EPA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 7/31

Posted on 7/31/2023 by Lion Technology Inc.

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 Roundup highlights enforcement actions that offer insight into how and why US EPA and State partners assess penalties for noncompliance for environmental regulations.

All violations or claims discussed below are alleged only unless we say otherwise, and we withhold the names of organizations and individuals to protect their privacy.

Your EPA Enforcement Roundup for this week:

A biotechnology company agrees to a $170,000 penalty for alleged Clean Air Act violations in Cambria, Wisconsin.

US EPA alleges that this facility violated its 2014 and 2018 permits by failing to:

  • Consistently direct emissions from the fermentation process to the ethanol recovery system.
  • Develop a sufficient malfunction prevention and abatement plan.

In addition to paying penalties, the company agreed to conduct regular monitoring; install equipment to prevent excess fermentation emissions; improve recordkeeping, inspection, and corrective action; update and submit a modified malfunction prevention and abatement plan; and more to come into compliance in the next year.

Alleged hazardous waste management violations to cost a polymer manufacturer in California $57,472.

The manufacturer’s California facility—a large quantity generator of hazardous waste—allegedly failed to comply with air emissions standards for equipment leaks and air emission control standards for tanks in accordance with the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

The facility specifically manufactures polymers “for academic institutions, biotech companies, and large pharmaceutical companies.” EPA says the company has certified that it is now in compliance.

Another oil and gas/petroleum company in the Permian Basin settles with US EPA—this time for $1.3M.

As a result of US EPA’s helicopter flyover of the West Texas Permian Basin, the company will correct alleged Clean Air Act violations at a baker’s dozen of its facilities. These actions will reduce volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions by an estimated 1.2 million pounds and reduce climate-impacting methane emissions by an estimated 4.6 million pounds.

EPA claims to have found violating hydrocarbon emissions from tanks, flares, and combustors using an infrared camera on a helicopter, and the company must pay $1,285,000 as part of the settlement.

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Tags: Clean Air Act, EPA, EPA Enforcement Roundup, hazardous waste, RCRA

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