TCEQ approves fines totaling $422,518.50

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality today approved penalties totaling $373,543.50 against 35 regulated entities for violations of state environmental regulations.

Agreed orders were issued for the following enforcement categories: four air quality, one multi-media, three municipal wastewater discharge, five petroleum storage tank, and 15 public water system.

Default orders were issued in the following categories: one multi-media, four petroleum storage tank, and one sludge.

Penalties were also assessed in one petroleum storage tank category following a hearing at the State Office of Administrative Hearings.

In addition, on Sept. 27, the executive director approved a total of 27 agreed orders, each $7,500 or less, totaling $48,975.

The TCEQ’s next regular agenda meeting is scheduled for Oct. 19. Agenda items from today’s meeting can be viewed on the TCEQ website. All agendas are webcast live for free, and archived meetings are available on TexasAdmin.com Exit the TCEQ.

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Fall tips to keep your home lit efficiently

Today is the first day of fall, and this time of year brings fewer and fewer hours of sunlight. This means your home is less expensive to cool. But it also means people will be flipping on the light switch more often. Lighting accounts for as much as 12 percent of your electric bill. That’s more energy than your refrigerator, dishwasher, washer, and dryer all use combined!

Take Care of Texas offers the following facts and tips about keeping your home efficiently well lit:

  • Always turn off lights when you leave a room. Switching off just one lightbulb that would otherwise burn eight hours a day saves you almost $20 per year. Also try timers and photocells that turn lights off automatically.
  • One reason lighting uses so much electricity is because 70 percent of all light sockets still have inefficient incandescent bulbs instead of ENERGY STAR® certified bulbs like CFLs and LEDs. If every household in Texas swapped out just one incandescent bulb for one of these, we could save enough energy to light a home for a year.
  • The energy cost to operate a traditional incandescent bulb for a year is $4.80. By comparison, a CFL costs about $1.20 to operate, and an LED bulb only costs about $1.00.
  • When shopping for efficient bulbs, look for lumens to measure the brightness of the bulb instead of watts. Watts indicate energy consumed and lumens indicate light output. A 1,600-lumen ENERGY STAR® bulb has the same brightness as a 100-watt incandescent bulb but uses less energy.
  • It’s not too early to start thinking about holiday decor. Consider upgrading to strings of ENERGY STAR® certified lights. They can last up to 10 times longer, and they’re also cool to the touch, minimizing the risk of fire. Many LED strings produce the same amount of light as those with incandescent bulbs, but use up to 90 percent less energy.
  • Light fixtures themselves can also be energy hogs. Replacing five fixtures in your home with ENERGY STAR® certified models could save you $75 a year in utility bills. These fixtures, along with ENERGY STAR® bulbs produce less heat than incandescent, which means your air conditioner won’t have to work as hard.

The above tips are also available as an infographic which can be downloaded here.

Visit TakeCareofTexas.org for more ways to conserve energy and water, reduce waste, keep the air and water clean, and save money. Then, pledge to Take Care of Texas, and we’ll mail you a free Texas State Parks Guide.

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TCEQ Approves Fines Totaling $254,041

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality today approved penalties totaling $179,170 against 15 regulated entities for violations of state environmental regulations.

Agreed orders were issued for the following enforcement categories: two air quality, one multimedia, one municipal solid waste, five municipal wastewater discharge, one petroleum storage tank, two public water system, and two water quality.

One default order was issued for the petroleum storage tank enforcement category.

In addition, on Aug. 31 and Sep. 20, the executive director approved a total of 34 agreed orders, each $7,500 or less, totaling $74,871.

The TCEQ’s next agenda meeting is scheduled for Oct. 5, 2016. Agenda items from today’s meeting can be viewed on the TCEQ website. All agendas are webcast live for free, and archived meetings are available on TexasAdmin.com Exit the TCEQ.

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Good news for Beaumont area air quality

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality announced today that efforts have been successful in reducing sulfur dioxide emissions in the Beaumont area. Because of these additional controls, a site in the Beaumont area that previously had high levels now meets the regulatory standard for SO2.

Each year the TCEQ collects an extensive amount of ambient air monitoring data and evaluates the potential for adverse health effects. The TCEQ’s Air Pollutant Watch List program addresses areas in Texas where monitoring data show persistent, elevated concentrations of air toxics. Following a listing, the TCEQ works with existing industry to reduce levels and with new applicants to limit emissions of the identified pollutant. Once levels are reduced and show consistent compliance, a site can be “de-listed” from the APWL.

SO2 levels monitored at Carroll St. Park exceeded the 30-minute standard on two days in 2002, on one day in 2006, and on one day in 2007. The site, located north of a Neches River tributary near Highway 380, southeast of College Street in Beaumont, also had levels above the regulatory standard when measured with mobile monitors in 2003 through 2007. Higher-than-the-standard readings were also measured at an air monitor in downtown Beaumont on two days in 2009 and on one day in 2011. Following significant changes made by local industry to control SO2, implemented as a result of the listing, no exceedances of the standard have been recorded since 2012. In fact, the reported SO2 emissions in the Beaumont area decreased from 3,454 tons per year in 2005 to 828 tons per year in 2014—a 76 percent reduction.

Read more about the APWL sites and successes.

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TCEQ Approves Fines Totaling $334,879

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality today approved penalties totaling $334,879 against 17 regulated entities for violations of state environmental regulations.

Agreed orders were issued for the following enforcement categories: two air quality, two industrial wastewater discharge, one municipal solid waste, one municipal wastewater discharge, five petroleum storage tank, three public water system, and one sludge.

Default orders were issued for the following enforcement categories: one landscape irrigator and one municipal solid waste.

The TCEQ’s next agenda meeting is scheduled for Sept. 21, 2016. Agenda items from today’s meeting can be viewed on the TCEQ website. All agendas are webcast live for free, and archived meetings are available on TexasAdmin.com Exit the TCEQ.

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TCEQ offers grants for hybrid and alternative fuel fleet vehicles

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality announced today that the agency is now accepting grant applications for the Texas Clean Vehicle Fleet Program. The grants encourage businesses, governments, and other entities to replace their large fleets of diesel-powered vehicles with alternative fuel or hybrid vehicles. Up to $5.9 million is available to those that qualify.

Hybrid vehicles, as well as those powered by alternative fuels like electricity, natural gas, hydrogen, propane, and methanol, help reduce both air pollution and consumption of fossil fuels.

Grant applicants must commit to replacing at least 20 diesel-powered vehicles with hybrid or alternative fuel vehicles. Eligible entities may be limited to certain counties in Texas. For a complete list, visit the TCFP Web page.

Grant applications will be accepted until 5:00 p.m., Oct. 18, 2016. For detailed information on how to apply, informational workshops, and grant application forms, go to: www.terpgrants.org or call toll-free at 1-800-919-TERP (8377).

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TCEQ Approves Fines Totaling $682,367

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality today approved penalties totaling $614,572 against 52 regulated entities for violations of state environmental regulations.

Agreed orders were issued for the following enforcement categories: two municipal solid waste, eleven air quality, one multi-media, eight municipal wastewater discharge, five petroleum storage tank, 15 public water system, one waste disposal wells, and six water quality.

Default orders were issued for the following enforcement categories: one multimedia, one petroleum storage tank, and one public water system.

Penalties were also assessed in one municipal solid waste category following a hearing at the State Office of Administrative Hearings.

In addition, on Aug. 16, the executive director approved a total of 27 agreed orders, each $7,500 or less, totaling $67,795.

The TCEQ’s next agenda meeting is scheduled for Sept. 7, 2016. Agenda items from today’s meeting can be viewed on the TCEQ website. All agendas are webcast live for free, and archived meetings are available on TexasAdmin.com Exit the TCEQ.

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TCEQ offers grants for clean transportation and alternative fueling facilities

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality announced today that the agency is now accepting applications for grants to help defray the costs of building or modifying alternative fueling facilities in certain parts of the state. Up to $17.7 million is available to businesses and individuals who qualify.

The facilities will serve as the foundation of a self-sustaining market for alternative fuel in Texas. Developing this network of facilities will create jobs, ensure viable use of clean energy, and will help reduce both air pollution and dependence on fossil fuels.

Eligible fueling stations under the grants include those which dispense natural gas, biodiesel, hydrogen, methanol, propane, or electricity. Facilities receiving grants must be within certain counties in or near the Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Galveston/Brazoria, Austin, San Antonio, and El Paso metropolitan areas. The grants are offered under the Clean Texas Triangle and Alternative Fueling Facilities Programs. For a complete list of eligible counties, visit the CTT/AFFP Web page: www.tceq.texas.gov/airquality/terp/ctt.html

Grant applications will be accepted until Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016, 5:00 p.m. For detailed information on how to apply, informational workshops, and grant application forms, go to: www.terpgrants.org or call toll-free at 1-800-919-TERP (8377).

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TCEQ Approves Fines Totaling $1,038,796

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality today approved penalties totaling $934,351 against 59 regulated entities for violations of state environmental regulations.

Agreed orders were issued for the following enforcement categories: eleven air quality, two industrial hazardous waste, two industrial wastewater discharge, three multi-media, one municipal solid waste, eight municipal wastewater discharge, seven petroleum storage tank, 13 public water system, and eight water quality.

Default orders were issued for the following enforcement categories: two landscape irrigator, one municipal solid waste, and one petroleum storage tank.

Included in the total is a fine of $216,675 against WestRock Texas, LP for water quality violations stemming from failure to comply with permitted effluent limitations between May 2014 and January 2015. In addition, on Aug. 2, the executive director approved a total of 56 agreed orders, each $7,500 or less, totaling $104,445.

The TCEQ’s next agenda meeting is scheduled for Aug. 24, 2016. Agenda items from today’s meeting can be viewed on the TCEQ website.

All agendas are webcast live for free, and archived meetings are available on TexasAdmin.com Exit the TCEQ.

Follow us on Twitter @TCEQNews.

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TCEQ offers grants for emission-reduction efforts

The Texas Commission of Environmental Quality announced today that applications are now being accepted until 5:00 p.m. on Oct. 18, 2016 for New Technology Implementation Grants.

The program is part of the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan, and provides up to $3.5 million in grants for eligible individuals and businesses who build, own, and operate new technologies to reduce emissions from point sources or store electricity related to renewable energy.
There are three NTIG project categories:

  • Advanced Clean Energy projects that involve the use of certain hydrocarbons (coal, natural gas, or petcoke), biomass, solid waste, or derived-hydrogen fuel cells, while meeting minimum emissions reductions requirements      
  • New Technology projects that reduce emissions of regulated pollutants (such as criteria pollutants or hazardous air pollutants) from point sources
  • Electricity Storage projects that store electrical energy related to renewable energy sources

The TCEQ has scheduled a grant application workshop to review the grant requirements and the application process. It will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016 at 1:30 p.m. at 12100 Park 35 Circle, Building F, Room 2210A in Austin. No reservation is required.

For detailed information on how to apply, informational workshops, and grant application forms, go to: www.terpgrants.org or call toll-free at 1-800-919-TERP (8377).

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