Increase in EPA Fines Means Noncompliance Is a Dangerous Game to Play
Since 2015, the EPA annually increased their fine amounts. The Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Improvements Act allows agencies the chance to increase fine amounts every year due to inflation. This means the EPA can implement higher fines for clean air, water, waste and chemical violations.
Smaller businesses better make sure they are in compliance because just two violations easily adds up to over $100K. Also, smaller companies are at risk if the EPA already issued a notice of violation or are being watched by citizen watchdog groups.
Here is brief overview of the fine amounts by act.
- Clean Air Act – Maximum fine now $97,229.
- Clean Water Act – Fine now $53,484.
- Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) – Fines now between $58,562 and $72,718.
- CERCLA and Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act – Fines up to $55,907
- Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodetnticide Act (FIFRA) – Fine now $19,446, up from $5,000
- Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) – $38,892
- Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act – Fine now $17,395, up from $10,000.
Keep in mind that the EPA takes into account the seriousness of the violation and the violator’s attempt to comply before determining a fine amount.
How Does the EPA Decide On the Amended Fine Amounts?
The EPA multiplies the previous penalty amount by a multiplier as determined by the Consumer Price Index. The statutory cost-of-living adjustment multiplier is the percentage by which the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for the month of October 2017 exceeds the CPI-U for the month and year the penalty amount was last changed.
Source: Environmental Compliance Alert, February 14, 2018, Vol. 25 No.575
Source: Amendments to the EPA’s Civil Penalty Policies to Account for Inflation
Have Questions About Environmental Compliance? Call an SRP Environmental Consultant Today! Call Us at (866) 222-4972 or Email Us Below.
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Avoid Costly State and Federal Fines. FILE A TIER II BY MARCH 1.
Do you have a 55 gallon drum of chemicals, product or hazardous substance? Most companies do and yet those companies are not in compliance with the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.
Tier II reporting affects almost all facilities that use, manufacture, or store hazardous chemicals and materials.
SRP Environmental Consultant, Doug Grant, EI, will explain the changes to the Right to Know Act and simplify TIER II reporting requirements for Louisiana and Texas. Plus, SRP is paying for lunch!
Thursday, February 15 2018
11:30 AM | Superior’s Steakhouse
- How Do I Know If I Need a TIER II?
- How Do I Submit a TIER II in Compliance with the Louisiana State Police?
- How Do Regulation Changes Affect Me?
- What Else Can I Do to Maintain Environmental Compliance?
Prevent Groundwater Contamination: 5 Things Your Business Can Do
Groundwater contamination is serious business. It affects drinking water, navigable waterways, and soil. Not to mention contamination poses health risks for you, your family and friends.
You may not think that your business could contribute to groundwater contamination. However, many industries and types of businesses are at a greater risk of contamination. Plus, there are regulations in place and violating one of them could cost your business. The Clean Water Act regulates ground water that is shown to have a connection with surface water. It sets standards for allowable pollutant discharges to surface water. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulates treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous and nonhazardous wastes.
Typical Sources of Contamination Include:
- Auto Repair Shops
- Construction Areas
- Car Washes
- Dry Cleaners
- Gas Stations
- Manufacturing Facilities
- Petroleum Production and Storage
- Storage Tanks (Above ground and Underground Storage Tanks)
- Toxic or Hazardous Spills and Releases
Five Things Your Business Can Do to Prevent Groundwater Contamination
- Re-evaluate Processes. Consider changing the frequency washing equipment or vehicles. Or consider implementing a rotation schedule for washing and maintenance so that runoff is kept at a minimum at all times. Recycle old oil or chemicals instead of dumping them.
- Consider Material Substitutions. Look for affordable, less hazardous materials.
- Inspect Storage Area. Make sure all storage tanks and containers are in good condition and properly closed. Also make sure all containers are labeled correctly.
- Inspect Inventory. Check inventory logs to see if you are ordering too much of a certain material or chemical. The more inventory you have on-site means there is more of a chance for a spill or release.
- Periodically test soil and groundwater. Contamination can often remain undetected for long periods of time. This makes cleanup of a contaminated water supply difficult, if not impossible. If a cleanup is undertaken, it can cost thousands to millions of dollars. Contact a professional to schedule soil and groundwater testing on a regular basis.
Have Questions About Soil and Groundwater Testing? Call SRP to Speak With One of Our Environmental Consultants in Your Area. Call Us Today at (866) 222-2364 or Email Us Below.
Source: Environmental Compliance Alert.
Environmental management can easily become an oversight as businesses expand and as management responsibilities are shifted. Non-industrial and commercial facilities may not be aware of these issues because their primary line of business does not require an environmental manager.
For example, an retail product wholesaler with a fleet of commercial vehicles may not be aware of stormwater runoff concerns. Or a professional services company may not know to obtain an environmental site assessment for their new office building; or to have an asbestos inspection prior to renovating their new office.
Here Are Four Key Environmental Issues That All Business Owners Should Know.
- Buying and Selling of Property. Environmental issues are the buyers responsibility under state property transfer laws. That is why it is important to obtain a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment to determine if there is any soil contamination or groundwater contamination on a property you wish to purchase.
- Underground Storage Tanks. Make it a habit to inspect UST’s for leaks. Identify all tanks that contain heating oil, diesel fuel, chemical waste, etc.
- Building Renovations. Asbestos containing materials and lead-based paint is common in older buildings. Before renovating, always contact a certified asbestos and lead inspector. They are able to assess building materials that are prone to have asbestos such as tile, mastic, and dry wall materials.
- Stormwater. Large impervious parking surfaces may require a permit. There are a number of runoff controls facilities can use to reduce liability. Common controls include grassy swales, berms and retention ponds. Renovating on an acre or larger? Remember to treat stormwater runoff.
Source: Environmental Compliance Alert, October 2, 2017, Vol 25, Issue 567
Have More Questions? Call SRP Today to Get Answers. Call Us at (866) 222-4972 or Email Us Below.
For over 20 years, SRP Environmental has provided full-service environmental, health and safety services to companies within the oil and gas, construction, manufacturing, healthcare, agricultural industries.
Hurricanes & Waste Releases: 5 Questions to Ask Yourself
It is a fact that 2017 has made history with the devastation caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Torrential rainfall and destructive winds do not do manufacturing facilities any favors. Chemical spills, sewage runoff, toxic gas leaks and hazardous waste releases greatly increase during severe weather.
These storms have caused industry to reconsider their emergency plans and account for the risk of flooding. Fire, police and hazmat teams become inundated with phone calls and rescue missions during severe weather and may not have the resources available to assist your facility in the event of a chemical leak or pipe bust. Environmental, health and safety professionals should think about what happens if emergency responders can’t get to their facility.
Disasters will happen, however there are things your facility can put into practice to help eliminate damages caused by a hazardous release.
Here are five questions facilities should ask themselves.
- Are you storing solvents and cleaning agents on the floor? Consider investing in elevated racks and shelves to store your products. Not only will this prevent having damaged goods, it will help prevent potential releases of hazardous chemicals into flood and stormwaters.
- Do you need to replace hazardous waste drums? It is never a good sign to see visible corrosion on the bottom of drums.
- Can you elevate waste containers? Flood waters can easily make containers fall over, especially if they are light in weight. Consider placing waste containers on pallets or storage racks.
- Are you prepared for a rapid shutdown? Always take special precautions when shutting down and restarting equipment. Equipment and machinery that is normally run automatically is now under manual control during shutdown and start up. This could cause an increase in safety risk due to human error and compromised attention to detail, resulting in potential releases of chemicals and solvents used during production.
- Can you move materials and equipment indoors? Facilities are held liable for what contents run off their property at any time. Prior to a severe weather threat, consider moving items indoors to eliminate the risk of hazardous waste or chemical runoff during storms.
Source: Environmental Compliance Alert, Vol 25 No. 566, September 19 2017
Environmental compliance is necessary to remain in business. Many facilities feel intimidated by annual environmental reporting, like the Toxic Release Inventory Form R and Tier II Chemical Report. But SRP Environmental consultants have found that environmental compliance does not have to be intimidating.
Here Are 8 Tips for Annual Chemical Reporting
Tier I & Tier II Reports – Section 312
- Do you have a safety data sheet for the chemical or product? Make sure to report it. SDS = Reportable.
- Do you have more than 10,000 pounds of the chemical or product on any given site at one time?
- Do you check the “List of Lists?” Depending on the chemical or product, there could be lower thresholds for hazardous substances. Always be sure to check the List.
- Do you have forklifts or computer servers? Remember to include the batteries in the report.
REMINDER: Tier II’s are due every year on March 1.
Toxic Release Inventory Form R – Section 313
- Do you know your reporting category? Categories are industry specific to include mining, utilities, manufacturing merchant wholesalers, publishing, hazardous waste and federal facilities.
- Do you manufacture or process more than 25,000 pounds per year of a particular chemical?
- Do you store or use more than 10,000 pounds of a chemical or product? Make sure to distinguish between chemicals that are manufactured or processed and chemicals that are stored.
- Did you know that TRI substances can be labeled as carcinogens? TRI also contains persistent bio accumulative toxic chemicals (PBTs) and thresholds are substantially lower. Make sure to check the EPA for an updated list of reportable chemicals.
REMINDER: TRI Form R is due every year on July 1.
Source: Environmental Compliance Alert, July 3, 2017 & Jennifer Van Thomme, Chemical Engineer at GHD
Have Questions? Talk to an SRP Environmental Consultant Today! SRP provides Tier II and TRI reporting services for many different types of facilities and companies. Call SRP at (866) 222-4972 or email us below!