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EPA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 3/29

Posted on 3/29/2021 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: An energy supplier
WHERE: 76 locations in PA
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $1,900,000

In a new consent decree, an energy company agreed to pay a seven-figure penalty for allegedly violating clean water laws and to restore/mitigate harm to the impacted water resources. In 2014, the company alerted EPA of several potential unauthorized discharges of fill material without applicable permits at multiple sites in Pennsylvania.

As part of the settlement, the energy supplier must either seek after-the-fact authorization from Federal and/or State environmental regulators as appropriate to leave the fill in place, or restore the impacted wetlands or waterways. In all cases, the impacted water resource either will be restored or the environmental harm will be offset through off-site compensatory mitigation.

WHO: An auto salvage company
WHERE: Three locations in MA
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $293,425

According to EPA, three affiliated auto salvage yards allegedly either incorrectly identified or did not identify at all stormwater conveyance paths and/or discharge points. Additionally, the facilities allegedly conducted inadequate corrective actions to try and mitigate the monitored pollutants as required.

After the company was alerted of the alleged violations, it submitted updated storm water pollution prevention plans and implemented best management practices to prevent future discharges. The company also fulfilled all maintenance, monitoring, sampling, inspections, training, and recordkeeping requirements.

WHO: An oil production facility
WHERE: Hot Springs County, WY
WHAT: SPCC violations
HOW MUCH: $115,000

On June 19, 2018, an oil company allegedly released 455 barrels of crude oil from its tank battery facility into Grass Creek in Wyoming. In reviewing the spill, EPA discovered alleged SPCC plan violations at the facility. The company has since corrected these deficiencies and submitted an updated plan to EPA.

The $115,000 penalty will be deposited into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, a fund used by Federal agencies to respond to discharges of oil and hazardous substances. The proposed Consent Agreement is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final approval by the EPA’s Regional Judicial Officer.

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Managing site compliance with the many complex EPA programs that affect your business—from the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts to TSCA, EPCRA, CERLCA, and more—is a major challenge. If you’re new to the field or need an update on changing EPA rules, online training is a convenient way to quickly build in-depth expertise.

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Tags: Clean Water Act, enforcement, environmental compliance, EPA, fines, penalties, SPCC

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