Hazardous Waste ID Mistakes Lead to $26M Fine for Cable Provider

Posted on 12/16/2015 by Roger Marks

The Attorney General of California has issued a decision to fine a major cable company nearly $26 million for violating Federal and State hazardous waste regulations. The company manages many wastes regulated as hazardous under the State Health and Safety Code (HSC)—from electronic equipment like cable boxes, modems, and remote controls to batteries, lamps, and scrap metal; as well as products like adhesives, paints, lighter fluid, and lubricants.

Failure to Identify Hazardous and Universal Waste

According to the complaint, the company violated a bevy of Federal and State hazardous waste regulations. One violation, however, stands above the rest as particularly crucial: failure to make a hazardous waste determination.

By not identifying these wastes as hazardous, the business was not prepared to manage and dispose of them in line with the California Code of Regulations (CCR) or the State HSC. Because a hazardous waste determination was never made, nearly everything the company did with the waste was a violation of a Federal and/or State regulation.

Subsequent Violations of 22 CCR and the California HSC

After failing to identify the wastes as hazardous, the company committed these subsequent violations:
  • Not obtaining a US EPA ID number required for hazardous waste generators;
  • Storage and accumulation time limits;
  • Improper container marking and labeling;
  • Transportation and hazardous waste Manifest violations;
  • Failure to train personnel as required by 22 CCR 66265.16;
  • Violations of California’s unique universal waste rules;
  • Recordkeeping and reporting violations; and
  • Improper disposal of hazardous and universal waste. 

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) released a statement applauding the enforcement action. The $25.95 million penalty highlights the importance of understanding the regulations that apply to your waste, especially in California where hazardous waste generators are subject to both Federal RCRA rules and unique, state-specific standards.

The complaint also includes violations of privacy rules stemming from failure to properly handle and dispose of customer records.   

Convenient, Interactive Title 22 Training

Environmental managers in California face some of the most stringent and complex requirements in the nation. The DTSC requires hazardous waste personnel to complete training on the State requirements annually. To help managers and personnel meet this training requirement and build their confidence navigating the web of laws, regulations, and interpretations that drive hazardous waste enforcement in the state, Lion now offers the Hazardous Waste in California Online Course.  

Tags: California, DTSC, hazardous waste, RCRA, universal waste

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