Search

EPA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 12/20

Posted on 12/20/2021 by Lauren Scott

Industrial facilities in the United States are subject to complex, overlapping environmental regulations concerning 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 (and growing every year).

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
WHERE: Lake Tahoe, CA
WHAT: RCRA violations
HOW MUCH: Up to $1.5 million

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.

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
WHERE: Oahu, HI
WHAT: FIFRA violations
HOW MUCH: $22.2 million

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.

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
WHERE: Pittsburg, CA
WHAT: RCRA violations
HOW MUCH: Up to $70,000 for each separate violation

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.

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 Training

Managing 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 
 

Tags: EPA, EPA Enforcement Roundup, FIFRA, fines, hazardous waste management, penalties, pesticides, RCRA

Find a Post

Compliance Archives

Lion - Quotes

The instructor's energy, enthusiasm, and knowledge of the subject make the class a great learning experience!

Brian Martinez

Warehouse Operator

The instructor took a rather drab set of topics and brought them to life with realistic real-life examples.

Tom Berndt

HSE Coordinator

More thorough than a class I attended last year through another company.

Troy Yonkers

HSES Representative

Excellent job. Made what is very dry material interesting. Thoroughly explained all topics in easy-to-understand terms.

David Hertvik

Vice President

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.

Neil Ozonur

Safety Officer

If I need thorough training or updating, I always use Lion. Lion is always the best in both instruction and materials.

Bryce Parker

EHS Manager

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.

Caroline Froning

Plant Chemist

I tried other environmental training providers, but they were all sub-standard compared to Lion. I will not stray from Lion again!

Sara Sills

Environmental Specialist

The workshop covered a lot of information without being too overwhelming. Lion is much better, more comprehensive than other training providers.

George Alva

Manufacturing Manager

I really enjoy your workshops. Thank you for such a great program and all the help Lion has provided me over the years!

George Chatman

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.

Latest Whitepaper

By submitting your phone number, you agree to receive recurring marketing and training text messages. Consent to receive text messages is not required for any purchases. Text STOP at any time to cancel. Message and data rates may apply. View our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.