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 bulk fuel storage facility
WHERE: Sand Island, HI
WHAT: SPCC violations
HOW MUCH: $150,000
A company that owns a fuel storage facility and another company that manages the facility reached an agreement with EPA related to an alleged accidental release that was discovered in January 2015. At that time, a former facility operator identified 42,000 gallons of jet fuel
that had been released through the bottom of its storage tank. About 1,944 gallons were later recovered outside the facility.
As part of the settlement, the companies agreed to install a double bottom tank floor on all remaining single bottom tanks, install an impervious liner or implement an improved sub-surface slurry wall, conduct more frequent physical tank inspections, and implement additional leak detection checks.
WHO: A metal fastener fabricator
WHERE: Danbury, CT
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $29,658
EPA recently announced a settlement with a Connecticut plant after the facility allegedly discharged 1,800 gallons of diluted coolant from an aboveground storage tank, 630 gallons of which reached the Sympaug Brook
in the Danbury area. The mixture is typically used to keep cutting machines from overheating. EPA said the mixture also contained residual oil, copper, and lead from the machines.
According to a report from the State of Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CTDEEP), the oil and metals in the coolant caused a fish kill from the spill entry location at the brook to its entry on Still River. After the spill was discovered, the company quickly completed cleanup at the brook and was cooperative with EPA during the enforcement investigation and case settlement negotiations.
WHO: A maritime logistics company
WHERE: Somerset, MA
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $27,000
Between February and October 2020, a New England metal refinery allegedly discharged scrap metal into Mt. Hope Bay without a permit. Previously, the company was using mechanical claws to load scrap metal
onto ships. This process may have contributed to the scrap metal discharges according to EPA.
The company has since modified its practices to load scrap metal onto a dumpster-like carrier instead, which is then hoisted directly into the ship's cargo bay for unloading.
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