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EPA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 2/3

Posted on February 03, 2020 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 natural gas company
WHERE: Oil & gas wells throughout eastern OH
WHAT: Clean Air Act violations
HOW MUCH: $1.7 million plus $2 million in site improvements

An Oklahoma City-based energy company has been fined for failing to capture and control air emissions from storage vessels and to comply with associated inspection, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements. During inspections in 2015, EPA allegedly found deficiencies in the company’s vapor capture and control systems for its storage vessels.

The company has agreed to invest roughly $2 million in improvements at 17 well pads in eastern Ohio to help reduce volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions by approximately 313 tons per year. VOCs include a variety of chemicals that may cause adverse health effects.

WHO: A limestone quarry
WHERE: Lincoln City, MO
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $80,000

A limestone quarry in the Midwest came under EPA scrutiny after allegedly filling over 1,200 feet of a Barley Branch tributary with dirt and other materials. Barley Branch feeds into the Mississippi River. Federal and State officials identified the alleged Clean Water Act violation after a site visit to the quarry in September 2018.

The Clean Water Act prohibits parties from discharging fill material into water bodies unless they first obtain a permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). If parties place fill material into water bodies without a permit, USACE can refer an enforcement case to EPA.

WHO: An agricultural cooperative
WHERE: Oakley, KS
WHAT: Clean Air Act violations
HOW MUCH: $71,652 plus $55,000 in site improvements

EPA has cited a full-service, member-owned agribusiness for failing to submit proper documentation on over 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia at three of its fertilizer facilities. The company allegedly failed to submit, implement and update risk management plans for the release of anhydrous ammonia among other violations.

In addition to paying a civil penalty, the company must complete a project designed to enhance safety at six of its ammonia fertilizer facilities by installing emergency shutoff valves and emergency stop buttons.

Convenient, Effective Online EHS Manager Training

Managing 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, online training is a convenient way to quickly build in-depth expertise.

Check out the latest EPA compliance training options here:
Clean Air Act Regulations Online
TSCA Regulations Online
Clean Water Act & SDWA Regulations Online
Superfund and Right-to-Know Act Regulations Online 
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.