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EPA fines Saipan rock quarry $400,000 for waste violations

Release Date: 07/05/2007
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, 808-541-2711, higuchi.dean@epa.gov

(07/05/07) HONOLULU – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fined JG Sablan Rock Quarry, Inc. $400,000 for used oil and used battery management violations at its Lower Base facility in Saipan.

The facility repairs and maintains heavy equipment and small vehicles used in its quarrying operations, and stores large quantities of used oil and lead acid batteries.

“All facilities that generate used oil and batteries must properly contain, manage, and dispose of their wastes,” said Steven Barhite, Acting Director of Waste Programs for the EPA Pacific Southwest Region. “Failure to do so jeopardizes the safety of the community, workers, and the environment, as spilled used oil can contaminate soil and ocean ecosystems. This settlement sends a message that noncompliance will not come without a penalty.”

In March 2005, EPA inspectors discovered 2,000-gallons of used oil and 85 severely corroded and leaking 55-gallon containers of used oil inside of the facility’s secondary containment area. The inspectors also found heavily oil stained soil under 50 additional containers and on the surrounding soil, along with many other leaking containers, vehicles, and lead acid batteries throughout the facility.

The company improperly stored used oil at its facility and also failed to:

* notify EPA of hazardous waste activity and have a SPCC contingency plan to respond to spills;

* store used oil in containers in good condition and without visible leaks, clearly mark or label containers of used oil, properly stop, contain, clean up and manage releases of used oil and to repair or replace leaking used oil containers;

* manage universal waste batteries to prevent spills, contain any releases and clearly mark or label the universal waste batteries; and

* account for how long the universal waste batteries had been accumulated on site.

The EPA’s used oil and used battery rules require facilities to properly store wastes, and label and manage waste containers. Facilities must also take care to properly train employees to manage waste and to manage their used oil, as improperly stored used oil can potentially spill and pose a risk to workers and the environment.

For information about EPA's used oil requirements, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/usedoil/index.htm. For more info on CNMI DEQ's used oil program, please visit: http://www.deq.gov.mp/article.aspx?secID=7&artID=67

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