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 recycling and industrial cleaning company
WHERE: Dolton, IL
WHAT: RCRA violations
HOW MUCH: $350,000
A company that collects and recycles solvent and manages industrial cleaning services was cited for violating their hazardous waste permit. According to EPA, the company allegedly treated hazardous waste in thin-film evaporators
that were not authorized in the permit to treat hazardous waste.
Under the terms of the Consent Agreement and Final Order with EPA, the waste recycler has addressed the violations at its Illinois facility and agreed to pay a civil penalty of $350,000.
WHO: An electrical power plant
WHERE: Kapolei, HI
WHAT: Clean Air Act and EPCRA violations
HOW MUCH: $199,725
EPA announced a settlement with a power plant for Clean Air Act and EPCRA violations identified during a January 2020 inspection. The Agency specifically noted alleged deficiencies in staff training
on emergency procedures, process hazard analysis, and physical distance safeguards as well as problems with corroded piping and equipment.
EPA says several other violations were associated with alleged insufficient documentation, reporting, and proper labeling of the plant’s anhydrous ammonia system. Once notified, the facility sufficiently addressed the violations.
WHO: A construction company
WHERE: North Reading, MA
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $9,000
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, maintain adequate erosion controls, and store and contain petroleum products in a manner designed to prevent discharge of pollutants 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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