March 22, 2010

Over the last several years, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has focused increased attention on compliance of facilities and toxics use reduction planners (TUR planners) with the Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA). While the overall compliance level has been high, MassDEP has identified a number of instances of non-compliance relative to certification requirements and deficient toxics use reduction (TUR) plans.  

TURA requires companies that use certain toxic materials above specific thresholds to prepare a TUR plan or plan update and file a plan summary with MassDEP. The plan summary must be signed by a senior management official and by a TUR planner with a valid MassDEP certification.  

Recently, MassDEP took enforcement actions against two company officials at separate facilities for certifying their facility's 2008 TUR plan summary as a TUR planner when neither was a certified TUR planner. In the first case, the company official was a TUR planner whose certification had expired without renewal.  This person agreed to pay a $1,000 penalty. In the second case, the company official had never been a planner but had relied on certified planners in the past so was aware of the company's planning obligations. Because of the more egregious nature of this violation, the individual agreed to pay a $6,050 penalty. In both cases the individuals agreed that future plan summaries would be signed by certified TUR planners as required. In addition, MassDEP issued notices of noncompliance (NONs) to the respective facilities for these violations.

MassDEP also reviews TUR plans during facility inspections. Recently, MassDEP issued five NONs to facilities and to their TUR planners, where warranted, for deficient plans. Violations identified included:

  • Incomplete scope of plan
  • Deficient process flow diagrams
  • Incomplete material balance figures
  • No evidence of screening for TUR options
  • A management statement that does not refer to TUR
  • Failure to document the process of identifying TUR options

MassDEP reminds company officials to ensure that their TUR plans meet the regulatory requirements and that TUR plan summaries (or resource conservation plan summary or environmental management system progress report, if applicable) are signed by a TUR planner with a current certification from MassDEP. MassDEP also reminds TUR planners to ensure that their MassDEP certification is current and up-to-date and that they meet the special requirements for certifying resource conservation plans and environmental management systems, if applicable.

MassDEP periodically updates a list of certified TUR planners and other information about TUR planner requirements on this we site. See: Toxics Use Reduction (TUR) Planners  

If you have questions or or need additional information, please contact Walter Hope of MassDEP: 617-292-5982 or walter.hope@state.ma.us