EPA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 3/28

Posted on 3/28/2022 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: At least 70 affiliated waste storage facilities
WHERE: North Slope Borough, AK
WHAT: RCRA and Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $6.5 million

EPA’s multi-year environmental investigation revealed many alleged hazardous waste management and Oil Pollution Prevention violations at numerous Borough-owned facilities in Utqiagvik, Anaktuvuk Pass, Atqasuk, Kaktovik, Nuiqsut, Point Hope, Point Lay, Wainwright, Deadhorse, and Prudhoe Bay. The violations contributed to at least two oil spills near the Kasegaluk Lagoon, Kaktovik Lagoon, and Pipsuk Bight.

To resolve the alleged violations, the Borough agreed to close all unpermitted hazardous waste storage facilities, develop a comprehensive waste management plan, build or retrofit a permitted hazardous waste storage facility, and revise its CWA Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Plan among other measures.

WHO: A chemical distributor
WHAT: TSCA violations
HOW MUCH: $357,000

Between 2012 and 2015, an Ohio chemical distributor allegedly failed to submit data reports for 18 chemical substances as required by TSCA. The company has agreed to pay a civil penalty within 18 months in a series of installments as part of EPA’s consent agreement and final order.

These alleged violations presented a potential harm to EPA’s ability to maintain accurate and updated information regarding commercially produced chemicals. Companies are required to give EPA information on the chemicals they manufacture or import into the United States. EPA uses the data to help assess the potential human health and environmental effects of these chemicals and makes the non-confidential business information available to the public.

WHO: A petroleum company
WHERE: Medford, NY
WHAT: RCRA UST violations
HOW MUCH: $250,000

During an unannounced inspection in 2012, EPA identified violations of gasoline storage and handling regulations, prompting a larger investigation into the petroleum company. EPA found that alleged underground storage tank violations contributed to leaks at 13 gas stations in disadvantaged communities across New York and New Jersey.

The company will now be subject to frequent and stringent inspections at nearly 30 of its facilities, according to the settlement. The company will also be required to implement additional leak detection safety measures across all of its facilities.

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Tags: Clean Water Act, RCRA, roundup, TSCA, underground storage tank

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