Hazardous Waste Violations

On January 7, 2008, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a press release saying that it has fined Admiral Transportation of City of Industry, Calif., $15,000 for violating federal hazardous waste regulations. The violations uncovered by EPA during an inspection in April 2006 included: 

  • Failure to comply with labeling requirements for containers of hazardous wastes;
  • Storage of hazardous waste without a permit for a period exceeding 90 days;
  • Failure to close hazardous waste containers;
  • Failure to submit biennial reports;
  • Failure to conduct weekly inspections of hazardous waste areas;
  • Failure to properly dispose of hazardous waste.

These are very common hazardous waste violations. Click here for a list of the 13 most common RCRA violations and practical ways you can avoid them. Note that EPA cited the facility for storing hazardous wastes without a permit because the facility exceeded its storage time limit of 90 day. The RCRA regulations are exemption based. You are allowed to do certain things (such as storing hazardous wastes on-site) without the need for a RCRA permit as long as you comply with certain conditions (such as not storing them for more than 90 days if you are a large quantity generator). So as soon as this facility exceeded the storage time limit, the exemption became invalid and it was operating a Treatment Storage and Disposal Facility (TSDF) without a permit. 

Another violation was on failure to conduct weekly inspection of the waste storage area. This too is a very commonly cited violations. One way to ensure compliance with this requirement is to make sure your weekly checklist is simple to fill out and the person who is responsible for doing it has some ownership of it. Make sure that person understands why this must be done every week. And if you discover any discrepency during your inspection, make sure you have a procedure to correct these problems in a timely fashion. Here is a sample checklist that is simple. 

Note that it is rather unusal for EPA Region 9 to be involved in enforcement action in California. The common practice is for the local agencies to get involved first. There may have been other circumstances that led to EPA’s involvement.

  

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2 responses to “Hazardous Waste Violations

  1. From the USEPA press release, it looks like USEPA conducted the inspection that resulted in the notice of violation. Maybe that’s why USEPA issued the fine instead of the state. I would be interested in hearing if the state disagreed with USEPA’s interpretation.

    I am guessing that they were cited with all of these violations because they didn’t identify the waste as hazardous to begin with.

  2. Rich,

    Yes – EPA did the inspection. I think one of the main reasons (I am guessing here) EPA inspected the California facility and took enforcement action instead of deferrng to the CUPA or DTSC is that the company has operations nationwide. EPA is probably interested in seeing if the company has similar violations outside of California. EPA usually intervenes in cases involving companies with multi-state operations.

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