EPA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 7/11

Posted on 7/11/2022 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 battery manufacturer
WHERE: E. Greenwich, RI
WHAT: RCRA violations
HOW MUCH: $108,810

Based on a State inspection of the facility, EPA alleged that a battery manufacturer accumulated hazardous waste in a storage tank for more than 90 days, failed to segregate containers of incompatible wastes, failed to properly label containers, and failed to label and track accumulation times for universal wastes. The company certified that its facility has corrected these alleged violations and has established new RCRA compliance procedures.

The company was cooperative during the case settlement negotiations and has agreed to pay a six-figure civil penalty. Safe storage and handling of hazardous wastes is necessary to protect local communities and workers from potentially dangerous exposure to harmful substances.

WHO: A glass production plant
WHERE: Decatur, IL
WHAT: Clean Air Act violations
HOW MUCH: $450,000 plus $8.5 million in site improvements

EPA alleges that the reconstruction of two glass melting furnaces triggered the Federal Prevention of Significant Deterioration regulations when two types of particulate emissions (PM10 and PM2.5) emitted by one of the furnaces increased by significant amounts. The company also failed to report the increased emissions to Illinois EPA.

In addition to controlling these emissions, the facility is required to purchase and install a catalytic filter system. EPA estimates that the catalytic filter system will reduce PM10/PM2.5 emissions by over 100 tons per year.

WHO: Two affiliated timber processing facilities
WHERE: Council and Weiser, ID
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $222,400

Following inspections in May 2019 and January 2021, EPA alleges that a timber company failed to obtain Clean Water Act permits and discharged wastewater and stormwater without a permit at two facilities. Wastewater and stormwater discharge from such facilities often contains high pH, wood debris, arsenic, metals, oils, and high levels of solids that could destroy plant life and spawning grounds.

The company has agreed to obtain the required permits for both facilities and to conduct regular monitoring of stormwater. Additionally, the company will submit stormwater evaluation reports, revise its stormwater pollution prevention plans, provide documented annual trainings for its employees, and submit progress reports.

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

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