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Retail Store Chain to pay $375,000 Civil Penalty for Hazardous Waste Violations

Retail Store Chain to pay $375,000 Civil Penalty for Hazardous Waste Violations

The Bullet:

A major retailer reached a settlement with USEPA regarding violations of the Federal hazardous waste regulations.  In addition to correcting the violations the retailer must pay a civil penalty of $375,000.

Read the EPA news release:  EPA Announces Settlement with Macy’s over Hazardous Waste Violations 

Who:

The “major retail store chain” found in violation of the hazardous waste regulations is Macy’s Retail Holdings, Inc. (Macy’s).

Macy’s reached the settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region 6 (South Central), which serves Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and 66 Tribes with its main office in Dallas, TX.  Contact Information: Jennah Durant or Joe Hubbard / R6Press@epa.gov / 214 665-2200

Also involved was the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (OK DEQ).

What:

According to the terms of the settlement, Macy’s commits to the following:

  • Correct all violations within one year
  • Develop a program to train 400 retailers in Oklahoma and Texas.  Training content must be shared with Macy’s locations nationwide.
  • Conduct third-party audits at eleven of its largest facilities in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and New Mexico.  Results of these audits will be shared with all other Macy’s facilities (more than 620 locations outside of EPA Region 6).
  • Pay a $375,000 civil penalty within 30 days.

Where:

It is not clear from the news release but it seems likely that the initial violations were found in Macy’s locations in Oklahoma and Texas.  Corrective actions must be taken at all Macy’s locations nationwide.

When:

  • News release dated 10.25.17.
  • Period of violations extends from 2012 through 2015.
  • Macy’s has 30 days to pay the civil penalty.
  • Macy’s has one year to comply with all other requirements of the settlement.

Why:

Said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt:

EPA takes hazardous waste regulations seriously, and we appreciate companies taking responsibility to correct violations. Appropriately managing hazardous waste from ‘cradle-to-grave’ is vital to protecting people’s health and the environment.”

Read:  What can a Hazardous Waste Generator do About Their ‘Cradle-to-Grave’ Responsibility?

EPA enforcement staff found Macy’s had violated the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the federal law that regulates hazardous and solid wastes, for several periods during 2012-2015. During these times, each Macy’s store identified in the settlement generated thousands of pounds of hazardous waste to qualify as a small-quantity generator but failed to notify EPA and state authorities. Macy’s also failed to meet the conditions for small-quantity generator status and did not complete appropriate manifests. Overall, Macy’s generated more than 269,168 pounds of hazardous waste from 2012-2015 for the 44 locations identified in the settlement.

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How:

Even though Oklahoma has an authorized hazardous waste program administered by the OK DEQ, EPA took the lead on enforcement in this case likely due to the nationwide distribution of Macy’s facilities.  RCRA gave the EPA the authority to regulate hazardous waste from ‘cradle-to-grave’.  In this instance its agents found a hazardous waste generator (Macy’s) to be in violation of those regulations.

Contact me with any questions you may have about the generation, identification, management, and disposal of hazardous waste

Daniels Training Services, Inc.

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Conclusion:

From the news release:  Based on the average rate of hazardous-waste generation at the 44 stores involved in the settlement, EPA estimates that Macy’s may manage about 1.2 million pounds of hazardous waste nationwide per year.  You might not expect a retail store chain to generate such a significant amount of hazardous waste.  However, the fact of the matter is that many types of waste – hazardous, used oil, universal waste, and even non-hazardous waste in states such as Texas – are generated by businesses every day.  Maybe even your business.  If that’s so, you must identify the type and quantity of each wastestream, determine your hazardous waste status and then comply with the applicable regulations, both Federal and state.  I can help you with every step of this process.