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 crude oil refinery
WHERE: El Dorado, KS
WHAT: Clean Air Act violations
HOW MUCH: $4 million
An oil refinery in the Midwest has been cited for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act. According to EPA, the company exceeded emissions limits for hydrogen sulfide in fuel gas
, failed to monitor for hydrogen sulfide, and failed to minimize emissions using good air pollution control practices among other violations.
The proposed consent decree calls for the refinery to install air pollution controls and upgrades at the refinery to reduce smoke from the flare, thereby reducing sulfur dioxide and particulate matter emissions. In addition, the company agreed to conduct audits of its risk management practices at the refinery and to perform corrective actions based on the audit results.
WHO: A sewage sludge incinerator
WHERE: Bridgewater, NJ
WHAT: Clean Air Act violations
HOW MUCH: $225,000 plus a $50,000 supplemental environmental project
EPA reached an agreement with a New Jersey sewage sludge incinerator in order to resolve the company’s alleged violations of sewage sludge regulations
under State permitting requirements and the Clean Air Act. The incinerator allegedly failed to satisfy emissions testing requirements and submit required control and monitoring plans and reports, among other violations.
In addition to paying a fine, the company has agreed to comply with all outstanding requirements of the sewage sludge incineration regulations, including conducting a performance test and the submission of control and monitoring plans and other reports.
WHO: A State department
WHERE: Kailua, HI
WHAT: Safe Drinking Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $128,000
A State department of Hawai’i has agreed to close all its large-capacity cesspools (LCCs) as part of an agreement with Federal environmental officials. According to EPA, the State department was allegedly operating two illegal LCCs connected to a youth correctional facility
. EPA banned LCCs in 2005.
Once alerted to the violations, the department shut down the cesspools and has agreed to review and close any remaining LCCs by April 2021.
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