Civil penalties and remediation costs are among the greatest expenses that facilities face today. With a wide variety of EPA programs like Clean Air and Clean Water Acts; chemical management and reporting regulations (TSCA, EPCRA, CERCLA, etc.); hazardous waste management and disposal standards (RCRA), workers and managers alike must understand the complex inner workings of environmental regulatory compliance to prevent costly enforcement actions.
The following recent enforcement actions provide insight into how and why US 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 construction contractor and golf course
WHERE: Lawrence, KS
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $84,000
A construction company allegedly violated Federal water regulations while renovating a golf course. According to EPA, the company discharged pollutants into approximately 7,000 feet of streams
by placing fill material into the streams and grading over 256 acres of land. This work was allegedly completed without the proper Clean Water Act permit.
Under the terms of settlement, the company and the golf course agreed to restore streams at the site, conserve restored portions of the site, and purchase “mitigation bank” credits at a local stream and wetland preserve at a cost of approximately $300,000, in addition to paying a civil penalty.
WHO: A towing and recycling company
WHERE: Salem, OR
WHAT: RCRA and Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $67,575
After a July 2020 inspection, a towing and recycling company was cited for alleged hazardous waste and Clean Water Act violations related to the approximately 13,228 pounds of improperly marked hazardous waste
stored at a company facility. Environmental inspectors also found improperly stored lead-acid batteries, mercury-laced switches, and about 4,000 tires.
The facility also operated an oil/water separator, which discharges wastewater into Claggett Creek. However, the company failed to obtain a permit for the discharges.
WHO: A railroad propane distributor
WHERE: North Grafton, MA
WHAT: Clean Air Act violations
HOW MUCH: $52,000
When opening a new propane distribution terminal in 2018, a rail logistics provider allegedly failed to file a Risk Management Plan.
Because the new terminal is near homes, schools, and other businesses, EPA conducted a public forum to address additional community concerns before reaching a settlement.
EPA concluded that the terminal was otherwise generally well-designed in accordance with industry standards.
Convenient, Effective Online EHS Manager Training
Managing site compliance with the many complex EPA programs that affect your business—from the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts to TSCA, EPCRA, CERLCA, and more—is a major challenge. If you’re new to the field or need an update on changing EPA rules, online training is a convenient way to quickly build in-depth expertise.
Check out the latest EPA compliance training options here:
Complete Environmental Regulations
Clean Air Act Regulations Online
TSCA Regulations Online
Clean Water Act & SDWA Regulations Online
Superfund and Right-to-Know Act Regulations Online