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EPA Settles Case Alleging PCB Violations at Office Building in Philadelphia

Release Date: 10/31/2011
Contact Information: Donna Heron 215-814-5113 / heron.donna@epa.gov

PHILADELPHIA (October 31, 2011) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that SSH Management, LLC and 1500 Walnut Enterprises, LLC have signed a consent agreement with EPA resolving alleged violations of federal regulations for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in an office building located at 1500 Walnut St., Philadelphia, Pa.

SSH Management, the manager of the office building, and 1500 Walnut Enterprises, the building’s owner, have agreed to pay a civil penalty of $20,000 and spend $38,600 on a public health environmental project involving the removal and proper disposal of a 191-gallon PCB transformer in the building’s basement.

The consent agreement resolves alleged Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) regulatory violations discovered when EPA inspectors conducted a compliance evaluation inspection at the building on May 6, 2009. The alleged violations include storage of combustible materials within each of two PCB transformer enclosures; failure to prepare and maintain annual visual inspection and maintenance history records for three PCB transformers; and failure to develop and maintain annual written document logs of the PCBs located onsite for 2006, 2007 and 2008.

PCBs, a probable human carcinogen, were commonly used as a nonflammable coolant for transformers and other electrical equipment until the 1970s, when Congress strictly limited the manufacture and use of this toxic substance.

The companies first realized they were not following federal requirements just prior to the 2009 inspection and immediately took steps to come into compliance. In the consent agreement, the companies certified that they were in compliance with storage, inspection and annual document log requirements at the building. Removal of the 191-gallon PCB transformer will eliminate the potential of exposure to PCBs in the event of a fire or other emergency situation.

The two companies cooperated fully with EPA during the investigation and have certified that the building is now in compliance with applicable PCB regulations.

For more information on the health effects, regulations and cleanup of PCBs, visit www.epa.gov/epawaste/hazard/tsd/pcbs/index.htm.