EPA Enforcement Roundup: Auto Parts Dealer to Pay $11 Million for RCRA Violations

Posted on 7/1/2019 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 nationwide auto parts retailer
WHERE: Riverside County, CA
WHAT: RCRA hazardous waste management violations
HOW MUCH: $11 million
A well-known retail chain that sells auto parts to consumers reached a settlement with the California Attorney General and several district attorneys throughout the state for numerous RCRA violations at 49 separate facilities in CA. These alleged violations include unlawful disposal of hazardous waste, such as batteries, aerosol cans, electronic devices, and automotive fluids. Authorities allege the company would also allow customers to dispose of automotive fluids and other regulated hazardous wastes in regular trash containers.

As part of the settlement, the company agrees to undergo general compliance audits and trash receptacle audits to ensure hazardous wastes are being properly disposed.
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WHO: A chemical manufacturing company
WHERE: St. Helens, OR
WHAT: CERCLA, EPCRA, and Clean Air Act violations
HOW MUCH: $492,000 and $939,852 in emergency equipment
A company that manufactures anhydrous ammonia and related chemical products has agreed to pay a fine of $492,000 for violations of CERCLA and EPCRA for failure to report large, unplanned ammonia releases to local, State, and Federal agencies in 2010 and 2015. The EPA also alleges the company failed to maintain adequate Risk Management Programs as part of the Clean Air Act.

In addition to the civil penalty, the facility will provide local authorities with $939,852 in emergency response equipment to improve the ability to respond to any future releases of hazardous chemicals.
WHO: Two affiliated oil recycling facilities
WHERE: Compton, CA
WHAT: RCRA hazardous waste management violations
HOW MUCH: $39,092 and $167,967 on classroom air filtration systems
Two oil recycling companies in California have been fined $39,092 by EPA for allegedly failing to make a hazardous waste determination for certain solid waste generated on site and for failing to regularly test waste streams to determine whether waste shipped off site met land disposal restrictions standards.

The companies also agreed to install air filtration systems at nearby schools to improve indoor air quality as part of the settlement. These systems are expected to remove more than 90% of ultra-fine particulate matter and black carbon from indoor air.
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Tags: CERCLA, Clean Air Act, enforcement, EPA, EPA Enforcement Roundup, EPCRA, fines, hazardous waste, penalties, RCRA

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