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 frozen dessert and ice cream company
WHERE: Phoenix, AZ
WHAT: Clean Air Act violations
HOW MUCH: $268,406
EPA has announced a settlement with an ice cream and frozen dessert maker over alleged violations of Clean Air Act’s risk management program
requirements. During a 2019 inspection, EPA found the company allegedly failed to implement recommended process hazard findings, failed to comply with process safety information requirements, and failed to have appropriate pipe and instrument labeling for its anhydrous ammonia refrigeration system.
The facility was inspected as part of EPA’s National Compliance Initiative to reduce the likelihood of accidental releases at anhydrous ammonia refrigeration facilities and other facilities that store and use hazardous chemicals.
WHO: An ammonium nitrate manufacturer
WHERE: St. David, AZ
WHAT: Clean Air Act and CERCLA violations
HOW MUCH: $1.5 million
A company that makes nitrogen-based substances for mining and agricultural products has agreed to pay $1.5 million to resolve alleged violations of Federal chemical accident prevention requirements. The company also agreed to make widespread safety enhancements
, including making improvements to its preventive maintenance tracking system, conducting an audit of its process safety culture, and installing a new anhydrous ammonia monitoring system.
EPA began investigating the company after more than 52,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia were released after offloading a railcar in June 2014.The company had an additional accidental release in August 2015, after which it failed to immediately notify the National Response Center and State and local authorities.
WHO: A trucking and salvage company
WHERE: Monroe, WA
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $300,000
According to EPA, a trucking company in the Pacific Northwest improperly delivered more than 54,000 cubic yards of fill material
to a local landowner. The fill was then discharged into wetlands, an oxbow of the Skykomish River, and a perennial stream without obtaining the required permits. The incidents occurred over a three-year period starting in 2008.
In addition to paying a penalty, the company agreed to perform significant restoration work. This includes removing roughly 40,000 cubic yards of unauthorized fill from the oxbow of the Skykomish River and nearby wetlands, regrading the site, and funding revegetation efforts.
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