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: A beauty products manufacturer
WHERE: Danville, IL
WHAT: RCRA violations
HOW MUCH: $175,000
A company that specializes in the production of personal care products agreed to a six-figure settlement to resolve alleged hazardous waste air emissions violations
. EPA alleges the company failed to monitor valves and pumps for leaks, maintain records, tag valves and flanges, inspect roof closures, and obtain a written tank assessment.
Due its proximity to a Superfund site and low-income communities, environmental justice played a significant role in EPA’s actions on this case.
WHO: A pharmaceutical facility
WHERE: Oelwein, IA
WHAT: RCRA violations
HOW MUCH: $80,562
EPA reached a settlement with a blood anticoagulant manufacturer for failing to meet applicable organic air emission as well as other RCRA requirements. The company was seemingly operating as an unpermitted large quantity generator, according to EPA. The alleged violations created the potential for releases of hazardous wastes, including harmful air emissions.
A 2020 inspection found the company was allegedly operating as a large quantity generator that failed to have a contingency plan for releases of hazardous waste, conduct and document hazardous waste training, and properly mark equipment and keep records. In response to the inspection findings, the company agreed to take the necessary steps to return its facility to compliance.
WHO: A construction company
WHERE: Lincoln, NE
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $60,009
As a result of a 2019 inspection, EPA alleges a construction company violated the terms of its Clean Water Act permit.
Since alerted to the alleged violations, the company took necessary steps to return to compliance and agreed to pay a civil penalty.
The company allegedly failed to implement practices to limit the release of construction pollution into streams and other waters. EPA says those failures resulted in discharges of sediment and construction-related pollutants into a tributary to Stevens Creek and Waterford Lake.
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