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 chemical production facility
WHERE: Cotton Grove, MN
WHAT: RCRA violations
HOW MUCH: $80,000
A chemical production facility was recently issued a civil penalty for alleged violations of chemical management regulations related to an accidental release of hydrofluoric acid
in 2019. According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the facility allegedly failed to immediately notify State regulators when employees found hydrofluoric acid leaking from four damaged hazardous waste storage containers
. The facility allegedly alerted regulators to the release two days after it was identified.
Other alleged violations include storing hazardous wastes for longer than the permissible one year and improper storage and stacking of hazardous waste storage containers.
WHO: A refuse truck manufacturer
WHERE: Scranton, IA
WHAT: RCRA violations
HOW MUCH: $50,208
EPA reached an agreement with a company that makes refuse and garbage trucks for its alleged violations of large quantity hazardous waste generator requirements. As a large quantity generator (LQG) the truck manufacturer allegedly failed to prepare a contingency plan to respond to emergencies and failed to make arrangements with all local emergency responders in the event of a release. The company also allegedly failed to provide required hazardous waste training for personnel
. Under RCRA, personnel at large quantity generators facilities must be trained annually (40 CFR 262.17).
The company has agreed to correct the alleged violations to bring the facility in full compliance with Federal hazardous waste regulations for LQGs.
WHO: A dairy farm
WHERE: Wayland, MI
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $33,750
A Michigan dairy farm agreed to repair its waste storage ponds after EPA identified alleged Clean Water Act violations. EPA alleges the farm improperly discharged 120,000 gallons of manure and wastewater
into a drain in 2013. The company allegedly failed to report the discharges, adequately maintain waste storage, and failed to keep sufficient records.
The farm agreed to empty its storage ponds, make necessary repairs to the liners, and ensure the operation’s waste is properly applied on fields and recorded. The farm must also submit manure application records to EPA from 2018 and 2019.
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