Which is scarier: Seeing a ghost or finding out that your business owes more than $1 million in fines
for avoidable environmental violations? Talk about terror!
Two California businesses may have to skimp on treats this Halloween after reaching seven-figure settlements for alleged hazardous waste violations with the state’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) this month.
Kick off 2019 with expert training! The California Hazardous Waste Management Workshopreturns in January 2019 and covers the latest Title 22 and Health and Safety Code you must know. Meet DTSC’s training mandate and earn CM Points toward IHMM, ABIH, NEHA, and REHS credentials.
Grocer to Pay $1.6 Million for Mishandled Hazmat
A grocery chain in California will pay a penalty for alleged failure to properly handle and dispose of flammable, reactive, toxic, and corrosive items. Mismanaged wastes ranged from batteries and electronic devices to ignitable liquids, aerosols, and cleaning agents.
In addition to paying $1.2 million in civil penalties
to California safety and regulatory agencies, the grocery chain will hire a “California Compliance Specialist” and contract with a California environmental services business for a period of five years.
Violations were discovered at retail stores in many California counties. While the violations varied from site to site, they can all be traced back to a fundamental waste management issue: determining which wastes are regulated as hazardous or universal waste in California.
Simply put, without first making an accurate determination about a waste, no generator should expect to handle, store, or dispose of it properly. Federal hazardous waste regulations are stringent and complex, and California’s are even more so. Every
business must look thoughtfully at the waste they generate and determine which waste streams, if any, are regulated under Federal or State environmental laws.
Employee-started Fire at Hazardous Waste Facility
DTSC announced a second seven-figure hazardous waste settlement on October 25, 2018, just in time for Halloween.
A hazardous waste facility in Rancho Cordova will pay $1.4 million in penalties, following a number of fires and an explosion at the facility. According to DTSC’s press release, a fire at the facility in 2017 was “caused when employees intentionally ignited hazardous waste that contained naphthalene.”
In addition, the company failed to:
- Adequately train hazardous waste personnel.
- Properly manage and store incompatible hazardous wastes.
- Properly bulk and consolidate hazardous waste.
- Comply with the conditions of its hazardous waste facility permit.
- Follow a DTSC-approved Emergency Action and Contingency Plan.
Like US EPA, California DTSC requires annual training for hazardous waste personnel (22 CCR 66262.34 and 66265.16).
Without adequate training for employees who handle and manage hazardous waste, regulatory compliance is more or less left to chance—and the odds aren’t good
. Environmental regulations are now always intuitive. Complexities like waste codes, waste compatibility, labeling rules, and accumulation or storage time limits can easily be overlooked, leading to injury, fires, releases, and civil penalties that increase every year.
California Hazardous Waste Penalties Rising
In October 2017, the Governor of California signed into law AB 245
, a bill to raise the civil penalties for hazardous waste violations—codified in California’s State Health and Safety Code—to $70,000 per day, per violation,
nearly triple the old maximum penalty of $25,000.
Under the Federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), hazardous waste penalties are now as high as $72,718 per day, per violation.
EPA also raised its penalty amounts this year and may raise penalties to match inflation again in the coming months.
Title 22 Training for Hazardous Waste Generators in California
Join us in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Fresno, and San Francisco in January 2019 for expert-led training to develop the in-depth expertise you need to keep your site in compliance. Join other managers from the Golden State and find out what's new and changing for 2019.
Can’t join us live? Initial and refresher California Title 22 hazardous waste training is available anytime, anywhere at Lion.com. Online courses are interactive and packed with exercises to help you retain what you learn. Plus, train from work, home, or the road from any internet connection, and get IT support 7 days/week.