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DuPont will pay a $250,000 civil penalty to settle violations of hazardous waste regulations at the company’s wastewater treatment facility in Deepwater, NJ, Environmental Protection Agency officials said.

This fine is on top of a $725,000 fine New Jersey hit them with earlier this month. DuPont, meanwhile, agreed to make several improvements to its New Jersey facility’s hazardous waste safeguards.

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DuPont’s Secured Environmental Treatment (SET) facility in Deepwater, N.J., is a hazardous waste treatment facility operating under a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) permit from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP).

The facility accepts truck and rail shipments from hazardous waste generators and transporters. This facility is the largest RCRA-permitted waste water treatment operation on the East Coast, with the capacity to treat 40 million gallons of wastewater daily.

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EPA’s investigation of DuPont’s facility came from a separate enforcement matter involving GEO Specialty Chemicals, Inc. of Cleveland, OH. GEO operated a production line in Franklin, VA, from 2001 through 2009. From 2001 through at least 2008, GEO transported highly caustic waste slurry by railcar from its Virginia facility to DuPont’s facility in New Jersey, EPA officials said. These railcars ended up on a rail siding outside the DuPont facility for up to 45 days.

The complaint filed with the proposed consent decree said there were violations of RCRA, the federal law governing the treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste. The violations include:
• Unpermitted storage of hazardous waste in railcars outside the New Jersey facility;
• Storage of hazardous waste without adequate “secondary containment” to hold spills and discharges of hazardous waste until cleanup.
• Improperly returning hazardous waste to GEO’s Virginia plant by failing to completely empty railcars used by GEO to transport hazardous waste to DuPont’s New Jersey facility.
• Failure to comply with an EPA information request. During an April 2006 EPA inspection of the New Jersey facility, DuPont inaccurately described the method used to empty railcars of hazardous waste or provided EPA with an unrepresentative sample from a purportedly emptied railcar, according to the complaint.

As part of the settlement, DuPont has not admitted liability for the violations. In addition to the $250,000 penalty, the company agreed to implement measures to prevent or minimize railcar leaks to the environment. The proposed consent decree is subject to a public comment period and final court approval.

EPA’s action coordinated with NJDEP, which concluded a separate enforcement action against DuPont for other environmental violations at the plant. In the NJDEP consent agreement, the company agreed to pay a fine of $725,000 and to upgrade procedures for handling hazardous substances.

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