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EPA Cites Cleaner in Christiansted for Hazardous Waste Violations

Release Date: 8/17/2005
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FOR RELEASE: Wednesday, August 17, 2005

(#05093) NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has cited Tropical Cleaners and Launderers, Inc. on King Cross Street in Christiansted, U.S. Virgin Islands, and its owner/operator Krisendat Bhola for violating federal rules governing the identification, handling and disposal of hazardous waste. EPA is seeking a $30,329 penalty for the violations.

"Dry-cleaners provide a valuable service to the public, although, the hazardous materials they use in their processing pose potential risks to people and the environment," said Acting EPA Regional Administrator Kathleen C. Callahan. "It is essential that they be vigilant in complying with regulations that protect people and the environment from exposure."

On September 10, 2004, EPA inspected the facility for compliance with Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulations. The Agency determined that the facility and its operator/owner failed to properly designate its solvent wastes as hazardous wastes; treated, stored and disposed of its hazardous wastes without a permit; and failed to minimize the possibility of a fire or hazardous waste release into the environment by mishandling these materials. Leaks of these materials can also contaminate ground water and cause respiratory problems for workers.

In addition, the facility improperly handled and disposed of fluorescent light bulbs, which contain the known neurotoxin mercury, as municipal waste. Mercury can be released into the environment when fluorescent bulbs are crushed during disposal. However, fluorescent light bulbs can be recycled, which is preferred.

Tropical Cleaners and its owner/operator can request a hearing to contest the allegations in the complaint , enter settlement discussions and present documented proof of compliance with RCRA and all other applicable federal environmental regulations.

For more information on the proper disposal of mercury-containing bulbs in the U.S. Virgin Islands contact John Green, Director of Environmental Programs, Virgin Islands Waste Management Authority at (340) 773-4489. For more information about hazardous waste handling requirements visit: