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Release Date: 04/04/1997
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA Press Office, (617) 918-1064

Boston -The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VA) in West Haven, CT, has settled a complaint against it by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that includes an investment of an estimated $48,000 for environmental management improvements at the hospital. As part of the agreement, the VA will also pay a $15,387 penalty for violations of federal waste management laws.

As part of the settlement reached with EPA, the VA will invest approximately $48,000 to improve waste management practices at the hospital through four separate projects: The VA will:

    • install a closed loop recycling system for waste containing silver resulting from x-ray film processing;
    • hire a contractor to conduct an audit to identify ways to improve hazardous waste management, manage outdated chemicals and chemicals not in use, and reduce the use of hazardous materials and the generation of hazardous wastes;
    • purchase computer hardware and software to manage and track hazardous materials and wastes; and
    • hire a contractor to conduct hazardous waste management training to personnel that are otherwise not required to be trained.
"This settlement allows the VA hospital to make changes to its operation that will provide greater long-term benefits to the environment than would the payment of a penalty alone. The extra expense to complete these projects reduces the cash portion of the penalty while investing in long term solutions that provide added environmental protections," said John P. DeVillars, administrator for EPA's New England office.

During an inspection of the VA Hospital, located at 950 Campbell Ave, West Haven, CT, EPA found violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The VA was cited for (among others) failing to:

    • properly identify wastes before disposal to ensure safe handling;
    • properly manage hazardous wastes to minimize the risk of fire, explosion or release of hazardous constituents;
    • conduct and keep records of weekly inspections of hazardous waste areas;
    • properly label waste containers and keep them closed when not adding or removing wastes; and
    • train employees responsible for hazardous waste management.