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U.S. EPA settles with two San Joaquin Valley companies to ensure safe handling of hazardous waste

Release Date: 06/26/2014
Contact Information: Nahal Mogharabi, 213-244-1815, mogharabi.nahal@epa.gov

LOS ANGELES-– The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced the conclusion of separate investigations into the hazardous waste management practices of two companies in the San Joaquin Valley. Collectively, they have agreed to pay $75,200 for their violations of a federal environment law.

“Facilities that deal with hazardous waste are responsible for its safe storage and handling,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “It’s vital to protect employees and nearby communities from the risks of accidental leaks and releases of harmful waste products.”

WCR, Inc., a heat exchanger refurbishing facility in Fresno, Calif., was inspected by EPA in March 2013, revealing the company’s failure to properly label and close hazardous waste containers. EPA inspectors also found that the facility had failed to maintain a hazardous waste container in good condition, leading to minor leaks, and had failed to minimize the possibility of unplanned releases by storing the leaking container in an outdoor, uncovered area. The facility had also failed to conduct required weekly inspections. WCR has agreed to pay $34,600 to resolve these violations.

B.C. Laboratories, Inc., a company that provides environmental testing services for commercial and government clients in Bakersfield, Calif., was inspected by EPA in November 2012. EPA investigators found that the facility failed to properly label and close hazardous waste containers, failed to provide adequate aisle space to allow unobstructed access by personnel and inspectors, and failed to submit a biennial hazardous waste report. The EPA also found that the facility was not following proper practices, posing a greater risk of hazardous waste releases into the environment. B.C. Laboratories has agreed to pay $40,600 to resolve these violations.

These settlements are part of the EPA Region 9’s efforts to work together with our federal, state, and local partners to reduce pollution from facilities that manage, store, or handle large volumes of hazardous waste. The Agency’s goal is to reduce the risk to human health and the environment for the four million residents living in the San Joaquin Valley by ensuring wastes from these types of facilities are properly managed.

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) authorizes EPA to oversee the generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste. Under RCRA, hazardous waste must be stored, handled and disposed of using measures that safeguard public health and the environment.

For more information on the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/civil/rcra/index.html

For more information on the Region’s 2011-2014 Strategic Plan for the San Joaquin Valley, please visit: www.epa.gov/region9/strategicplan/sanjoaquin.html


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