EPA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 2/6
These are only some of the cases we’ve read about in the last 30 days. See EPA Enforcement actions that colleagues can learn from? Post them on Lion’s Facebook page here.
In January, EPA issued millions in Clean Air Act fines for two carbon black manufacturers.
WHO: A wine maker
WHERE: Sanger, CA
WHAT: Clean Air Act, EPCRA, and CERCLA violations
HOW MUCH: $330,000 in civil penalties
For violations of the Clean Air Act, EPCRA, and CERLCA release reporting requirements related to an accidental, fatal 2012 release of anhydrous ammonia that killed one employee, a Sanger, CA wine maker will pay $330,000 in civil penalties and reconfigure its refrigeration process to minimize the potential for future releases and better protect workers.
The tragic 2012 incident occurred when a contract employee turned a wrong valve while trying to de-ice equipment. According to the complaint filed in December 2016, the worker was overcome by an ammonia cloud, and workers could not locate emergency response equipment needed to attempt a rescue.
284 pounds of anhydrous ammonia leaked in total, nearly three times the reportable quantity of 100 pounds at 40 CFR 302.4. The civil penalties announced last week are for failure to report the release in a timely manner. OSHA performed an accident investigation following the release as well.
WHO: A coke plant
WHERE: East Chicago, Indiana
WHAT: Clean Air Act violations
HOW MUCH: $5 million
EPA issued a Consent Decree on January 25 to a coking and power generation facility in East Chicago, IN for violations of Clean Air Act NESHAP Standards at 40 CFR 61 and 63.
The plant, which recently spent more than $30 million to upgrade equipment and has made extensive facility upgrades, now faces a $5 million civil penalty. In addition to the fine, the company must idle and rebuild many coking ovens and take additional steps to minimize emissions from both rebuilt and non-rebuilt ovens. The plant must also comply with limits on venting of waste gases and sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions.
WHO: A manufacturer and an industrial supplier
WHERE: Elmira Heights, NY
WHAT: CERCLA/Superfund remediation costs
HOW MUCH: $1.85 million combined (plus interest)
Two companies will reimburse US EPA for cleanup costs at the Facet Enterprises Inc. Superfund Site in Elmira Heights, NY. The 39-acre site housed a small-arms, car engines, and bicycle parts manufacturing facility from 1929 to 1976, and disposed of waste material on site for most of that time.
According to EPA, wastes disposed of at the site--located within one mile of six schools and thousands of homes--included cyanide salts, heavy metal sludges, spent solvents, and oils. At one time, groundwater contaminated with trichloroethylene (TCE) disrupted the drinking water supply for 10,000 local residents.
Remediation at the site has been planned and carried out by US EPA Region 2 since 1992. Cleanup involved removing and properly disposing of contaminated soil subject to TSCA and RCRA rules and extracting and treating contaminated groundwater.
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WHO: An experimental R&D facility
WHERE: Wilmington, DE
WHAT: State hazardous waste violations
HOW MUCH: $53,600
A company generating and storing hazardous waste at its chemical research and development facility faces a $53,600 fine from the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC). The facility was regulated as both a generator and a permitted treatment, storage, and disposal facility (TSDF).
Violations of Delaware State hazardous waste regulations in this case included storing containers of hazardous waste beyond the one-year time limit and failure to properly characterize and label a 55-gallon drum, which was marked with the proper D001 waste code for its characteristic but was also labeled “Non-hazardous waste.”
See the DNREC Secretary’s hazardous waste enforcement Order #2018--WH 0001 here.
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