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EPA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 3/13

Posted on 3/13/2023 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 actions highlighted below provide insight into how and why the Agency assesses civil penalties for environmental noncompliance.

EPA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 3/13

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: A self-storage company
WHERE: Kailua-Kona and Kealakekua, Hawaii
WHAT: Safe Drinking Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $53,011 in penalties

US EPA cited a self-storage company in Hawaii for operating two large-capacity cesspools banned under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) since 2005. Cesspools can contaminate groundwater, streams, and the ocean, and both of these locations are less than two miles from fishing and recreation areas.

For these alleged SDWA violations, the company has agreed to pay $53,011 in penalties and close both cesspools.

WHO: A cold storage facility
WHERE: Yuma, Arizona
WHAT: Clean Air Act violations
HOW MUCH: $168,373 settlement

For alleged Clean Air Act (CAA) Risk Management Program (RMP) and Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) violations, an Arizona cold storage facility has agreed to pay $75,373 in civil penalties and $93,000 toward handheld radios for the local fire department. The company allegedly failed to properly manage the risk proposed by its large-scale use of anhydrous ammonia—a chemical used for refrigeration that is toxic when released into the environment.

An inspection revealed that the company failed to properly conduct a hazard analysis, document equipment inspection and testing, or adequately plan and coordinate for emergencies as required under EPCRA. 

WHO: A property owner
WHERE: Newton, Kansas
WHAT: Unpermitted dumping into a WOTUS
HOW MUCH: $50,000

A landowner in Newton, Kansas will pay a civil penalty of $50,000 to resolve alleged violations of Section 404 of Clean Water Act.

EPA found that the property owner “placed felled trees and other debris in approximately 4,155 feet of Mud Creek and approximately 1,800 feet of Sand Creek in 2021,” without obtaining the required permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). These actions are enforceable by USACE if any party places fill materials into Waters of the United States (WOTUS) without a permit.

Live Complete EPA Regulations Training

Want a clearer perspective on how major EPA air, water, and chemical programs all fit together? Join in on the Complete Environmental Regulations Webinar this week or save your spot for the May 18–19 training. 

EH&S professionals who attend can identify the regulations that apply to their facility and locate key requirements to achieve compliance the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts to EPCRA, TSCA, Superfund, and more. Prefer to train at your own pace? Try the interactive online course.

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