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EPA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 12/16

Posted on December 17, 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 hydrocarbon exploration company
WHERE: Creede, CO
WHAT: CERCLA violations
HOW MUCH: $5.77 million plus $425,000 in Federal agency reimbursements

EPA has settled with a national drilling and excavation company for their operations at the Nelson Tunnel/Commodore Waste Rock Pile Superfund Site. The multi-million-dollar settlement requires the company to reimburse the US and its Federal agencies for costs incurred for response and cleanup at the site.

EPA alleges that the company disposed of hazardous waste at the former mining site with the possibility of release into the environment and nearby waterways.

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WHO: A chain of autobody shops
WHERE: 11 CA counties
WHAT: RCRA and Title 22 violations
HOW MUCH: $2.35 million

District Attorneys from 11 California Counties filed a joint suit against an autobody chain for their alleged illegal hazardous waste disposal operations in the Golden State. They allege that the company improperly disposed of large quantities of sanding dust, sanding pads, automotive paints, solvents, non-empty aerosol cans, and other hazardous substances as well as confidential customer information.

The agreement calls for $500,000 on new equipment to limit the release of hazardous wastes and help recycle solvents, and wastewater. The company must also hire a full-time employee to oversee environmental compliance at their 42 locations throughout the state.

WHO: An oil refinery
WHERE: Bakersfield, CA
WHAT: Clean Air Act and EPCRA violations
HOW MUCH: $500,000 plus $200,000 in supplemental environmental projects

A California oil refinery reached an agreement with EPA and DTSC officials for their alleged failures to meet new source performance standards under the Clean Air Act as well as hazardous substance reporting requirements under EPCRA.

The $500,000 fine will be split between the US and San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District. The oil refinery must also invest at least $200,000 in two supplemental environmental projects to purchase and operate an infrared gas-imaging camera and purchase emergency responder equipment for local firefighters and first responders.

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The 2020 nationwide schedule  for the Complete Environmental Regulations Workshop is available online. 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.