EPA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 12/13

Posted on 12/13/2016 by Lauren Scott

Every day, facilities all across America receive Notices of Violation from US EPA for alleged noncompliance with a wide variety of programs like the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, chemical management and reporting regulations, hazardous waste management and disposal standards, and much more.

EPA raised its maximum civil penalties in 2016, making it more critical than ever that EHS professionals understand how these complex regulatory programs affect their facilities. We hope providing information about EPA enforcement cases will help you identify and fix noncompliance issues that could leave your company facing down costly penalties and future liability.

Who: A demolition/salvage company owner
Where: Webster County, KY
What: Criminal Clean Air Act violations
How much: 90 days in jail, 2 years of probation 

A Kentucky business owner will serve 90 days in jail, followed by 2 years of probation for criminal violations of the Clean Air Act, according to a press release from the US Department of Justice (DOJ).

According to DOJ, the company demolished a tire shop without providing notice to the city, following regulations, or providing an environmental survey prior to starting work. Specifically, DOJ alleges that an inspector found employees engaged in demolition activities without proper personal protective equipment (PPE). In addition, insulation that tested positive for asbestos content (10% to 20%) was removed without wetting it first as required. 

Negligent violation of the Clean Air Act is a Class A Misdemeanor.

Who: A plastics manufacturer
Where: Valencia, CA
What: Clean Water Act stormwater permitting violations
How much: $300,000

For failure to adequately prevent water pollution or obtain a stormwater pollution permit, a plastics manufacture will spend $292,000 on new recycling equipment and pay a $19,00US environmental protection agency or EPA logo0 civil penalty.

According to US EPA’s press release, the company may have discharged “nurdles”—small plastic pellets used in the manufacturing process—into the water due to a lack of containment systems. Since the alleged violations were uncovered, the company has obtained the proper stormwater permit.  EPA will accept public comments on this settlement until January 3, 2017.

Who: An oil refiner
Where: Wyoming
What: CERCLA/Superfund cleanup costs
How much: $655,000

In another CERCLA case that shows the long memory and reach of CERCLA enforcement, an oil refiner that operated a site between 1920 and 1969 will now pay $655,000 to US EPA to cover part of the costs for cleaning up asbestos from the site.

The Comprehensive Environmental Remediation, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA)—often called “Superfund”—is the primary Federal law dealing with the identification and cleanup of sites contaminated with hazardous substances. To find out how sites get on or off EPA’s Superfund list, read How Do Sites Get On or Off the Superfund List?

More EPA Enforcement Actions

Want more EPA enforcement news? Subscribe to Lion News to get the EPA Enforcement Roundup delivered to your inbox once a week.  In addition to today’s featured enforcement actions, a major tech company was fined $450,000 for hazardous waste violations in California last week. Read about that RCRA enforcement case here.

Complete EPA Regulations Workshops – 2017 Schedule Now Available!

Managing site compliance with the many complex EPA programs that affect your business—from the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts to TSCA, FIFRA, EPCRA, and more—is a major challenge. If you’re new to the field, or need an update on changing EPA rules, the Complete Environmental Regulations Workshop will help you identify the requirements that apply to your facility and make decisions that put your team in a position to succeed.

Planning for next year? The 2017 schedule is available now and includes a workshop in our new Environmental Training Center in Sparta, NJ! Register to receive a full year of Lion Membership for complete on-the-job compliance support. 

Tags: CERCLA, Clean Air Act, EPA, EPA Enforcement Roundup, fines and penalties, RCRA

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