US businesses are subject to complex, overlapping environmental regulations related to air emissions, discharges to water, hazardous waste management and disposal, oil spills, chemical management, and more. Failure to comply with all applicable US EPA requirements can result in future liability and civil penalties as high as $100,000+ per day, per violation.
The EPA enforcement actions highlighted below provide insight into how and why the Agency assesses civil penalties for environmental noncompliance.
All violations mentioned are alleged unless we indicate otherwise. We withhold the names of organizations and individuals subject to enforcement to protect their privacy.
WHO: A freight distributor
WHERE: 174 facilities across the US
WHAT: RCRA violations
HOW MUCH: $860,400
A Virginia-based freight distributor and transporter came to has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $860,400 to resolve alleged RCRA hazardous waste violations at 174 facilities in thirty-nine different states. The company generates hazardous waste when packages containing hazardous materials are damaged during transportation.
The company allegedly failed to make hazardous waste determinations and did not properly manage their waste in compliance with the RCRA standards for generators. Under an agreement reached with US EPA, the freight distributor will come into compliance with the RCRA rules for accurate waste determinations, notification and reporting, completing hazardous waste manifests, and more.
WHO: A wholesale seafood producer
WHERE: Naknek, Alaska
WHAT: Clean Air Act violations
HOW MUCH: $345,000
For constructing and operating three solid waste incinerators without obtaining a permit, notifying environmental regulators, or putting emissions controls or monitoring in place, an Alaskan seafood producer recently paid a $345,000 penalty.
Rather than bring the three incinerators into compliance with the Clean Air Act, the company opted to shut them down. The emissions from the incinerators—which were used to burn paper, cardboard, and wood wastes—could have exposed the community to harmful air pollution, EPA says.
EPA also alleges violations of requirements for waste management planning, operator training, emissions monitoring, and recordkeeping. The company also failed to perform and keep records of required maintenance on stationary engines used to generate power.
WHO: An agriculture supplier
WHERE: Greenleaf, Idaho
WHAT: FIFRA violations
HOW MUCH: $144,000
An Idahoan agriculture supplier has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $144,400 for alleged violations of pesticide storage regulations under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).
FIFRA requires stationary pesticide containers be able to resist extreme temperature changes, cracking, and operating stresses. The regulations also lay out requirements for secondary containment to prevent an accidental release of pesticides.
2023 Complete Environmental Regulations Training
Join a Lion instructor for the Complete Environmental Regulations Webinar on February 2—3. Get an overview of US EPA’s major air, water, and chemical programs—from the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts to EPCRA, TSCA, Superfund, and more. EH&S professionals who attend can identify the regulations that apply to their facility and locate key requirements to achieve compliance.
Prefer to train at your own pace? Try the interactive online course.