US businesses are subject to complex, overlapping environmental regulations concerning air emissions, discharges to water, hazardous waste management and disposal, oil spills, chemical management, and more. Failure to comply with all applicable US EPA requirements can result in future liability and civil penalties as high as $100,000+ per day, per violation.
The EPA enforcement actions highlighted below provide insight into how and why the Agency assesses civil penalties for environmental noncompliance.
All violations mentioned are alleged unless we indicate otherwise. We withhold the names of organizations and individuals subject to enforcement to protect their privacy.
WHO: A petrochemical manufacturer
WHERE: Haverhill, OH
WHAT: Clean Air Act violations
HOW MUCH: $1.1 million
For allegedly failing to adequately control emissions of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), monitor and repair equipment, and demonstrate compliance with the Clean Air Act, a petrochemical manufacturing facility will pay a $1.1 million civil penalty.
The facility will also improve its practices for detecting and preventing fugitive emissions of HAPs from leaking equipment like valves and connectors. The Clean Air Act National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants or NESHAPs in 40 CFR Parts 61 and 63 require covered facilities to implement controls that reduce air emissions.
WHO: A chemical importer and distributor
WHERE: Carlsbad, CA
WHAT: TSCA reporting violations
HOW MUCH: $147,617
A chemical distributor will pay a civil penalty for allegedly failing to submit Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) for six substances imported into the US. EPA also alleges the company failed to notify the agency 90 days before importing a chemical subject to a TSCA Significant New Use Rule (SNUR).
The TSCA CDR Rule requires covered facilities to report on their production and use of chemicals on the TSCA Inventory list if certain thresholds are exceeded (typically 25,000 lbs. or more). The definition of “manufacture” under this program includes the act of importing chemicals into the US. CDR or “Form U” reporting is collected every four years. The most recent reporting year was 2020.
WHO: An electrical equipment manufacturer
WHERE: Hingham, MA
WHAT: RCRA hazardous waste training violations
HOW MUCH: $121,546
For allegedly failing to provide initial and refresher training required for “hazardous waste personnel,” and other RCRA violations, a manufacturer of power control systems in Massachusetts will pay a $121,546 civil penalty.
EPA alleges that the facility failed to provide required training for employees, maintain a chemical release contingency plan, and perform weekly inspections of hazardous waste accumulation areas. Facilities operating under the exemption for large quantity generators must provide training and annual refresher training for personnel (40 CFR 262.17(a)(7)).
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, CERCLA, 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