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 produce distributor
WHERE: Zillah, WA
WHAT: EPCRA violations
HOW MUCH: $238,875
A company that operates four cold storage facilities in Washington State was issued a civil penalty by EPA for failing to follow hazardous chemical inventory reporting requirements related to its use of anhydrous ammonia.
Under EPCRA, anhydrous ammonia has a 500-lb. reporting and planning requirement threshold.
EPCRA Section 312 requires companies to file hazardous chemical inventory report forms with the State Emergency Response Commission, the Local Emergency Planning Committee, and the local Fire Department each year by March 1st. Timely, accurate reporting helps protect responders and surrounding communities in the event of an accidental, uncontrolled release of hazardous chemicals.
WHO: A structural steel fabricator
WHERE: Tigard, OR
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $82,000
EPA reached a settlement with a company that manufactures parts for bridges, high-rise buildings, stadiums, and more to resolve alleged Clean Water Act violations. Following a 2019 facility inspection EPA cited the company for a deficient Stormwater Pollution Control Plan
and failure to monitor all storm water discharge points.
In addition to paying a civil penalty, the steel fabricator agreed to conduct a storm water evaluation period, revise and update its Stormwater Pollution Control Plan, and install additional treatment capacity at its facility to address excess zinc discharges.
WHO: A construction company
WHERE: Charlton, MA
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $8,700
A New England construction company reached an agreement with EPA for alleged violations of stormwater regulations. Under the settlement, the company will obtain the proper permits and follow the permit requirements to reduce pollution from construction runoff.
Dirt and sediment carried off construction sites can damage aquatic habitat, contribute to algal blooms, and physically clog streams and pipes.
According to EPA, the company allegedly failed to obtain permit coverage and maintain adequate erosion controls resulting in turbid damage at one of its construction sites. All construction sites one acre or larger, with the potential to discharge stormwater to surface waters, are required to obtain coverage under EPA's General Permit for Discharges from Construction Activities
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