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Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks mismanaged hazardous waste and failed to maintain adequate training plan for personnel handling waste

Release Date: 03/13/2012
Contact Information: Mark MacIntyre, EPA Public Affairs, 206-553-7302, macintyre.mark@epa.gov; Jack Boller, EPA RCRA Unit, 206-553-2953, boller.jack@epa.gov

(Seattle—March 13, 2012) Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks mismanaged hazardous waste at its facilities and failed to ensure that personnel handling hazardous waste had proper training, according to a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The base agreed to pay a penalty for alleged violations of federal hazardous waste management laws, correct the violations and improve its waste management and training practices.

“Facilities that handle thousands of pounds of hazardous waste each year have to manage it safely and ensure the people working with it are adequately trained,” said Jeff KenKnight, Manager of the Hazardous Waste Compliance Unit in EPA’s Seattle office. “Even minor hazardous waste spills or mismanagement can hurt the environment and put people’s health at risk.”

Eielson Air Force Base generates and stores thousands of pounds of hazardous waste each year from vehicle maintenance, aircraft maintenance and other industrial activities. The wastes included coatings containing chromium, a toxic chemical that can be carcinogenic; toxic and highly flammable paint solvents; and fluorescent light tubes containing mercury.

EPA inspectors found a series of hazardous waste violations at Eielson Air Force Base during an inspection in 2010. The alleged violations include:

    • Failure to determine if a waste was hazardous
    • Failure to have adequate training plan in place for facility workers handling hazardous waste
    • Improper labeling to clearly identify hazardous waste
    • Failure to conduct regular inspections of hazardous waste containers
    • Improper management of fluorescent lamps containing mercury
The settlement requires the base to pay a penalty of $45,700 and make improvements to its standard operating procedures and management controls in order to comply with federal hazardous waste laws.

The violations occurred under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

For more information on hazardous waste laws, visit: http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/inforesources/online/index.htm