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Clean Harbors Agrees to Pay $16,000 To Settle Charges of Violating PCB Laws

Release Date: 12/18/2000
Contact Information: Amy Miller, EPA Press Office (617-918-1042)

BOSTON – A Braintree, Mass. company has agreed to pay a $16,087 penalty to settle a complaint by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that the company on three occasions violated federal law regulating polychlorinated byphenyls (PCBs), which are considered probable carcinogens.

According to an administrative complaint filed this fall, Clean Harbors of Braintree Inc. violated the law regulating PCBs on three occasions - twice by failing to identify PCBs in a shipment of waste and once by distributing the waste without a required exemption.

The action against Clean Harbors stems from a call from the company in which it notified EPA, as required by law, that 15 drums of regulated waste it had shipped had been rejected after the recipient, Stablex Canada, determined it contained PCBs at a concentration of more than 50 parts per million, the threshold amount triggering stricter EPA regulations.

According to the complaint, Clean Harbors received and then shipped the waste without checking to see if it contained PCBs. The waste in the containers was described to Clean Harbors as "trench sludge containing several heavy metals." One of the shipments went to Canada and the other to Illinois. The shipment to Canada was returned and Clean Harbors submitted correct documentation as part of the settlement. The shipment to Illinois was disposed of before discovery of the PCBs.

"Clean Harbors has acknowledged its error and agreed to be particularly cautious in the future when shipping waste that may contain PCBs," said Mindy S. Lubber, regional administrator of EPA New England. "Laws regarding the shipment and disposal of PCBs are meant to protect the environment and the public's health."

Clean Harbors in 1998 paid a penalty of $825 for improperly marking a PCB container and PCB transformer. Also that year, Clean Harbors of Connecticut paid $27,000 for improper documentation and distribution of PCB waste