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 metal recycler
WHERE: Palmerton, PA
WHAT: Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, RCRA, and EPCRA violations
HOW MUCH: $3.3 million plus $4.3 million in site improvements
A metal recycler recently settled with EPA over a variety of alleged violations, including failure to conduct RCRA and SPCC training
, among other violations. According to State environmental officials, there was also a potential public health concern regarding airborne lead within three miles of a company facility in violation of the Clean Air Act.
The company agreed to carry out approximately $4.3 million in improvements to comply with Federal and State environmental regulations. EPA estimate that this settlement could result in an electric arc furnace dust pollutant reduction of 47 million pounds over three years.
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WHO: An oil and gas provider
WHERE: Natrona and Johnson Counties, WY
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $1.9 million
EPA alleges a regional oil and gas company improperly discharged crude oil and water into Waters of the United States (WOTUS)
and their adjoining shorelines in six separate events between October 5, 2016, through May 29, 2018. Other alleged Clean Water Act violations include inadequate Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC)
plans for five facilities, inadequate Facility Response Plans (FRP) for three facilities, and no FRP for one facility.
The $1.9 million penalty will go towards the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to help fund emergency response operations combating oil and hazardous substance releases. The company has taken steps to ensure compliance, including SPCC and FRP plan submissions that satisfy regulatory requirements. The oil company has also demonstrated its ability to implement its FRP and respond to discharges into WOTUS.
WHO: A chemical manufacturer
WHERE: Kalama, WA
WHAT: RCRA violations
HOW MUCH: $121,478
A chemical manufacturer in the Pacific Northwest has agreed to modify its hazardous waste storage and handling practices after alleged violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
During inspections, EPA allegedly found multiple violations related to the storage and handling of volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
as well as violations of emissions standards applicable to storage containers and equipment. The company has since agreed to pay a $121,478 penalty.
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