Heritage is Ready to Respond: Executives Complete COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Disinfection Training to Join Essential Employees in the Field

Our leaders made a commitment that they would never ask our employees to do anything they would not do themselves and during the Coronavirus pandemic, President and CEO Jeff Laborsky wants Heritage employees to know things are no different. “We’re here today to do our training so that we can get out in the field, and work alongside our folks.” Our services in waste transportation, treatment, and disposal, along with our Emergency Response decontamination and business continuity services are considered essential during this pandemic, and earlier this week Jeff and other members of our leadership participated in COVID-19 Response Training, completing respirator fit tests and learning how to properly use the PPE and equipment to disinfect a wide range of facilities. They’ll be visiting our plants, going out in the field, and working with our emergency response teams to assist the Coronavirus response, in person, on the ground.

Our team has responded to factories, office spaces, airplanes, schools, and universities, and are prepared to help, no matter what industry you’re in. We developed our procedures and are using disinfection chemicals based on CDC and EPA guidelines. Check out the video below for comments from our executive leadership team and some of the training they went through.

At Heritage, our mission is to protect human health and the environment, and this extends beyond the scope of our day-to-day business operations. As the Coronavirus triggers an ever-growing number of shutdowns and closures, one of the biggest issues arising is concern for children and food insecurity. One in seven children struggle with hunger, and many students rely on public schools for one or even two of their daily meals. Heritage is dedicated to helping the communities where we live and operate, and making sure they continue to have access to food is one of the best ways we can help during this crisis.

Feeding America has been one of our three corporate charities for the past five years, and they support 40 million people through 200 food banks nationwide. Through their resources we’ve been able to connect with several local food banks in states where we conduct business.

• In Toledo, OH, we donated directly to the Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank Backpack program, which gives kids who qualify for free lunch additional food to take home on Fridays.

• A local church in Tulsa Oklahoma provided a grant to match donations to the local food bank, and with the buying power of Feeding America, our $1,000 donation was doubled, enabling the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma to provide 8,000 meals in the community.

• In Iowa City, our donations will provide 80 boxes of food to kids and families

In total, we’ve donated $25,000 to 25 food banks in 18 different states where we operate, designating the funds specifically for children when possible.

We encourage you to find your local food bank, which you can do by typing in your zip code at https://www.feedingamerica.org/find-your-local-foodbank and donating either nonperishable items or making a monetary donation. Heritage believes in sticking together, and supporting our communities is crucial in times like these. Each donation means more food, an extra volunteer, or more supplies for those in need

Sheila Morris

Vice President, Customer Experience

When did you start at Heritage (or previously acquired companies) and what was your first position?

1997, Field Chemist

Define a great leader—what are some traits you think great leaders possess?

To me a great leader is a source of inspiration for employees and provides direction with honesty, empathy and integrity.


What is one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career?

Getting employees to band together in times of major company change, some of which didn’t go as planned. This requires constant reassurance on the vision and reasoning for the change. Taking extra effort to share wins and positives in the face of adversity plus communicating the lessons learned.


Do you have any tips, strategies you’ve employed, or lessons learned throughout your career that you would like to share with aspiring female leaders?

There are always obstacles and they can take many shapes and forms and at the most unexpected times. Follow your intuition and don’t give up in the face of challenge. These experiences are what shapes you as an individual and builds character.

Angie Martin

Vice President

When did you start at Heritage (or previously acquired companies) and what was your first position?

1988, Co-Op Education (intern).

Define a great leader—what are some traits you think great leaders possess?

Altruism, passion, common sense, empathy.


What is one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career?

I want to say work-life balance, but I want it all. I want a full family life, and a full work life. I think I have adjusted over the years to have as much of both as I could. I tried to show my girls that they could have what they wanted through hard work and dedication. I believe I am a better mother and grandmother because I do work.


Do you have any tips, strategies you’ve employed, or lessons learned throughout your career that you would like to share with aspiring female leaders?

Embrace who you are. All people are different and should use their differences, perspectives, experiences, and intuitions to solve problems and move an organization forward. I don’t think it should matter if you are a woman or a man or a martian. Use your strengths to move the ball.


Winde Hamrick

Executive Vice President

When did you start at Heritage (or previously acquired companies) and what was your first position?

1991, Project Engineer


Define a great leader—what are some traits you think great leaders possess?

Leads safely, humility, lifelong learner, high integrity/honest, adaptable, instills confidence in others, hands on, cares about employees, knowledgeable, approachable, high expectations, accountability, deals with issues, mentors others

 

What is one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career?

Around 2006, our landfill was running out of space and I was told what our expansion plans were and that I needed to meet with the regulators to make it happen. The concept was a bit out of the norm and I knew the regulators would take forever to get their head around it, if at all. So instead I formed a small team to review our current land and develop a new and larger landfill on the northern part of our property. The result was a faster approval and a bigger landfill. It’s such a critical part of our business that the pressure was weighing on me. This example shows that Heritage is open to new ideas and/or better ways of getting things done – as long as it’s safe and compliant!

Do you have any tips, strategies you’ve employed, or lessons learned throughout your career that you would like to share with aspiring female leaders?

Take control of your career by learning as much as you can about our business outside of your current job. The great thing about Heritage is ‘the ability to learn and grow’. You may have to do that on your own, but our business is so interesting and the people are so welcoming that it is fun! Use your knowledge to become a valuable employee and your job will become a career with never a boring day. Also, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Own up to them and learn from them!


Authored by Angie Martin, PE, CHMM

EPA’s e-Manifest processing facility received over 1.5 million manifests from the launch of the system on June 30, 2018 through April 30, 2019. On an annualized basis, this number falls 880,000 manifests short of the projected number of manifests initially used to calculate EPA’s e-Manifest fees. The regulations require EPA to recalculate fees which are effective October 1, 2019 and every 2 years thereafter. EPA has increased fees for different types of manifest submissions from 60% to 115%. These fees are charged directly to the destination facilities. As such, Heritage is adjusting our e-Manifest fee to $25 per manifest, effective with shipments originating on October 1.

As noted below, EPA’s analysis indicated that a very low percentage of manifests have been submitted using fully electronic options (<0.3%).  This is due to a wide variety of factors (user registration, continuing software changes, technical restrictions, logistical challenges, etc.) and was the primary topic of the recent Advisory Board meeting.  EPA also has a backlog of approximately 100,000 paper manifests to process and about 270,000 data plus image manifests to process. 

At this time, Heritage submits manifests to EPA using the same two most widely used options indicated below (scanned image and data plus image). 

Manifest Submission Type Submitted (6/30/18 – 4/30/19) %
Mailed paper manifest 103,348 6.8%
Scanned image upload 272,627 18%
Data plus image 1,140,003 75%
Fully electronic 4,005 <0.3%

Source: EPA, “Hazardous Waste e-Manifest Advisory Board June 2019 Meeting Background Whitepaper.”


Heritage is committed to safely and compliantly transporting, managing, and disposing of our customers’ waste.  We will continue to follow the EPA’s progress on e-Manifest programming and implementation and to update our customers on the progress.  EPA will recalculate fees in 2021, effective October 2021.

On July 17th, 2019, Angie Martin, our Vice President, attended the Missouri Waste Control Coalition Conference to give a presentation that addressed the health concerns, legislation, and treatment options associated with Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS are a persistent group of manufactured chemicals used in water and stain repellents, nonstick coatings, cleaning products, firefighting foams, and more.

Environmental issues and health concerns have been linked to PFAS, calling for Congress to draft legislation pertaining to PFAS waste stream management and disposal. Many amendments regarding PFAS have been added to the National Defense Authorization Act, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee is currently reviewing a plethora of PFAS bills.

There are a variety of treatment options available for PFAS. However, the different chemical and physical properties of the thousands of PFAS species make selecting a treatment option challenging. With talk of the negative implications of PFAS on human health and the environment on the rise, Angie discussed possible treatment options and their effectiveness, including separation, transformation, disposal, and destruction.

SEPARATION technologies such as granular activated carbon, ion resin exchange, membrane filtration, and precipitation concentrate PFAS out of contaminated water. While these methods can be quite effective in removing PFAS from water, the PFAS is still existent. It has just been transferred to a membrane, resin, or PFAS-rich sludge, and must now be treated further.

TRANSFORMATION through oxidation or biodegradation is another treatment option. When oxidized, the carbon-carbon or carbon-oxygen bonds in PFAS are more easily broken than the persistent carbon-fluorine bond. Breaking the carbon-carbon backbone of longer PFAS molecules without breaking the carbon-fluorine bonds simply creates a greater number shorter PFAS molecules. Biodegradation is similar; biodegradation pathways for PFAS precursors lead to PFAS species of regulatory concern. Even though these methods do have their positives, such as a lack of PFAS waste being generated, they are ultimately ineffective.

DISPOSAL in a landfill is another largely ineffective method for PFAS treatment. Many are landfilling PFAS waste from separation processes. However, due to the solubility and mobility of some PFAS molecules, PFAS can easily escape the landfills in leachate and be reintroduced to the environment.

DESTRUCTION using the extreme heat of incineration breaks the carbon-fluorine bonds characteristic of PFAS. Incineration is the only commercially available technology with the capacity to address the PFAS problem, avoid liability, minimize human health concerns, and abate the environmental persistence of PFAS. Destruction is Heritage’s only management method provided to customers with PFAS waste.

If you have any questions regarding PFAS or treatment options offered by Heritage Environmental Services, please reach out to your account representative, or contact Angie Martin at angie.martin@heritage-enviro.com.

With its ongoing importance, we want to update and inform on this old topic! Local, state and federal environmental agencies use the inspection process to verify that hazardous waste generators are following the rules. Over the last number of years, and with the implementation of the Generator Improvement Rules, we have a better understanding of what rules are consistently looked at, and can result in citations and fines if not followed. Below you will find rule violations and how to avoid them.

 Failure to Make a Waste Determination

Avoid this by:

  • Make a determination on all waste generated on-site.
  • Treat unknown material as a hazardous waste during the determination process (label, close, date, etc.)
  • Keep necessary documentation for both hazardous and non-hazardous waste.

Knowing what you generate and if it is hazardous will help you make the determination as to what size generator you are, and what rules you need to follow…as well as ensuring that you aren’t improperly disposing of hazardous waste as non-hazardous and creating liability issues for your company.

 

 Adequate Aisle Space

Avoid this by:

  • Ensuring that you can get to all of your containers in your 90/180 accumulation area
  • Ensuring that if a container has an issue, emergency responders can get to that container
  • Ensure that incompatibles are separated in some way (dike, berm, wall) to reduce risk of fire, release, explosion

The regulations do not indicate a specific distance for adequate aisle space. Check state regulations for any state guidelines, or even fire marshal guidance.

 

 

Failure to Perform Weekly Inspections of Hazardous Waste Storage Areas

Avoid this by:

  • Perform the inspections on the same day every week
  • Mondays and Fridays are not a good choice
  • Have a back-up inspector
  • Document inspections on an inspection log

Make sure that your employees aren’t just documenting what issues they found, but also how the either mitigated them at that time, or if the issue was mitigated at a late      time, how and when. Under the Generator Improvement Rules, remember that weekly inspections must now be completed “at least weekly” and must specifically look for containers that are leaking AND containers that have deteriorated due to corrosion.

 

 

 Contingency Planning Violations

Avoid this by:

  • Designate an emergency coordinator
  • Keep information up to date and on-site
  • Ensure all required elements are included
  • For LQG’s, document submittals to local authorities

Do you know your capabilities? Do you know your local emergency responder’s capabilities for large release mitigation? Have you considered contracting with Heritage for your emergency response if you or your local responders aren’t able to mitigate large emergencies or decontamination’s?

 

 

Marking and Labeling of Containers

Either with “hazardous waste” OR Words describing the container contents

Avoid this by:

  • Review and understand the definition of a satellite accumulation area
  • Label your container once the first drop of hazardous waste is added to the container.

The GIR requires the words “Hazardous Waste” as well as an indication of the hazard (DOT diamond, GHS pictogram, etc.) in both satellite and central accumulation areas. Proper marking of containers will reduce the mixing of incompatible wastes, and potentially and emergency situation.

 

 

Separate incompatibles

Avoid this by:

  • Appropriately marking and labeling your containers
  • Training your employees about certain incompatibles (acids and caustics in the same container) based on waste determinations
  • Not placing materials in an unwashed container

The more you know about the wastes you have, the better prepared you are for reducing the risk of fires, releases or explosions.

 

 

Training

Avoid this by:

  • Knowing what your training requirements are based on your generator status
  • Documenting when you received your training
  • Documenting what training you are providing your employees based on their job responsibilities

LQGs are required to have training annually, have a written training plan and that employees are training within 6 months of being hired to work in the company’s hazardous waste program. SQG employers need to show that the employees understand the rules based on their performance (i.e., do they know the rules and how they apply to the job).

 

 

Open Container Violations

Avoid this by:

  •  Rule of Thumb- if the contents would spill if the container was overturned, then the container is considered open
  • Close and latch funnels; screw in bungs; use drum rings and tighten bolts
  • Train employees to close containers when not adding or removing waste

Satellite and central accumulations area containers, as well as those for used oil, contaminated wipes, universal wastes, must be kept closed unless adding or removing material from the container. Are you ensuring that your containers are adequately closed?

 

 

Storage Area Accumulation Date Violations

Avoid this by:

  • Once 55 gallons of hazardous waste or 1 quart of acute hazardous waste is exceeded at the satellite accumulation area, storage area dating requirements apply after three days.
  • Make sure all containers of hazardous waste in storage are marked with waste accumulation dates during weekly inspections.

 

 

90/180-day violations

Avoid this by:

  • Knowing what hazardous waste you generate and how much you generate in a given month
  • Notify your state EPA office that you are a hazardous waste generate
  • Know the rules that apply based on your generator status

This really captures all of the responsibilities you have as a generator in one major category. If you don’t do waste determinations, you don’t know what hazardous waste you generate and what size generator you are. From there, you may not know how long you are allowed to store hazardous waste on site, and when it needs to be transported for disposal. This could lead to storage violations, and a host of other violations based on how the rules apply to you, and if you follow them.