A chemical distribution facility in Roanoke, VA must pay a $612,339 penalty for multiple violations of federal and state hazardous waste storage regulations, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said.
After presiding over a five-day hearing, Administrative Law Judge Susan Biro issued a 125-page opinion June 5, 2014, ruling in EPA’s favor on all counts in its complaint against Chem-Solv, Inc., the operator of a chemical distribution facility located at 1111 and 1140 Industry Ave. in Roanoke, and Austin Holdings-VA, LLC, the facility owner.
The Chem-Solv facility handles and distributes various chemicals, including alcohols, acids, caustics, mineral oils, surfactants, glycols and solvents. EPA’s complaint cited violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the federal law governing the treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste. RCRA is there to protect public health and the environment, and avoid costly cleanups, by requiring the safe, environmentally sound storage and disposal of hazardous waste.
RCRA requirements mandate the use of safe practices which greatly reduce the chances that hazardous waste will released into the environment.
The violations included storing hazardous waste in an open tank that did not have an engineering assessment or air emission controls, storing hazardous waste for greater than 90 days without a permit, failure to perform daily inspections, and failure to perform hazardous waste determinations on the wastes in the open tank, aerosol waste, and other wastes generated at the facility.
The Administrative Law Judge ruled the company improperly removed the open tank without compliance with a RCRA closure plan, which the company has to submit and then gain approval from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. A closure plan would have specified required sampling and analysis of the surrounding soil to identify and, if necessary, clean up any environmental contamination caused by the tank. The company removed the tank without any sampling and analysis of the soil.
In addition to upholding nearly all of the agency’s proposed penalty, the judge also ordered compliance with an EPA order requiring these companies to cease unpermitted storage of hazardous waste, perform waste analyses, and submit and implement a closure plan for the site where the company moved the tank.