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Idaho Scrap Yard Operator Fined Nearly $33,000 for Improper Oil Disposal on Nez Perce Reservation

Release Date: 05/07/2009
Contact Information: Cheryl Williams, Air/RCRA Compliance Unit, 206-553-2137, williams.cherylb@epa.gov; Hanady Kader, EPA Public Affairs, 206-553-0454, kader.hanady@epa.gov

(Kamiah, Idaho—May 7, 2009) LeRoy Howell of Kamiah, Idaho will pay $32,882 to settle alleged oil disposal and cleanup violations according to a Consent Agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA documented the violations at Howell's eleven acre scrap equipment yard, which is within the boundaries of the Nez Perce Indian Reservation.

In 2006, EPA inspectors, in conjunction with the Nez Perce tribe, found several violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) at Howell's facility located near Seven Mile Creek, including:
• Improperly labeled used oil containers
• Rusting containers
• Evidence of oil leaking into the soil

Howell has agreed to clean up oil contamination on the ground and to bring his operations into compliance with regulations.

“Operating a scrap yard and keeping large equipment requires a certain amount of housekeeping,” said Ed Kowalski, Director of the Office of Compliance and Enforcement at EPA’s Seattle office. “Spilled oil can pollute Idaho’s groundwater, lakes and streams and damage salmon habitat.”

Many of Idaho’s lakes, rivers and streams are listed as impaired for not meeting water quality standards due to pollutants including oil and grease. Seven Mile Creek provides habitat for endangered steelhead salmon and is currently listed as impaired due to poor habitat.

For additional information on Resource Conservation and Recovery Act requirements, visit http://yosemite.epa.gov/R10/OWCM.NSF/rcra/rcrahomepage