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 discount retail store chain
WHERE: Alameda, San Joaquin, and Monterey Counties, CA
WHAT: RCRA violations
HOW MUCH: $3,335,000
A discount retail chain has been cited by Alameda County District Attorney, along with 38 other California District Attorneys and two City Attorneys, for allegedly sending hazardous wastes to local landfills that were not permitted to receive those wastes. The alleged violations occurred on several occasions from 2014 to 2017 at 441 store locations
throughout the Golden State.
Once notified of the violations, the company immediately took steps to achieve compliance. Hazardous waste generated by the stores is now properly documented and collected by state-registered transporters and brought to authorized disposal facilities. Stores are now required to retain their hazardous waste in segregated, labeled containers and to ensure that incompatible wastes do not combine to cause adverse chemical reactions.
WHO: A coal mining company
WHERE: McDowell County, WV
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $300,000
A Federal court is reviewing a settlement between a West Virginia coal company and environmental groups after the company was found liable for alleged selenium pollution discharged into waters near McDowell County. Pending court approval, the agreement requires the company to pay a $30,000 civil penalty plus $270,000 to a State conservation trust fund to help build a new trail
and preserve water quality in the Tug River watershed.
The proposed agreement stems from a lawsuit filed by environmental groups in August 2019 under the citizen suit provisions of the Clean Water Act and Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.
WHO: A military and parachute hardware fabricator
WHERE: Middletown, CT
WHAT: EPCRA violations
HOW MUCH: $54,705
A Connecticut metal refinery that specializes in military and parachute hardware agreed to a five-figure settlement to resolve alleged EPCRA violations. According to EPA, the facility allegedly failed to file Toxic Release Inventory (TRI)
reports in 2019 for its processing of chromium, copper, and nickel in 2018.
After it was alerted to the alleged violations, the company filed its missing TRI reports in May 2020.
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