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U.S. EPA Fines Kettleman City Landfill for Improper Analysis of PCBs Waste

Release Date: 09/07/2012
Contact Information: Nahal Mogharabi, mogharabi.nahal@epa.gov

LOS ANGELES—The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today fined Chemical Waste Management, Inc. (CWM) $9,375 for a single instance in which it failed to analyze leachate for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) before disposal at its Kettleman Hills Facility located in Kings County, Calif.

On May 9, 2012, CWM voluntarily disclosed to EPA that leachate, or liquid that drains from a landfill, was disposed in a hazardous waste surface impoundment without being sampled or analyzed for PCBs. The leachate remaining in the tank was later tested for PCBs and found to be below the regulatory limit 50 milligrams per liter, allowing it to be placed into the surface impoundment.

In addition to paying the fine, CWM will implement new safety protocols for its leachate collection tanks to ensure that the leachate is properly sampled for PCBs before removal from the tanks —preventing the mismanagement of this liquid in the future. The new protocols consist of additional equipment tagging and a detailed documentation process.

There is no evidence to suggest that the landfill’s violation posed any danger to nearby communities or workers at the facility.

Prior to 1976, PCBs were commonly added to liquids used in electrical transformers, capacitors, circuit breakers, voltage regulators/switches, plasticizers, and other additives in lubricating and cutting oils. EPA regulates PCBs under the Toxic Substances Control Act. EPA will continue to monitor this facility and other PCB storage and disposal facilities.

For more information on EPA Activities in the Kettleman City area, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/region9/kettleman

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