EPA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 12/26
US businesses are subject to complex, overlapping environmental regulations related to 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.
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 fruit processing company
WHERE: Peach Glen, Pennsylvania
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $230,000
For allegedly violating the Clean Water Act (CWA), a Pennsylvania company will face $230,000 in civil penalties. EPA's allegations of noncompliance include 120 occasions where the processing facility exceeded the limits on pollutants like nitrogen and phosphorus allowed by their permit when discharging fruit processing wastewater. The company also failed to minimize pollutants by implementing a stormwater pollution prevention plan.
The facility’s wastewater is discharged into Bermudian Creek which reaches the Chesapeake Bay via the Susquehanna River, and the pollutants discharged can disrupt environments, killing fish and shellfish. In addition to the monetary penalties, the company certified that is in compliance with CWA requirements.
WHO: A storage facility
WHERE: Sunnyside, Washington
WHAT: EPCRA violations
HOW MUCH: $61,500
A Washington storage facility has agreed to pay a $61,500 civil penalty for alleged failures to report the storage of over 500 pounds of ammonia—above the threshold for reporting requirement. The reporting helps to support emergency planning efforts and provides officials with accurate information regarding chemical hazards in their communities.EPA alleged that the company did not submit these Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory Forms timely enough for 2019, 2020, or 2021.
WHO: A tour operator
WHERE: Kauai, Hawaii
WHAT: Safe Water Drinking Act Violations
HOW MUCH: $45,000
A Kauai, Hawaii based tour operator and retail store faces $45,000 in penalties for alleged Safe Water Drinking Act violations. The company, specifically, has been alleged to have operated a large capacity cesspool (LCC), which is banned and Kauai and has been a violation of federal regulations since April of 2005. These cesspools present the risk of contaminating Hawaii’s groundwater, and 95% of the state’s water supply comes from its groundwater.
The allegation is in violation of the Safe Water Drinking Act’s Underground Injection Control regulations, and the company has agreed to pay its penalty and replace the LCC with an approved wastewater system.
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