EPA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 10/16
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 Roundup highlights enforcement actions that offer insight into how and why US EPA and state partners assess penalties for noncompliance for environmental regulations.
All violations or claims discussed below are alleged only unless we say otherwise, and we withhold the names of organizations and individuals to protect their privacy.
Your EPA Enforcement Roundup for this week:
An Idaho lumber store faces civil penalties for alleged Clean Water Act violations related to stormwater discharges.
The business discharges “stormwater associated with industrial activity” into a local river (i.e., “navigable waters”, “WOTUS”) and allegedly violated Section 402 rules by failing to:
- Maintain stormwater control measures to minimize pollutant discharges,
- Maintain an accurate Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP),
- Complete inspection report forms,
- Submit monthly Discharge Monitoring Reports, and
- Submit the 2019 Annual Report required by the Multi-Sector General Permit in a timely manner.
The facility will pay $23,950 to US EPA as part of the settlement.
Helicopter flyovers discover alleged Clean Air Act violations from three oil and gas companies in the San Juan Basin.
EPA says unauthorized emissions came from storage tanks at 19 facilities belonging to the companies, and one of those facilities also had unauthorized emissions coming from a combustor. In total, the companies will pay $695,564 in penalties.
The settlements also require corrective actions that estimate a reduction of 105,000 lbs. of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, and over 377,000 lbs. of methane emissions. VOCs contribute to smog and can have adverse effects on human health, and methane is a climate pollutant and impacts human health as well.
A Texan energy company settles with EPA to resolve alleged Safe Drinking Water Act violations at three injection wells in Utah.
The company, which uses injection wells for disposal of brine produced by other wells it operates, allegedly failed to provide EPA with necessary information to transfer its permits to another company in a timely manner. The company also did not notify the Agency of a well’s mechanical integrity loss nor repair the well quickly enough.
Damaged, leaking injection wells can impact local underground drinking water supply. The settlement requires the company to pay a penalty of $19,718.
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