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 municipal wastewater system
WHERE: Corpus Christi, TX
WHAT: Clean Water Act violations
HOW MUCH: $1.14 million
A city in Texas has agreed to eliminate its wastewater system’s alleged overflow and improper discharges. As part of the consent agreement, the municipality will prioritize cleaning and evaluating the condition of sewer lines in locations that have historically experienced sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs),
amounting to approximately 40% of the entire sewer system.
According to EPA, the wastewater system has a history of inappropriate SSOs. In order to address another alleged cause of the SSOs, the city will develop a capacity remedial measures plan by conducting a system-wide capacity assessment of the sewer collection system.
WHO: A local municipality
WHERE: Nassau County, NY
WHAT: RCRA violations
HOW MUCH: $427,500
A New York county government allegedly failed to comply with RCRA’s underground storage tank (UST)
regulations for USTs the county owns/operates at 48 of its facilities. The Consent Judgment requires the county to bring its USTs into compliance with the UST regulations and to install and operate a centralized monitoring system.
The Consent Judgement was announced on September 30 and compels the county to pay a $427,500 penalty for the UST violations.
WHO: A chemical and munitions manufacturer
WHERE: Gibbstown, NJ
WHAT: CERCLA violations
HOW MUCH: $144,000 plus $11.4 million in cleanup & reimbursement costs
EPA and the State of New Jersey issued a joint consent decree with a limited liability company (LLC)
that represents a defunct manufacturer to clean up the Hercules, Inc. (Gibbstown Plant) Superfund Site in Gibbstown, NJ. Under the consent decree, the LLC will design and implement the final cleanup remedy, fully reimburse EPA for site-related past response costs, and pay EPA’s future costs of overseeing the company’s performance of the cleanup design and action.
As part of the cleanup plan, the LLC will excavate the top contaminated soil, treat the excavated soil using naturally occurring microorganisms to destroy or break down the contaminants, and treat soil located deeper down using chemicals to spur naturally occurring microorganisms to destroy or break down the contaminants in-place. The company will excavate lead-contaminated soil and dispose of it off site.
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