EPA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 8/9
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 copper smelting facility
A metal manufacturing company has agreed to perform a comprehensive environmental audit, implement an updated environmental management system, and pay a six-figure civil penalty to resolve alleged violations of the Federal Clean Water Act and Pennsylvania’s Clean Streams Law. According to EPA, the facility exceeded its permitted discharge limits of copper, chromium, nickel, oil, grease, lead, and zinc, among other violations.
WHERE: Leetsdale, PA
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $861,500
As part of the settlement, the company has agreed to conduct a comprehensive review of its wastewater treatment system, hire third-party consultants to conduct a compliance audit and implement corrective measures, and conduct annual compliance training of employees and contractors.
WHO: An industrial gas company
After a release of anhydrous ammonia in January 2019 at carbon dioxide liquidation facility, the facility waited several hours to report the incident to the National Response Center, which is a violation of emergency standards. In addition, EPA found that the company allegedly failed to properly label the facility’s emergency equipment, establish proper emergency controls, and protect electrical equipment.
WHERE: Carson, CA
WHAT: CERCLA and Clean Air Act violations
HOW MUCH: $127,000
In addition to paying a civil penalty, the company agreed to make safety improvements to its Carson, California facility to protect the public and first responders from dangerous chemicals.
WHO: A wastewater treatment plant
EPA announced an agreement with a municipal wastewater treatment center for allegedly exceeding the effluent limits on ammonia, copper, and zinc. EPA also noted the facility allegedly failed to update its Quality Assurance Plan and Operations and Maintenance Plan.
WHERE: Wapato, WA
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $25,750
The facility is expected to take specific actions to prevent further unpermitted zinc discharges, which accounted for the majority of violations.
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