Every day, facilities across the US receive Notices of Violation (NOV) from the 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. The names of the companies and individuals cited by EPA have been withheld to protect their privacy.
WHO: An oil and gas company
WHERE: Park County, WY
WHAT: Clean Water Act and SPCC violations
HOW MUCH: $115,000
A Texas-based oil and gas provider announced a settlement with EPA to resolve alleged violations at their Wyoming oil production facilities. The violations involved two improper releases
that affected the Big Horn River. Together, the releases resulted in approximately 300 barrels of crude oil and 1,000 barrels of produced water to be discharged.
EPA also cited deficiencies in the company’s Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) procedures. The oil and gas company has since corrected its SPCC plan and paid a civil penalty.
WHO: A copper processing facility
WHERE: Hayden, AZ
WHAT: Clean Air Act violations
HOW MUCH: $33,000
EPA issued a five-figure penalty to an industrial metalworking company for allegedly not complying with a fugitive dust plan
that had been addressed in a previous EPA settlement. The dust plan was designed to address the release of lead, coarse dust, and other hazardous air pollutants at the company’s copper smelter.
According to the plan, the facility is required to operate water sprayer systems at various sites to abate fugitive dust emissions. Federal officials identified 33 days during which water was not sprayed on certain required fugitive dust sources. Under the terms of the 2015 settlement, the company is liable for $1,000 for each day the water sprayers were not operating, resulting in $33,000 in stipulated penalties.
WHO: An asphalt paving corporation
WHERE: Falmouth, MA
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $3,000
A paving company reached a settlement with Federal officials to resolve alleged violations of oil pollution prevention
regulations. On Sept. 10, 2019, EPA investigated the facility and found its SPCC Plan was inadequate and in need to updating. EPA also found one area of the facility where containment allegedly needed to be addressed.
The paving company has agreed to submit an updated SPCC plan to address the deficiencies. The company will also assess its asphalt cement storage units and plans to correct any containment deficiencies that are found.
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