SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced settlements with two Southern California facilities for improper handling of hazardous waste. Bachem Americas, Inc., and Crosby & Overton, Inc., will collectively pay more than $130,000 in penalties and emergency response assistance for federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) violations.
“Whether a company generates its own hazardous waste or treats waste from offsite, the material must be handled correctly to keep surrounding communities safe,” said Kathleen Johnson, EPA’s Enforcement Division Director for the Pacific Southwest. “EPA and the state are working together to improve oversight of these facilities, especially as we increase our focus on RCRA air emissions compliance.”
Bachem is a Swiss pharmaceutical company. In April 2015, EPA inspected Bachem’s U.S. manufacturing facility in Torrance. Hazardous waste at the facility included acetonitrile (which is flammable) and trifluoroacetic acid (which is corrosive). EPA found that the company operated hazardous waste storage tanks and related equipment without inspecting and monitoring them for leaks, in violation of air emission standards. Bachem also failed to store hazardous waste correctly, with containers closed and properly labeled.
Bachem has agreed to pay a $22,376 penalty and spend at least $29,000 on a supplemental environmental project in support of the Torrance Fire Department’s emergency planning and preparedness efforts. By providing the fire department with emergency response equipment, including tablets and laptops, Bachem will enhance the department’s ability to plan for and respond to hazardous material spills or releases in the community. The firm has corrected all the identified compliance issues.
EPA inspected Crosby & Overton’s hazardous waste treatment facility in Long Beach in August 2014. EPA found that the company failed to safely store broken batteries, which contain corrosive hazardous waste. In addition, Crosby & Overton did not properly use and maintain equipment—such as a diaphragm pump for pumping paint waste—and failed to conduct the required inspections and monitoring to manage hazardous materials and related air emissions. Crosby & Overton has corrected the violations and agreed to pay a $78,570 penalty.
Under EPA’s RCRA program, hazardous substances must be stored, handled and disposed of using measures that safeguard public health and the environment. Hazardous waste air emissions present a potential risk for nearby communities and facility employees, such as through fire or explosion risk and creation of harmful ground level toxins. Compliance with RCRA Air regulations will be emphasized as part of a National Enforcement Initiative beginning in 2017 and, as such, will be a focus of upcoming RCRA investigations.
For more information on RCRA, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/rcra
For more information on EPA’s National Enforcement Initiatives, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/national-enforcement-initiatives
Soledad Calvino (email@example.com)
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