Don’t be surprised to see an uptick in six-figure fines for violations like failure to: 

  • Manage hazardous waste according to Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) guidelines
  • Submit chemical premanufacture notices, and
  • Prevent storage tank leaks of air toxics and volatile organic compounds.

Now that supplemental environmental projects (SEPs) are going off the table for most federal enforcement actions, EPA won’t be able to defer a hefty chunk of a facility’s total fine toward local or regional environmental projects. However: States can still assign SEPs, including in joint EPA-state investigations.

A handful of $200,000-plus tickets were handed out in the last quarter despite the coronavirus curtailing EPA’s inspection team.

10 days in violation, $232K in fines

The Metro recycling and disposal plant (owned by Waste Management of Wisconsin) in Franklin has a solid waste permit but isn’t licensed to accept hazwaste.

But on at least 10 days it operated, the site disposed of hazardous electric arc furnace dust from a steel casting foundry contaminated with chromium, a known carcinogen.

The facility must monitor leachate and groundwater for chromium as part of its settlement and update its training program to prevent personnel from failing to make hazwaste determinations in the future.

Chemicals OK to use? Gotta check

Swix Sport USA, a winter sports equipment supplier in Massachusetts, imported ski wax products containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) dozens of times.

The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) requires filing premanufacture notices first before attempting to use or distribute chemicals not listed on the TSCA Inventory.

Swix will educate ski mountains and race teams about how ski wax that contains PFAS can contaminate snow melt and soil. And it’s paying a $375,625 fine.

Storage tank firm permits didn’t account for VOCs

Sprague Resources, with seven storage tank facilities in New England, got caught venting high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs)  from heated tanks containing #6 oil and asphalt.

The company should’ve applied for appropriate air permits in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine to reduce VOCs. Both fuels are stored at high temperatures to maintain their liquid state, but Sprague’s tanks weren’t equipped with tight-fitting lids or necessary pollution controls.

The company will stop storing fuels at one of its sites and install carbon bed systems to reduce odors from several tanks. Fine: $350,000.

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About the Author

Jon Knight

Jon Knight leads the NASP Team’s media creation department. He has been involved with workplace safety training since 2017 with a focus on course creation. He also provides video production and voiceovers for NASP content.
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