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October 11, 2022

EPA Fines Asphalt Sales Company in Olathe, Kansas, for Alleged Clean Water Act Violations | US EPA

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LENEXA, KAN. (OCT. 11, 2022) – The Asphalt Sales Company in Olathe, Kansas, will pay $82,798 in civil penalties and improve pollution controls to resolve alleged violations of the federal Clean Water Act.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the company failed to adequately control stormwater runoff from its asphalt production and demolition landfill facility. EPA says these failures led to illegal discharges of pollutants into Cedar Creek.

“Uncontrolled runoff from manufacturers and landfills not only harms streams and rivers, but it also limits the public’s use and enjoyment of those waters,” said David Cozad, director of EPA Region 7’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division. “EPA’s enforcement actions demonstrate our commitment to protecting vital watersheds and creating a level playing field with businesses who are complying with the law.”

In the settlement documents, EPA alleges that the Asphalt Sales Company failed to comply with certain terms of its Clean Water Act permit, including failure to construct and/or maintain adequate stormwater controls; allowing stormwater to bypass existing stormwater controls; and failure to conduct and/or document required inspections of the facility.

In addition to paying the penalty, the company agreed to submit a plan to EPA outlining how it will return to compliance, including the installation and maintenance of effective stormwater controls at the facility.

Under the Clean Water Act, industrial facilities that propose to discharge into protected water bodies are required to obtain permits and to follow the requirements outlined in the permits to reduce pollution runoff. Failure to obtain a permit or to follow the requirements of a permit may violate federal law.

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October 7, 2022

EPA Orders East Chicago Sanitary District to Cease Discharges of Untreated Wastewater to the Grand Calumet River | US EPA

CHICAGO (October 7, 2022) – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued an administrative order under its Clean Water Act authority to the East Chicago Sanitary District in East Chicago, Indiana, to stop an ongoing discharge of untreated wastewater to the Grand Calumet River following the rupture of a major sewer line. The agency urges residents and visitors to the area to avoid contact with the river until further notice.

On September 28, a semi-truck fell through a sinkhole and ruptured a 42-inch sewer pipe carrying raw wastewater to the East Chicago wastewater treatment plant. The incident caused raw sewage to flood the wastewater treatment plant site and Indianapolis Boulevard, which was temporarily blocked. Discharges are also flowing out of a combined sewer overflow point (located on the west side of the Cline Avenue frontage road) into the east branch of the Grand Calumet River at a rate of about 8 million gallons per day. 

EPA’s order requires East Chicago Sanitary District (ECSD) to stop discharges of untreated sewage to the Grand Calumet River by October 11. ECSD will install bypass piping and begin repairs to the ruptured sewer pipe, which carries almost 80% of the system’s wastewater to the treatment plant. EPA’s order also requires ECSD to improve communication with the public by supplementing a public service advisory that was previously issued about the combined sewer overflow and posting results of daily sampling in the river online.

EPA is coordinating closely with Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM). IDEM on-scene coordinators responded to the spill on the first day and its wastewater treatment plant inspectors have been on-site each weekday since.

October 7, 2022

EPA penalizes DDM Imports $41k for importing tampered truck | US EPA

SEATTLE (October 7, 2022) -- For the fourth time in less than three years, the U.S.  Environmental Protection Agency has penalized DDM Imports of Airway Heights, Washington for another attempt to import from Canada a diesel pickup truck lacking required emission controls. 

Under the terms of the Consent Agreement and Final Order filed September 23, the company agreed to pay a $41,582 penalty for an attempt to import a 2016 Ford F-350 diesel pickup that had been stripped of its major emissions control devices. 

In 2020 the company paid a $2,400 penalty for importing a tampered vehicle and later paid a $65,000 penalty for importing three tampered vehicles.  In 2021, DDM paid a $66,662 penalty for importing two tampered vehicles. In each case, the violations were uncovered after officers from U.S. Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection inspected U.S.-bound diesel pickups at the U.S.-Canada border in Eastport, Idaho and found the vehicles’ emissions control systems had been tampered with or removed. The Clean Air Act requires all used vehicles imported to the U.S. be outfitted with the emission controls required at the time of their manufacture.

Tampering with vehicle engines, including installation of aftermarket defeat devices intended to bypass manufacturer emission controls, results in significantly higher releases of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, both of which contribute to serious public health problems in the United States. These problems include premature mortality, aggravation of respiratory and cardiovascular disease, aggravation of existing asthma, acute respiratory symptoms, chronic bronchitis, and decreased lung function. Numerous studies also link diesel exhaust to increased incidence of lung cancer. 

“Diesel emissions are known health threats,” said Ed Kowalski, director of EPA Region 10’s Enforcement and Compliance Assistance Division. “Importers of vehicles are responsible for ensuring required pollution controls are intact. We appreciate the partnership with the Customs and Border Protection agents in ensuring compliance with these important laws to protect public health.”

In recognition of the substantial excess pollution caused by illegally modified vehicles and engines, EPA is implementing a National Compliance Initiative entitled Stopping Aftermarket Defeat Devices for Vehicles and Engines. In furtherance of this initiative, EPA will continue to vigorously pursue enforcement against those who violate the defeat device and tampering prohibitions of the Clean Air Act. In addition, EPA has and will continue to prosecute criminal activity related to the illegal sale and installation of defeat devices.

Learn more about EPA’s regulations for onroad vehicles and engines.

October 6, 2022

EPA Settles Clean Air Act Violations for Princeton, N.J. Facility | US EPA

NEW YORK — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that the U.S. Department of Justice has lodged a settlement with the Stony Brook Regional Sewerage Authority (SBRSA) in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey that will resolve violations of Clean Air Act and New Jersey Air Pollution Control Act regulations at SBRSA’s wastewater treatment plant in Princeton, N.J. The settlement will be subject to a 30-day public comment period. 

Under the proposed settlement, SBRSA will bring the facility into compliance with federal and state laws that protect clean air by reducing pollution from sewage sludge incinerators. SBRSA will also pay a $335,750 civil penalty. The State of New Jersey joined the federal government as a co-plaintiff in this case.

“This settlement means cleaner air for communities in Mercer County with the Stony Brook Regional Sewerage Authority improving how it manages sewage sludge at its Princeton facility,” said Regional Administrator Lisa Garcia. “If not done properly, sewage sludge incineration can pose serious public health risks and this settlement will establish critical safeguards for how the Authority manages, monitors and reports this type of activity.”

“The proposed settlement is an important step in protecting the environment and public health in Mercer County, and ensuring that the Stony Brook Regional Sewerage Authority facility complies with state and federal laws,” said New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette. “We thank Regional Administrator Garcia, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General for their efforts on this enforcement action. The DEP will continue to work with our partners at all levels to protect air for every community in New Jersey.”

The federal government and the state had alleged that beginning in 2016, SBRSA failed to develop required plans and operating parameters to comply with the sewage sludge incinerator requirements for the Princeton facility, which burns municipal sewage as a way to dispose of it. Sewage sludge can contain a range of pollutants like mercury, lead, and cadmium that can pose public health threats when the sludge is burned without appropriate safeguards.  

Under the settlement, SBRSA must take the following measures at the Princeton facility to bring it into compliance with federal and state clean air laws:

  • Develop plans to monitor the mercury concentration of sewage sludge as an enforceable operating limit;
  • Establish site-specific operating limits to control air emissions and monitor compliance with those limits, and apply for a modification of its existing air emissions permit to incorporate these limits;
  • Establish and maintain procedures to minimize and eliminate bypass events, which result in uncontrolled air emissions.  

During discussions with EPA and the state that led to this settlement, SBRSA took corrective actions to comply with the Clean Air Act sewage sludge incinerator requirements prior to lodging of the settlement. Those actions included installing an alternative power supply to minimize bypass events and changing its operating procedures to better anticipate bypass events.

This settlement is part of EPA’s multi-regional initiative to bring municipal sewage sludge incinerator facilities into compliance with Clean Air Act requirements.

For more information on Clean Air Act requirements for municipal sewage sludge incinerator facilities, visit: https://www.epa.gov/stationary-sources-air-pollution/sewage-sludge-incineration-units-ssi-new-source-performance

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October 6, 2022

Baltimore County Police cited by EPA for hazardous waste violations at firing range in Timonium, Md. | US EPA

PHILADELPHIA (Oct. 6, 2022) – The Baltimore County Police Department will pay a $15,800 penalty for hazardous waste violations associated with the improper management of lead-contaminated soil at an outdoor firing range in Timonium, Maryland, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today. 

The outdoor firing range is used by county police officers for firing practice of primarily handguns, which use bullets made of lead and a copper alloy. The soil at the firing range is considered hazardous waste due to lead concentrations from bullets, and it must be handled and disposed of in accordance with EPA regulations.

Exposure to high levels of lead may cause serious health problems. Lead is toxic and exposure to lead can affect almost every organ and system in your body. Children six years old and younger are most susceptible to the effects of lead, but it can also be harmful to adults. EPA efforts to reduce lead exposure have contributed to blood lead levels in U.S. children steadily dropping over the past four decades, but lead exposure persists in communities throughout the country.

EPA cited the police department for violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the federal law governing the treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste. RCRA is designed to protect public health and the environment, and avoid long and extensive cleanups, by requiring the safe, environmentally sound storage and disposal of hazardous waste.

Alleged violations included: operation of a hazardous waste management facility without a permit, failure to provide hazardous waste management training to staff, failure to provide hazardous waste responsibilities in written job descriptions, and failure to have a hazardous waste contingency plan.

The EPA website has more information about EPA’s hazardous waste program .

October 6, 2022

Seaport Refining to Pay $127,000 Penalty Under Settlement with EPA Tied to Refinery in Redwood City | US EPA

San Francisco – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement with Seaport Refining & Environmental, LLC, the owner and operator of a petroleum refinery in Redwood City, California, over claims of violations of the Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The refinery, which receives and processes waste fuel including gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, is located near Redwood Creek and First Slough, which flow to the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Seaport Refining produces approximately 2,200 pounds of hazardous waste per month.

As a result of EPA’s findings, the company will pay $127,192 in civil penalties and implement compliance tasks, including developing an air emission monitoring plan, submitting quarterly air emission monitoring results, and inspecting and repairing the facility’s tanks.

“It is paramount that oil processing facilities, including refineries like the Seaport Refining facility in Redwood City, properly handle hazardous substances,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “When companies do not effectively manage a dangerous substance, in accordance with the law, the local community and workers are endangered. EPA will not hesitate to levy significant penalties.”

U.S. law requires the safe management of hazardous waste to protect public health and the environment and to prevent the need for costly and extensive cleanups. This settlement is part of a national EPA initiative aimed at reducing hazardous air emissions at hazardous waste facilities.

The settlement also addresses violation of the Clean Water Act’s Oil Pollution Prevention Regulations. These aim to prevent oil from reaching navigable waters and adjoining shorelines and to ensure containment of oil discharges in the event of a spill. Specific prevention measures called for in the regulations include developing and implementing spill prevention plans, training staff, and installing physical controls to contain and clean up oil spills.

Visit EPA’s Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Laws and Regulations and Clean Water Act Hazardous Substances Spill Prevention websites for more information.

For more information on reporting possible violations of environmental laws and regulations visit EPA’s enforcement reporting website.

Learn more about EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. Connect with us on Facebook and on Twitter.

October 3, 2022

EPA Launches New Online Tools to Provide Communities with Information on Environmental Enforcement and Compliance | US EPA

WASHINGTON – Today, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced two new online tools available to the public that provide additional information on environmental enforcement and compliance in their communities. Through improved transparency, advanced technologies and community participation, these tools empower the public to help EPA assure compliance nationwide and protect public health and the environment.

Environmental Justice metrics integrated with ECHO

Members of the public can use EPA's Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) website to search for facilities in their community to assess their compliance with environmental regulations. In addition, EPA has now integrated Environmental Justice (EJ) metrics in the basic ECHO facility features, allowing users to:

  1. Search for Facilities in Areas with Possible EJ Concerns
  2. Investigate Pollution Sources in Areas with Possible EJ Concerns
  3. Examine and Create EJ Enforcement-Related Maps
  4. Analyze Trends in Compliance & Enforcement EJ Data

A short video tutorial is available to help users get started:  Environmental Justice and ECHO.

Benzene Fenceline Monitoring Dashboard

Beginning in 2015, petroleum refineries were required to install air monitors around the perimeter of their facilities.  Petroleum refineries must monitor benzene concentrations and report the results to EPA on a quarterly basis.  Those results are now accessible to the public on EPA’s Benzene Fenceline Monitoring Dashboard.

The Dashboard improves public access to program data concerning benzene emissions along refinery fencelines and allows for a more detailed analysis of that data. Public access to this information advances public transparency and environmental justice.

A short video tutorial is available to help users get started.

October 3, 2022

Arizona Company to Pay $182K Penalty to Settle Clean Air Act Claims at its Phoenix Facility | US EPA

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement with Reddy Ice Phoenix for EPA’s Clean Air Act (CAA) findings at its Phoenix‑based facility. The company will pay $182,659 in civil penalties.

Following an EPA inspection of Reddy Ice’s Phoenix-based ice manufacturing facility in June 2019, EPA determined that Reddy Ice failed to comply with Clean Air Act Section 112(r) rules to prevent accidental release, which requires that facilities storing more than 10,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia are properly designed, operated, and maintained to minimize the risk of an accidental release.

Specifically, EPA determined that Reddy Ice failed to properly design its refrigeration system to comply with applicable design codes and standards, maintain inspection and testing records on certain equipment, correct engineering control deficiencies related to ammonia detectors, emergency exhaust fans, and alarms, and did not act upon compliance audit findings.

“It is every company’s responsibility to ensure compliance with the law, including critical safety regulations under the Clean Air Act for handling dangerous chemicals like anhydrous ammonia,” said EPA Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “Failure to do so can endanger public health and safety, especially for those in underserved and vulnerable communities close to facilities with ammonia refrigeration systems.”

Anhydrous ammonia can cause serious, often irreversible health effects when released. In addition to potential harmful effects from inhalation of or skin contact with this substance, it is highly flammable. Anhydrous ammonia is considered an extremely hazardous substance.

About Clean Air Act Section 112(r):

Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act requires companies of all sizes that use certain listed regulated flammable and toxic substances to develop and implement a Risk Management Program. A properly developed Risk Management Program includes:

  • A hazard assessment that details the potential effects of an accidental release, an accident history of the last five years, and an evaluation of worst-case and alternative accidental release scenarios.
  • A prevention program that includes safety precautions and maintenance, monitoring, and employee training measures.
  • An emergency response program that spells out emergency health care, employee training measures and procedures for informing the public and response agencies (e.g., the fire department) should an accident occur.

About Anhydrous Ammonia Accidents

Thousands of facilities nationwide make, use, and store extremely hazardous substances, including anhydrous ammonia. Catastrophic accidents, historically about 150 each year, at facilities, which include ammonia refrigeration facilities, result in fatalities and serious injuries, evacuations, and other harm to human health and the environment. EPA inspects these facilities as part of the Agency’s National Compliance Initiative, which seeks to reduce risk to human health and the environment by decreasing the likelihood of accidental releases and mitigating the consequences of chemical accidents.

For more information on reporting possible violations of environmental laws and regulations visit EPA’s enforcement reporting website.

For more information on Clean Air Act Section 112(r) visit EPA’s Fact Sheet: Clean Air Act Section 112(r): Accidental Release Prevention / Risk Management Plan Rule website.

Learn more about EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. Connect with us on Facebook and on Twitter.

September 30, 2022

Atlantic Richfield Company Agrees to Complete Multi-Million Dollar Cleanup of the Anaconda Smelter Superfund Site | US EPA

WASHINGTON — The Atlantic Richfield Company (AR) has agreed to complete its cleanup of the Anaconda Smelter Superfund Site (Site) in Deer Lodge County, Montana, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice announced today. The state of Montana, on behalf of the Department of Environmental Quality, is also a signatory to the consent decree that was lodged today in the U.S. District Court in Butte, Montana.

Decades of copper smelting activity at the town of Anaconda polluted the soils in yards, commercial and industrial areas, pastures and open spaces throughout the 300-square-mile Anaconda Site. This pollution has in turn contributed to the contamination of creeks and other surface waters at the Site, as well as of alluvial and bedrock ground water. The closure of smelting operations in 1980 left large volumes of smelter slag, flue dust and hazardous rock tailings that have had to be secured through a variety of remediation methods.

Under the settlement, AR — a subsidiary of British Petroleum — will complete numerous remedial activities that it has undertaken at the Anaconda Site pursuant to EPA administrative orders since the 1990s. Among other actions, AR will finish remediating residential yards in the towns of Anaconda and Opportunity, clean up soils in upland areas above Anaconda and eventually effect the closure of remaining slag piles at the Site. The estimated cost of the remaining Site work, including operation and maintenance activities intended to protect remediated lands over the long term, is $83.1 million. AR will pay $48 million to reimburse the EPA Superfund Program for EPA and Department of Justice response costs and will pay approximately $185,000 to the U.S. Forest Service for oversight of future remedial activities on Forest Service-administered lands at the Site.

“This settlement highlights the Agency’s vigorous enforcement to ensure the complete cleanup of the Anaconda Smelter Superfund site,” said EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Larry Starfield. “The work performed under this settlement will further protect the environment and the health of the people who live, work, and play in this community.”

“We are pleased that Atlantic Richfield has agreed to finalize its long-term cleanup of the Anaconda Site,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “Today’s consent decree follows other important settlements with Atlantic Richfield over the past two decades that have substantially improved the environment and restored valuable natural resources in the Upper Clark Fork basin. This settlement is also the product of a successful federal-state partnership to secure cleanup of a major hazardous waste site.”

“I was born in Anaconda the same year the smelter closed and while I never saw smoke coming out of the Smokestack that still stands over Anaconda, I know what it represents,” said U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich for the District of Montana. “It is a symbol representing the hard work of many Anacondans, including members of my family, that built our town.  But it’s also a symbol of a Superfund site that has existed for far too long.  If the Smokestack represents our past, this consent decree represents our future.  Many people, some who are no longer with us, worked diligently to get us to this point and I’m grateful beyond words for all of their work.  Our water will be cleaner, our soils will be purer, our slag will be covered, and our future will be brighter because of this historic agreement.”

“I am very pleased to announce the release of the proposed 2022 Sitewide consent decree for the Anaconda Smelter NPL Site,” said EPA Regional Administrator KC Becker. “Over the last several decades, EPA and MDEQ have made great strides in ensuring the cleanup of open space, residential areas, creeks and groundwater by Atlantic Richfield throughout Anaconda-Deer Lodge County. This cleanup of contaminated soils that impact surface waters and remediation of the largest slag piles at Anaconda builds on that progress.”

“This is an important milestone for the people of Anaconda and Montana. A lot of great cleanup work has already been done, and this consent decree will ensure that remaining remediation needs are funded and completed,” said Amy Steinmetz, Montana Department of Environmental Quality Waste Management and Remediation Division administrator

The consent decree filed today in U.S. District Court in Butte, Mont., is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court. A copy of the consent decree is available on the Department of Justice website.

Under Montana state law, the Department of Environmental Quality is separately required to put the Consent Decree out for public comment. The state’s public comment period will run concurrently with the federal public comment period. The consent decree will be available on DEQ’s website.

The consent decree and other information related to the Anaconda Site are available on EPA’s Superfund Site page.