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 multinational coffee corporation
WHERE: Seattle, WA
WHAT: EPCRA violations
HOW MUCH: $100,000
A well-known coffee brand
settled with EPA over alleged misreporting of sulfuric acid, among other hazardous chemicals. According to EPA, the company failed to file its required annual Tier II Hazardous Chemical Inventory Report in a timely manner for two different facilities during the 2017 and 2018 reporting years.
Because the company has been cooperative and took proactive steps to address the alleged violations, EPA reduced the penalty to $100,000. These steps taken include training employees to prevent reporting lapses in the future.
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WHO: A metal finishing company
WHERE: Glendale, CA
WHAT: RCRA violations
HOW MUCH: $49,706
After an inspection at a metal plating facility in 2019, EPA found several hazardous waste violations. Violations include failure to make a hazardous waste determination
for certain wastes generated at the facility, failure to prepare a manifest for shipment of hazardous waste, and storing hazardous waste without a permit beyond the 90 days allowed.
In addition to paying a fine, the facility agreed to develop and implement a standard operating procedure for inspecting and maintaining containment systems associated with plating operations, including, but not limited to, preventing debris from accumulating, inspecting for cracks in and deterioration of secondary containment systems, and ensuring epoxy coatings are inspected and repaired.
WHO: A tire recycler
WHERE: Houston, TX
WHAT: Industrial Solid Waste violations
HOW MUCH: $36,307
State officials allege that a tire recycling facility in Texas caused, suffered, allowed, or permitted the disposal of industrial solid waste (ISW) at an unauthorized facility against TCEQ regulations. 22 shipments, totaling 246 cubic yards of ISW were allegedly accepted by the tire recycler between November 2015 and August 2016 without a permit. The ISW in question included sludge rubber waste from hydroblasting mud motor pipes
The enforcement action requires the facility to stop accepting ISW immediately and to develop and implement procedures to ensure ISW is not accepted again.
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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.
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TSCA Regulations Online
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Superfund and Right-to-Know Act Regulations Online