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EPA Launches Compliance Improvement at All Prisons throughout Mid-Atlantic Region
Donna Heron, 215-814-5113
PHILADELPHIA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it is citing the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections for alleged violations of environmental laws at the State Correctional Institution at Graterford.
The EPA is also launching an effort to improve compliance at all prisons throughout the mid-Atlantic states.
“Prisons have a variety of activities that are covered by environmental laws and regulations. These include wastewater treatment, fuel storage and industrial operations such as furniture manufacturing and auto body repair,” said Regional Administrator Bradley Campbell..
“ We are finding that severe overcrowding at prisons can put a strain on the wastewater systems causing malfunctions and higher levels of pollution going into waterways. Accordingly, EPA is planning additional prison inspections to protect public health and the environment from this pollution,” Campbell said.
EPA is citing the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections for several alleged violations of the Clean Water Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act at the Graterford facility. Located in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, it is the largest maximum-security facility in the state. Some of the alleged violations include discharging ammonia nitrogen above the permitted limit into a Perkiomen Creek tributary, improperly storing and managing hazardous waste, and failing to develop a spill prevention plan for oil tanks.
Graterford Prison - 10/19/00
The violations were discovered during an EPA inspection earlier this year. The total penalty proposed for all the violations is $90,200. The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections has the opportunity to request a hearing to contest the alleged violations and the proposed penalty.
This is the second prison where EPA found multiple violations. EPA also has taken enforcement action against the District of Columbia Department of Corrections for violations of hazardous waste and petroleum storage tank laws and regulations at Lorton Correctional Institute, in Lorton, Virginia.
Campbell said the prisons may qualify for environmental self-audits through EPA’s audit policy that waives penalties under certain conditions.
The policy can be found online at www.es.epa.gov/oeca under strategies & policies.