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 international oil and gas company
WHERE: Port Arthur and Corpus Christi, TX
WHAT: Clean Air Act violations
HOW MUCH: $2.85 million
EPA has announced a settlement today to resolve alleged violations at 12 facilities
owned by a major oil and gas company. During a 2015 compliance evaluation, EPA found alleged deficiencies in Clean Air Act fuel quality requirements that are designed to reduce air pollution from motor vehicles. EPA was also notified of the alleged violations through the company’s self-disclosures.
The company has agreed to install pollution controls at one of its terminals to reduce an estimated 23 tons of volatile organic compound emissions per year. It will complete two benzene reduction measures at its Corpus Christi refinery. The company estimates this will reduce emissions by 583 pounds per year.
WHO: A municipal wastewater system
WHERE: DeKalb County, GA
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $1.8 million plus at least $1 billion in site improvements
EPA plans to modify a 2011 Consent Decree for a municipal wastewater system to extend the overall system improvements schedule and expedite work in high-priority areas. The proposed modification requires the municipality to fix over 100 “particularly problematic” locations
within the wastewater system and complete previously agreed-upon modification by December 20, 2027.
Under the proposed modification, the municipality will use a dynamic hydraulic computer model to predict the volumes of water in the wastewater system more accurately. A Capacity Assurance Program will also be implemented, requiring satisfaction of certain conditions before new or increased sewer connections may be authorized.
WHO: A pesticide manufacturer
WHERE: Lawrence, MA
WHAT: FIFRA violations
HOW MUCH: $56,543
EPA alleges a chemical company that makes pesticides violated FIFRA regulations in 2018 and 2019
when it distributed pesticide products that were adulterated, unregistered, and/or misbranded on multiple occasions.
In addition to paying a penalty, the company agreed to certify that it is currently in compliance with FIFRA. All pesticides must be registered with EPA to ensure that no pesticide is distributed, sold, or used in a way that poses an unreasonable risk to human health or the environment.
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