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EPA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 5/1

Posted on 4/30/2018 by Roger Marks

In this week’s EPA Enforcement Roundup, a midstream natural gas firm, an eyeglass lens manufacturer, and a packaging company face fines for noncompliance with EPA air, water, and chemical regulations.

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All accusations of environmental violations herein are “alleged” unless otherwise noted. Lion News does not publish names of individuals or companies impacted by EPA enforcement.

WHO: A midstream natural gas company
WHERE: East OH and West PA
WHAT: Alleged Clean Air Act violations
HOW MUCH: About $3 million

PigLauncer_400x280.jpgA firm that gathers, processes, and transports natural gas will pay a $610,000 civil penalty and spend $2.6 million on facility upgrades to settle alleged violations of the Clean Air Act.

The 2018 nationwide schedule for the Complete Environmental Regulations Workshop is now available. Collaborate with other managers to identify the requirements that apply to your facility, ask the right questions, and make the right decisions about EPA compliance.

According to EPA, the company failed to obtain the proper permits or keep proper records pursuant to volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from facility maintenance activities. The emissions occurred while using devices called “pipe inspection gauges,” or “pigs” to remove debris from and push liquid through a pipeline. To use “pigs,” employees must depressurize and vent equipment, releasing emissions.

The Consent Decree states that this is “the first civil enforcement action brought by the United States… concerning emissions from natural gas pig launchers and receivers at compressor stations or at stand-alone facilities.”

WHO: An eyeglasses lens manufacturer 
WHERE: Clackamas, OR
WHAT: Illegal hazardous waste water discharge
HOW MUCH: $750,000

For repeatedly discharging untreated wastewaters containing metal alloys, potassium hydroxide, and other regulated hazardous substances to a wastewater treatment plant, an eyeglass lens maker will pay a $750,000 criminal fine for Clean Water Act violations.

A Federal Judge ordered the company to pay after US EPA and the Department of Justice showed that the company misrepresented the characteristics of its wastewater on a CWA-required industrial user survey distributed by the treatment plant. By ignoring its compliance responsibilities, the company was able to save nearly $400,000 on proper disposal costs, DOJ says.

WHO: A packaging company
WHERE: Bristol, TN
WHAT: Improper disposal of waste residues
HOW MUCH: $60,000

There’s “empty” and then there’s “RCRA-empty.” This distinction may have tripped up a packaging company in Bristol, TN, that allegedly released hazardous waste drums containing residue of ink wastes to a hauler not equipped to dispose of them properly. According to the Herald Courier, the hauler kept the drums on various properties and in abandoned houses not authorized for hazmat storage.

It’s worth noting that when regulators inspected the packaging company’s warehouse on February 14, 2018, they did not record a single violation of hazardous waste requirements, according to records.

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Tags: Act, Air, Clean, EPA, EPA Enforcement Roundup, fines and penalties, hazardous waste, RCRA

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