EPA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 5/29

Posted on 5/30/2023 by Nick Waldron

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.

We highlight environmental enforcement actions that offer insight into how and why US EPA and state partners assess civil penalties for regulatory noncompliance. All violations or potential violations discussed are only alleged unless we say otherwise. We withhold the names of organizations and individuals subject to enforcement to protect their privacy.

Your EPA Enforcement Roundup for this week:

Alleged hazardous waste, air, and water violations are set to cost a Pennsylvania chemical manufacturer $2.4M.

US EPA took enforcement action against a Pennsylvania chemical manufacturer following an investigation that was assisted by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. $2.4M in penalties have been proposed for alleged hazardous waste management (RCRA), Clean Water Act (CWA), and Clean Air Act (CAA) violations.

Alleged violations include noncompliant discharges of zinc, xylene, oil, and other pollutants; failure to comply with the operation and maintenance requirements of the company’s CWA permit; violations of CAA Risk Management Planning (RMP) provisions for hazardous chemicals; and “numerous hazardous waste management violations.” 

The manufacturer will review its operations and take action to prevent future violations of RCRA, CWA, and Pennsylvania regulations.

chemical plant allegedly violated RCRA, air, and water regs

An egg processing facility in New York faces $100,000 in penalties for alleged discharge violations from 2018 to 2021.

A facility in New York that processes tens of thousands of eggs per month has been penalized $100,000 by EPA for alleged Clean Water Act (CWA) violations. The site failed to adequately treat the wastewater it discharged to a wastewater treatment plant, the agency says. This mistake led to “excessive amounts of nitrogen, ammonia, phosphorus, and other materials were discharged” into a local creek between January 2018 and June 2021. 

The excess pollutants caused the treatment plant involved to exceed its own permitted discharge limits. On top of the paying the penalty, the company increased its holding capacity so that it can properly treat wastewater before discharging it to a treatment plant. The company has also agreed to implement better wastewater treatment processes to remove the contaminants. 

egg processing facility wastewater violations

An global energy company faces a historic $40M penalty (and $197M in injunctive relief) to resolve alleged Clean Air violations at a refinery in Indiana.

A global energy company faces a record-breaking* $40 million penalty to settle alleged violations of the Clean Air Act. The company will implement control technology at its Whiting, Indiana facility to reduce emissions of benzene, hazardous air pollutants (HAP), and VOCs by about 400 tons annually.

US EPA and the US Department of Justice allege that the company failed to limit benzene discharges into wastewater streams, failed to limit HAP and VOC emissions, and failed to satisfy the general Federal requirement to use good air pollution control practices. The cost of injunctive relief is estimated to exceed $197M.

* The Department of Justice calls this settlement "the largest civil penalty every secured for a Clean Air Act stationary source settlement."  (DOJ  Press Release

Complete Environmental Regulations Training

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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.

Tags: Clean Air Act, EPA Enforcement Roundup, fines and penalties, hazardous waste

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