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: 11 cement manufacturing plants
WHERE: AL, CA, IA, IN, MD, NY, PA, and TX
WHAT: Clean Air Act violations
HOW MUCH: $1.3 million plus $12 million in facility improvements
A nation-wide manufacturing company has agreed to a multi-million-dollar settlement with EPA over alleged excess sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions
at its 11 facilities. The company has also agreed to install new emission controls at its cement kilns to adhere to current emission standards. EPA estimates the new controls will reduce air pollution by more than 4,555 tons of nitrogen oxides and 989 tons of sulfur dioxide each year.
Facilities covered by the settlement are in Leeds, AL; Cupertino, Redding, and Tehachapi, CA; Mason City, IA; Mitchell, IN; Union Bridge, MD; Glens Falls, NY; Fleetwood and York, PA; and Woodway, TX.
WHO: A waste management servicer
WHERE: Richland, WA
WHAT: RCRA violations
HOW MUCH: $23,375
EPA announced a consent agreement and final order with a Northwest waste management company to resolve alleged RCRA violations from 2013 and 2014.
EPA alleges the company’s liability insurance policy during this time did not provide required coverage for third-party bodily injury and property damage claims. This coverage was necessary because of the mixed waste the facility manages from the Department of Energy Hanford site.
The company has since come into full compliance with its RCRA permit and agreed to pay over $23k in penalties.
WHO: A recycling center
WHERE: Burlington, WA
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $22,375 plus $1,685,722 in supplemental projects
A Washington recycling center was allegedly operating in violation of Washington’s NPDES Industrial Stormwater General Permit
by failing to perform monthly inspections and complete a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan. Other violations include unauthorized wastewater discharges into the waters of the US.
The facility has agreed to install a stormwater treatment system as part of a Supplemental Environmental Program to eliminate the discharge of any polluted stormwater to waters of the U.S. The total value of the Supplemental Environmental Program is estimated to be $1,685,722.
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