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 Oahu municipality
WHERE: Wahiawa, HI
WHAT: Safe Drinking Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $135,000
A municipality on Oahu has agreed to pay $135,000 to resolve allegations of illegally operating multiple large-capacity cesspools (LCCs). The land is owned by the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources and was leased to the local governing body to use as a farm, restaurant, and gift shop
. EPA banned LCCs in 2005 and Hawai’i has since passed legislation to phase out all existing LCCs by 2050.
The agreement requires the local government to close the cesspool by the end of 2020.
WHO: A seafood processing company
WHERE: Eureka, CA
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $74,500
One of the largest seafood companies in the country is set to pay nearly $75,000 after improperly discharging wastewater into the City of Eureka’s sewer system and Humboldt Bay’s Eureka Slough
, according to EPA. The violations were discovered during a 2018 inspection with the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board and Eureka’s Public Works Department.
EPA also found alleged violations at the company’s operating facility, including wastewater from the indoor shrimp processing area bypassing the facility’s pretreatment system and a lack of adequate secondary containment in the indoor bulk chemical storage area and outdoor chemical storage area.
WHO: An industrial laundry facility
WHERE: West Springfield, MA
WHAT: Clean Air Act violations
HOW MUCH: $51,700
EPA alleges that improper operations at a facility that launders business uniforms and industrial shop towels
resulted in potentially hazardous emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). According to EPA, the facility also had not implemented "reasonably available control technology" (RACT) as required by State environmental officials.
As part of an agreement with EPA, the company stopped laundering print towels on June 30, 2020 and will implement best management practices for the laundering of shop towels that contain oils and grease.
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