Enforcement and Inspection

June Environmental Enforcement Report

We have a dozen new cases to touch on this month, covering violations discovered across 7 regions. Penalties and fines ranged from just under $3,000 to $400,000; learn from these examples of water woes, air violations, and permit slip-ups so that your facility doesn’t become the next organization on our monthly list.

Environmental Law

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Waste Violations

GVA North America, Inc.

Maine                                                   Region 1

RCRA violations: GVA North America, a company that primarily manufactures filters for life sciences applications, was found in violation of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulations. The company failed to provide employee training, failed to have adequate aisle space between containers of hazardous waste, and failed to conduct weekly inspections. Some of these failures were repeat violations.

Penalty: $63,036 fine.

Lack of Adequate Spill Plan

Catalyst Energy, Inc., and KC Midstream Solutions, LLC

Pennsylvania                                                     Region 3

CWA, SPCC violations: According to the EPA, Catalyst Energy, Inc., and KC Midstream Solutions, LLC, the former and current owner and operator of three natural gas processing plants located in Pennsylvania, were in violation of the Clean Water Act’s (CWA) Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) regulations. During their respective ownership of the plants, both companies failed to correctly prepare and fully implement SPCC plans at the three facilities.

Penalty: $42,806 fine.

Lead Rule Violations

Distinct Construction, Inc.

Pennsylvania                                                     Region 3

RRP Rule and TSCA violations: According to the EPA, Distinct Construction, Inc., was in violation of Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule (RRP Rule) requirements for 2015 renovations for compensation on pre-1978 housing (Target Housing). The renovator failed to post warning signs, failed to cover the ground with plastic sheeting, failed to properly contain waste, failed to take extra precautionary measures, failed to be firm-certified, failed to obtain acknowledgment of receipt of the EPA-approved lead hazard pamphlet, and failed to retain records documenting compliance with lead safe work practices.

Penalty: $2,497 fine. In addition, the company will pay approximately $300 in compliance action costs.

More Lead Rule Violations

Two Point Construction, LLC

Maryland                                                            Region 3

RRP Rule and TSCA violations: The EPA found that Two Point Construction was in violation of TSCA and RRP Rule requirements for renovations on Target Housing. The company failed to obtain firm certification to perform renovations on Target Housing, failed to obtain acknowledgement of receipt of the EPA-approved lead hazard pamphlet, failed to ensure that a certified renovator was assigned to each renovation, and failed to retain records documenting compliance with lead safe work practices.

Penalty: $13,413 fine, in addition to approximately $700 in compliance action costs.

Pesticide Problems

Solenis LLC, Buckman Industries Inc., Baker Petrolite

Delaware, Tennessee, Texas                                                        Regions 3, 4, and 6

FIFRA violations: According to the EPA, three companies were found in violation of Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) regulations. The EPA inspected a pesticide facility that was contracted to manufacture pesticide products for the three companies and discovered that all three companies, which provide their own product labels, failed to properly label the pesticides.

Penalty: $99,000 fine for Solenis LLC, $160,000 fine for Buckman Industries Inc., and $16,000 fine for Baker Petrolite.

Air Violations

MFG Chemical, LLC (MFG)

Georgia                                                                Region 4

CAA, GDC violations: The EPA has found MFG, a specialty chemical manufacturing company, in violation of the Clean Air Act’s (CAA) General Duty Clause (GDC). The company failed to identify hazards that could result from the accidental release of an extremely hazardous substance using appropriate hazard assessment techniques, failed to design and maintain a safe facility to prevent the release of an extremely hazardous substance, and failed to minimize the consequences of releases that occur.

Penalty: $400,000 fine. In addition, MFG will spend approximately $3 million to install cooling towers, perform hazard assessments, and undertake other corrective measures.

Discharge Violations

Marathon Pipe Line, LLC

Ohio                                                      Region 5

CWA violations: On April 16, 2016, Marathon Pipe Line, which operates pipelines, storage tanks, and barge dock facilities, was in violation of CWA’s Oil and Hazardous Substances Discharge regulations when it had a 10-inch pipeline fail. The pipeline failed where the pipeline crosses the Wabash River near Crawleyville, Indiana. The company released 35,868 gallons of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel into the river.

Penalty: $226,000 fine.

Multiple Violations and a Heavy Fine

Shell Oil Products

California                                                            Region 9

CAA, RMP, CERLCA, CWA, SPCC, EPCRA, and RCRA violations: After three inspections of Shell Oil Products’ crude oil refinery in November 2014, March 2015, and November 2016, the EPA alleged that the company was in violation of Clean Air Act (CAA) Risk Management Plan (RMP); Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA); Clean Water Act (CWA) Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC); Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA); and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulations. The EPA found that the company failed to immediately notify the appropriate federal, state, and local emergency planning and response agencies after an accidental release in December 2013; failed to determine if waste generated was hazardous; and failed to follow proper procedures for managing hazardous waste, including container management and satellite accumulation requirements. The company failed to use proper containers for fuel storage, failed to use mobile refueler tanks that did not meet SPCC requirements, failed to keep written procedures and a record of inspections and tests, and failed to promptly correct visible discharges. In addition, Shell Oil Products failed to accurately analyze and report an accidental release worst-case scenario.

Penalty: $142,664 fine. In addition, the company will spend approximately $220,300 to make improvements to its oil processing facility and will spend approximately $38,000 to provide Contra Costa Health Services Hazardous Materials Programs with equipment to stop leaks from sulfur dioxide containers, personal protective equipment (PPE), and handheld particulate meters.

Water Violations

Modern Concepts Inc.

California                                                            Region 9

CWA violations: According to the EPA, Modern Concepts, a company that manufactures plastic products, was in violation of CWA regulations. In 2016, EPA inspectors observed that there were spilled plastic pellets on paved surfaces throughout the company’s facility, which is located near Compton Creek, a tributary of the Los Angeles River. In addition, the facility lacked pollution prevention equipment and used inadequate cardboard storage boxes, exposing the pellets to rain and wind.

Penalty: $12,000 fine.

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Water Woes

Double R Trading Inc.

California                                                            Region 9

CWA violations: An EPA inspection that was conducted in 2016, revealed that Double R Trading Inc., a company that operates a recycling plant that grinds plastic materials into small flakes, was in violation of CWA regulations. The company’s facility had discharged stormwater into Dominguez Channel without a required permit. The facility had large amounts of exposed plastic materials and fragments spilled on paved surfaces throughout the facility. In addition, the facility did not have the necessary containment systems to trap plastic material and prevent releases to a waterway that flows into the Port of Los Angeles. The company also had improper outdoor oil storage.

Penalty: $23,326 fine.

Permit Violations

North Star Terminal & Stevedore Company, LLC

Alaska                                                  Region 10

CWA, NPDES violations: According to the EPA, North Star Terminal & Stevedore Company, which operates a marine terminal, was found in violation of its CWA National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. The company failed to install and maintain stormwater control measures; failed to conduct required monitoring, assessments, and inspections; failed to take corrective actions after benchmark exceedances; and failed to submit annual reports and Discharge Monitoring Reports.

Penalty: $54,600 fine. In addition, the company will spend approximately $4,500 in compliance action costs.

Wastewater Troubles

City of Driggs

Idaho                                                    Region 10

CWA, NPDES violations: The EPA stated that the City of Driggs Wastewater Treatment Plant was in violation of CWA National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) regulations. The facility exceeded its NPDES permit limits for Escherichia coli, biochemical oxygen demand, total suspended solids, total residual chlorine, and total ammonia.

Penalty: $13,500 fine. In addition, the city will pay approximately $20,000 in compliance action costs. The city must identify and complete modifications and corrective actions to the facility within 2 years.