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EPA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 12/28

Posted on 12/28/2020 by Lauren Scott

Every day, facilities across the US 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 (TSCA, EPCRA, CERCLA, etc.); hazardous waste management and disposal standards (RCRA); and much more.

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 cattle ranch
WHERE: Armstrong, IA
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $76,000

Two brothers operating a cattle farming business have been ordered to pay $76,000 for alleged Clean Water Act violations. According to the judge’s ruling, the company repeatedly discharged stormwater containing pollutants through an underground pipe that drained into the East Fork of the Des Moines River without having obtained a permit.

Animal feeding operations that contain over 300 head of cattle and discharge pollutants through man-made conveyances to streams and rivers are required to obtain a Clean Water Act permit and take measures to minimize or eliminate discharges of pollutants in stormwater runoff from their facilities.

WHO: An industrial fuel company
WHERE: Juneau, Ketchikan, Douglas, and Palmer, AK
WHAT: EPCRA and Clean Air Act violations
HOW MUCH: $1,337,365

EPA recently announced a settlement with an Alaskan fuel company to resolve alleged violations of National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants as well as the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). EPA alleges the company failed to report information about certain chemicals and chemical compounds at its Juneau and Ketchikan terminal facilities annually from 2013 to 2018, which is required under EPCRA.

The company processed liquid petroleum, which contained benzene, cyclohexane, ethylbenzene, naphthalene, toluene, xylene, 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene, n-Hexane, and lead compounds in quantities that exceeded their threshold reporting amounts.

WHO: A filter manufacturer
WHERE: Oxnard, CA
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $390,000 plus $510,000 in equipment upgrades

A California-based company that makes filtering products for consumer goods was found to be improperly discharging wastewater into Oxnard’s municipal sewer system, according to EPA. EPA also alleges the company violated a 2017 administrative order to install treatment technology that would achieve the pretreatment requirements specified in its permit.

In addition to the $390,000 penalty, the manufacturing company will spend $510,000 to install equipment that will ensure wastewater meets permit guidelines by November 2021. The California-based company will provide EPA with semi-annual reports on compliance.
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Tags: Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, environmental, EPA, EPCRA, fines, penalties

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