EPA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 8/22
In January 2017, EPA raised its fines for noncompliance with major environmental programs. We hope that providing information about EPA enforcement cases will help you identify and fix noncompliance issues that could leave your company facing costly penalties and future liability.
In this week’s EPA Enforcement Roundup, an environmental fugitive is on the run after escaping police custody, a metal etching company pays for RCRA hazardous waste violations, and more.
A fugitive who escaped from custody during a prison transport in Wyoming years ago has been added to the EPA’s “most wanted” list. Authorities say James Kenneth Ward was hired to dispose of oil exploration filter bags, or “socks,” containing material contaminated with radioactive substances. Instead of properly disposing of the hazardous waste, Mr. Ward left the filter bags at a gas station in North Dakota.
WHO: An environmental fugitive
WHERE: North Dakota and Wyoming
WHAT: Illegal disposal of radioactive waste
HOW MUCH: Max 5 years in jail and $250,000 penalty
Ward faces Federal fraud charges for his role in the illegal disposal scheme. EPA warns that the fugitive should be considered “violent and dangerous.” If you see him, EPA asks that you report it through the EPA fugitive website or by calling the EPA criminal investigation division.
WHO: A metal design company
A Rhode Island business that creates keepsakes with metal etching will pay a six-figure penalty for failure to comply with both Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous waste rules and requirements for emergency preparedness under the Clean Air Act Risk Management Plan (RMP) program.
WHERE: Lincoln, RI
WHAT: RCRA and Clean Air Act RMP violations
HOW MUCH: $221,326
The company’s manufacturing process requires ferric chloride, so the company stored about 8,000 pounds of chlorine gas on site in four large cylinders. Facilities that use or store large volumes of certain hazardous chemicals are required under the Clean Air Act RMP rules to take steps to prevent catastrophic releases of the chemical.
In addition to paying the civil penalty, the design company will reduce the volume of chlorine it stores to levels below those that trigger the Risk Management Plan requirements, install new equipment, re-plumb its chlorine piping system, and install an alarm and shut-down system to prevent releases. See EPA’s press release here.
In 2016, EPA finalized new Clean Air Act requirements for emissions from sewage sludge incinerators. Those updated rules require operators to test and limit emissions of ten pollutants, including mercury.
WHO: City of Waterbury, CT and its contractor
WHERE: Waterbury, CT
WHAT: Failure to comply with CAA rules for mercury emissions
HOW MUCH: $104,000
For failure to meet the deadline for compliance with these updated Clean Air Act rules, the city of Waterbury, Connecticut and the contractor who operates the city’s sludge incinerator have settled with EPA and the Department of Justice. The city and the contractor will pay a $104,000 penalty and have agreed to install and operate new mercury controls within 18 months. In addition, the company will come into compliance with all the requirements in the updated Clean Air Act emissions rules.
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Tags: Act, Air, Clean, EPA, EPA Enforcement Roundup, fines and penalties, hazardous waste, RCRA
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