EPA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 4/5
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 paper mill
According to the Maryland Attorney General, a Luke-based paper mill allegedly discharged toxic pulping liquor into the North Branch of the Potomac River on multiple occasions starting on or around April 6, 2019. Pulping liquor is a high pH, caustic, and corrosive material that can be harmful to fish and other aquatic life.
WHERE: Luke, MD
WHAT: RCRA violations
HOW MUCH: $650,000
In addition to paying a civil penalty, the mill will investigate the source of the seepages and the extent of the contamination. The company must also permanently stop the discharge and remediate the contaminated site.
WHO: A dental equipment distributor
EPA alleges that a company that primarily distributes dental hygiene equipment allegedly offered for sale pesticide products in a kit that was not registered with the Agency. As a result, the composition and labeling of the products had not been reviewed for efficacy and safety. In addition, the company allegedly made unapproved claims on a different EPA-registered pesticide product.
WHERE: Chicago, IL
WHAT: FIFRA violations
HOW MUCH: $464,737.50
The distributor has since agreed to stop the sale and distribution of the products and pay a civil penalty to achieve compliance.
WHO: A chemical storage facility
Following inspections in 2013 and 2017, EPA alleges a Washington chemical company failed to properly design its anhydrous ammonia storage and distribution system, adequately maintain inspection and testing records on certain equipment, and develop and implement written operating procedures for certain aspects of its operations. Exposure to high concentrations of anhydrous ammonia—commonly used in industrial refrigeration, agricultural, and cold storage facilities—can lead to serious lung damage and even death.
WHERE: Othello, WA
WHAT: Clean Air Act violations
HOW MUCH: $135,000
In addition to paying a $135,000 civil penalty, the company will be required to pay penalties if it violates the risk management program requirements at its ammonia storage and distribution facility and to provide compliance records and reports to EPA on a semi-annual basis.
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