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EPA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 3/26

Posted on 3/26/2019 by Roger Marks

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 facilites for environmetnal noncompliance. 

WHO: A manufacturing site CEO
WHERE: Long Island, NY
WHAT: Superfund cleanup costs and civil penalties
HOW MUCH: Nearly $50,000,000

To reimburse US EPA for costs of Superfund cleanup, the former CEO of an aviation manufacturer will share liability for $48 million and pay civil penalties totaling $1.5 million. The company built titaniuim sheets for the aeronautics industry. Though the company was working under contract with the Federal government, courts found that the government did not direct the company to improperly dispose of hazardous waste. Therefore, the CEO and his company are liable for cleanup costs.

The CEO was previously sentenced to one year in jail and ordered to pay $105,816 in restitution for illegal hazardous waste storage in May 2009.

WHO: New York City
WHERE: New  York, NY
WHAT: Safe Drinking Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $1 million civil penalty

US EPA has filed suit against New York City for failure to meet its responsibilities for providing clean drinking water to all residents. Specifically, EPA charges that New York’s environmental protection authority failed to cover an open-air reservoir that delivers up to a billion of gallons of water per day.

Before water enters the reservoir, it is treated with chlorine and UV light. But because the top of the reservoir is open, the water is subject to re-contamination. Under the Safe Drinking Water Act regulations, the City is required to cover the reservoir to prevent pathogens and animals from re-contaminating it after treatment.
In addition to the $1 million civil penalty, the required improvements to the reservoir are estimated to cost nearly $3 billion.

WHO: A wood products company
WHERE: Coos Bay, OR
WHAT: Clean Water Act stormwater violations
HOW MUCH: $79,000

For allegedly violating their industrial stormwater permit, a wood products company is Oregon will pay a $79,000 civil penalty for Clean Water Act noncompliance. Violations found during an EPA inspection included:
  • Failure to collect representative samples
  • Failure to maintain control measures
  • Failure to complete adequate Tier 1 corrective action response
  • Failure to monitor outfall 3A
  • Failure to properly monitor oil and grease
US EPA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) regulations require companies to control and minimize the amount of pollutants they discharge into nearby waters through stormwater run off.

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Tags: Clean Air Act, environmental compliance, environmental management, EPA Enforcement, EPA Enforcement Roundup, Superfund

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