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Atlanta Environmental Law Blog

West Atlanta has a lead problem, and the EPA is trying to fix it

The Environmental Protection Agency found at least one area of west Atlanta that has no less than 2,000 parts per million of lead in the soil. Another area had as much as 3,400 parts per million. To put that in perspective, the EPA says the unsafe threshold is just 400 parts per million when it comes to lead contamination in the soil.

Since the EPA made the area a "Superfund removal action," the state will receive more money from the federal government as the work begins to remove the lead from the soil. At present, the action includes approximately 368 properties, but the agency is considering expanding the testing since it now believes the contamination goes further than at first believed.

Nail salon employees could experience harmful toxic exposure

When you think of toxic exposure, you may think of heavy chemicals in industrial settings, not in a neighborhood nail salon. However, Atlanta residents who work in nail salons may be aware of the chemicals they use but may not quite understand the potential harm they present.

The health risks are quite real, and individuals have suffered significant health repercussions due to those chemicals. For this reason alone, knowledge, training and appropriate safety equipment are vital. Your exposure to toxic chemicals can compound day to day. The longer you work in the environment with those chemicals, the more the exposure builds up in your system, so you may not notice any ill effects right away.

You could face more than civil penalties from the EPA

Like most Georgia business owners, you probably know you could face civil penalties such as fines if you violate environmental laws enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency. However, did you know you could also face criminal charges?

The EPA has special agents that conduct criminal investigations. These agents are dispatched through reports from concerned citizens and/or victims or when especially egregious and harmful violations occur.

Following the environmental example of tire manufacturers

One thing that nearly every vehicle owner will need at some point is tires. This simple fact may be one of the many reasons that you decided to open a tire store or to sell tires at your existing automotive business. As such, you may know that tires pose a significant danger to the environment and the public.

In order to avoid governmental scrutiny, you will need to make sure your business complies with federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations regarding the tires in your establishment. It may help you to know what some of the large tire manufacturers do in order to do their part to preserve the environment and avoid unnecessarily polluting the air, water and ground.

What chemicals are you exposed to in the petroleum industry?

Working just about anywhere could put you in contact with chemicals or other potentially hazardous materials, even if they are simply cleaning fluids as a janitor or toner for a printer if you work in an office. Even so, you may be among those here in Georgia and elsewhere who work with an abundance of particularly hazardous materials as you perform your job duties in the petroleum industry.

Here in the United States, you find those types of materials in metal fabrication, chemical manufacturing, petroleum processing and primary metal production. If you work in one of these industries, your risk of exposure to dangerous chemicals and materials is almost certain. How well you and your employer protect you from them could mean the difference between you suffering an illness or injury or you remaining healthy.

Addressing the environmental impact of agriculture

It may seem counterintuitive to think that the agricultural industry would need to comply with environmental laws, but when you consider pesticides, natural gases and other issues, it only makes sense. If you run an agricultural operation here in Georgia, you probably already take measures to comply with the rules.

However, you may not yet be aware that the U.S. Geological Survey has a stake in the environmental impact of agricultural operations across the country, perhaps even yours.

Assessing risks for a real estate development project

Working as a real estate developer comes with its difficulties. You may appreciate the challenging nature of your job because you can gain a sense of accomplishment when you complete a project. Of course, you may also dislike certain aspects because serious issues can sometimes arise.

You understand that any project comes with its risks, especially to your resources and potential earnings, but other risks could cause more problems. In particular, you likely always want to avoid any legal issues that could come about with a development project.

Could Georgia's water sources endanger your health?

When you turn on the faucets in your home to get some water, take a shower or wash your hands, it looks clear and safe. When you want to spend some time on or in Georgia's waterways, you expect them to be free from pollutants that could harm you.

Unfortunately, a new study indicates that may not be the case. Toxic pollutants are leaking into the groundwater from 11 out of 12 of the state's coal ash dumping grounds. That's 92% of the state's coal-fired power plants. The state's public utility, Georgia Power, owns and runs 10 of the 11 plants in question.

Are you in compliance with Georgia's open burn rules?

The Environmental Protection Agency's counterpart here in the state of Georgia is the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. As part of its responsibilities, the agency works to make sure that the quality of the air you breathe remains at a level that does not harm your health.

The GEPD enforces a variety of laws, rules and regulations regarding airborne pollutants. Like most people, you may think of automobile pollution and chemicals used by certain industries. While that is true, the agency also enforces rules regarding burning materials outdoors, categorized as open burning.

Your responsibilities regarding underground storage tanks

Depending on what type of business you run, it may be required to comply with numerous environmental laws of both the state and federal governments. 

Do you run a business that requires one or more underground storage tanks? If you do, then the state of Georgia puts certain requirements on them and you. For instance, in order to register the tanks, you must have certain personnel either available or on site. The state's Environmental Protection Division provides information on who these people are, along with their functions.

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