EPA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 12/20
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 telecom company
A West Coast telecom provider agreed to spend up to $1.5 million to remove eight miles of abandoned telephone cables at the bottom of Lake Tahoe. The cables were replaced with fiber optics cables in the 1980s but were never removed after the switch. Because the cables are comprised of over 3 pounds of lead per foot, the initial lawsuit argued the cables are solid waste to be managed under RCRA hazardous waste rules.
WHERE: Lake Tahoe, CA
WHAT: RCRA violations
HOW MUCH: Up to $1.5 million
One cable stretches from the southwestern shore of the lake at Baldwin Beach to the west shore at Rubicon Bay. The other runs past the mouth of Emerald Bay. Initial cost estimates for cable removal range from $275,000 to $550,000; however, the company agreed to spend up to $1.5 million to guard against cost overruns.
WHO: A pesticide provider
A major agricultural company recently plead guilty to 30 environmental crimes by allowing workers to enter corn fields on Oahu too soon after spraying a restricted glufosinate ammonium-based pesticide in 2020 and further agreed to plead guilty to two other charges related to the storage of a banned pesticide that were the subject of a 2019 Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA). As part of the plea agreement, the company also admitted to unlawfully spraying methyl parathion, a banned pesticide, on research crops at one of its facilities on Maui in early 2020.
WHERE: Oahu, HI
WHAT: FIFRA violations
HOW MUCH: $22.2 million
As a result of actions taken by the Justice Department, the pesticide company agreed to pay a total of $22.2 million for two RCRA felonies and the 31 total FIFRA misdemeanor offenses. The company will pay $12 million in criminal penalties, $200,000 in FIFRA civil penalties, and $10 million in community service payments.
WHO: A chemical manufacturer
The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) is asking a judge to issue civil penalties and to order a chemical manufacturing facility to stop violating hazardous waste control laws. According to DTSC, the facility illegally treated wastewater with hazardous levels of toxic and corrosive chemicals in 2016, 2017, and 2020 without prior authorization and operated numerous tanks that were either open or had open vents, which could lead to uncontrolled emissions of toxic chemicals into the air.
WHERE: Pittsburg, CA
WHAT: RCRA violations
HOW MUCH: Up to $70,000 for each separate violation
The case was referred to DTSC in 2019 by EPA after a 2016 inspection allegedly found improper management of the wastewater treatment system and potentially hazardous waste streams. For violations occurring after January 1, 2018, Health and Safety Code sections 25189 and 25189.2 authorize the Court to impose civil penalties of up to $70,000 for each separate violation or, for continuing violations, for each day that the violations continue.
Convenient, Effective Online EHS Manager TrainingManaging site compliance with the many complex EPA programs that affect your business—from the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts to TSCA, EPCRA, CERLCA, 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.
Check out the latest EPA compliance training options here:
Complete Environmental Regulations
Clean Air Act Regulations Online
TSCA Regulations Online
Clean Water Act & SDWA Regulations Online
Superfund and Right-to-Know Act Regulations Online
The instructor's energy, enthusiasm, and knowledge of the subject make the class a great learning experience!
The instructor took a rather drab set of topics and brought them to life with realistic real-life examples.
More thorough than a class I attended last year through another company.
Excellent job. Made what is very dry material interesting. Thoroughly explained all topics in easy-to-understand terms.
I really enjoyed this training. Even after years on both sides of the comprehension coin, I find myself still learning! The quality of the delivery exceeded much of the training I have received in the past.
If I need thorough training or updating, I always use Lion. Lion is always the best in both instruction and materials.
Lion is at the top of the industry in compliance training. Course content and structure are updated frequently to make annual re-training enjoyable. I like that Lion has experts that I can contact for 1 year after the training.
I tried other environmental training providers, but they were all sub-standard compared to Lion. I will not stray from Lion again!
The workshop covered a lot of information without being too overwhelming. Lion is much better, more comprehensive than other training providers.
I really enjoy your workshops. Thank you for such a great program and all the help Lion has provided me over the years!
Hazardous Material Pharmacy Technician
Download Our Latest Whitepaper
Shipping papers are a crucial part of safely shipping hazardous materials. See the top 5 mistakes shippers make on shipping papers, and how to avoid them.