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Atlanta Environmental Law Blog

Is a neighboring property a nuisance?

If you own property in Georgia, whether residential or commercial, you know the kind of time, effort and resources you have put into keeping your property attractive and safe for yourself and others who may visit. You also know how expensive it can be to maintain your property. You make regular repairs on your home or building, including painting, improving and upgrading. The outside requires your attention as well, such as mowing, trimming trees and removing debris.

You have every right to be proud of your work and to take the time to enjoy the fruits of your labors. However, this may be difficult to do if neighboring property owners do not maintain and care for their own land and buildings. Not only can dilapidated or abandoned properties be an eyesore, but they can be a danger to you and the entire neighborhood.

The role of Georgia's EPD in your business

If you own a business here in Georgia, the odds are that it will be subject to a variety of federal and state laws that apply to your industry. One body of law that many industries must adhere to involves environmental issues. It is vital to know that the environmental laws businesses must comply with could vary from the federal to the state level. You would be responsible for complying with both.

Every business, including yours, may want to do some research in order to make sure it remains in compliance with environmental laws. You may not think that your company needs to worry about this area of law, but you could find out the hard way that this is one area you should have paid attention to when setting up your business.

Did you know cosmetics are a source of toxic chemicals?

In today's world, it seems as though everything we touch, breathe, eat or drink is bad for you somehow. As an example, over-the-counter heartburn medications are in recall due to a probable human carcinogen that could cause cancer in users. Then there is the controversy surrounding Roundup, a popular weed killer. Some say its active ingredient causes cancer, and some say it's safe. 

For many people, it's the hidden sources of toxic chemicals that have the potential to ultimately cause illnesses such as cancer. One area that many people say needs more government oversight is the production of cosmetics, since they can contain numerous harmful chemicals.

New EPA rules for environmental and health care facilities

After working in the environmental and health care industries and now owning your own facility, you know that hazardous waste, including certain pharmaceuticals and other materials, is a part of the business. For decades, the Environmental Protection Agency had a set of rules and regulations for the proper handling and disposal of certain materials.

In 2019, the EPA issued a new regulation -- the Management Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals -- that will more than likely require you to make changes in order to remain in compliance. In order to do so, you will need to know the highlights of the new regulation.

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.

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