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EPA files administrative enforcement action against Wyoming's Frontier Refining, Inc.

Release Date: 10/01/2009
Contact Information: Michael Risner, EPA, 303-312-6890, risner.michael@epa.gov

Frontier assessed penalty of nearly $7 million for violations of surface impoundment regulations

(Denver, Colo. -- October 1, 2009) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency filed an enforcement and compliance action yesterday against a Frontier Refining, Inc., petroleum facility in Cheyenne, Wyo., for illegal storage of hazardous waste into a wastewater management pond (Pond 2). This and other violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) were discovered during an EPA-lead inspection in March 2009.

Frontier is alleged to have violated the law by storing hazardous wastes in a wastewater pond that was neither constructed nor operated properly to allow prevention and detection of leaks. Other violations relate to closing the pond and providing financial assurance for its proper closure.

The order portion of the action requires the refinery to properly take Pond 2 out of service, remove wastewaters and sludges, determine whether the wastes leaked into soils or groundwater, remove the existing pond structure and contaminated soils and cap the area in accordance with RCRA requirements for closure of a surface impoundment. This enforcement action seeks a penalty of nearly $7 million for the operation of an unauthorized hazardous waste management unit.

"EPA is investigating ponds such as this, referred to as surface impoundments, as part of a nationwide initiative," said Eddie Sierra, Acting Assistant Regional Administrator for Enforcement. "Placing hazardous waste in improperly designed surface impoundments can present serious environmental impacts to surface water, groundwater and air quality.