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EPA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 7/15

Posted on 7/15/2019 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 silicone manufacturing company
WHERE: Midland, MI
WHAT: Clean Air Act, EPCRA, and CERCLA violations
HOW MUCH: $4.55 million plus $1.6 million in supplemental environmental projects
A company that manufactures and processes silicone products has agreed to pay a $4.55 million fine for alleged excess emissions of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) and volatile organic chemicals (VOCs). The EPA alleges that the company failed to monitor and repair VOC leaks from numerous components and properly operate a thermal oxidizer, resulting in excess HAPs emissions.

The facility must also spearhead a project to protect children from the hazards of lead-based paint, donate air monitoring equipment to local first responders, and repair and replace equipment that contains HAPs.
 
WHO: A cold storage facility
WHERE: Londonderry, NH
WHAT: Clean Air Act violations
HOW MUCH: $78,200 plus $215,000 in site improvements
A refrigeration facility reached an agreement with EPA to update their refrigeration systems and pay a penalty for violations of the Clean Air Act. The EPA alleges the company had inadequate alarms, rusted valves, inadequate ventilation, and insufficient access to emergency controls, among other infractions.

As part of the agreement, the facility agreed to spend over $215,000 to bring their refrigeration systems in compliance. EPA noted that these improvements are crucial in order to prevent an anhydrous ammonia release, a chemical commonly used in cold storage warehouses.

WHO: The city of Houston, TX
WHAT: Clean Water Act
HOW MUCH: $2 billion to overhaul municipal wastewater systems
A large metropolitan municipality in Texas will prioritize its wastewater treatment systems for rehabilitation as part of a Federal consent decree with EPA. These improvements are set to be put in place in the next 15 years to reinforce nine problem areas from voluminous spills during rainstorms and prevent future spillage. The city has also committed to clean and inspect its 127,000 manholes and 5,500 miles of gravity-driven sewage pipes every decade.

This resolves EPA’s long-standing concerns with the city’s wastewater treatment systems. The city is committed to revitalizing its systems with the input and guidance from Federal EPA officials.
 

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Tags: Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, enforcement, environmental, EPA, EPA Enforcement Roundup, fines, penalties

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