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 flooring and wall panel manufacturer
WHERE: Eastaboga, AL
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $900,000 plus $8.05 million in in supplemental projects
On November 2, EPA filed a proposed Consent Decree to resolve alleged unauthorized wastewater discharges
by an Alabama-based manufacturer. Under the terms of the proposed Consent Decree, the company will develop and implement a pretreatment compliance training program and develop certain standard operating procedures for its facility as well as other facility improvements.
The company will also complete a supplemental environmental project to install an evaporation system that will reduce by over 86% the annual volume of process wastewater that is pretreated and discharged to the receiving POTW in Oxford, Alabama.
WHO: A home and personal care products wholesaler
WHERE: Los Angeles, CA
WHAT: FIFRA violations
HOW MUCH: $213,668
A personal goods distributor reached an agreement over an alleged illegal attempt to import alcohol wipes that were not registered with EPA. According to EPA, the company sought to import over 650,000 wipes in 20 shipments
into the US. The company also failed to file required documents stating that it was importing pesticides into the country.
EPA recently expanded its list of disinfecting products
that are approved for use against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The list contains over 500 additional products—including products that went through the expedited review process for emerging viral pathogens. Only disinfecting products approved by EPA can make public health claims relating to effectiveness against viruses, bacteria, and other organisms.
WHO: An electronics recycling facility
WHERE: West Memphis, AR
WHAT: RCRA violations
HOW MUCH: $19,125
A facility that recycles consumer electronics allegedly mishandled hazardous and universal wastes
as identified by EPA and State investigators on October 26, 2018. State and Federal environmental agencies claim the company failed to make a waste determination, properly and timely dispose of waste, demonstrate waste accumulation time, and provide necessary training among other violations.
In addition to paying a fine, the agreement requires the facility to submit either written procedures for determining if separated components of consumer electronic items may be characterized as hazardous waste or written notification that the disassembled electronics will be managed as universal waste.
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