Industrial facilities in the United States are subject to complex, overlapping environmental regulations concerning air emissions, discharges to water, hazardous waste management and disposal, oil spills, chemical management, and more. Failure to comply with all applicable US EPA requirements can result in future liability and civil penalties as high as $100,000+ per day, per violation (and growing every year).
The EPA enforcement actions highlighted below provide insight into how and why the Agency assesses civil penalties for environmental noncompliance. All violations mentioned are alleged unless we indicate otherwise.
We withhold the names of organizations and individuals subject to enforcement to protect their privacy.
WHO: An industrial airport
WHERE: Caldwell, ID
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $15,000
An Idaho municipality reached an agreement with EPA over alleged violations of the Industrial Stormwater General Permit at its industrial airport. Violations include failure to conduct quarterly inspections, failure to minimize erosion, failure to implement control measures to minimize exposure of fueling operation to precipitation, and an incomplete Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP).
The city agreed to modify the facility to correct the violations and agreed to update its SWPPP.
Under the Clean Water Act’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), companies must control pollutants entering the water in runoff from streets, parking lots, rooftops, and other surfaces at industrial and construction sites. The water that runs off these surfaces may pick up sediment, debris, chemicals, or other hazardous pollutants before it reaches the waters of the United States.
WHO: A telecommunications manufacturer
WHERE: Jessup, MD
WHAT: TSCA violations
HOW MUCH: $8,277
After a facility inspection on June 20, 2019, EPA identified alleged TSCA violations at the tech company facility. According to EPA, the company exported a carbon nanomaterial substance
in one instance without prior notification to EPA, as required by TSCA. Once notified of the alleged violation, the company submitted the export notification and has paid the civil penalty.
Information on EPA’s Notice of Export rule requirements can be found at 40 CFR 707, Subpart D.
WHO: A construction company
WHERE: Holden, MA
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $10,500
EPA recently issued a civil penalty to a developer for allegedly failing to adequately control erosion
at a construction site. 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, comply with the terms of the permit, and thereby minimize sediment discharges.
Dirt, sediment, and other pollutants carried off construction sites can damage aquatic habitat, contribute to harmful algal blooms, and physically clog streams and pipes. Operators of new construction sites must apply for permit coverage prior to initiating land-disturbing activity.
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, CERCLA, 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:
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