Everyday mistakes added up to $570K EPA fine: Why?
Yet again, another facility has been forced to pay a huge EPA penalty for violations that don't involve any release or threaten people or the environment. The latest case is that of a paint manufacturing plant in Baltimore run by the Sherwin-Williams Co. lt's paying a whopping $570,000 fine to settle hazardous waste storage violations observed by EPA inspectors.
Racked up history of mistakes
Like a lot of companies, SherwinWilliams ran into trouble over basic housekeeping requirements for managing hazardous. wastes. EPA says the company had a history over several years of failing to:
• perform hazwaste determinations required by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
• prepare a contingency plan to respond to possible spills
• keep hazwaste containers closed
• keep records of its RCRA hazwaste shipment manifests, and
• check underground tanks and lines for leaks.
Why the high price for what many see as basic housekeeping mistakes?
EPA justifies its crackdown on RCRA and other environmental laws as part of a larger effort to warn all facilities: "Don't take basic compliance lightly." EPA's Donna Heron says the latest fines emphasize that compliance is really all about preventing problems. If companies don't take that seriously, they'll also face fines that accrue at $37,500 per day per violation.. She also notes that SherwinWilliams would've faced a far tougher penalty had there been any release.
Housekeeping under several laws
It's all part of EPA's push to enforce compliance with the prevention aspects of its rules. Facilities risk penalties for failing to:
• prevent accidental air releases as required by the general duty clause of the Clean Air Act (see ECA 10/1 0/11, Page 1)
• notify local emergency responder agencies about on-site chemical storage as required under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-know Act
• conduct leak detection inspections for air toxic emissions
• update stormwater prevention plans
• monitor runoff when it rains (see story on Page 3), and
• develop spill control plans.
Reprinted with permission from:
Environmental Compliance Alert
Mon, February 13, 2012
by Kim Bowman