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 medical waste incinerator
WHERE: North Salt Lake, UT
WHAT: Clean Air Act violations
HOW MUCH: $600,000 plus $2 million in Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs)
US Justice Department and EPA recently announced a settlement with a medical waste incinerator, resolving alleged violations of Clean Air Act and Utah air quality regulations. According to Federal investigators, the company operated its waste incinerator in a manner that exceeded regulatory limits for nitrogen oxides (NOx),
failed to properly conduct stack tests, and failed to comply with reporting requirements.
The company is expected to pay a civil penalty and conduct a Supplemental Environmental Project to purchase low-emitting school buses for a local school district.
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WHO: A national pharmacy chain
WHERE: Locations throughout CA
WHAT: RCRA violations
HOW MUCH: $4.2 million plus $300,000 in SEPs
Following an investigation by prosecutors in several California counties, a pharmacy chain reached an agreement to resolve alleged violations stemming from its alleged improper disposal of hazardous waste between 2013 and 2020.
Prosecutors allege the company mishandled hazardous waste, such as over-the-counter and prescription medication, electronic devices, batteries, aerosol products, and cleaning agents, resulting in disposal at sites not authorized to accept hazardous waste.
As part of the settlement, the pharmacy chain must undergo waste audits in at least five percent of its California facilities to ensure hazardous waste is properly disposed of in all stores and the company must comply with injunctive requirements of hazardous waste management.
WHO: A scrap metal recycler
WHERE: Oakland, CA
WHAT: Clean Air Act violations
HOW MUCH: $2 million plus $2.1 million in SEPs
A metal recycling company allegedly violated emissions rules and failed to adequately warn the community about zinc, cadmium, and lead exposure
from its Oakland facility, according to California prosecutors.
In addition to paying a civil penalty, the company will complete a series of SEPs to benefit West Oakland communities. Projects include HVAC upgrades, air filtration system installations, and air quality monitoring improvements at local non-profits, senior centers, libraries, and other municipal sites.
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