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EPA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 1/7

Posted on January 07, 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: An oil and natural gas company
WHERE: South Portland, ME
WHAT: Clean Air Act violations
HOW MUCH: $40,000 plus $400,000 in site improvements and community projects

A New England oil and natural gas company reached an agreement with Federal officials to resolve alleged Clean Air Act violations at its petroleum tank farm in Maine. EPA alleges the company exceeded licensed emissions limits for volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The company’s air quality license allows its 12-tank terminal to emit 21.9 tons of VOCs per year. However, EPA alleges new testing showed liquid asphalt and No. 6 heavy residual fuel oil stored in four heated tanks emitted more than 40 tons per year.

The company has agreed to pay at least $150,000 to upgrade or replace wood stoves throughout Cumberland County with cleaner-burning, more efficient heating equipment. The company will also take steps to reduce VOC emissions by 20 tons per year by installing petroleum mist eliminators.

WHO: An industrial waste management facility
WHERE: Los Angeles, CA
WHAT: RCRA violations
HOW MUCH: $36,000 plus $100,000 on a school air filtration system

EPA announced a settlement with a Los Angeles industrial waste management and recycling facility to resolve alleged hazardous waste violations. Violations include failure to properly prevent emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from tanks, failure to maintain air emission monitoring equipment, and failure to monitor and inspect equipment to accurately detect emissions.

The company has agreed to pay the fine and purchase a new air filtration system to improve air quality in classrooms at a nearby school.
Need training to comply with RCRA and Title 22? The California Hazardous Waste Management Workshop returns to Santa Barbara, Fresno, and San Francisco in January 2020. See the full 2020 schedule.

WHO: A Midwestern municipality
WHERE: Jefferson, IA
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $13,900

A city in Iowa has agreed to pay a five-figure penalty for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act. EPA alleges the municipality applied biosolids to land that contained arsenic in excess of limits. Federal officials also allege the city failed to monitor and report the biosolids as required.

Municipal wastewater treatment facilities produce sewage sludge. When that sewage sludge is properly processed and treated, the resulting biosolids are a nutrient-rich organic material that can be used as a fertilizer. In addition, biosolids can be used as daily cover at landfills, stored or used in construction materials.

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
New! Clean Water Act & SDWA Regulations Online
Just Launched! 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.