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EPA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 9/9

Posted on 9/9/2019 by Lauren Scott

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: A biodiesel manufacturer
WHERE: Stockton, CA
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $401,000 plus $256,206 in restitution
A California-based biodiesel manufacturer was sentenced in Federal court on July 6 for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act, including improper disposal of industrial waste water into a municipal sewer system and tampering with monitoring devices and flow meters in order to underreport acid and pollutant levels that would have exceeded the measurements allowed under local regulations.

In addition to a $401,000 fine, the company is ordered to pay restitution to the Port of Stockton and the City of Stockton. The company must also develop and implement an effective compliance and ethics program for the court to approve.
WHO: A European shipping company
WHERE: Bayonne, NJ
WHAT: The Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships violations
HOW MUCH: $4,000,000
An Italian shipping company has been ordered to pay a multimillion-dollar penalty for allegedly dumping oily waste and other pollutants into the sea in violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships. In April, the company plead guilty in Federal court to intentionally discharging bilge water and oily waste and then falsifying records and lying to the Coast Guard to cover it up.

Federal prosecutors allege a company ship was being inspected in January 2015 when two engineers lied to Coast Guard officials and then ordered their subordinates to lie as well. Once the Coast Guard left, the company allegedly burned documents related to the ship’s tanks in the vessel’s boiler flame.
WHO: An automotive exhaust systems retailer
WHERE: North Las Vegas, NV
WHAT: Clean Air Act violations
HOW MUCH: $10,000
A company that sells and distributes exhaust systems for diesel-powered trucks has reached a settlement with EPA for alleged Clean Air Act violations. Federal officials allege the company sold aftermarket parts that enabled the removal of catalytic converters on vehicles, bypassing required emission control standards.

Emission control systems, also known as defeat devices, curb vehicle emissions when enabled correctly.  Aftermarket defeat devices disable these controls and cause higher emissions.
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Tags: Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, enforcement, EPA, EPA Enforcement Roundup, fines, penalties

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