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PHILADELPHIA (May 25, 2023) – Eastman Chemical Resins Inc. will pay a $2.4 million penalty for environmental violations at the sprawling 56-acre manufacturing facility in West Elizabeth, Pennsylvania, that is now owned and operated by Synthomer Jefferson Hills, LLC, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today.
“Compliance with our nation’s laws that protect the environment and the health of our communities is an obligation companies can’t take lightly,” said EPA Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz. “The actions required by this settlement will help ensure that the facility operates in a manner that is protective of environmental resources and the health of nearby communities.”
“Pennsylvanians have a right enshrined in the state constitution to clean air and pure water, and we will always pursue operators that violate that right and hold polluters accountable,” said Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Acting Secretary Rich Negrin. “We were pleased to work with our federal partners to hold this polluter accountable.”
Along with the financial penalty being paid by Eastman, Synthomer has agreed to take actions to eliminate ongoing violations and prevent future violations. This includes conducting a comprehensive review of stormwater discharges and groundwater contamination and implementing initiatives to ensure compliance with environmental laws, including the Clean Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and parallel Pennsylvania laws.
The penalty will be divided equally between the United States and Pennsylvania, who are co-plaintiffs in this consent decree. Pennsylvania DEP assisted EPA in the investigation and litigation. The settlement addresses alleged federal and state environmental law violations that have occurred since 2017, which threaten to degrade receiving streams and impact public health and harm aquatic life and the environment.
The chemical producing facility is bordered on the southeast by the Monongahela River and bisected by an unnamed tributary to that river. The proposed consent decree, filed in the federal district court in Pittsburgh, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court.
A copy of the consent decree with more specifics about the violations is available online at https://www.justice.gov/enrd/consent-decrees.
Town of Silverton: Gloria Kaasch-Bueger, 970-880-4087, email@example.com
Silverton, Colo. (May 25, 2023) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced the Town of Silverton will receive an $800,000 Brownfields Multipurpose Grant funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. EPA’s award to Silverton is among six Brownfields grants totaling nearly $4.78 million announced today for cleanup and revitalization projects in communities across Colorado.
The Town of Silverton will use the EPA funds to complete environmental cleanup actions and site assessments, develop a brownfields inventory and conduct related community engagement activities at properties in town and along recreational corridors. Addressing contamination at these sites will create opportunities for new affordable housing, water quality improvements and recreational amenities.
“Silverton has developed a comprehensive plan to assess, clean up and revitalize key properties in town and in key recreational areas surrounding the community,” said EPA Regional Administrator KC Becker. “EPA is proud to support these efforts to improve health and develop new amenities for the community with funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”
“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is helping clean up and revitalize communities across Colorado,” said U.S. Senator Michael Bennet. “With this funding, Buena Vista, Pueblo, Telluride, Silverton, San Luis and Trinidad can make sure these sites are safe for the families living near them and restore them in ways that meet the communities’ needs.”
The EPA funds are part of President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to expedite the assessment and cleanup of brownfield sites in while advancing environmental justice through the Multipurpose, Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup (MARC) Grant programs. Thanks to the historic boost from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this funding is the largest ever awarded in the history of the EPA’s Brownfields MARC Grant programs.
"Silverton is grateful for the continued support from our federal partners,” said Gloria Kaasch-Buerger, Town Administrator, Town of Silverton. “This grant is a great step forward in our ability to manage our community's natural assets while we grow and thrive."
The target area for the EPA grant funds includes the Town Core, the Animas River Corridor and the Cement Creek Corridor, all within Silverton. Priority sites include the Zanoni site on Keystone Street, the Lackawanna Mill site on 468 County Road 20 and the Cement Creek site on County Road 110.
The Town of Silverton will use the funds to focus on former mining sites and ancillary operations, like smelters, where remnant features, abandoned facilities and tailings piles remain today. Many of these operations were concentrated along the waterbody corridors that frame the town, resulting in adverse impacts to water quality. Additionally, mine wastes with elevated metal concentrations were often used as fill and grading materials at these sites, which limit their potential for redevelopment. Contaminants of concern include arsenic, cadmium, copper, silver, zinc and lead.
The Town will reuse many of these brownfields sites including the Zanoni site in the Town Core area, an ideal location for much-needed new affordable housing. Another priority is the 27-acre Lackawanna Mill site in the Animas River Corridor, which includes an abandoned historic mill, remnant mining buildings, waste piles and equipment that impact the river and nearby recreation. In addition, the Cement Creek site is a roughly five-acre property comprised of exposed mine tailings with steep sided slopes leading to the creek. The site is a priority for assessment and cleanup to address hazards. Potential reuse opportunities include open space, pedestrian infrastructure and art and signage that would enhance this gateway area to town.
Other Brownfields grants announced in Colorado today include:
Watershed NP, Inc.: Buena Vista, $979,222
The Keating School, Pueblo: $1 million
The Town of San Luis: $500,000
San Miguel County: $500,000
Mt. Carmel Wellness and Community Center, Trinidad: $998,700
Thanks to the historic $1.5 billion boost from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA’s Brownfields Program is helping more communities than ever begin to address the economic, social and environmental challenges caused by brownfields and stimulate economic opportunity and environmental revitalization in historically overburdened communities.
EPA’s Brownfields Program also advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative to direct 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments to disadvantaged communities. Approximately 84% of the MARC program applications selected to receive funding proposed to work in areas that include historically underserved communities.
EPA’s Brownfields Program began in 1995 and has provided nearly $2.37 billion in Brownfield Grants to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return blighted properties to productive reuse. EPA’s investments in addressing brownfield sites have leveraged more than $36 billion in cleanup and redevelopment. Communities that previously received Brownfields Grants used these resources to fund assessments and cleanups of brownfields, and successfully leverage an average of 10.6 jobs per $100,000 of grant funds spent and $19.78 for every dollar.
NEW YORK – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has settled an administrative case against Newburg Egg Processing Corp. for allegedly failing to meet standards in the wastewater it treats and sends to a wastewater treatment plant. The company’s alleged failures led to excessive nitrogen and ammonia pollution that passed through the wastewater treatment plant and into Sandburg Creek in the Village of Woodridge, NY. The company will pay a penalty of $100,000 for not meeting the pollution limits and has already taken steps to address the cause of the violations.
“Newburg Egg and other companies must comply with all aspects of the Clean Water Act including properly treating their industrial wastewater,” said EPA Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. “EPA will hold companies accountable when they violate critical laws that protect public health and the environment. We are glad that the company chose to cooperate and is investing in needed equipment.”
As an industrial source, the company must first treat its waste stream – a process referred to as pre-treatment -- before discharging it to the municipal wastewater treatment plant. This pre-treatment prevents excessive pollution levels, which can interfere with the effectiveness of the wastewater treatment plant. In this case the pollution levels that Newburg Egg discharged caused the Woodbridge, NY treatment plant to exceed pollution limits set by a New York wastewater permit.
As a result of these violations, excessive amounts of nitrogen, ammonia, phosphorus and other materials were discharged into Sandburg Creek between January 2018 to June 2021. To prevent this from happening again, Newburg Egg has added additional capacity to hold their wastewater and properly pretreat it before discharging to the Woodridge wastewater treatment plant. Newburg Egg has separately agreed to install a new polymer mix and feed system to provide better treatment to remove contaminants like nitrogen, ammonia and phosphorus at its pretreatment plant. This will improve its process wastewater treatment prior to discharge to the village wastewater treatment plant.
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SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement with Watts Regulator Company for alleged violations of federal law related to sale or distribution of misbranded water filtration devices and importation of pesticides into the United States. Watts, which is headquartered in Massachusetts, imported devices through a port of entry in Nogales, Arizona. Watts will pay $60,558 in civil penalties as part of the settlement.
EPA Region 9, which covers Arizona, conducted an investigation and determined that Watts was making claims that various water filtration products it was importing reduced water impurities, reduced parasitic cysts, killed microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and mold, and sterilized. The EPA concluded that Watts distributed misbranded devices, which included false and misleading claims on their labeling.
“The sale of misbranded products that claim to sterilize or kill microorganisms is both unlawful and a clear risk to human health,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “EPA is committed to enforcing laws that protect our communities.”
Watts failed to display EPA establishment numbers clearly and prominently on its labels and did not file all necessary importation requirements. Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), EPA establishment numbers must appear on the labels of pesticide devices, and the importer of such devices must submit a Notice of Arrival of Pesticides and Devices form before the arrival of the shipment in the United States.
While pesticide devices are not required to be registered by the EPA, companies that sell or distribute them may not make any false or misleading claims, and scientific studies must support all public health claims.
For more information visit EPA’s FIFRA website.
For more information visit EPA’s Importing and Exporting Pesticides and Devices website.
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SEATTLE (May 17, 2023) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 10 announced today that it has penalized GreenBuild Design and Construction, LLC of Anchorage, Alaska, $25,609 for violating the Lead Renovation and Repair Rule, the federal law governing the handling and disposal of lead-based paint.
“Exposure to lead-based paint can cause serious, and sometimes permanent health effects, and children are especially vulnerable,” said Stacy Murphy, Acting Director of EPA Region 10’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division. “Contractors and renovation firms play an important role in protecting people from exposure to lead and we are committed to ensuring that businesses follow the law.”
The penalty is the result of an investigation that began in 2018 and which showed GreenBuild Design and Construction, LLC violated the federal Toxic Substances Control Act’s Lead-Based Paint Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule. The rule aims to protect the public from lead-based paint hazards associated with pre-1978 homes by, among other things, requiring workers to be certified in lead-safe work practices.
EPA found that the company committed the following violations:
Performing the renovation without certification;
Failing to ensure that the renovation work was directed by either a certified renovator or by individuals who had been trained by a certified renovator;
Failing to post warning signs around the work site and;
Failing to cover the ground with impermeable material to contain lead-contaminated dust and debris created by the renovation work.
EPA initiated its investigation after communicating with GreenBuild multiple times about the requirements of the law. The company applied for multiple renovation permits without the required training and certification, potentially putting homeowners and their families at risk of lead exposure. Certification and training are readily available throughout the country.
EPA filed a complaint alleging these violations and the Administrative Law Judge hearing the case found that “on a number of occasions, from 2015 through 2018, [GreenBuild] failed to respond to correspondence from the Agency and failed to participate in scheduled inspections with EPA, even after promising to attend.” The judge found GreenBuild liable for the violations and assessed the $25,609 penalty.
Although Congress banned residential use of lead-based paint in 1978, it is still present in millions of older homes, sometimes under layers of new paint. Lead exposure can cause behavioral and learning problems, slowed growth, hearing problems and diminished IQ.
WASHINGTON (May 17, 2023) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice announced a Clean Air Act Settlement with BP Products North America Inc., (BPP), a subsidiary of BP p.l.c., requiring control technology expected to reduce benzene by an estimated seven tons per year, other hazardous air pollutants (HAP) by 28 tons per year, and other volatile organic compound emissions (VOC) by 372 tons per year at its Whiting Refinery in Indiana. The United States’ complaint, filed simultaneously with the settlement, alleges that BPP violated federal regulations limiting benzene in refinery wastewater streams, and HAP and VOC emissions at its Whiting Refinery, as well as the general requirement to use good air pollution control practices. As part of the settlement, BPP will install one or more permanent benzene strippers to reduce benzene in wastewater streams leading to its lakefront wastewater treatment plant.
“This settlement will result in the reduction of hundreds of tons of harmful air pollution a year, which means cleaner, healthier air for local communities, including communities with environmental justice concerns,” said Acting Assistant Administrator Larry Starfield of the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “This is one of several recent settlements that show that EPA and the Department of Justice are committed to improving air quality in local communities by holding industrial sources accountable for violations of emission standards under the Clean Air Act.”
“This settlement sends an important message to the refining industry that the United States will take decisive action against illegal benzene and VOC emissions,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “Under the settlement, the refinery will implement controls that will greatly improve air quality and reduce health impacts on the overburdened communities that surround the facility.”
“This settlement advances my office’s environmental justice initiative by providing cleaner air and reducing the negative health impacts on the low income and minority residents who live near BPP’s refinery,” said U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana Clifford D. Johnson. “My office is committed to continuing to enforce the Nation’s environmental laws so that all residents of Northern Indiana can live, work, and play in a cleaner, healthier environment.”
In addition to securing injunctive relief, including capital investments, estimated to exceed $197 million, the settlement obligates BPP to pay a total financial penalty of $40 million, comprised of civil penalties and stipulated penalties for violations of an earlier settlement. This is the largest civil penalty ever secured for a Clean Air Act stationary source settlement. BPP separately agreed to undertake a $5 million supplemental environmental project to reduce diesel emissions in the communities surrounding the Whiting Refinery. BPP will also install 10 air pollutant monitoring stations to monitor air quality outside of the refinery fenceline. The settlement terms are included in a proposed consent decree filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana.
Benzene is known to cause cancer in humans. Short-term inhalation exposure to benzene also may cause drowsiness, dizziness, headaches, as well as eye, skin, and respiratory tract irritation, and, at high levels, unconsciousness. Long-term inhalation exposure can cause various disorders in the blood, including reduced numbers of red blood cells and anemia in occupational settings. Reproductive effects have been reported for women exposed by inhalation to high levels, and adverse effects on the developing fetus have been observed in animal tests.
VOCs along with NOX, play a major role in the atmospheric reactions that produce ozone, which is the primary constituent of smog. People with lung disease, children, older adults, and people who are active can be affected when ozone levels are unhealthy. Ground-level ozone exposure is linked to a variety of short-term health problems, including lung irritation and difficulty breathing, as well as long-term problems, such as permanent lung damage from repeated exposure, aggravated asthma, reduced lung capacity, and increased susceptibility to respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia and bronchitis.
The Whiting Refinery is surrounded by communities with environmental justice concerns. This settlement is part of EPA’s and the Justice Department’s ongoing focus on assisting communities that have been historically marginalized and disproportionately exposed to pollution.
This settlement also supports EPA’s National Enforcement and Compliance Initiative (NECI): Creating Cleaner Air for Communities by Reducing Excess Emissions of Harmful Pollutants. Learn more about this NECI.
The State of Indiana assisted in the negotiations and is also a party to the settlement.
The settlement is subject to a public comment period and final court approval. The consent decree will be available for viewing on the Department of Justice website.
For more information about the settlement, please visit: 2023 BP Products Clean Air Act Benzene and Volatile Organic Compounds Settlement Information Sheet | US EPA
SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced a settlement with Daiso California LLC that resolves violations of the law for the company’s sale of wet wipes that were not registered with EPA. Daiso will pay a $602,386 penalty to settle these violations. The company sold the wipes—Daiso Plus Wet Wipes—at a store in El Cerrito, Calif., and online on its website. Daiso primarily markets its products to Asian-American communities.
“Unregistered disinfectant or sterilizer products like Daiso Plus Wet Wipes, with labels that make false and misleading claims, can threaten human health,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “This settlement is proof of EPA’s commitment to enforce laws that protect public health, especially in communities that face environmental justice challenges.”
Before March 2022, Daiso sold Daiso Plus Wet Wipes, the labels for which made the claim that the wipes were for sterilizing kitchenware and other items. Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the term “sterilizing” is a claim attributed to pesticide products with the highest level of efficacy against microorganisms. Because of these claims, Daiso Plus Wet Wipes were considered a pesticide product and should have been registered with EPA, but the company failed to do so.
The sale and distribution of unregistered products making disinfectant or sterilizer claims may pose risks to human health and the environment. If EPA has not reviewed reliable data about how the pesticide product works and what kinds of exposures may impact the user, then the risk to the consumer and the environment is unknown and use of the product is potentially unsafe. Additionally, consumers may be misled to believe a pesticide product provides public health benefits that it does not.
Applicants for pesticide registration are required to submit efficacy data to the agency to substantiate any public health claims they intend to make for their product. Before EPA can register a pesticide, the agency must determine that no unreasonable adverse effects on human health and the environment will occur when the product is used according to its label directions.
Read more about FIFRA enforcement on EPA’s website.
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NEW YORK (May 15, 2023) - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a proposed settlement with Bank of America to address the White Swan Cleaners/Sun Cleaners Area Groundwater Contamination Superfund Site in Wall Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey. Under the proposed agreement, Bank of America, the current owner of the White Swan property, will be required to fund and perform vapor intrusion and groundwater cleanup work at an estimated cost of $29 million.
"With this settlement EPA is holding Bank of America accountable for its share of the cleanup at the White Swan site," said Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. " After years of investigation and cleanup efforts, this is a significant step towards resolving the contamination issues at the site for the benefit of the community, the environment, and public health."
“The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are committed to protecting the health of those who live and work in the vicinity of the White Swan Cleaners/Sun Cleaners site,” New Jersey Commissioner of Environmental Protection Shawn M. LaTourette said. “We have partnered together to test indoor air at hundreds of business and residential properties and installed ventilation systems on dozens with vapor intrusion concerns. This settlement with Bank of America ensures that long term cleanup, including remediation of contaminated groundwater and future vapor mitigation work, will be funded by the responsible party, not by the taxpayers.”
Bank of America became legally responsible for the site when it bought the White Swan property through a series of bank mergers and acquisitions in 2004.
Bank of America also will reimburse EPA for certain aspects of its cleanup work, paying $10.8 million, and pay up to $1.5 million for future EPA oversight costs. As part of the agreement, Bank of America will construct and then run the groundwater pump and treatment system for four years to capture and clean the most highly contaminated groundwater at the site.
The company will pay up to a total of $6.5 million to the State of New Jersey to settle its liability for cleanup and removal costs, to voluntarily resolve its liability for natural resource damages (NRD), and to address long-term operational needs of the treatment system. This amount includes $3.7 million for cleanup costs and $2.8 million set aside in an escrow account for any future groundwater system operation and maintenance or added vapor intrusion work needed after the State takes over the cleanup.
Vapor intrusion occurs when volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from contaminated soil and groundwater seep into buildings, potentially exposing occupants to harmful chemicals. EPA has found that the former dry-cleaning operations of White Swan Cleaners and Sun Cleaners were the sources of soil and groundwater contamination. VOCs from the contamination can easily evaporate into the air and cause health hazards. EPA added the site to the National Priorities List (NPL) in 2004. In the course of the cleanup, EPA and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) have installed several indoor air ventilation systems after conducting indoor air testing on residential and commercial properties. In 2018, EPA also oversaw Bank of America’s removal of contaminated soil from the White Swan property. Cleanup of the Sun property, which is not related to the White Swan property, is being funded by EPA.
The proposed consent decree, which has been lodged in the U.S. Federal District Court of New Jersey, is subject to a 60-day comment period. The Department of Justice and EPA will evaluate the comments and decide whether to proceed and then, if appropriate, seek final approval by the court.
For more information, to view the proposed consent decree and to give comments, please visit: https://www.justice.gov/enrd/consent-decrees
For additional background, please visit the White Swan Cleaners/Sun Cleaners Area Ground Water Contamination Superfund site profile page.
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HARTFORD, CONN. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has completed an enforcement action alleging Autumn Transportation, Inc. of Rocky Hill, Conn. violated state and federal Clean Air Act standards by allowing excessive idling of school buses at a bus yard in Hartford, Conn. Under a settlement, the company will implement an anti-idling program at its facility and will pay a penalty.
"Pollution from diesel-powered vehicles is a serious health concern in New England, particularly in historically underserved communities that are already disproportionately exposed to higher levels of pollution, "said EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash. “EPA is committed to addressing compliance issues across all of our programs to ensure communities have clean air, clean water, and are free from pollution. By including the implementation of anti-idling measures in our settlement, EPA can better protect the community of Hartford and its children, who are particularly vulnerable to diesel exhaust."
Autumn Transportation is a privately-owned Connecticut corporation that owns and operates about 120 buses to provide bus transportation for students and the public. In spring 2022, EPA responded to a citizen complaint alleging excessive idling at Autumn Transportation’s school bus yard in Hartford. On two separate days EPA conducted inspections of the bus yard and observed 30 school buses idling for a total of 418 minutes in alleged violation of state and federal law.
Under the terms of the settlement, Autumn Transportation has agreed to implement various anti-idling compliance measures, including tracking school bus idling times via a telematics system, increased driver awareness training, posting "No Excessive Idling" signs, increasing their supervision of facility lots, and certifying compliance with federal and state regulations limiting idling of vehicles. Autumn Transportation will also pay a penalty of $24,225 for its alleged violations.
Connecticut's federally enforceable State Implementation Plan contains an anti-idling regulation that prohibits motor vehicles for idling unnecessarily for longer than three minutes.
Idling diesel engines emit pollutants that can cause or aggravate a variety of health conditions, including asthma and other respiratory diseases. And the fine particles in diesel exhaust are a likely carcinogen. Diesel exhaust not only contributes to area-wide air quality problems, but more direct exposure can cause lightheadedness, nausea, sore throat, coughing, and other symptoms. Drivers, school children riding on the buses, facility workers, neighbors and bystanders are all vulnerable.
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