EPA Settles with Anchorage and University of Kansas Over Hazmat Violations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency continues to expand its enforcement activities in institutional and government facilities.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to expand its enforcement activities in institutional and commercial facilities.

The EPA recently announced a $40,300 settlement with the City of Anchorage, Alaska, for failure to properly manage hazardous waste at the maintenance facility for the Anchorage Public Transportation Department. An EPA inspection of the facility in July 2006 found the following alleged violations of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA):

• failing to properly treat hazardous wastes; and
• failing to properly label used oil containers.

The purpose of EPA’s RCRA program is to manage hazardous wastes from cradle to grave to ensure the waste is handled in a manner that protects human health and the environment.

For more information about hazardous waste and RCRA program, visit this Web site.

In another recent case, the University of Kansas agreed to pay the EPA a $39,431 civil penalty to resolve hazardous waste violations.

The university also will spend at least $41,585 on training and documentation improvements to settle allegations related to improper handling of hazardous wastes on its Lawrence campus.

In December 2007, EPA inspectors conducted a compliance evaluation inspection of the university’s facilities, including its hazardous waste storage building and various laboratories. As a result of the inspection, the EPA cited the university for multiple violations of RCRA and Kansas hazardous waste regulations — namely, for failing to properly label, document, handle and store hazardous wastes at those locations.

Those violations included:

• failing to conduct a proper hazardous waste determination on any of eight solid-waste streams it was generating, including collodion, n-butyllithium, 50 percent methanol solution, casting resin, two-part coating, and three unknown hazardous wastes
• failing to meet regulatory requirements as a large-quantity generator of hazardous waste, including proper marking and closing of collection containers, and for improperly treating hazardous waste by allowing solvents and solvent-soaked rags to evaporate in an equipment repair and fabrication room before disposal as solid waste.

Besides paying a $39,431 civil penalty, the university also must implement a laboratory waste stream identification and waste minimization/pollution prevention assessment project.

The two-year project could cost $41,585. It will involve collecting data and making evaluations of 301 laboratories in the university’s chemistry, biology, medicinal chemistry, pharmaceutical chemistry, and pharmacology and toxicology departments, as well as at its Museum of Natural History. The university will use information gathered by the project to better identify waste streams and pollution-prevention and waste-minimization opportunities on campus.

The project also requires the university to conduct more training for personnel in the affected departments and to provide education and information about waste minimization, pollution prevention, and waste-stream handling.

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  posted on 10/2/2008   Article Use Policy

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