleeves while bulk samples are collected into plastic containers.

Conclusion
It is critical to sample following strict procedures and protocols. Should you need any sampling done, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or any of my colleagues. We would be glad to help.

– Adam Brandin, Director of Sales

Educating SJSU Students on Careers for STEM Graduates in Environmental Services

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We recently hosted a booth at an undergrad STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) job fair at San José State University. As a company, ACTenviro is an official partner of the university, which affords us prime opportunities – such as this one – to meet with students and discuss careers with us.

This year, we were able to meet with many students, whose bright futures and keen interest in our ever-more-important field of environmental services made them great candidates for positions at ACTenviro.

Joining the HR team at the fair were SJSU alums Sameei Al Khafaji and Evan Havens, who knew not only the campus but some of the actual individuals – including Evan’s old buddy Sammy Spartan. Sameei and Ryan Spartz had helped set the table the day before the job fair by attending and presenting an introductory talk on ACTenviro to a chemical engineering class on campus.

This experience highlighted the revamped and upgraded recruiting program we are beginning to roll out. As we continue to grow rapidly, we are always on the lookout for our next generation of team members. If you like the sound of being part of something that is rewarding for both your career and the health of the planet, check out our Careers page!

Congratulating Ron Martinez, ACTenviro’s First Million-Miler!

Ron Martinez Collage

We could not be prouder of Ron Martinez, the first member of our Million-Miler Club. Ron is a true road warrior, who always does his job with a smile – as you can see from these photos. Ron and his colleagues had a great time celebrating his memorable milestone this month.

Clockwise from top left, Ron shows off his Million-Miler Club Members Only jacket (if you lived through the 1980s, you surely remember those); his namesake decal on his trusty rig; and his club membership certificate, alongside ACTenviro Transportation Manager Russ Cowperthwaite (both pictures), Director of Compliance Krista Harsono and Vice President of Operations Pasquale Paduano.

While he obviously calls the road “home” quite often, Ron makes his permanent home in Albuquerque and is based at our ACTtreatment facility there. When not eating up miles, Ron enjoys spending time with his daughters, Tasha and Katie. Katie, a senior in high school, plays soccer and basketball and can always find Ron in the crowd cheering her on.

Originally from Nebraska, Ron is a huge Cornhuskers fan. In addition to spending lots of time with his family, Ron feeds the homeless with his church on the first Sunday of every month.

Please join us in giving Ron kudos on his incredible achievement – on to the next million, Ron!

Introducing Tyler Kopet, Our New Chief Financial Officer

toperWe’re delighted to announce the hire of our new CFO, Tyler Kopet!

Tyler’s wide range of expertise spans not only traditional accounting and finance but acquisitions, human resources, I.T., risk management and strategic planning. Tyler has spent more than two decades financing growing companies as well as integrating acquisitions. In addition, he has led five companies through these diverse types of ownership transitions: private sale, employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) and private equity backing.

Tyler started his career in public accounting as a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) in the audit assurance role. Since leaving public accounting, he has been the CFO of four companies across the mechanical and electrical contracting, tug and barge transportation, petroleum and chemical terminal, shipbuilding, and, most recently, environmental remediation industries.

Tyler has a B.A. in Business Administration and Accounting from Eastern Washington University. A Seattle-area resident, he has been married 29 years and has six children and eight grandchildren, with a couple more on the way. He enjoys mountain biking as well as coaching kids in collegiate wrestling and soccer.

Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Tyler. Tyler, we look forward to many years of success and partnership with you!