Contact Us

Newsroom

1994 News Releases

 

PR 32 ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS FOR HAZ. WASTE COMB. VIOLATIONS

Release Date: 11/15/94
Contact Information:

PR 32 ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS FOR HAZ. WASTE COMB. VIOLATIONS

FOR RELEASE: TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 1994

32 ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS FOR HAZARDOUS
WASTE COMBUSTION VIOLATIONS ANNOUNCED
IN THIRD EPA COMBUSTION INITIATIVE

As part of a continuing effort to protect human health and the environment from risk associated with improper burning of hazardous waste, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced 32 enforcement actions involving $7.5 million in penalties against owners and operators of incinerators and boilers and industrial furnaces (BIFs) that burn hazardous wastes. The 32 cases -- 22 settlements collecting over $3.3 million in civil penalties, and ten administrative complaints seeking an additional $4.2 million in penalties -- were brought under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and filed by EPA and state environmental agencies in Georgia, Michigan, South Carolina and Utah.
"Reducing human health and environmental risks posed by hazardous waste combustion remains a top EPA priority," said EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner. "This is the third combustion enforcement initiative the Agency has conducted since the Boilers and Industrial Furnaces Rule became effective on Aug. 21, 1991. Our vigorous enforcement efforts notify industry that we expect strict compliance with hazardous waste combustion regulations."

Hazardous wastes burned in combustion units often contain toxic organic chemicals, heavy metals, and chlorine and chlorides, all of which can harm human health if released to the environment in sufficient quantities. The facilities in this initiative violated such important requirements as exceeding feed rates and emissions standards, operating without automatic waste feed cutoff systems and not properly analyzing wastes prior to combustion. Such violations can create a significant risks of injury to human health and the environment.

The enforcement actions complement other steps by EPA to promote compliance with combustion requirements, such as developing guidance on how to properly analyze wastes prior to their combustion and working with industry to ensure combustion regulations are understood and followed. In addition, EPA, together with the states, has undertaken an aggressive inspection program at combustion facilities. From March 1994 through September 1994, EPA and the states inspected 255 hazardous waste combustion facilities, or 77 percent of the total universe of 333 facilities. Of the 255 inspected facilities, 115 were BIFS and 140 were incinerators. Some facilities were inspected a number of times.

Of the ten administrative complaints announced today, nine target BIFS. Eight were filed by EPA, and one was filed by the state of Michigan. EPA's

Region 6 brought a complaint against an incinerator. The 22 settlements include three incinerator actions brought by EPA Region 4, South Carolina, and Utah. (A detailed case list is attached.) Three of the settlements include supplemental environmental projects (SEPs), which are environmentally beneficial projects performed by violators in exchange for partial penalty reductions. For example, one violator, Florida Distillers, has agreed to install cooling tower equipment, not otherwise required by law, which will reduce the amount of water the facility withdraws from a vulnerable part of the Floridan aquifer by 259 million gallons per year.

The administrative complaints include one filed against Aristech Chemical Corp. on Sept. 28 proposing a $1,099,780 civil penalty for BIF violations at Aristech's Ironton, Ohio, organic chemicals manufacturing facility. EPA's complaint alleges, among other things, that Aristech exceeded feed rate limits for metals. Among the settlements announced is a Sept. 29 Administrative Order on Consent and $500,000 civil penalty addressing violations at Laidlaw Environmental Services (TOC) Inc.'s Roebuck, S.C., hazardous waste incinerator. The order further obligates Laidlaw to conduct a systems design and quality control evaluation of its incinerator and collect information required to perform a site-specific multi-pathway risk assessment.

"EPA, in partnership with the States, will continue to implement aggressive inspection and enforcement programs to deter incinerators and BIFs from violating combustion regulations and return facilities to compliance," said EPA Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA), Steve Herman. "At the same time, we will continue our efforts to work with industry to ensure they understand and obey EPA's combustion rules."

EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance is developing a waste analysis guidance document for BIFs burning hazardous waste, which will help facilities better characterize their hazardous wastes before they are burned. The document will be released for public comment in the Federal Register by the end of the year. In addition, the office is developing a transcript of a workshop presented to the Chemical Manufacturers Association (CMA) which provides additional guidance on how to comply with BIF regulations. The workshop was designed to address specific questions CMA members had regarding the BIF rules. The transcript will be made available to the public by early 1995.

R-280# # #