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Archive for 2012

Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) Revised for 2012

June 15th, 2012 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: DOT/UN, HazMat, Industry News, Safety

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) released the 2012 version of its Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) today, providing first responders with a newly revised go-to manual to help deal with hazmat accidents during the critical first 30 minutes. The ERG contains an indexed list of dangerous goods and the associated ID number, the general hazards they pose and recommended safety precautions. For example, if emergency responders arrive at the scene of an overturned tractor trailer displaying a DOT hazmat placard, they would use the guide to identify the material associated with the placard and how to respond accordingly

The 2012 version of the ERG includes general revisions, reorganized general information pages and new tables such as Initial Isolation and Protective Action Distances for large spills involving six common toxic inhalation hazard gases. Updated every four years, the ERG is available free to public safety agencies in all states and territories through designated state coordinators’ offices. PHMSA has also partnered with the National Library of Medicine to provide a free smartphone version of the ERG in its Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders. The mobile version will be available this summer. Print copies of ERG2012 are available for sale to the general public through the U.S. Government Printing Office Bookstore. Click here to see a video introduction to the ERG.

Lithium Batteries Banned from International Mail

June 13th, 2012 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: HazMat, Industry News, Safety

On May 15, 2012, the United States Postal Service (USPS) published a final rule in the Federal Register (77 FR 28488) which prohibits the outbound international mailing of lithium batteries and devices containing lithium batteries. The final rule is effective as of May 16, 2012. USPS states this action is necessary to bring its international mailing standards, contained in the International Mail Manual (IMM), into compliance with international standards for the acceptance of dangerous goods in international mail. According to USPS, the Universal Postal Union (UPU) Convention and regulations do not permit batteries in international mail and are consistent with the ICAO Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air (ICAO Technical Instructions) that, with limited exceptions, do not permit dangerous goods in international mail. The USPS indicates it anticipates exceptions being provided on January 1, 2013, for batteries installed in personal electronic devices.

Concrete Eggs offer an Alternate to Stainless Steel and Wood Barrels

June 12th, 2012 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Wine

Skolnik’s stainless steel wine barrels have long been used as a tool in the wine making process and to compliment the use of oak barrels. A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle reported on another material, in addition to wood and steel, being used for wine storage and aging. Stainless steel barrels and tanks, which allow no oxygen in, create bright, sharp flavors. Wooden barrels, which are quite porous, create a rounder taste with flavors from the oak. Now, concrete "egg" shaped fermenters, which fall somewhere between stainless steel and wooden barrels in permeability, offer a third option, says Domaine Carneros winemaker TJ Evans. The eggs, which can be 6 feet tall or higher, have a cuteness factor not usually to be found in farming machinery. “What we get is a kind of an enhanced minerality and a richer texture, but without the oak,” he says. “It’s a nice little tool that fills in the niche.” Concrete fermenting tanks aren’t new. Huge, square ones are to be found in wineries around the world. But they fell out of favor in California with the push to modernize during the `70s and the move to stainless steel tanks. Getting the egg shape right is a technical challenge, but there’s no denying it amps up the decorative factor. Sonoma Cast Stone, which makes some large eggs in black or dark brown, which give off a fun, sci-fi aura, was recently commissioned to make two concrete eggs, one red, one yellow, for wineries that want to show off their unique tanks. Another Napa Valley winery using the egg-shaped fermenters is CADE. When the winery bought the eggs, they weren’t sure what to expect, says winemaker Tony Biaggi. But “all fears were put to rest when we tasted the first wines fermented in them.” The egg-fermenters are used to add nuance to CADE sauvignon blanc. Though the egg-fermented wine amounts to only 6 percent of the final blend, it adds interesting layers, says Biaggi. “The wines fermented in concrete eggs seem to be alive and full of energy.” Domaine Carneros is best known as a producer of well-regarded sparkling wine, but the egg fermenter is being used to make a fairly unique still wine, pinot clair, which is a white wine made from the red-skinned grape pinot noir. Color comes from skin contact with the juice, so this wine is kept clear by gently pressing the juice out of the grapes and putting the juice straight into the egg.

Skolnik’s Sustainability Plan Highlighted by Cook County President

May 8th, 2012 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: Industry News

In celebration of Earth Week, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced that an energy efficiency audit project promoting sustainability will achieve $2 million in energy savings for Cook County businesses, as well as substantial savings of greenhouse gas emissions. Cook County contracted with The Delta Institute to conduct the audits and manage the program for the County. Early into the program, Skolnik was one of the first to receive the audit and implement a robust Sustainability Plan. The Plan addresses efficiencies and savings that, in its first year, net more than $50,000 in savings and energy efficiencies. Skolnik was one of 3 companies highlighted at the Cook County press conference. Check out the photos and press release.