Every day, facilities across the US receive Notices of Violation from US EPA for alleged noncompliance with a wide variety of programs like the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts; chemical management and reporting regulations (TSCA, EPCRA, CERCLA, etc.); hazardous waste management and disposal standards (RCRA); and much more.
Below are examples of recent EPA enforcement actions that provide insight into how and why EPA issues civil penalties to facilities for environmental noncompliance. Names of companies and individuals cited by EPA are withheld to protect their privacy.
WHO: An oil refinery
WHERE: Joliet, IL
WHAT: Clean Air Act violations
HOW MUCH: $1.5 million plus $10 million in site improvements
A multinational oil company and EPA have announced an amendment to a 2005 Consent Decree to resolve past violations at the company’s refinery in Illinois. According to EPA, the company allegedly violated requirements for fuel gases burned in refinery furnaces among other Clean Air Act violations.
The most recent Consent Decree update addresses these violations and will reduce air pollution through significant site upgrades and improvements
. The company agreed to use an optical gas imaging camera to monitor its open-ended lines for leaks. To address alleged emissions monitoring system violations, the company will develop a comprehensive plan to ensure implementation and compliance with regulatory requirements.
WHO: An oil tank management facility
WHERE: Wakefield, MA
WHAT: RCRA violations
HOW MUCH: $250,000
According to Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), an oil tank installation, maintenance, and removal company allegedly failed to properly train employees in hazardous waste management and generated hazardous waste in excess of the volume permitted under its Very Small Quantity Generator status, among other violations.
The oil tank company agreed to complete the closure process for an underground injection control well
and will hire a Licensed Site Professional to manage the process, conduct necessary sampling and testing of soil for possible contamination, and cooperate with any required inspections by State or local authorities to secure closure of the underground injection control well.
WHO: A logistics company
WHERE: Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, ND
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $106,500
A company that transports liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) agreed to a six-figure settlement after two alleged releases of produced pipeline water polluted tributaries of Lake Sakakawea on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. Between September 19 and 30, 2019, about 4,879 barrels
of produced water were unintentionally released, says EPA.
The LPG transporter reported the incidents to the National Response Center and worked with the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs to contain and clean up the releases. The company has also taken steps to reduce the likelihood of similar releases in the future by removing the pipeline material involved in the releases from other pipelines on the Reservation.
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