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EPA Settles Hazardous Waste Case Against St. Clair, Pa., Foundry

Release Date: 06/12/2008
Contact Information: Donna Heron 215-814-5113 / heron.donna@epa.gov

PHILADELPHIA (June 12, 2008) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that Leed Foundry Inc. has agreed to pay a $25,000 penalty to settle alleged violations related to hazardous waste management and storm water discharges at its foundry in St. Clair, Pa. This settlement follows a precedent-setting ruling by EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board that the foundry’s “baghouse dust” is subject to federal hazardous waste regulations.

In a September 2004 complaint, EPA cited the company for improper storage of its baghouse dust, which contained toxic concentrations of lead and cadmium. This dust was generated by furnace operations at the foundry, which manufactures grey iron castings such as storm sewer gratings and manhole covers. Approximately 514 tons of the dust removed from the baghouse -- an air pollution control device -- was stored in a pile, resulting in some dust releases to the surrounding environment.

EPA’s complaint alleged violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which governs the treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste. RCRA is designed to protect public health and the environment, and avoid costly cleanups, by requiring the safe, environmentally-sound storage and disposal of hazardous waste. In the same case, the EPA administrative law judge had previously assessed a penalty against the company for Clean Water Act violations related to storm water discharges from the facility. That decision was not appealed and the penalty is included in the settlement referred to above.

The company challenged EPA’s authority to regulate grey iron foundry waste, arguing that this substance is covered by the “Bevill Amendment,” a RCRA provision which exempts certain fossil fuel combustion wastes from hazardous waste regulation. On February 20, 2008, EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) reversed an administrative law judge ruling in favor of the company. The EAB agreed with federal court decisions interpreting the Bevill Exclusion to be limited to high volume and low toxicity waste. The board deferred to EPA’s determination that grey iron foundry waste is sufficiently toxic to warrant regulation under RCRA, noting that Leed Foundry’s waste exceeded regulatory standards by 10 times for cadmium and 185 times for lead. The full text of the EAB’s decision is available here: http://yosemite.epa.gov/oa/EAB_Web_Docket.nsf/Recent~Additions/6E05EFCCB272316F852573F50068EDDF/$File/Remand...23.pdf

After the EAB ruling, Leed Foundry cooperated with EPA in negotiating a settlement of this lengthy litigation. The company has signed a consent agreement, which will become effective on June 23, 2008. This agreement requires the company to submit a cleanup plan to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for the former storage area of the toxic baghouse dust; and submit a revised Preparedness, Prevention, and Contingency plan including the monitoring of flow and constituents related to the facility’s storm water discharge permit. Leed Foundry is also treating the baghouse dust to prevent it from exceeding RCRA’s toxicity standards.

As part of the settlement agreement, the company has neither admitted nor denied liability for the alleged violations, but committed to comply with applicable requirements.