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: An industrial chemical manufacturer
WHERE: Follansbee and Green Spring, WV and Clairton, PA
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $800,000
A chemical manufacturer recently settled with EPA over alleged violations of the Clean Water Act’s Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure
(SPCC) and Facility Response Plan (FRP) requirements. EPA cited the Follansbee location for the most significant violations, including the facility’s secondary containment for spills, and inadequate structural integrity inspection and testing of aboveground tanks.
As part of the settlement, the company did not admit the alleged violations, but certifies that it is now in compliance with applicable requirements. The company must also conduct integrity testing of specified tanks at the Follansbee site, or take them out of service; and to comply with SPCC and FRP reporting and plan amendment requirements.
WHO: A pet and gardening supply company
WHERE: Longmont, CO
WHAT: FIFRA violations
HOW MUCH: $285,700
After an investigation at a pesticide production facility in 2016, EPA found the company that owned the facility allegedly distributed pesticide products with outdated labeling. The outdated labeling allegedly failed to include current information
on how to safely use, store, and dispose of pesticide products.
Since the inspection, EPA inspectors provided FIFRA compliance assistance for the company’s pesticide labeling operations. In addition to paying a fine, the company is required to ensure the pesticides they sell and distribute are properly labeled.
WHO: A crude oil facility
WHERE: Hays, KS
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $50,000
According to EPA, a Kansas crude oil production facility improperly released about 165 barrels of oil
into the Saline River in 2016. In addition to paying a fine, the company agreed to take actions to achieve compliance at approximately 90 of its oil production facilities in Kansas.
Facilities that store 1,320 gallons or greater of oil products in aboveground storage tanks are subject to Clean Water Act regulations that require, among other things, accurate facility diagrams, equipment maintenance plans, and proper containment to contain oil releases. EPA alleges that the company failed to comply with these requirements, and that such noncompliance contributed to the discharges to the Saline River.
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