EPA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 9/4
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:
Two companies resolve alleged Clean Air Act Risk Management Plan (RMP) violations in $194,302 settlement.
EPA claims the companies owned and operated a facility in Yakima, Washington containing more than 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia without submitting or having a Risk Management Plan (RMP) as required under the Clean Air Act.
The facility allegedly failed to:
- Provide initial safety training for employees.
- Keep safety information up to date.
- Perform a timely process hazard analysis every five years.
- Adequately address process hazard analysis recommendations.
- Replace and maintain process equipment for safe operation.
These Risk Management Planning requirements apply to owners and operators of "stationary sources" that use certain flammable or toxic chemicals, in certain amounts, at any time in a single process. Facilities that exceed the threshold quantity of regulated substances must comply with RMP regulations. [See 40 CFR 68.10.]
A Texas-based oil company has agreed to pay $5.5M in penalties and $4.6M in projects following a joint complaint from US EPA and New Mexico.
EPA and the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) allege that the company failed to follow Clean Air regulations at more than 100 oil and gas production operations in New Mexico and Texas. Alleged violations include failure to acquire required air permits, failure to capture and control emissions from storage vessels, and failure to comply with recordkeeping, monitoring and inspection requirements.
The special projects are meant to bring 422 of its oil and gas well pads into compliance with State and Federal air regulations and help to offset emissions.
A glass fiber sheet manufacturer settles with Indiana over alleged hazardous waste transportation violations.
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) alleges that the company transported two full 55-gallon drums of waste acetone—a hazardous waste—with a shipment of empty drums for recycling without a hazardous waste Manifest.
The company agrees to “properly manifest hazardous waste for transport and/or disposal” moving forward and will certify to IDEM that it properly disposed of the two drums of waste acetone. Also, the company will submit a plan to prevent the mixing of empty drums and drums containing hazardous waste in staging areas.
IDEM assessed a monetary penalty of $375 for allegedly violating RCRA manifesting provisions. Shipping or transporting hazardous waste without a Manifest violates the US DOT Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) as well, as does any failure to mark or label the container as a hazmat package.
The Indiana Administrative Code incorporates Federal hazardous waste management requirements found in 40 CFR 260—270 and 273.
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