EPA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 8/21
US businesses are subject to complex, overlapping environmental regulations related to 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.
The EPA Enforcement Roundup highlights enforcement actions that offer insight into how and why US EPA and state partners assess penalties for noncompliance for environmental regulations.
All violations or claims discussed below are alleged only unless we say otherwise, and we withhold the names of organizations and individuals to protect their privacy.
Your EPA Enforcement Roundup for this week:
A Kansas City cutting-tool manufacturer to pay a $337,253 penalty to EPA to resolve alleged hazardous waste management violations.
The company removed about 9,000 pounds of ignitable hazardous waste and agreed to take action to prevent future releases of hazardous waste after being notified about potential Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) violations.
EPA alleges that used chemicals including sodium nitrite, sodium nitrate, and potassium nitrate mixture had accumulated on the floor, walls, ceiling, and equipment. The site also allegedly failed to make hazardous waste determinations or maintain the facility in a way that prevented the release of hazardous waste.
The three chemicals listed above are effective at strengthening metals when combined in a "salt bath."
A New York food ingredient manufacturer enters $4M+ settlement to resolve alleged Clean Air and Clean Water Act violations.
EPA alleges the company failed to obtain proper permitting for its emissions of toluene (a volatile organic compound and hazardous air pollutant), install necessary emission controls, and other permitting and reporting requirements.
The manufacturer also allegedly exceeded the local wastewater treatment plant’s allowed pollution level due to improper wastewater pre-treatment. Exceeding these levels creates an opportunity for pollution to pass through the treatment plant and into drinking water systems.
To date, the company has spent about $6 million to achieve compliance with relevant Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act requirements.
An Ohio production facility’s owner agrees to a $9M settlement to resolve alleged Clean Air Act violations and return to compliance.
In this case, EPA claims the facility’s electric arc furnaces emit sulfur dioxide and particulate matter that may cause adverse environmental impacts, and asthma and bronchitis. In its complaint, the Agency alleged that the company violated the Clean Air Act after modifying one of its furnaces.
In addition to a $2.6M penalty, the company is responsible for implementing new and improved air pollution emissions controls, limiting sulfur usage in its metal production process by using coal and other materials with lower sulfur content, and reducing particulate matter emissions. The cost of these requirements is estimated at $6.5M.
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Look beyond the annual "Top 10 List" to see specifics about the most cited OSHA health & safety Standards and the individual regulations that tripped up employers the most last year.