Every day, facilities across the US receive Notices of Violation from Federal and State environmental agencies 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.
In January 2017, EPA raised its fines for noncompliance with major environmental programs.
We hope that providing information about EPA enforcement cases will help you identify and fix noncompliance issues that could leave your company facing costly penalties and future liability.
In this week’s EPA Enforcement Roundup, an Alaska hazmat carrier will pay for 3 diesel fuel spills caused by icy road conditions, a quarry will pay for Clean Water Act mistakes and an aluminium production facility will pay a six-figure fine for alleged Clean Air Act violations.
WHO: A hazmat carrier
WHERE: Fairbanks and Valdez, AK
WHAT: Three diesel fuel spills
HOW MUCH: $43,000
An Alaska hazmat carrier reached a settlement with US EPA this week to pay $43,000
in penalties for three separate diesel fuel spills on the Richardson Highway between Fairbanks and Valdez, AK.
The releases occurred last year on September 5, October 21, and November 12. In the first release, equipment failure caused a tank to overturn into a ditch, and spill more than 3,500 gallons of diesel from multiple punctures. In October, a fuel tanker driver lost control of the vehicle in icy conditions, spilling diesel into a channel of the Tsina River. Last, when a driver braked for animals and hunters in the roadway, the truck fishtailed and ultimately spilled diesel fuel.
Extreme weather and bad road conditions are just some of the rigors that hazmat shipments face in transportation. When releases do occur, having effective emergency notification and response procedures is crucial. In each of the accidents above, the logistics company was able to respond quickly, according to EPA.
WHO: A quarry and stone crushing facility
WHERE: Acushnet, MA
WHAT: Clean Water Act stormwater violations
HOW MUCH: $140,000
For allegedly failing to comply with US EPA’s Clean Water Act National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) requirements, a Massachusetts quarry and stone crushing facility will pay a six-figure fine to EPA.
EPA conducted an inspection last year in response to reports of stormwater permit violations, at which time inspectors uncovered lack of secondary containment on oil storage containers (a violation of SPCC requirements), according to EPA’s press release
To see how state-specific requirements may impact your NPDES stormwater responsibilities, read: How NPDES Permit Rules Can Vary by State
WHO: An aluminum production facility
WHERE: Mount Holly, SC
WHAT: Clean Air Act NESHAP violations
HOW MUCH: $230,000
A scrap aluminum processor will pay $230,000 for alleged violations of EPA’s National Emissions for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) Standards. What are NESHAPs?
EPA’s National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs) limit how much pollution a given “source” can emit. Found in 40 CFR 61 and 63, NESHAPs require sources of air pollution to apply specific technologies and control to their equipment to keep emissions of certain pollutants below EPA’s thresholds.
The “sources” of air pollution in this case were melting furnaces that release hydrogen fluoride, a hazardous air pollutant covered under Section 112(a) of the Clean Air Act. The facility allegedly failed to properly performance test these furnaces according to the Department of Justice’s complaint
and were cited for recordkeeping and reporting failures as well.
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