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 waste management facility
WHERE: Franklin, WI
WHAT: RCRA violations
HOW MUCH: $232,000
According to EPA, a waste management facility in Wisconsin improperly disposed of hazardous electric arc furnace dust
from a steel casting foundry at a company-owned landfill on at least 10 days. The dust was contaminated with chromium, a hazardous waste and known human carcinogen. The facility was not to treat, store, or dispose of hazardous waste.
Under the terms of the settlement, the facility has agreed to conduct leachate and groundwater monitoring as well as to update its waste management plan and training program. The settlement also includes a civil penalty of $232,000.
WHO: A seafood distributor
WHERE: Westport, WA
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $190,000
A seafood distributor in the Pacific Northwest has settled with EPA over alleged Clean Water Act violations at one if its crab and shrimp processing facilities. EPA cited more than 2,100 alleged violations
of the company’s wastewater discharge permit during a 2017 inspection. These include discharge limit violations, as well as violations related to monitoring frequency, incorrect sampling, and incomplete or inadequate reporting.
In addition to paying a fine, the company has launched a variety of new programs and implemented technologies to address compliance challenges at the Westport facility. As part of the agreement, the seafood distributor neither confirms nor denies EPA’s allegations.
WHO: A logistics company
WHERE: Lynden, WA
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $41,500
On March 9, 2020, EPA filed a consent agreement and final order resolving violations of the Clean Water Act by a Washington logistics company that warehouses perishable goods. According to EPA, the company allegedly discharged pollutants to Fishtrap Creek
in violation of its Industrial Stormwater General Permit. Other alleged violations include failure to implement corrective action after benchmark exceedances, failure to document monthly inspections, failure to monitor, and an inadequate stormwater pollution prevention plan.
The company agreed in an administrative compliance order on consent to develop and implement multiple engineering plans that will reduce pollutants from leaving the facility and entering Fishtrap Creek. The company also agreed to pay a penalty of $41,500.
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