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EPA Enforcement Roundup: Week of 11/25

Posted on November 26, 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: An agricultural retail facility
WHERE: Burress, Nebraska
WHAT: Clean Air Act violations
HOW MUCH: $45,796 plus $8,415 in local emergency responder equipment

The owner and operator of a Nebraska agricultural retailer has been cited by EPA for violations of the Clean Air Act’s Risk Management Plan (RMP) regulations. Violations include failure to prepare and submit a Risk Management Plan, determine and maintain records of an analysis of the off-site consequences of ammonia, and install proper safety barriers to prevent collision with ammonia storage tanks among other violations.

In addition to paying a penalty, the company must purchase equipment for local emergency responders, including 30 heat-resistant hoods and a thermal camera capable of identifying heat sources inside buildings during responses or rescues.

WHO: An electric cable manufacturer
WHERE: Seymour, CT
WHAT: EPCRA violations
HOW MUCH: $75,000

An electric cable maker has reached an agreement with EPA over alleged chemical reporting violations. In 2017, the company processed lead, copper, and zinc compounds in quantities that allegedly exceeded 10 times their threshold TRI reporting amounts. The cable manufacturer later violated Federal right-to-know laws in 2018, when it failed to file and certify required reports describing certain chemical compounds processed at the facility.

The Connecticut-based company has agreed to pay a five-figure penalty and has been complicit during inspections and case settlement negotiations.

WHO: A pesticide distributor
WHERE: Scottsdale, AZ
WHAT: FIFRA violations
HOW MUCH: $200,000

An Arizona pesticide retailer allegedly sold pesticides with misleading efficacy claims to kill all bacteria, viruses, and fungi. The products also had false and misleading safety claims, which created the incorrect impression that the products were noncorrosive and nontoxic. The company also exported the unregistered pesticides without the necessary notifications and failed to comply with reporting obligations following a Stop Sale, Use or Removal Order (SSURO) issued to the company in 2018.

As part of the settlement, the company will pay a $200k fine and comply with all pesticide labeling and export regulations.

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