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EPA announces Pacific environmental enforcement accomplishments for 2008 / Hazardous waste cases highlight year in CNMI, Guam and American Samoa

Release Date: 12/04/2008
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, 808-541-2711, higuchi.dean@epa.gov

(12/04/08) HONOLULU – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2008 enforcement actions in the Pacific were highlighted by hazardous waste related violations in CNMI, Guam and American Samoa.

“EPA enforcement actions in the Pacific Territories will result in clean up of over 171,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil and water,” said Wayne Nastri, the EPA’s administrator for the Pacific Southwest region. “In addition, over $637,000 will be invested in pollution control and environmental clean-ups.”

Nationally, the agency took civil and criminal enforcement actions requiring regulated entities to spend an estimated $11.8 billion on pollution controls, cleanup and environmental projects, a record for EPA.

The EPA worked with the Guam EPA, CNMI Division of Environmental Quality and the American Samoa EPA to continue the successful compliance and enforcement partnership in the islands.

Below are enforcement highlights for the Pacific Islands:

Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands:

* Pacific Marine: After the company was found to have used oil and hazardous waste management violations at its power plant facility in Puerto Rico, Saipan. The company agreed to spend $68,000 for environmental projects that will focus on used oil management including storage and spill prevention at commercial facilities and also pay a $20,000 fine

* Concorde Garment: The company was found to be improperly storing and handling discarded solvent-based paints, spent paint thinners, and solvent-contaminated wastes at its Lower Base facility in Saipan. In addition to a fine of $15,200 the company will spend up to $56,000 on an alternative energy project that will provide an additional power source at Southern High School in Saipan. The contractor for the project will be using a wind powered turbine as the energy source to provide electricity to the school. In addition, the project will be used as a catalyst to develop an alternative energy curriculum at the school, to train students for work opportunities associated with wind power and alternative energy.

* Saipan Airport: The Commonwealth Port Authority was cited for hazardous waste treatment, handling, storage, and used oil disposal violations at its Saipan International Airport facility. An EPA inspector working along with CNMI Division of Environmental Quality inspectors found the facility had open containers of hazardous waste and stored its hazardous waste and used oil in severely corroded and leaking containers, and was fined $32,500.

* Japan Water Systems: The company located in Capitol Hill, Saipan, was found to be selling and distributing an unregistered water disinfectant “Tosoh Cube.” The product, imported from Japan and sold to hotels and other businesses in Saipan for private water system disinfection was labeled almost entirely in Japanese, lacked directions for use, precautionary statements, and other labeling required by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. The company was fined $26,000.

Guam:

* JWS Refrigeration Guam: JWS Refrigeration & Air Conditioning, Ltd., a Tamuning, Guam refrigeration and heating equipment services company was found importing banned refrigerants in violation of the Clean Air Act. The company allegedly imported 25,402 kg of hydrochlorofluorocarbon 22, an ozone-depleting substance, from sources outside the United States, a violation of the stratospheric ozone protection regulations. The company was fined was $53,481

* GWA DW Stipulated Penalties: Stipulated penalties totaling $48,000 were assessed to the Guam Waterworks Authority for failing to fully comply with a 2003 court order to make improvements to its drinking water system. GWA was fined $30,000 for failing to meet a November 2007 deadline for completing installation of new drinking water meters for its customers. The utility was also fined $9,000 for not meeting an early January deadline to complete a full renovation of the Ugum drinking water treatment plant. GWA was also fined $9,000 for failing to meet a June 30 deadline to design and install new drinking water supply lines as part of the Sinajana Water Transmission Line project.

* University of Guam: The University of Guam was found to have hazardous waste and other waste management violations at its facility located at University of Guam Station in Mangilao, Guam. Like many school campuses, the university’s facility generates and stores hazardous waste such as waste varnish and flammable paint waste. The facility also generates and stores used oil and other wastes including spent lead acid batteries and fluorescent lamps. The University was fined $10,000.

American Samoa:

* MYD Samoa: The company was issued an administrative order to take corrective actions at its Satala shipyard to control and limit the discharges of pollutants into Pago Pago harbor. The order requires MYD Samoa to capture and control all discharges of process wastewaters, wastes, spent sandblasting grit, paint chips, paint overspray, and storm water drainages to the harbor from the dry docks. Steps need to be taken to minimize rainwater contact with all sources of contamination, and capture of contaminated wastewaters for alternative disposal. The shipyard will need to upgrade treatment, install additional controls, and may have to develop an alternative to harbor discharge.

Please go to http://www.epa.gov/region09/enforcement/results/08/index.html for a full description of the EPA’s enforcement cases throughout California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands in 2008.

The report, U.S. EPA OECA Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 Accomplishments Report: Protecting Public Health and the Environment, is available on-line at http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/reports/accomplishments/oeca/fy08accomplishment.pdf

More information on EPA FY 2008 enforcement and compliance results:
http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/reports/endofyear/eoy2008/fy2008.html

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