2020 Environmental Compliance Regulations Are Focused on These 3 Areas

Posted by Benjamin Meskin on Dec 26, 2019 8:42:00 AM
Benjamin Meskin

City with poor air qualityThe new compliance regulations for 2020 were put in place to help in many areas of environmental concern.

EPA Compliance Regulations to Know

From improving air quality to ensuring that more people have clean and safe drinking water, these rules can assist in protecting the environment and all who inhabit it. However, these rules place stricter regulations on various industries, including those involved in supply chain management. It’s imperative that you understand these changes enforced by the EPA to reduce your shipping risk.

This year's NCI compliance regulations focus on three areas: air quality, drinking water, and environmental chemicals.

Focus#1: Improving Air Quality 

Three out of seven of the Environmental Compliance Regulations for 2020 aimed to help improve our air quality. They include:

Reducing the Release of Toxic Pollutants from Various Sources 

This National Compliance Initiative (NCI) focuses on decreasing the harmful emissions of VOCs, as well as hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). With VOC releases, the focus is on substantial sources that have a strong impact on the quality of the air we breathe. Common VOCs include Acetone, Benzene, Ethanol, and Carbon Disulfide. This NCI could affect the NAAQS or National Ambient Air Quality Standards. It could also affect some vulnerable populations.

When it comes to hazardous air pollutants, the NCI’s primary focus is those sources that have the most significant impact on air quality and health. These regulations comply with the current NCI that focuses on reducing the number of hazardous air pollutants. The most common HAPs include perchloroethylene, methylene chloride, dioxin, asbestos, and toluene.

Decreasing Harmful Emissions from Waste Facilities 

Here is a current NCI already enforced that will continue to focus on improving compliance with hazardous waste storage, treatment, and dumping facilities. These facilities ensure that dangerous waste such as solvent-based paints, cleaning and polishing chemicals, petrol, and kerosene. It also applies to large quantity generators that have regulations requiring effective monitoring and control of emissions caused by certain activities.

Hazardous waste facilities often release constituents either known or suspected of causing severe birth defects or certain types of cancer. These facilities may also have leaks that add to non-attainment with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).

Eliminating Cheat Devices from Engines and Vehicles 

This NCI will help stop the sale, installation, and manufacturing of aftermarket defeat devices found on vehicles or engines used on public roads, as well as on non-road vehicles or engines. Also commonly known as a cheat device, these products found in diesel engines can manipulate emission tests by changing the performance of the cars. These vehicles or engines may contribute to an excessive amount of pollution, which can harm the people’s health while impeding the efforts of the EPA and other agencies who plan to attain high quality air standards.

Clean water from the faucet

Focus #2: Ensure Safe and Clean Water 

Many communities across the globe do not have access to quality drinking water. While the EPA has been taking steps toward making sure everyone has clean and safe water in our nation, these NCIs will help further enforce these rules to protect our water:

Reduce NPDES Permits 

This NCI is focused on expanding the number of companies involved with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, along with their permits, as measured by decreasing the rate of permittees in significant noncompliance. Agreement with NPDES permits is vital for protecting the waters of our nation.

Reduce the Noncompliance with Drinking Water Standards for Public Water Systems 

This NCI focuses on working alongside the Office of Water for the EPA to improve the capacity of clean and safe drinking water in states and tribes. It also further ensures that the EPA is working to address drinking water infringements. The aim is to support the fiscal year 2018-2022 Agency Strategic Plan’s goal of reducing the total of CWSs out of accordance with the nation’s standards by 25%. In 2018, 7% of the CWSs in the country had one or more violations.

Industrial plant at sunset

Focus #3: Reduce Environmental Risks Caused by Hazardous Chemicals 

By helping eliminate the risks posed by hazardous chemicals, the EPA can further guarantee that efforts are made to improve our nation’s air quality and our clean water conditions. One way they plan to do this is by lowering the risks of unintended chemical releases at industrial facilities:

Lower the Risks of Unintended Releases at Chemical or Industrial Facilities 

Here is another existing NCI that focuses on decreasing the risk to the environment and human health by reducing the likelihood of accidents with hazardous chemicals. The EPA has found that several regulated facilities are not managing the risks they pose to the environment adequately. These facilities are also not taking the proper steps to ensure the safety of the community around them, as required under the Clean Air Act Section 112r.

Products being stored in a warehouse

How Do These Regulations Affect Supply Chain Management Companies? 

The 2020 Environmental Compliance Regulations will cause some changes in the shipping industry. An estimated 90% of all global trade takes place in our oceans. There is currently a network of 59,000 vessels that ensures the international commerce industry stays afloat, operated by bunker fuels filled with sulfur that release harmful emissions.

Many people involved in supply chain management are concerned about how these changes will affect the industry. Here's what you can do to avoid any issues:

Switch to Low-Sulfur Fuel 

The use of bunker fuel in the shipping industry in 2018 was 3.5 million barrels per day. And the annual fuel costs are expected to rise by as much as US$60 billion in 2020. That is nearly a 25% increase from the price in 2019. By switching to low-sulfur fuel, your company will not only help save the environment but also help cut down on your annual fuel costs.

Travel at Slower Speeds

Another way to offset the cost of fuel is to travel at slower speeds. While this may not always be feasible for shipping companies that need to meet a strict deadline, slower speeds will help to decrease fuel emissions and cut down on costs. Keep in mind that this change can also reduce the vessel’s capacity due to perishable items.

Install Scrubbers

One loophole found in the International Maritime Organization (IMO) 2020 is that emissions are regulated, and not the actual content of sulfur in the fuel. Instead of burning low sulfur fuel that is more expensive, some shipping companies have opted to capture the sulfur in their fuel before it is released into the environment by using scrubbers. These devices can transfer sulfur emissions from the exhaust to a disposal unit and then discharge the emissions.

The Takeaway

We are already seeing many changes from the EPA and other governing bodies, which means that eCommerce and supply chain management companies need to stay up-to-date. By focusing on air quality, water quality, and chemicals, these regulations are designed to regulate a number of industries. To stay competitive, suppliers must then consider their shipping options to ensure that they're both compliant and efficient. 

Not sure what shipping insurance to go with or how to make your logistics process greener? Compare Cabrella with other options below to help you make an educated decision. 


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