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 industrial chemical manufacturer
WHERE: Kansas City, KS
WHAT: RCRA violations
HOW MUCH: $139,745 plus $600,000 in site improvements
A chemical manufacturer in the Midwest has reached a settlement with EPA over alleged unauthorized releases of vanadium pentoxide,
including contaminated sludges, production wastes, and spilled waste. All vanadium pentoxide waste was managed on site and disposed of off site as a non-hazardous waste through at least August 2018, in violation of RCRA.
As part of the settlement, the facility must install a system to recover waste isopropyl alcohol from being emitted into the air or discharged into the facility’s wastewater system.
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WHO: A turf and ornamental management product distributor
WHERE: Longmont, CO and Monroe, WA
WHAT: FIFRA violations
HOW MUCH: $79,000
EPA announced a Consent Agreement and Final Order against a company that sells lawn turf weed-and-feed products
to consumer retailers, including Ace Hardware, Lowe’s, and Walmart.
During EPA inspections in 2015 and 2016, inspectors found the company allegedly packaging weed-and-feed products with incorrect and/or outdated labels. According to FIFRA, labels must include directions and instructions for proper use as well as current storage and disposal directions.
WHO: A seafood processing plant
WHERE: Sitka, AK
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $82,500
An Alaska seafood processor has allegedly violated its wastewater discharge permit, according to EPA. After further investigations in 2017, EPA found a 2.76-acre seafood waste pile,
more than double the limit specified in the company’s permit.
In addition to paying a fine, the company has agreed to monitor the waste pile and provide a more extensive assessment of environmental impacts if the pile size has not decreased to below the one-acre limit by December 2022.
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