EPA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 8/15
US businesses are subject to complex, overlapping environmental regulations concerning air emissions, discharges to water, hazardous waste management and disposal, oil spills, chemical management, and more. Failure to comply with all applicable US EPA requirements can result in future liability and civil penalties as high as $100,000+ per day, per violation (and growing every year).
The EPA enforcement actions highlighted below provide insight into how and why the Agency assesses civil penalties for environmental noncompliance. All violations mentioned are alleged unless we indicate otherwise.
We withhold the names of organizations and individuals subject to enforcement to protect their privacy.
WHO: A hotel chain
For allegedly failing to properly manage and dispose of batteries, electronic devices, ignitable liquids, aerosols, cleaning agents, and other hazardous wastes, a hotel chain will pay a total of $400,000 in civil penalties and spend $100,000 to fund environmental projects “furthering environmental enforcement in California.”
WHERE: 8 California locations
WHAT: RCRA hazardous waste violations
HOW MUCH: $535,000
The hotel chain has already improved its policies and its hazardous waste training program to ensure proper handling and disposal of regulated waste, according to a company statement.
WHO: An oil processing facility
For allegedly violating the terms of its air permit by emitting more than 25 tons of hazardous air pollutants per year, an oil processing facility will pay a civil penalty of $155,000 and make facility upgrades to better control air pollution in the future. The company will also comply with additional testing, monitoring, and recordkeeping requirements.
WHERE: Indianapolis, IN
WHAT: Clean Air Act emissions violations
HOW MUCH: $155,000 and facility upgrades
In addition to exceeding emissions limits, the facility allegedly failed to apply for a permit as a major source of air pollution, failed to keep required records, and did not properly operate equipment designed to limit air pollution.
Under the Clean Air Act, a “major source” of air pollution is a facility that emits more than 10 tons per year of any single hazardous air pollutant (HAP) or 25 tons per year of any combination of HAPs. Covered major sources are subject to stringent requirements for controlling air pollution.
WHO: A PCB waste recycler
A facility that accepts, stores, and recycles wastes containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), such as light bulbs and lighting ballasts, will pay a civil penalty for alleged violations of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
WHERE: Phoenix, AZ
WHAT: TSCA marking and manifesting violations
HOW MUCH: $68,290
The facility allegedly failed to properly mark and date PCBs as required by 40 CFR Part 761. EPA also alleges violations of the notification and manifesting requirements for PCBs. EPA’s press release also indicates that the facility accepted unauthorized liquid waste, stored excess PCB waste, and failed to properly decontaminate work areas.
Managing site compliance with the many complex EPA programs that affect your business—from the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts to TSCA, EPCRA, CERCLA, and more—is a major challenge. If you’re new to the field or need an update on changing EPA rules, online training is a convenient way to quickly build in-depth expertise.
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