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: 2 food processing and storage facilities
WHERE: Chelsea, MA and Sanger, CA
WHAT: Clean Air Act RMP and EPCRA release reporting
HOW MUCH: About $380,000 combined
EPA’s ongoing National Enforcement Initiative to reduce risks of accidental releases of anhydrous ammonia has resulted in two more enforcement actions in the food processing and storage industry.
Both enforcement cases relate to management and reporting responsibilities for facilities that use large volumes of hazardous chemicals, specifically anhydrous ammonia.
In one case, a meat processing plant in Chelsea, Massachusetts allegedly failed to implement safety measures required under the Clean Air Act Risk Management Plan (RMP)
program. The facility was subject to the RMP requirements because its refrigeration system contained more than 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia. The violations were discovered five years ago, and the facility has since achieved compliance. The company will pay a $138,281 civil penalty.
Who is subject to Clean Air Act RMP?
PA RMP requirements apply to owners and operators of "stationary sources" that use certain flammable or toxic chemicals, in certain amounts, at any time in a single process. [see 40 CFR 68.10] A stationary source is defined as a place or object from which pollutants are released and which don't move around (e.g., power plants, gas stations, incinerators).
Do you know your responsibilities for managing hazardous chemicals under the Clean Air Act? The Clean Air Act Regulations Online Course covers applicability and critical requirements for major US EPA air programs including Risk Management Planning, New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), New Source Review, NAAQS, NESHAPs, and more.
In Sanger, California,
a produce facility was fined $80,000
and will spend more than $100,000 on facility upgrades to reduce the risk of a chemical accident.
The facility was inspected in 2016 following a large release of anhydrous ammonia. EPA determined that the facility did not “immediately notify” the National Response Center and the California Office of Emergency Services as required under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).
EPCRA imposes release reporting requirements for hazardous chemicals, including ammonia. Facilities must immediately report releases of listed chemicals if the release may result in exposure to people outside of the facility (40 CFR 355.30).
Responsible for EPCRA compliance at work? Lion simplifies the complex EPCRA and CERCLA reporting rules in the Superfund and Right-to-Know Act Online Course. Learn what you need to know to identify and comply with the EPCRA and CERCLA/Superfund reporting and recordkeeping rules that impact your facility.
WHO: A chrome- and electro-plating facility
WHERE: Newburyport, MA
WHAT: Hazardous waste management violations
HOW MUCH: $17,300
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (Mass DEP) penalized a metal plating and polishing facility in the state for allegedly mismanaging hazardous waste. Violations included treating hazardous waste rinse waters without a permit and failure to properly mark and label hazardous waste containers.
Mass DEP suspended $10,000 of the $23,700 civil penalty with the caveat that the facility corrects the violations and complies with applicable state hazardous waste regulations. According to DEP
, the company took steps to come into compliance by properly labeling and managing its hazardous waste on site.
Compared to the Federal RCRA regulations, Massachusetts state hazardous waste rules include unique requirements for generators in the state—from waste ID criteria to waste codes to contingency planning. Professionals who work with and manage hazardous waste in Massachusetts must know their state’s unique rules to prevent releases, liability, and costly civil penalties.
Develop the expertise you need to achieve and maintain compliance with the Bay State’s hazardous waste rules. The Massachusetts Hazardous Waste Management Online Course is available now at Lion.com/MA.
Convenient, Effective Online EHS Manager Training
Managing site compliance with the many complex EPA programs that affect your business—from the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts to TSCA, EPCRA, CERLCA, and more—is a major challenge. If you’re new to the field, or need an update on changing EPA rules, online training is a convenient way to quickly build in-depth expertise.
Check out the latest EPA compliance training options here:
Clean Air Act Regulations Online
TSCA Regulations Online
New! Clean Water Act & SDWA Regulations Online
Just Launched! Superfund and Right-to-Know Act Regulations Online
The 2019 nationwide schedule for the Complete Environmental Regulations Workshop
is now available. Collaborate with other managers to identify the requirements that apply to your facility, ask the right questions, and make the right decisions about EPA compliance.