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Region 3 News Release
News Release
  • For Immediate Release: March 28, 2002
  • EPA Cites Environmental Violations at Philadelphia and Smyrna, Del. Prisons
    Contact: Donna Heron (215) 814-5113

    PHILADELPHIA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it has cited prisons in Philadelphia and Delaware for environmental violations.

    In administrative complaints and violation notices issued to the State of Delaware Department of Correction and the City of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Prison System, EPA cites noncompliance with regulations on hazardous waste storage and disposal, oil spill prevention, and ozone-depleting chloroflourocarbons (CFCs).

    EPA seeks total penalties of $63,676 for alleged violations at the Philadelphia Prison Campus, at State Road in Philadelphia, and $96,206 for alleged violations at the Smyrna Correctional Facility in Smyrna, Del. EPA has also ordered both facilities to comply with applicable federal and state environmental regulations.

    The legal actions announced today are part of an ongoing effort at EPA’s mid-Atlantic office to ensure that prisons and jails throughout the region comply with all applicable environmental regulations. EPA has conducted compliance inspections at other mid-Atlantic federal and state prisons, and has previously issued complaints against the Maryland House of Corrections in Jessup, Md.; Pennsylvania’s Graterford State Prison in Montgomery County and State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill in Cumberland County; and the District of Columbia Department of Corrections for it’s Lorton Correctionl Institute in Lorton, Va.

    “Prisons often store and dispose of hazardous substances, maintain underground fuel storage tanks, operate on-site power plants and wastewater treatment plants, and engage in manufacturing operations and service sector activities,” said EPA Deputy Regional Administrator Thomas C. Voltaggio. “Some correctional institutions resemble small towns or cities with the same environmental concerns. EPA is committed to working with state and local governments to ensure that pollution problems in prison don’t threaten human health or the environment, inside or outside the prison walls.”

    Officials from EPA and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNREC) inspected the 545-acre, 1,970 inmate Smyrna Correctional Facility on July 26 and 27, 2001. As a result of this inspection, EPA has cited the Delaware Department of Correction for the following alleged violations:

    * Failure to prepare a Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure plan to prevent and minimize oil spills, as required by the Clean Water Act. The prison stores diesel fuel, gasoline, kerosene, and waste oil in 11 above-ground and three underground storage tanks, with a total storage capacity of 10,200 gallons. Spills from these tanks could contaminate the adjacent Duck Creek, which flows into the Delaware River.

    * Failure to comply with federal and state hazardous waste storage, handling, and disposal regulations. Among the alleged violations were storage of hazardous waste in damaged, open, undated and improperly labeled containers; inadequate fire protection and spill control safeguards; failure to make required inspections; failure to have a contingency plan for hazardous waste releases; inadequate employee training on hazardous waste regulations; and inadequate recordkeeping of hazardous waste disposal.

    * Servicing CFC-containing air conditioning units without certified CFC-recovery equipment, in violation of the Clean Air Act’s ozone depletion regulations.

    Officials from EPA and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection inspected the 6,800-inmate Philadelphia Prison on June 7 and 8, 2001. As a result of this inspection, EPA has cited Philadelphia for the following alleged violations.

    * Failure to prepare a SPCC plan to prevent and minimize spills from the prison’s heating oil storage tanks, which have a total capacity of 101,975 gallons. The prison is adjacent to Pennypack Creek, which flows into the Delaware River.

    * Failure to obtain a hazardous waste storage permit, failure to properly label hazardous waste containers, and storage of hazardous wastes in open containers.

    * Servicing CFC-containing air conditioning units without certified CFC-recovery equipment.

    Both parties may request a hearing to contest the alleged violations and the proposed penalty.