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 electric car manufacturer
WHERE: Fremont, CA
WHAT: Hazardous waste noncompliance
HOW MUCH: $86,000
An electric car manufacturer will pay a $31,000 civil penalty
and spend $55,000 to equip local responders with emergency response equipment after inspections of a facility in 2017 revealed improper hazardous mast management
—including failure to make accurate hazardous waste determinations, improper storage of hazardous waste and used lamps, and failure to properly close hazardous waste containers.
In addition to correcting the violations to come into compliance, the company also provided hazardous waste training for more than 1,000 paint shop workers, technicians, and supervisors, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
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WHO: An oil and asphalt storage facility
WHERE: Portland, ME
WHAT: Clean Air Act emission violations
HOW MUCH: $40,000
A company that stores and distributes oil products and asphalt will pay a civil penalty after testing of its heated storage tanks indicated the tanks emit Volatile Organic Compound (VOCs)—the precursor to ozone—at higher levels than their permit indicates.
In addition to paying the civil penalty
, the company will apply for a revised air permit, adjust its procedures, and limit its inventory of products that emit the VOCs.
WHO: A sewage treatment plant owner
WHERE: near Ridgeley, WV
WHAT: Clean Water Act permit and discharge violations
HOW MUCH: Up to 3 years incarceration
A West Virginia man who admitted that his organization violated permits and discharged untreated sewage into the Potomac River
has pleaded guilty to two counts, one for permit violations and one for submitting falsified discharge monitoring reports.
The man faces up to three years in jail and tens of thousands of dollars in fines for the permit count, and up to two years incarceration and a fine up to $10,000 for the illegal discharge count.
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