EPA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 9/5

Posted on 9/5/2017 by Roger Marks

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, the former owner of a Cleveland electro-plating facility is wanted for allegedly drilling holes in tanks of hazardous chemicals in an effort to sabotage the plant. Also, NYC will pay EPA for CERCLA hazardous substance cleanup, and a Massachusetts meat facility will pay six figures for Clean Air Act and EPCRA violations.

WHO: A meat production and packing facility
WHAT: EPCRA and Clean Air Act violations
HOW MUCH: $432,000 in fines and facility upgrades

Meat.jpgWhen it comes to foodstuff and US EPA enforcement, anhydrous ammonia is almost always involved. In this case, a company allegedly mishandled the refrigerant (a violation of the Clean Air Act General Duty Clause) and failed to accurate report the volumes of ammonia and sulfuric acid present at their facility (a violation of EPCRA Tier II reporting requirements).

Violations included:
  • Insufficient emergency planning
  • Improper labeling of ammonia control valves and piping
  • Lack of alarms, proper ventilation and safety equipment
  • Failure to test, maintain, or replace safety equipment
To resolve EPA’s claim, the company will pay a $132,183 civil penalty and spend roughly $300,000 to upgrade their facility and come into compliance with the Clean Air Act safety and emergency planning requirements.

WHO: A former owner of a chemical plant
WHERE: Wooster, OH
WHAT: Corporate chemical sabotage
HOW MUCH: Criminal charges

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Benjamin Dagley, who authorities say was caught on security footage drilling holes in tanks of sodium cyanide, hydrochloric acid, yellow chromate, ferrous chloride, and sulfuric acid at a Cleveland-area electroplating plant he previously owned.

Reportedly carried out in retaliation over a business dispute, Dagley’s actions hospitalized at least one employee for potential cyanide poisoning, and put the surrounding community at great risk. Local responders notified US EPA and the Department of Homeland Security, a hazmat team was called in to clean up, and Ohio EPA has now confirmed that no hazardous chemicals were released into the community.

WHO: New York City
WHERE: Queens County, NY
WHAT: CERCLA/Superfund cleanup cost recovery
HOW MUCH: $659,037

The city of New York will reimburse US EPA for CERCLA hazardous substance cleanup costs at a former chemical company facility now owned by the city. Cleanup operations covered the facility itself as well as nearby businesses, public sidewalks, sewers, and city streets where hazardous substances were present.

Do you work at a Superfund site or other “uncontrolled hazardous waste site”? Keep your HAZWOPER training up to date with the convenient, interactive HAZWOPER 8-Hour Refresher Online Course.

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ENV-300-computer-image.jpgManaging site compliance with the many complex EPA programs that affect your business—from the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts to TSCA, EPCRA, CERLCA, and more—is a major challenge. If you’re new to the field, or need an update on changing EPA rules, the Complete Environmental Regulations Online Course will help you quickly build in-depth expertise.

Or, check out the latest individual EPA compliance training options here:
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The 2017 nationwide schedule for the Complete Environmental Regulations Workshop is now available. Collaborate with other managers to identify the requirements that apply to your facility, ask the right questions, and make the right decisions about EPA compliance.

Tags: CERCLA, Clean Air Act, EPA, EPA Enforcement Roundup, EPCRA, fines and penalties

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