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EPA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 5/25

Posted on May 25, 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 mushroom farming company
WHERE: Morgan Hill, CA
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $471,000 plus a $440,000 supplemental environmental project

A mushroom farm in the San Francisco Bay area reached a settlement with environmental officials for allegedly discharging thousands of gallons of polluted water into a nearby creek. According to the San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board, the company allegedly emptied 258,000 gallons of polluted stormwater into Fisher Creek in 2016 and then another 400,000 gallons the following year.

The farm has agreed to pay $471,000 in penalties and $440,000 to restore 3.5 acres of habitat along Fisher Creek downstream of the facility.

WHO: A coal energy supplier
WHERE: Five facilities in southeast MI
WHAT: Clean Air Act violations
HOW MUCH: $1.8 million plus a $5.5 million supplemental environmental project

EPA has ordered a Detroit-based energy company to reduce pollution at five coal-fired power plants in southeast Michigan for allegedly violating New Source Review requirements of the Clean Air Act.

As part of the settlement, the company will install pollution controls or convert all coal-fired units to natural gas at four of its generating stations. It has also been ordered to complete a multi-million-dollar mitigation project to improve air quality in the region by replacing old buses in the area with newer, cleaner ones.

The Clean Air Act Regulations online course will prepare you to identify your facility’s responsibilities under Clean Air Act programs like New Source Review, Risk Management Planning, NAAQS, NESHAPS, NSPS, and more.

WHO: A ski equipment manufacturer
WHERE: Wilmington, DE
WHAT: TSCA violations
HOW MUCH: $375,625 plus a $1,000,000 outreach project

An international manufacturer of Nordic and Alpine ski supplies has been ordered by EPA to halt imports of ski wax containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). EPA found the company allegedly previously imported ski wax products containing PFAS 83 times that were not included on the TSCA Inventory or otherwise exempt for commercial purposes.

In addition to paying a fine, the company has agreed to develop and implement an outreach and training program aimed at educating the ski-racing community about PFAS chemicals in racing waxes and at promoting the use of wax alternatives with lower environmental impact. Another objective is to educate and motivate the ski-racing community to phase out (and ultimately eliminate) the use of PFAS-containing waxes in ski racing beginning with the 2020 ski season.

Convenient, Effective Online EHS Manager Training

Managing 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.

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