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EPA takes legal action against Safety Waste Incineration for violations of federal Clean Air Act

Release Date: 08/24/2006
Contact Information: Cynthia Magnuson, (202) 514-2007, cynthia.magnuson@usdoj.gov Julie Vergeront, (206) 553-1497, vergeront.julie@epa.gov Tony Brown, (206) 553-1203, brown.anthony@epa.gov

(Wasilla, AK - Aug. 24, 2006) The U.S. Government has filed a complaint against the owners of a Wasilla medical waste incinerator alleging that the incinerator’s emissions of toxic pollutants violate federal Clean Air Act standards and EPA regulations.

The complaint was filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ), on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) against Nancy and James Oliver who are doing business as Safety Waste Incineration (SWI). The complaint was filed in federal district court in Anchorage.

The complaint alleges that SWI’s Wasilla incinerator produces emissions of dioxins/furans, hydrogen chloride, heavy metals, and other pollutants in excess of federal pollution standards. The complaint also alleges that the Olivers violated Clean Air Act monitoring and recordkeeping requirements that apply to hospital, medical, and infectious waste incinerators.

“The hazards posed by uncontrolled incineration of medical waste are well documented,” said Mike Bussell, Director of EPA’s Office of Compliance and Enforcement in Seattle. “We hope that the Olivers can remain in business, but our first priority is to protect human health and the environment and ensure compliance with existing standards.”

The United States alleges that SWI is violating the Federal Plan Requirements for Hospital/Medical/Infectious Waste Incinerators Constructed on or Before June 20, 1996, 40 C.F.R. Part 62, Subpart HHH, also known as the “Hazardous/Medical/Infectious Waste Incinerator Rule,” or “the HMIWI Rule.”

In the lawsuit, EPA and DOJ are seeking a court order requiring the Olivers to comply with the HMIWI Rule. The government also seeks a civil penalty for the Olivers’ past and continuing violations of the rule.

EPA issued a Notice of Noncompliance to SWI in July 2004 and a Compliance Order in October 2004 requiring SWI to come into compliance with the regulations. SWI denies it is in violation of the regulations and continues to operate the incinerator.

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