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.
: A plastic bag manufacturing facility
: West Hazleton, PA
: RCRA hazardous waste management violations
A company that manufactures plastic bags has been fined for alleged violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). As part of the settlement, the company will pay $78,000
and maintain compliance with RCRA requirements.
EPA listed multiple alleged violations in its citation, including failure to maintain adequate aisle space for hazardous waste containers, perform and record daily inspections of hazardous waste tanks, provide secondary containment for hazardous waste tanks, and provide an adequate hazardous waste management training program among others.
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: An industrial oil refinery
: Sinclair, WY
: Clean Air Act violations
$1.6 million and approximately $20 million in pollution control installations
EPA and the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality have reached a settlement with a crude oil processing facility to resolve alleged violations of air emissions limits and monitoring requirements,
including alleged violations of a similar 2008 settlement. EPA alleges these violations include exceeding sulfur dioxide limits at the flares and the sulfur recovery plant’s tail gas units and failing to operate, maintain, and certify continuous emissions monitors (CEMs) as required.
The oil refinery has agreed to pay $1.6 million in penalties and install roughly $20 million in pollution controls to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions and upgrade its flare gas recovery system.
An electroplating company
New Bedford, MA
RCRA hazardous waste management violations
A company that applies metal coatings to hardware will pay a $30,000 penalty to settle 14 alleged violations
of RCRA regulations, according to EPA. These alleged violations include failure to properly store and label hazardous waste, prepare a training plan and conduct required training, maintain an up-to-date contingency plan, and post required signs among others.
When issuing the penalty, EPA cited the company’s limited ability to pay, but stressed that these violations could have resulted in releases of hazardous wastes to the environment.
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