April 19th, 2018

OSHA Increases Fines for Silica Violations

Effective January 2, 2018, Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration (OSHA) increased its daily fines for silica violations to $12,934.  Willful or repeated violations will now pay a $129,336 penalty.

OSHA’s Respirable Crystalline Silica standard for construction sites requires employers to limit exposure and take other steps to protect workers.

Breathing in very small (“respirable”) crystalline silica particles causes multiple diseases, including silicosis, an incurable lung disease that leads to disability and death. Respirable crystalline silica also causes lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and kidney disease.

All construction employers covered by the standard are required to:

  • Establish and implement a written exposure control plan that identifies tasks that involve exposure and methods used to protect workers, including procedures to restrict access to work areas where high exposures may occur.
  • Designate a competent person to implement the written exposure control plan.
  • Restrict housekeeping practices that expose workers to silica where feasible alternatives are available.
  • Offer medical exams-including chest X-rays and lung function tests-every three years for workers who are required by the standard to wear a respirator for 30 or more days per year.
  • Train workers on work operations that result in silica exposure and ways to limit exposure.
  • Keep records of exposure measurements, objective data, and medical exams.

OSHA has released several Fact Sheets for how construction companies can limit exposure to silica dust depending on what equipment is being used (eg: handheld power saws, vehicle-mounted drilling rigs, heavy equipment and utility vehicles used during demolition activities, etc).

Gabriel can assist companies in creating a written exposure control plan, as well as perform silica dust testing and reporting.  Contact Bill Gray, Senior Vice President, at bgray{at}gabenv.com with any questions or for a proposal.

More information about the changes can be found on the OSHA website.

April 4th, 2018

Annual Emissions Reports (AERs) Due May 1st

All facilities that have, or are required to have, a State of Illinois air pollution operating permit are required to file an Annual Emissions Report (AER) by May 1st each year.

These reports include data about the previous calendar year’s emissions for regulated pollutants.

IEPA emailed forms to each applicable facility in January, but did not physically mail any forms this year. Failure to receive the AER forms from IEPA does not relieve facilities of their obligation to file a timely report. If your facility did not yet receive your forms, contact buzz.asselmeier@illinois.gov.

IEPA has been cracking down on air violations, assessing over $1 million in penalties to companies throughout the state in 2017.  More than $300,000 of that total was assessed for air permitting violations.

If you need assistance completing your facility’s AER report, contact Gabriel’s Consulting Department at 773-486-2123 or water{at}gabenv.com.

September 21st, 2016

Air & Waste Management Association hosts its annual Air Quality Management Conference

air and waste management association logo

Join Air & Waste Management Association – Lake Michigan States Section (A&WMA) for its annual Air Quality Management Conference on October 5, 2016.

Topics include:

  • New Direction for Industry in Illinois – Alec Messina, Director, Illinois EPA
  • EPA Region 5 Priorities – Robert Kaplan, Action Regional Director, US EPA, Region 5
  • Ozone SIP Strategies
  • Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) changes
  • Air Policy and Program Compliance Priorities for 2016
  • Emissions Testing – Common Pitfalls
  • Meeting the PSD Permit Modeling Requirements
  • Non-Attainment NSR – Offsets: Supply & Demand

Learn more and register on the A&WMA website: www.lmawma.org

March 9th, 2016

National Association of Environmental Professionals – Annual Conference

NAEP logo

The 2016 National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP) Conference will be held in Chicago this year, April 11-14th.

Programs offered include:

  • Keynote speaker: Cameron Davis, US EPA Region 5 Senior Advisor, Great Lakes Initiative
  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) workshop
  • National Park Service: Natural Sounds and Night Skies
  • Climate Change
  • Cultural Resources
  • Ecosystems
  • Energy
  • Great Lakes
  • Public Involvement
  • Remediation
  • Sustainability
  • Transportation
  • Water Resources
  • Visual Resources

This conference will be held at the Palmer House Hilton hotel.

More information and registration can be found on NAEP’s website.

October 1st, 2015

Midwest Environmental Compliance Conference



The first annual Midwest Environmental Compliance Conference (MECC) will be held October 29-30th at the Chicago Marriott O’Hare and will focus on EPA’s Region 5 (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, and 35 tribes).

MECC events are hosted by state business and manufacturing associations and supported by U.S. EPA and State Agencies. These Midwestern environmental conferences:

  • Provide an insider perspective on key regional issues
  • Offer valuable, up-to-date information on rapidly-changing areas of regulation and law
  • Create a forum for valuable networking with regulators, clients and potential clients/customers
  • Foster meaningful, professional conversation with federal, state and local regulators
  • Deliver great speakers and thought leaders with unique insights, real experience, and a seasoned perspective
  • Provide an environmental “boot camp” training opportunity for those relatively new to environmental compliance and permitting or new to a particular environmental medium


Chicago’s conference will include sessions featuring administrators from U.S. EPA and state environmental agencies, including Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR).

Some of the conference sessions will discuss:

  • U.S. EPA Regional Priorities
  • Emerging Water Issues
  • Hot Topics in Remediation and Waste Materials Management
  • Regional Air Issues Roundtable
  • Compliance Auditing

More information, the conference schedule, and registration can be found at mecconference.com.

February 25th, 2015

Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (CHMM) Overview Course

Gabriel is pleased to sponsor the upcoming Certified Hazardous Materials IHMM logoManager (CHMM) Overview Course at DePaul University.

This course provides a thorough overview of the major topics and concerns in hazardous materials management.  Completion of this course will enable attendees to take the CHMM exam, satisfy training requirements, enhance their competence in the profession, and get updated information.

This three-day course will be taught by approximately 25 hazardous materials management professionals who will cover the following topics:

  • Hazardous Waste Treatment Technologies
  • Environmental Law & Regulation Overview, including Liability and Compliance
  • Industrial Toxicology
  • Chemistry of Hazardous Materials, Proper Laboratory Practice and Data Validation
  • RCRA
  • RCRA Corrective Action
  • Hazardous Waste Storage
  • Storm Water & Oil Pollution Prevention Act
  • Management of Underground Storage Tanks
  • Clean Water Act (CWA) & Safe Drinking Water Act
  • National Contingency Plan/Worker Right-to-Know
  • Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)
  • OSHA Requirements Pertaining to Hazardous Materials Management
  • Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA)
  • Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (HMTA) and Hazardous Waste Transportation
  • The Clean Air Act (CAA) and 1990 Amendments
  • Radiation Principles
  • Facility Environmental Audits and Environmental Site Assessments
  • Waste Minimization and Pollution Prevention
  • Superfund:  The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) with 1986 Amendments (SARA)
  • Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-know Act of 1986 (EPCRA)
  • Environmental Management Principles & ISO 14000
  • NEPA
  • Incident Response
  • Hazardous Waste Treatment Storage and Disposal
  • Oral Sample Examination


Comprehensive 3-Day Overview Course
March 25 – 27, 2015
8:30 am to 5:00 pm daily

Registration Deadline: March 1, 2015

Cost for course $595

Groups of three or more from the same organization receive a 10% discount.  Alliance of Hazardous Materials Professionals (AHMP) attendees for recertification receive a 25% discount.

DePaul University
McGowan South Room 401
1110 W. Belden Ave.
Chicago, IL  60614

Offered by:
DePaul University
Department of Environmental Science and Studies
in cooperation with the Chicago Chapter of the Alliance of Hazardous Materials Professionals
Gabriel Environmental Services


For registration and other information, visit margaretworkman.weebly.com/chmm-course-information


For Further Information:
Margaret Workman
DePaul University

(773) 325-7445

Course Content
Steven Sawyer, CHMM
Gabriel Environmental Services

(773) 486-2123

Institute of Hazardous Materials Management

(301) 984-8969


October 14th, 2014

Free E3 (Economy, Energy and Environment) Assistance Available

E3 logo horz

Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC), Illinois Manufacturing Extension Center (IMEC), ComEd, Cook County, Chicago Southland Economic Development Corporation, and Calumet Area Industrial Commission have partnered to provide free E3 technical assistance to South Cook County Industrial facilities.

Economy, Energy, and Environment (E3) ensures that a company’s environmental resources and 3M resources – Manpower, Machine, and Money – are utilized as effectively as possible, with minimal impact on the earth’s ecology.

E3 joins forces with local communities to connect small and medium-sized manufacturers with experts from federal agencies, states, and regions. In each E3 community, teams conduct customized technical assessments and offer practical, sustainable approaches that manufacturers can incorporate into their operations.

Learn more at the South Cook County E3 Kick-off Meeting on Thursday, October 30th, 2014 (9am – 11:30am), at Prairie State College Conference Center (202 S. Halsted St, Chicago Heights).  RSVP to Vinod Patel by October 24th to vapatel@illinois.edu.

Attendees will learn about the E3 program, including free on-site services and technical assistance.  E3 performance focus areas include:

  • Energy Conservation
  • Cooling Water Tower & Energy Management
  • Water Footprinting
  • Waste Reduction at Source
  • Lean & Green Manufacturing Practices
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction

This program is intended for the manufacturing and industrial sectors in south Cook County.  Learn more about this E3 partnership with their brochure.



June 18th, 2014

Illegal Asbestos Removal Leads to Jail Time and Major Financial Penalties

Property owners beware: if you have a building with any suspected asbestos-containing materials, be sure to have it properly tested and removed by a licensed firm, or you could face jail time and/or major financial penalties.

Suspected asbestos-containing materials

Suspected asbestos-containing materials

Last year, a building owner and its non-licensed contractor were found guilty of several felony counts for failure to properly remove asbestos insulation.

Michael Pinski pled guilty to violations of the Clean Air Act related to illegal and unsafe asbestos removal from a Kankakee building he owned. He was sentenced to 6 months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release including six months of home detention.

Pinski hired Origin Fire Protection to remove the asbestos-containing pipe insulation in the 5-story building he owned in Kankakee. Origin’s owner and operator, Duane “Butch” O’Malley subsequently arranged for James Mikrut to recruit and oversee workers to remove the asbestos. During O’Malley’s trial, evidence was presented that Origin Fire Protection was not trained to remove asbestos and that it agreed to do the work for substantially less money than a licensed abatement firm. Furthermore, after improperly removing the asbestos-containing
insulation, Mikrut and his crew dumped more than 100 trash bags in an open field in Hopskins Park, causing soil contamination.

O’Malley was sentenced to 10 years in prison after being found guilty of five felony counts. In addition, he was ordered to pay $47,086 in restitution for the cleanup of the asbestos materials by the EPA and a $15,000 fine. Mikrut pled guilty to five felony counts and was sentenced to 12 months plus one day in prison, followed by one year of supervised release under home detention.

Gabriel has licensed asbestos inspectors who can assist you with determining if asbestos exists and recommend licensed firms for the abatement process if it does. If you have any questions about asbestos, contact Steve Sawyer (ssawyer[at]gabenv.com or 773-486-2123) or Bill Gray (bgray[at]gabenv.com or 219-972-1110).

More information: www.justice.gov/usao/ilc/press/2013/01january/20130116.html

May 2nd, 2014

Strack & Van Til Celebrates LEED Store

LEED silver certificationOn April 22nd, Gabriel joined Strack & Van Til to celebrate their first silver LEED certification at their Cedar Lake, IN grocery store.  At this Earth Day event, the first 100 shoppers received reusable grocery bags and other eco-friendly products, including giveaways from Gabriel.

LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. To receive LEED certification, building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification.

Gabriel is proud to be one of Strack & Van Til’s LEED partners for this innovative store.  We assisted our clients by conducting LEED air quality sampling and analysis.  Strack & Van Til achieved their Silver Certification by using sustainable site development, increasing energy efficiency, decreasing water usage, and maintaining indoor environmental quality.

“Companywide, we’re trying to reduce our energy stamp. It makes sense now to spend the extra money,” said John Ritchie, director of facilities for Strack & Van Til.

Strack - LEED Silver

To learn more about how Gabriel can help with your project’s LEED certification, contact Bill Gray (bgray[at]gabenv.com) or John Polich (jpolich[at]gabenv.com).

More information about Strack & Van Til’s LEED-certified store is available at:



More information about LEED certification is available at www.usgbc.org/leed

Photo credit: Northwest Indiana Times

Photo credit: Northwest Indiana Times

April 30th, 2014

Reminder: Air Reports Due May 1st

As a reminder, the Illinois Annual Air Emissions Report (AER) is due on May 1st each year for all facilities that have an air pollution operating permit. To learn more about the AER report, visit epa.state.il.us/air/aer/.IEPA-logo

The Title V/Clean Air Act Permit Program (CAAPP) Annual Compliance Certification is also due on May 1st for all eligible facilities.  For more information about the CAAPP program, visit epa.state.il.us/air/caapp/.

Illinois EPA has been cracking down on air violations in recent months, leading to enforcement action and penalties for several companies who have failed to obtain the proper CAAPP permits or file reports on time.  Our January/February Gabriel Gazette highlighted one Chicago area firm that was fined $50,000 for air violations including failure to obtain a CAAPP permit and failure to submit an AER.

If you need assistance in completing the Annual AER, CAAPP Annual Compliance Certification, or any CAAPP permit forms, contact our Water Department at WaterDept @gabenv.com.