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 food distributor
WHERE: Yuma, AZ, and Salinas, CA
WHAT: Clean Air Act and EPCRA violations
HOW MUCH: $186,975
A food distributor reached a six-figure settlement with EPA after alleged violations of chemical accident prevention requirements related to the company’s use and management of anhydrous ammonia
at two storage and distribution facilities.
According to EPA, the following violations were discovered during inspections in 2017 and 2018: failure to safely manage anhydrous ammonia; failure to meet the Clean Air Act’s risk management program requirements for ammonia refrigeration system hazard review, operating procedures, and maintaining mechanical integrity; and failure to submit chemical inventory information regarding the ammonia to Arizona and California authorities and local emergency response agencies.
WHO: A towing company
WHERE: Mountain Home, ID
WHAT: RCRA violations
HOW MUCH: $75,000
EPA recently filed a consent agreement and final order to resolve alleged violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act by an Idaho roadside service provider. The towing company allegedly transported hazardous waste without a manifest or EPA identification number in connection with a fire and spill of hazardous waste paint
on an interstate highway in September 2015.
The state of Idaho referred this case to EPA, and the company has agreed to pay a $75,000 penalty.
WHO: A municipal sewage disposal corporation
WHERE: Peoria, IL
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $150,000 plus $25 million in site improvements
A proposed consent decree is expected to yield significant reductions of sewage discharges from a Midwest city’s wastewater systems into the Illinois River and Peoria Lake. The settlement requires the municipal sewage disposal service to implement improvements to maximize the flow of combined sewage from Peoria to its wastewater treatment plant and eliminate the discharges from two remote treatment units within its sanitary sewer system by July 1, 2028. The improvements are expected to cost $25 million and will be fully completed by 2032.
EPA alleges the waste management system allegedly violated the Clean Water Act to combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
(NPDES) permit exceedances.
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