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Pennsylvania Company Guilty Plea and $1.2 Million Fine for Improper Storage of Explosive Hazardous Waste

Pennsylvania Company Guilty Plea and $1.2 Million Fine for Improper Storage of Explosive Hazardous Waste

The Bullet:

The generator of a hazardous waste violated basic requirements of the hazardous waste regulations.  And, as a consequence, also violated the Hazardous Material Regulations of the PHMSA/USDOT.  These avoidable violations have resulted in significant criminal violations for this company and its officers.

Who:

Action Manufacturing Company in Atglen, PA.

The initial inspection was conducted by the USEPA’s Land and Chemical Division and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP).

The case was investigated by the EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney Elizabeth Abrams.

What:

Action Manufacturing Company’s production process generates an explosive hazardous waste.  State and Federal regulations codified under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) require hazardous wastes to be managed according to the applicable generator regulations while accumulated on-site and sent off-site for disposal only to permitted hazardous waste Treatment, Storage, & Disposal Facilities (TSDFs).  Instead of complying with these regulations, the company stockpiled hazardous wastes on-site for – in some cases – several years in gross violation of the generator on-site accumulation time limits.

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Where:

Action Manufacturing Company is headquartered in Bristol, Bucks County, PA.

The hazardous waste in question was stored at its facility in Atglen, Chester County, PA

When:

Initial inspection was completed by the USEPA’s Land and Chemical Division and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) in November 2011.

Action Manufacturing entered the guilty plea on May 21, 2014.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for August 27, 2014.

Why:

Federal and state hazardous waste regulations require a generator of hazardous waste to comply with applicable regulations in lieu of obtaining a permit for the storage of a hazardous waste.  Indefinite, long-term storage of this type without a permit is not allowed.  Further, evidence of a knowing violation of the regulations can lead to criminal prosecution, as in this case.  Also, as is often the case, violations of the USEPA hazardous waste regulations results in violations of the PHMSA/USDOT regulations for the transportation of a hazardous material (in this case a hazardous waste).

How:

Both Federal and state regulations allow authorities of the USEPA or your state, if it has an authorized hazardous waste program, to enter the property of a hazardous waste generator at any reasonable time and go anyplace hazardous waste are or have been.

Conclusion:

I don’t pretend to know all the facts of this case.  I am relying solely on the news release of the USEPA:  Pennsylvania Company Pleads Guilty to Improper Storage of Explosive Hazardous Waste and Agrees to $1.2 Million Fine.  However, it appears to me that compliance with the regulations of the USEPA and the PA DEP would not have been that difficult and certainly are preferable over this outcome.

Don’t wait!  Contact me for a free consultation regarding your compliance with the regulations of the USEPA, your state, and the PHMSA/USDOT.

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