Industrial facilities in the United States are subject to complex, overlapping environmental regulations concerning 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 (and growing every year).
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 building materials manufacturer
WHERE: Norwood, MA
WHAT: EPCRA violations
HOW MUCH: $104,572
According to EPA, a New England maker of construction materials failed to file Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) reports for zinc compounds and chromium compounds
for reporting years 2017, 2018, and 2019 in a timely manner. Annual TRI reporting is required under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) Section 313.
Once advised, the company since submitted the required reports and paid a civil penalty. Complying with EPCRA and TRI helps ensure that communities are informed about chemical usage that may affect public health and the environment.
WHO: A chemical plant
WHERE: Leland, NC
WHAT: RCRA violations
HOW MUCH: $39,500
A chemical distillation and blending facility agreed to a five-figure civil penalty to resolve alleged hazardous management violations. Between January 2015 and November 2019, the company used isopropyl alcohol and acetone solvents
to clean tanks at the facility. During a later EPA Compliance Evaluation Inspection, the Agency found that the company failed to make hazardous waste determination on the spent chemicals generated and managed at the facility.
The inspection also identified that the company allegedly failed to file a notification with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality to become a handler of hazardous secondary materials in accordance with North Carolina hazardous waste regulations.
WHO: A waste treatment facility
WHERE: Bristol, CT
WHAT: EPCRA violations
HOW MUCH: $30,688
EPA alleged that a waste treatment facility failed to file TRI reports for company-manufactured zinc compounds and nitrate compounds for calendar years 2017, 2018, and 2019 in a timely manner. Following EPA's notification about the alleged violations, the facility filed all six
of its overdue reports and agreed to pay a settlement penalty of $30,688.
Under Federal TRI regulations, companies that use certain listed chemicals must report their chemical releases each year to EPA. This information serves as the basis for the Toxic Release Inventory, which is a collection of data that can be readily reviewed by communities, government, and industry.
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