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 gas station parent company
WHERE: Omaha, NE and Council Bluffs, IA
WHAT: RCRA hazardous waste management violations
HOW MUCH: $16,448 penalty and $133,000 to upgrade monitoring/alarm systems
A company that owns 23 gas stations in Nebraska and Iowa agreed to pay a $16,448 penalty for allegedly failing to conduct required inspections
and keep records for equipment designed to detect leaks from underground storage tanks (USTs), according to EPA. EPA inspections also revealed that the company failed to properly maintain overfill protection at two facilities, which would prevent gasoline spills when pumped from USTs.
As part of the agreement with EPA, the company will spend $133,000 to upgrade monitoring and alarm systems at each of its gas stations to enable any fuel leaks to be reported directly to a central location.
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WHO: A dairy processing plant
WHERE: Fresno, CA
WHAT: Clean Air Act and EPCRA violations
HOW MUCH: $89,960 penalty and $26,000 to purchase emergency response equipment
One of the largest family-owned dairy companies in the Western US has reached a settlement
with EPA for alleged violations in the plant’s process safety information, pipe labeling, operating procedures, and mechanical integrity program. EPA also found the company to be in violation of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) for failing to submit an annual chemical inventory for ammonia located at the plant.
In addition to the $89,960 civil penalty, EPA ordered the facility to purchase and provide approximately $26,300 worth of emergency response equipment to the Fresno City Fire Department as part of a supplemental environmental project.
WHO: An industrial lumber treatment facility
WHERE: Pacific Northwest and Alaska
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $320,000
A lumber processing facility has been fined $320,000 amid allegations that it failed to comply with Clean Water Act stormwater management regulations
. EPA alleges that the Agency found process water discharges during inspections in 2014, which are prohibited under EPA’s Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures regulations.
The company has also agreed to build a treatment system to address ongoing water quality violations and invest in a Supplementary Environmental Project that will allow roughly 38 acres of undeveloped land to be permanently set aside for conservation and recreational purposes.
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