Latest News

EPA and DOJ file complaint against Bruneau, Idaho, ranch alleging significant violations that threaten fisheries, wetlands and wildlife areas

18 hours 28 minutes ago

WASHINGTON – Today, Feb. 27, 2024, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a complaint on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) against Ace Black Ranches LLP of Bruneau, Idaho, alleging significant violations of the Clean Water Act affecting the Bruneau River in Idaho.

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho, alleges that Ace Black Ranches illegally discharged fill material to the Bruneau River and adjacent wetlands, significantly threatening fisheries, neighboring properties and downstream communities. The illegal activities include mining and processing gravel extracted from the river and using heavy equipment to clear and level dozens of acres of wetlands – all without permits required by the Clean Water Act.

“The complaint in this case alleges that Ace Blank Ranches treated the Bruneau River and state-owned wetlands along the river as private property that could be damaged or destroyed for sand and gravel mining, without any effort to comply with the requirements of the Clean Water Act that protects our Nation’s waters from such abuses,” said Assistant Administrator David M. Uhlmann for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “EPA will hold companies accountable when they seek to profit from conducting illegal activities in American rivers and streams, destroying adjacent wetlands that protect those waters from pollution, and threatening fisheries, neighboring properties, and downstream communities.”

“Wetlands play critical roles in our ecosystems and serve as buffers to climate change,” said Casey Sixkiller, Regional Administrator of EPA’s Region 10 office in Seattle. “Enforcement actions like this are clear reminders that EPA and its federal and state partners will enforce the law to protect increasingly valuable and fragile water resources that we all hold in common and rely upon.”

During inspections of the property, review of historical aerial imagery and through other available information, representatives from EPA observed and documented sand and gravel mining, processing and hauling equipment located on the site; heavy machinery tracks and evidence of mechanical scraping, pushing or pulling, in and next to the Bruneau River and adjacent wetlands; and large piles of sand and gravel near the Bruneau River, along its banks and in adjacent wetlands. EPA representatives also collected evidence of wetland clearing, grading and filling to install and operate center-pivot irrigation systems at the property, construction of roads in the Bruneau River and adjacent wetlands, and placing fill material in the river and along its banks.

The complaint alleges that all these activities were unauthorized and caused significant damage to fish and wildlife habitat in and adjacent to the Bruneau River, including at land owned by the state of Idaho within the C.J. Strike Wildlife Management Area, which provides hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing opportunities.

EPA first learned of the alleged violations via a complaint from a member of the public to the state of Idaho regarding roads built across the Bruneau River.

The Bruneau River and its adjacent wetlands are considered "waters of the United States" and are subject to protection under the Clean Water Act. Activities that discharge pollutants to rivers and the adjacent wetlands require Clean Water Act permits.

Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA)

EPA takes action against three New England companies for Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act violations 

1 day 18 hours ago

BOSTON (Feb.26, 2024) – Three New England-based companies have agreed to pay penalties to settle claims by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that they violated federal law for failure to file required annual pesticide production reports.

Recently, EPA Region 1 filed Settlement Agreements involving three companies; Seaman Paper Company of Massachusetts, Inc., from Gardner, Mass.; Ferti Technologies CT Corp, from Wallingford, Conn.; and Exoban, LLC, from Thomaston, Conn.for alleged violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the law that regulates pesticide production and use in the United States.

The three companies all failed to file production reports for the reporting year 2021, and were issued Notice of Warnings; however, all three companies again failed to file production reports for the reporting year 2022, which led to these enforcement actions and penalties. The assessed penalties were based, in part, on the size of the respective company and were as follows: Seaman $1,400; Ferti $1,000; and Exoban $500.

EPA requires that companies which produce pesticides, active ingredients, or devices submit annual production reports by March 1 for the preceding calendar year. EPA uses these reports for compliance, risk assessment, and risk reduction activities which are important for protecting human health and the environment.

Background

EPA regulates all pesticide products used in the U.S. to ensure that uses described on product labels can be used without harming people's health or the environment. The settlements agreed to with each company address alleged violations of FIFRA for failure to file or timely file annual pesticide production report(s) in connection with each registered establishment. Without annual production reports, EPA cannot determine where and in what manner pesticidal products are being produced, sold, and distributed. FIFRA Section 7 reporting requirements are enforced federally and are not delegated to the states.

More information:

Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act Section 7(c) Expedited Settlement Agreement Program (pdf) (2.7 MB): https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2019-09/documents/finalfifra7cesaprogram.pdf 
Enforcement Response Policy for FIFRA Section 7(c) Establishment Reporting Requirements (pdf) (142 KB): https://www.epa.gov/sites/default/files/documents/fifra-erp-section7-051910.pdf
EPA Pesticide Registration Process: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/about-pesticide-registration

Region 01

EPA, HUD and HHS announce interagency commitments to more robust collaboration on addressing risks of exposures to lead

1 day 18 hours ago

WASHINGTONToday, Feb. 26, 2024, the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced two complementary agreements to further their “whole of government” approach to strengthen these agencies’ shared work in ensuring that children, especially those at high risk, are not exposed to human health risks from lead hazards.

These two Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) support commitments made in the Lead and Paint Action Plan, EPA’s Strategic Plan , HUD’s Strategic Plan, and HHS’s Strategic Plan, which seek to reduce lead exposures locally with a focus on underserved communities and promote environmental justice through a whole of government approach.

The first MOU expands, updates and reaffirms a 1997 agreement between EPA and HUD to coordinate their enforcement efforts addressing lead-based paint hazards in housing. 

“EPA is committed to working with our federal partners to protect children from the harmful effects of lead poisoning, which remains far too prevalent in communities across America,” said David M. Uhlmann, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Today’s agreement demonstrates that EPA and HUD will enforce the law fairly and aggressively to protect children, particularly those living in overburdened and underserved communities, from exposure to lead-based paint in their homes.”

“With this agreement, we will collaborate across the federal government to enforce the laws that aim to ensure the healthy housing future that American children deserve,” said Matthew Ammon, Director of HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes. “HUD is proud to join our federal partners at EPA to better align our enforcement efforts and ensure that we are protecting families – especially families with limited resources – from lead-based paint hazards in their home.”

The second MOU, signed by EPA, HUD and CDC launches a pilot program in the agencies’ Region 3, which includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, to facilitate information sharing about communities with high blood lead levels or higher lead exposure risks, to help them focus their respective and collaborative efforts working in communities with the greatest risks. The agencies plan to use the knowledge gained from the pilot to expand the scope of this effort. 

“Our three agencies will work together to identify, reach, and assist communities most at risk from exposure to lead,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz. “Through this pilot program, we will develop more effective processes for sharing actionable information on lead exposure, with the goal of alleviating the negative health impacts that still burden too many people across our region.”

“HUD is pleased to collaborate with its EPA and CDC partners on this pilot that we hope will provide the basis for an enhanced national framework for sharing and using information on the sources of lead exposures at the community and even neighborhood levels,” said Ammon. “HUD has a particular interest in using the shared data to facilitate its engagement with state and local lead hazard control programs, healthy homes programs, and housing rehabilitation programs, for the purposes of improving its targeting of funding, conducting special projects, or other collaborations.”

“All children deserve to grow up without lead burdening their minds and bodies” said Aaron Bernstein, Director of CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health, “We are committed to working together to leave no child behind and put an end to lead poisoning.”

Over 1 million children in the United States suffer from the irreversible impacts of lead poisoning, including reduced intelligence, behavioral and learning disabilities, and effects on many other body systems; new cases continue to be diagnosed every year. Lead-contaminated dust from chipped or peeling lead-based paint is one of the most common causes of elevated blood lead levels in children. Adults with exposure to lead can develop symptoms such as high blood pressure, memory loss and reduced motor skills. Infants and children are especially vulnerable to lead paint exposure because their growing bodies absorb more lead than adults do, and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead. They can be exposed from multiple sources and may experience irreversible and life-long health effects. 

More than 34 million homes in the US have lead paint somewhere in the building. About 3.3 million homes in the US have children less than six years of age facing one or more lead-based paint hazards, including over 2 million low-income households.

The EPA-HUD Memorandum of Understanding Lead Paint Compliance and Enforcement and the EPA Region 3-HUD-CDC Memorandum of Understanding for sharing of data can both be found on EPA’s Enforcing Lead Laws and Regulations webpage.  

You can find out more about identifying and addressing housing health and safety hazards, including those from lead, on HUD’s Healthy Homes Program website.

Learn more about EPA’s efforts to reduce lead exposure and help protect children from lead paint by identifying and reporting lead paint violations to EPA, or identifying and reporting violations, especially in assisted housing to HUD’s lead reporting email. EPA, HUD and HHS are supporting the 2019 Federal Lead Action Plan, which was designed to reduce exposure to lead and improve children’s health.

Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA)

EPA Settles Safe Drinking Water Act Claims with California Resources Corporation and Elk Hills Power

1 day 18 hours ago

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement with California Resources Corporation (CRC) and Elk Hills Power LLC, a subsidiary of CRC, for Safe Drinking Water Act violations at the Elk Hills Power Plant in Tupman, California. CRC and Elk Hills Power have agreed to pay a penalty of $109,000 for permit violations of the Underground Injection Control Program. In addition to paying a penalty, CRC and Elk Hills Power will implement a supplemental environmental project with the local Buttonwillow County Water District valued at a minimum of $282,000.

"Facilities that include underground injection in their operations must comply with all permit conditions in order to protect underground sources of drinking water,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman.“ Failure to adhere to all permit requirements by owners and operators risks damage to vital groundwater resources.”

Injection wells are used to place fluid underground into porous geologic formations for storage or disposal. EPA’s Underground Injection Control Program works with underground injection well owners and operators to ensure their practices do not impact underground sources of drinking water. EPA conducts regular inspections to verify injection well operations comply with the injection well permits and applicable requirements.

EPA classifies injection wells into one of six types. Elk Hills Power holds an Underground Injection Control permit to dispose of non-hazardous wastewater into the Upper Tulare Formation, an underground source of drinking water, via two Class V injection wells.

Under the order, CRC and Elk Hills Power have agreed to take actions necessary to resolve exceedances of their maximum allowable injections pressure (MAIP). These actions include:

  1. Reduce the injection rate when the injection pressure of any injection well approaches the MAIP;
  2. Cease injection into any well that reaches the MAIP;
  3. Increased reporting;
  4. Submit and implement a compliance plan.

This enforcement action helps ensure continued operation at the Elk Hills Power Plant complies with its underground injection control permit and avoids potential contamination of underground sources of drinking water.

The supplemental environmental project agreed to by CRC and Elk Hills Power will benefit the Buttonwillow County Water District and the local community. Project work includes plugging of a standby drinking water well, demolition of a deteriorating 40,000-gallon metal tank, and installation of a back-up generator and power supply at an active drinking water well.

Read the public notice for the proposed settlement here.

Learn about EPA’s Underground Injection Control Program.

Read how to report possible violations of environmental laws and regulations.

Learn about EPA enforcement and supplemental environmental projects.

Learn about EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and X.

Region 09

EPA Finds Chiquita Canyon Landfill Presents Imminent and Substantial Endangerment to Nearby Communities

5 days 18 hours ago

SAN FRANCISCO  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ordered Chiquita Canyon LLC (CCL) to take immediate steps to protect human health and the environment at its non-hazardous municipal solid waste landfill in Castaic, California. The order requires Chiquita to mitigate off-site community impacts caused by noxious odors and hazardous waste leachate and to contain and reduce the smoldering or reaction event occurring at the landfill.  

“This order reflects EPA’s commitment to ensuring landfill operators mitigate noxious odors and comply with federal law to prevent public exposure to hazardous wastes,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “Today’s order is the result of local, state, and federal collaboration to better protect the health of nearby residents as well as the surrounding environment.”

The 639-acre Chiquita Canyon Landfill, located in the northern section of Los Angeles County, has garnered thousands of complaints from nearby residents about noxious odors and leachate (the result of rainwater or other liquid filtering through or draining from wastes placed in a landfill) and prompted the issuance of over one hundred notices of violation from state and local regulatory agencies to CCL. The source of the complaints is a sub-surface smoldering or elevated temperature reaction at the landfill that began in May 2022 and has grown in size and impact. As of January 17, 2024, the reaction area was located approximately 1,000 feet from the nearest resident.

In 2023, residents of the communities surrounding the landfill submitted more than 6,800 complaints of odor nuisance to the South Coast Air Quality Monitoring District (SCAQMD). Residents reported numerous health impacts from the noxious odors, including eye irritation, respiratory symptoms, and skin issues. SCAQMD has consistently traced odors back to the landfill and the reaction area and it has taken independent enforcement actions to mitigate the public health impacts caused to the community by the odors.  

The leachate seeping from the reaction area contains elevated levels of benzene, a hazardous substance. Benzene can adversely affect human health through air exposure or the consumption of benzene-contaminated water. The sub-surface reaction has caused a significant increase in leachate production, which CCL failed to properly manage as hazardous waste and has not been properly treating, storing, or disposing of the leachate.

On November 30, 2023, local, state, and federal agencies formed a multi-agency critical action team to address the human health and environmental impacts caused by the deteriorating conditions at the Chiquita Canyon Landfill.

The Unilateral Administrative Order (UAO) issued by EPA, in coordination with the multi-agency team, requires Chiquita Canyon LLC to comply with the law and properly manage, treat, and dispose of hazardous waste and to take steps to mitigate the odors emanating from the landfill.

EPA can issue a UAO when the agency finds there may be an imminent and substantial endangerment to the public health or the environment. The order issued by EPA incorporates on-going enforcement efforts by state and local agencies to ensure a comprehensive response to the challenges posed by the landfill. Once approved by the agency, EPA will oversee implementation of the plan.

For more information about the order and EPA’s actions, visit Chiquita Canyon Landfill.

For more information on reporting possible violations of environmental laws and regulations, visit EPA’s enforcement reporting website.

Learn about EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and X.

Region 09

EPA Files Complaint for Rat Poison Sold in Plastic Baggies in St. Louis

5 days 18 hours ago

LENEXA, KAN. (FEB. 22, 2024) – On Feb. 8, 2024, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) filed a complaint seeking $149,659 in civil penalties against Timothy Wilson, a pesticide dealer doing business as Wilson’s Pest Control with two locations in the St. Louis, Missouri, area.

According to EPA, Wilson’s sold pesticides that were misbranded and unregistered, in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, and the company’s actions may present a danger to consumers.

“Without proper labeling, consumers may put themselves and their families at risk through exposure to toxic chemicals,” said David Cozad, director of EPA Region 7’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division. “The Agency is determined to protect consumers, especially those in areas already overburdened by pollution, from these illegal and unsafe practices.”

In June 2022, EPA inspectors discovered unlabeled, plastic zip-top baggies of rodent bait products and other improperly repackaged and misbranded rodenticides offered for sale at Wilson’s Pest Control’s 2400 Grand Boulevard location in St. Louis. Following the inspection, EPA issued Wilson’s a stop-sale order prohibiting the further sale of any unregistered, illegally repackaged, and/or misbranded pesticides and invited the company to negotiate a civil penalty to resolve the violations.

In July 2023, after reports of similar zip-top baggies of rodent bait products appearing on Wilson’s store shelves at its 2616 Woodson Road location in Overland, Missouri, EPA attempted to inspect there to determine the company’s compliance with the stop-sale order, but the company’s owner denied the inspection. EPA says that penalty negotiations also broke down around this time, resulting in the Agency’s decision to file a complaint.

EPA identified the communities surrounding both Wilson’s Pest Control locations as potentially sensitive areas with exposure to many sources of pollution. EPA is strengthening enforcement in overburdened communities to address disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of pollution on vulnerable populations.

Due to the potential for accidental poisonings, rodenticide poison products sold to consumers have extensive labeling that describes directions for use, safety precautions, and how to seek medical attention for children and pets if unintentionally ingested. Under the law, unlabeled or improperly labeled pesticides are considered misbranded. Directions for use and other label requirements are critical for people to safely use pesticides. Further, illegally repackaging pesticides renders them unregistered under federal law.

If used improperly, rat poisons and other pesticides could cause poisoning to humans, pets, or non-target animals. Further, rodent bait products typically contain an anticoagulant that interferes with blood clotting and death can result from excessive bleeding.

If you have purchased unlabeled or unregistered pesticides from Wilson’s Pest Control, please contact your waste provider for disposal options.

Learn more about the safe use of rodent bait products. Learn more about pesticides.

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Region 07

Corn milling company officials sentenced to federal prison for their role in deadly explosion that killed five workers

1 week 4 days ago

WASHINGTON – This week, U.S. District Court Judge James D. Peterson for the Western District of Wisconsin sentenced six Didion Milling Inc. officials – including a corporate vice president and former food safety, environmental and operations managers – for their role in a fatal explosion on May 31, 2017, at a mill operated by Didion.

Didion Vice President of Operations, Derrick Clark, was sentenced to two years in prison, a year of supervised release and a $5,000 fine.  Former Environmental Manager Joseph Winch was sentenced to two years in prison, two years of supervised release and a $10,000 fine for conspiring to falsify Didion’s environmental compliance certifications. Former Food Safety Superintendent Shawn Mesner was sentenced to two years in prison and a year of supervised release after being convicted in October 2023 of conspiring to commit fraud and to falsify Didion’s sanitation log.

Three former Didion shift superintendents – Anthony Hess, Joel Niemeyer and Michael Bright – were sentenced probation and fines for falsification of Didion’s sanitation log.  Nicholas Booker, a fourth shift superintendent, is scheduled to be sentenced in March.

Additionally, the Didion company pled guilty to falsifying its environmental and sanitation logs. Judge Peterson sentenced the company last month to pay $10.25 million in restitution to the victims of the May 2017 explosion and a $1 million fine, as well as to serve five years of probation with special conditions related to oversight of Didion’s operations.

“These defendants put Didion workers in grave danger and five people tragically lost their lives, devastating their families and their community,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “Companies of all sizes should take note: failure to comply with our country’s workplace safety and environmental laws can cost workers their lives and put individual corporate managers in federal prison.”

At around 10:30 p.m. on the night of the explosion, a fire originated in milling equipment at Didion’s corn mill in Cambria, Wisconsin. The fire led to a series of explosions in the facility, killing five workers and seriously injuring others. The explosions also damaged and caused the collapse of multiple mill buildings. An investigation into Didion’s worker and food safety and environmental practices uncovered criminal violations of law attributable to both the company and senior officials.

Grain milling generates grain dust, which must be effectively managed for workplace safety, environmental, and food safety and quality reasons. Mill operators must adhere to rules and requirements intended to minimize hazards. Grain dust is combustible, and mill operators need to maintain workplace safety through cleaning programs that remove dust accumulations from inside a mill. Mill operators must also capture dust before it is emitted into the environment as particulate matter, a kind of air pollutant.

Investigations of the explosion at Didion’s Cambria mill uncovered long-standing inadequate safety measures and improper handling of grain dust that Didion and its employees concealed through falsified documents and other obstructive conduct.

In October 2023, the Justice Department secured guilty pleas from the company, Didion, and company officials, as well as convictions against two more Didion officials. Today and yesterday, three defendants were sentenced to prison time for their crimes, and another three were sentenced to probation. Sentencing for an additional defendant is scheduled for March. The company was sentenced in January 2024.

“Didion Milling and its senior managers put corporate profits ahead of worker safety and environmental protection, with tragic consequences,” said Assistant Administrator David M. Uhlmann for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “The sentences imposed this week demonstrate that EPA and its law enforcement partners are committed to seeking justice for victims of environmental crime and their families.”

“Workplace and environmental safety are of paramount importance,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “We will continue seeking to enforce regulations designed to prevent workplace disasters, and also to punish deceptive conduct that would undermine the administration of these important federal programs.”

“The Didion Milling dust explosion was a tragic incident resulting from a notorious industrial hazard. Individuals considering falsifying records are on notice that making false statements and attempting to obstruct our investigation are serious crimes and will be punished as such,” said Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su. “The court’s sentences hold the company and these individuals accountable and send a clear message that cover-ups related to workplace safety will not be tolerated.”

Clark was convicted in October 2023 of conspiring to falsify documents relating to dust cleaning practices in the mill and the operation of air pollution prevention equipment and making false compliance certifications as Didion’s “responsible official” under the Clean Air Act. He was also convicted for obstructing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) investigation of the explosion at the corn mill by making false and misleading statements during a sworn deposition. 

Winch pled guilty to his conspiracy charge before trial, but the court’s sentencing took into consideration Winch’s effort to obstruct the trial of his co-defendants by committing perjury during his trial testimony.

Mesner’s falsification of the log was part of a scheme to mislead Didion’s customers and auditors about the company’s sanitation practices. The log also related to Didion’s compliance with worker safety protections, including the required cleanup of combustible dust, like fine grain dust, to prevent fires and explosions in grain handling facilities. The log purported to be a record of those dust cleanings. Mesner also provided untruthful testimony to OSHA during a sworn statement after the explosion.

Hess, Niemeyer and Bright pled guilty to felonies before trial and accepted responsibility for their actions. Hess was sentenced to a probationary sentence; Niemeyer was sentenced to a year of probation and a $1000 fine; and Bright was sentenced to a year of probation.

Information on how to report suspected environmental violations may be found at the EPA Report a Violation webpage. 

Information on how to file a safety and health complaint about unsafe work conditions can be found at OSHA’s File A Complaint webpage. Information about how to file a complaint of retaliation for having engaged in workplace safety-related protected activity can be found at the same website.

Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA)

EPA Air Permit Advances New York Offshore Wind Farm Project

1 week 5 days ago

NEW YORK – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a Clean Air Act permit for Empire Offshore Wind LLC. The offshore wind farm will be in federal waters on the Outer Continental Shelf about 12 nautical miles (13.8 miles) south of Long Island, NY and 17 nautical miles (19.6 miles) east of Long Branch, NJ. To ensure transparency, EPA sought and received public comment before the permit was finalized. 

"EPA is happy to partner with New York state in leading the way to a clean energy future. When built, this project is expected to generate more than 2,000 megawatts of electrical power for New York State – enough to power as many as a million homes,” said Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. “This project is part of a larger effort by the Biden Administration to invest in America and generate 30 gigawatts of clean, abundant energy from offshore wind by 2030." 

The Empire Wind project for which EPA has issued a permit, will include up to 147 offshore wind turbines, two offshore substations, and the associated cables needed to transport the electricity. There will also be onshore components associated with the Empire Wind project that are not addressed in the air permit being issued today. Onshore components are being addressed in separate federal, state, and local permitting or government processes. Offshore construction is anticipated to begin in 2024 and be completed within four years.

Before issuing a permit, EPA conducted an air quality analysis that showed the main air quality impacts of the project will occur during construction and will be offshore over the water area around the project. The air quality analysis also showed that the impacts on air quality from the construction and operation of the project will not cause or contribute to a violation of federal air quality standards. EPA's approval is in concert with other federal approvals and actions for the project, including the issuance of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's Record of Decision.

An electronic copy of the permit, fact sheet, and supporting materials will be available on EPA's website at Clean Air Act Permits Issues By EPA Region 2

Follow EPA Region 2 on X and visit our Facebook page. For more information about EPA, visit EPA Region 2.

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Region 02

EPA Fines Clean Harbors for Alleged Hazardous Waste Violations at Kimball, Nebraska, Facility

1 week 6 days ago

LENEXA, KAN. (FEB. 14, 2024) – Clean Harbors Environmental Services Inc. will pay $270,412 in civil penalties to resolve alleged violations of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Nebraska regulations governing hazardous waste management, and the terms of its Hazardous Waste Management Facility Permits.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the company operates as a hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facility in Kimball, Nebraska. EPA inspections between 2021 and 2023 revealed the following alleged violations:

  • Failure to adequately manage hazardous waste containers.
  • Failure to minimize releases of hazardous waste to the environment.
  • Failure to maintain air emission controls.
  • Failure to maintain and operate a building as tested.
  • Failure to transmit waste from its facility within required time frames.
  • Failure to obtain a hazardous waste permit for areas not covered by the facility’s permits.

“Mismanagement of hazardous waste leads to human exposure and environmental contamination,” said David Cozad, director of EPA Region 7’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division. “This penalty action involving one of the largest hazardous waste disposal facilities in the country demonstrates EPA’s commitment to protecting communities and leveling the playing field for companies that comply with the law.”

EPA says that Clean Harbors has a lengthy history of environmental law violations and has been subject to numerous enforcement actions with EPA and the state of Nebraska. Some of the violations at issue are repeat findings from prior inspections and enforcement actions. EPA further reports that since the recent EPA inspections, the company has corrected the violations.

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act creates the framework for the proper management of hazardous and non-hazardous solid waste.

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Learn more about the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

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Region 07

Apache Corporation to pay $4 million and reduce unlawful air pollution from oil and gas wells in New Mexico and Texas, eliminating more than 10,000 tons of harmful air pollutants annually

2 weeks ago

WASHINGTON – Apache Corporation (Apache) has agreed to pay $4 million in civil penalties and undertake projects expected to cost at least $5.5 million to ensure 422 of its oil and gas well pads in New Mexico and Texas comply with federal and state clean air regulations and offset past illegal emissions.

Apache’s agreement settles a civil suit, filed jointly by the United States, on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED), alleging that Apache failed to comply with federal and state requirements to capture and control air emissions from 23 of its oil and gas production operations in New Mexico and Texas. EPA and NMED identified the alleged violations through field investigations and repeated flyover surveillance conducted in 2019, 2020 and 2022.

Compliance with this robust settlement will result in annual reductions of more than 9,650 tons of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and 900 tons of methane, which equates to more than 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). VOCs are a key component in the formation of ground-level ozone or smog, which irritates lungs, exacerbates diseases including asthma and can increase susceptibility to respiratory illnesses, such as pneumonia and bronchitis.

“Robust enforcement of Clean Air Act violations at oil and gas facilities protects communities from harmful smog and reduces methane emissions that are major contributors to global climate change,” said David M. Uhlmann, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Today’s agreement demonstrates EPA’s commitment to working with our state partners to tackle climate change and improve air quality for everyone living in the United States.” 

“Today’s settlement will ensure compliance at hundreds of oil and gas facilities across New Mexico and Texas,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “Under the settlement, over 400 Apache facilities will be required to take extensive steps to reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds – which contribute to smog – as well as methane gas, which is a significant contributor to climate change.”

“Noxious pollutants directly threaten the health of neighboring communities while propelling our world toward climate disaster,” said U.S. Attorney Alexander M.M. Uballez for the District of New Mexico. “I applaud the tireless efforts of the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, the U.S. EPA and the NMED to protect our lungs and our earth. Environmental justice is a top priority for the Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico.”

“This settlement shows that oil and gas operators deserve greater scrutiny because too many are failing to comply with federal and state rules,” said New Mexico Environment Cabinet Secretary James Kenney. “As a result, bad actors will cause greater federal and state regulation of the entire oil and gas industry as ozone levels rise and public health suffers.”

The $4 million fine outlined in the settlement will be shared equally by the United States and the State of New Mexico, with New Mexico’s portion going to the state’s general fund. The settlement document (consent decree) was filed together with the complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico and requires the company to take numerous steps to ensure that 422 well pads covered by the consent decree and located in New Mexico and Texas are operated lawfully.

In addition to the $4 million fine, Apache will also spend at least $4.5 million to implement extensive design, operation, maintenance and monitoring improvements, including installing new tank pressure monitoring systems that will provide advance notification of potential emissions and allow for immediate response action by the company. Apache will also spend over $1 million to offset the harm caused by the alleged violations by replacing, on an accelerated schedule, more than 400 pollutant-emitting pneumatic devices with non-emitting devices.

Pound for pound, methane is approximately 28 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in terms of its impact on global warming. Accordingly, a reduction of 900 tons of annual methane reductions equates to more than 25,000 tons of CO2, akin to eliminating the use of more than 2.5 million gallons of gasoline annually. Greenhouse gases from human activities are a primary cause of climate change and global warming. This enforcement settlement furthers EPA’s commitment to deliver public health protections against climate-impacting pollution and other pollutants for communities across America and helps deliver on EPA’s top commitment in its strategic plan, which is to tackle the climate crisis.

The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to set National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for criteria pollutants that are considered harmful to public health and the environment. Ozone is a criteria pollutant that is created when oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and VOCs react in the atmosphere. VOCs and NOx are emitted by oil and gas production facilities, such as those operated by Apache. During the timeframes of Apache’s alleged violations, air quality monitors in the relevant counties in New Mexico registered rising ozone concentrations exceeding 95% of the NAAQS for ozone. In counties where ozone levels reach 95% of the NAAQS, NMED is required by New Mexico state statute to take action to reduce ozone pollution.

Apache Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of APA Corporation which is engaged in the exploration and development of oil and natural gas resources in the United States. Apache is a large producer in the Permian Basin, which is a shale oil and gas producing area located in southeast New Mexico and West Texas.

This settlement is part of EPA’s National Enforcement and Compliance Initiative, Mitigating Climate Change.

For more information about today’s settlement please visit the Apache Corporation Settlement webpage.

The Justice Department’s Environmental Enforcement Division lodged today’s proposed consent decree in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico. The settlement is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. The consent decree will be available for viewing on the Justice Department’s website. The Federal Register notice will also include instructions for submitting public comment.

Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA)

EPA and DOJ Settlement Will Address Problems at Toa Alta Landfill

2 weeks ago

NEW YORK - The Municipality of Toa Alta has agreed to a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to address environmental and public health risks at its landfill in Puerto Rico. The settlement, announced today, requires the Municipality of Toa Alta to deal with the contaminated liquid, known as leachate, in the southeast portion of the landfill and to pay a $50,000 civil penalty for its past violations. Prior actions are addressing other risks posed by the landfill.

"This settlement will protect people by requiring that the contaminated liquid under the landfill be properly managed. This is a major milestone in our efforts with the residents to address the long-standing problems at the Toa Alta landfill," said Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. "The community has helped shape EPA and DNER’s work to address the unacceptable risks that have been posed by this landfill and we look forward to getting input on this proposed settlement."

This agreement between the Municipality of Toa Alta and the United States is subject to a 30-day public comment period, the public’s right to request a public meeting, and ultimately, acceptance by the federal court judge presiding over the case. You can view the agreement on DOJ’s website.

The EPA and the DOJ filed a lawsuit against the municipality, alleging that the landfill posed serious threats to human health and the environment due to its poor operation of the landfill, lack of controls, steep slopes, uncovered waste, and inadequate management of leachate.

In August 2022, a Federal Court ordered Toa Alta to take immediate action to address several of these issues. The order did not address the leachate problem in the landfill's southeast cell area or the civil penalty.

The second stipulation and final order addresses the southeast cell leachate problem, and the civil penalty as follows:

  • The Municipality will cooperate with a former operator of the landfill to complete the testing and repair, if feasible, of the system to collect leachate from under the southeast cell, as required by a 2017 administrative order issued by EPA.
  • The municipality will operate the leachate collection system if it can be repaired, and dispose of the leachate properly under the oversight of the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources of Puerto Rico (DNER), the approved regulator of municipal solid waste landfills in Puerto Rico.
  • Even if the system can’t be repaired, the municipality will work with DNER to implement near-term and long-term measures to address the leachate from the southeast cell area as part of the permanent final closure plan for the landfill.
  • The Municipality of Toa Alta will pay a $50,000 civil penalty to the United States within 30 days of the effective date of this order.

The August 2022 agreement included reporting requirements Toa Alta must follow so that EPA can maintain oversight and keep the community informed of developments at or concerning the landfill.

Visit the Toa Alta Municipal Landfill web page for additional background. 

Follow EPA Region 2 on X and visit our Facebook page. For more information about EPA Region 2, visit our website.

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Region 02

EPA Fines Owens Corning for Alleged Hazardous Waste Violations at Kansas City, Kansas, Facility

2 weeks 1 day ago

LENEXA, KAN. (FEB. 12, 2024) – Owens Corning Insulating Systems LLC will pay $115,302 in civil penalties to resolve alleged violations of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and Kansas hazardous waste management regulations.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the company generates hazardous wastes at its fiberglass insulation facility in Kansas City, Kansas. During an EPA inspection in October 2022, the Agency determined that the company failed to comply with regulations intended to prevent releases of hazardous waste, including:

  • Failure to conduct and document determinations of hazardous waste at the facility.
  • Failure to notify the state when it generates new hazardous wastes.
  • Operating as a hazardous waste treatment, storage, and/or disposal facility without obtaining a required permit.
  • Failure to properly manage certain wastes at the facility.

“This settlement demonstrates EPA’s commitment to protect communities from releases of hazardous waste, especially those already burdened by historical pollution,” said David Cozad, director of EPA Region 7’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division. “The Agency is also committed to leveling the playing field for companies that comply with federal law.”

EPA says that Owens Corning was previously fined by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment in 2017 for the same or similar violations. The Agency also reports that since the 2022 inspection, Owens Corning has taken the necessary steps to correct the violations and return to compliance.

EPA identified the community surrounding the Owens Corning facility as a potentially sensitive area because of exposures to diesel particulate matter, air toxics cancer risk, and hazardous waste proximity. EPA is strengthening enforcement in overburdened communities to address disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of industrial operations on vulnerable populations.

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act creates the framework for the proper management of hazardous and non-hazardous solid waste.

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Learn more about the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

Learn more about EPA Region 7

View all Region 7 news releases

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Region 07

EPA Settles with Shipping Company over Claims of Clean Water Act Violations

2 weeks 1 day ago

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has settled with Crowley Global Ship Management over claims of violations of EPA’s Vessel General Permit, issued under the Clean Water Act. Under the terms of the settlements, Crowley will pay $248,500 in penalties for claims of violations by two of the company’s ships, the Ocean Grand and the Ocean Glory, involving untreated ballast water discharge, vessel inspections, and discharge monitoring.

“It’s a fundamental responsibility of ship owners and operators to properly manage what they discharge into our oceans,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “The Vessel General Permit is a key element of our nation’s Clean Water Act, and the failure of shipping companies to comply with permit requirements can significantly harm our nation’s already-challenged waters."

Crowley Global Ship Management is a privately-owned company headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida that owns and operates over 200 vessels, including the Ocean Grand and the Ocean Glory. Both vessels are general cargo ships that have been in operation since 2015. As non-recreational and non-military vessels over 79 feet that operate in waters of the United States, these vessels are subject to the Vessel General Permit.

Between January 2019 and August 2020, the Ocean Grand discharged untreated ballast water eight times in water subject to the VGP. The ship also failed to conduct comprehensive annual vessel inspections at least once every 12 months in 2020 and 2021. Under the settlement being announced today, Crowley has agreed to pay $111,250 in civil penalties. 

From May 2018 to September 2020, the Ocean Glory discharged untreated ballast water seven times. The ship also failed to report biological indicator compliance monitoring after a treated ballast water discharge in December 2021. In addition, the Ocean Glory failed to conduct comprehensive annual vessel inspections at least once every 12 months in 2018, 2019, and 2021. For these violations, Crowley has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $137,250.

Because the Clean Water Act relies on self-reporting of permittees, violations such as these related to failures or delays in inspection, monitoring, and reporting are serious and undermine the permit program. Vessel self-inspections are required as a means of identifying, for example, potential sources of spills, broken pollution prevention equipment, or other issues that might lead to permit violations. Self-inspections empower the owner or operator to diagnose and fix problems in a timely manner to remain compliant with the permit and with U.S. law.

In addition, it is important that ballast water discharges by ships be monitored to ensure that aquatic ecosystems are protected from discharges that contain pollutants. Invasive species are a persistent problem in U.S. coastal and inland waters. Improper management of ballast water can introduce invasive species or damage local species by disrupting habitats and increasing competitive pressure. Discharges of other waste streams regulated by the Vessel General Permit (e.g., graywater, exhaust gas scrubber water, lubricants, etc.) can cause toxic impacts to local species or contain pathogenic organisms.

EPA's settlements with Crowley Global Ship Management resolve claims of Clean Water Act violations and are subject to a 30-day public comment period prior to final approval. For more information and to submit comments, click here for the Ocean Grand and here for the Ocean Glory.

Learn more about EPA’s Vessel General Permit, Enforcement Alert, and Vessels, Marinas and Ports.

For more information on reporting possible violations of environmental laws and regulations, visit EPA’s enforcement reporting website.

Learn more about EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. Connect with us on Facebook and on X.

Region 09

EPA Requires Leprino Foods Company in Tracy, Calif., to Improve Chemical Safety

2 weeks 5 days ago

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement with Leprino Foods Company for claims of violations of the Clean Air Act, the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act at the company’s facility in Tracy, Calif. The violation claims pertain to the facility’s anhydrous ammonia refrigeration system that is used for cheese production and storage. Anhydrous ammonia can cause serious, often irreversible health effects when released. In addition to potential impacts from inhalation of or skin contact with this substance, it is highly flammable.

Under the settlement, Leprino Foods Company will pay $229,707 in civil penalties and has made significant safety improvements to the facility to come into compliance with federal environmental laws. Leprino Foods Company will also provide emergency response training equipment valued at $179,340 to local first responders.

“To protect workers, first responders and the public, it is paramount that any facility handling dangerous chemicals such as anhydrous ammonia take steps to reduce the risk of releases,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “We’re encouraged that Leprino Foods Company has invested in making its Tracy facility safer and, as a result of this settlement, will provide first responders with important equipment.”

In March 2022, EPA conducted an inspection of the Leprino Foods Company facility located at 2401 North MacArthur Drive in Tracy. EPA identified significant violations of Clean Air Act chemical safety requirements, the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act.

Based on the inspection, EPA determined that the facility’s ammonia refrigeration system was not designed to meet safety standards. The inspection found several deficiencies, including:

  • Failure to immediately notify the National Response Center and the California Office of Emergency Services following a release of 109 pounds of anhydrous ammonia on March 31, 2021;
  • Inadequate documentation that the facility’s refrigeration system was designed to prevent releases of anhydrous ammonia;
  • An insufficient operation and maintenance program for the refrigeration system, resulting in safety issues, such as significant ice accumulation and corrosion; and
  • Failure to promptly address critical safety recommendations and implement safe work practices for contractors.

In addition to paying a penalty of $229,707, Leprino Foods Company made significant safety improvements to its facility. Safety upgrades included repairs to damaged refrigeration equipment, installation of tight-fitting engine room doors with panic hardware, the connection of all ammonia sensors to a central alarm system, and the addition of safety signage and labeling. Leprino Foods Company also updated design codes and standards for the main engine room, ensured no pressure relief valves exceed allowable backpressure requirements, made improvements to a machinery room emergency ventilation system and relief system design, and sealed a gap in an engine room wall so it is tight-fitting.

Leprino Foods Company will also provide $179,340 worth of emergency response training equipment to its local emergency responder, the South San Joaquin County Fire Authority. Equipment includes a drone with hazardous material sensing capabilities, equipment and software that simulates hazardous material incidents, and training props.

This donation of equipment by Leprino Foods Company is a supplemental environmental project, which is an environmentally beneficial project or activity that is not required by law, but that a party agrees to undertake as part of the settlement of an enforcement action. Such projects or activities go beyond what could legally be required of the respondent, and secure environmental and/or public health benefits in addition to those achieved by compliance with the law.

Emergency Release Notification Requirements:

The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act contain emergency release notification requirements to assure that first responders receive timely notice of reportable releases. Facilities holding reportable quantities of various substances must report releases when they exceed specified quantities. For more information, visit EPA’s Emergency Release Notifications webpage.

Clean Air Act Risk Management Program:

EPA’s Clean Air Act Risk Management Program (RMP) regulations work to prevent accidental chemical releases in our communities and the environment. Facilities holding more than a threshold quantity of a regulated substance are required to comply with EPA’s RMP regulations. The regulations require owners or operators of covered facilities to develop and implement an RMP and to submit a risk management plan to EPA. Learn more about the Risk Management Program rule.

Clean Air Act National Enforcement and Compliance Initiative:

Thousands of facilities nationwide make, use, and store regulated substances, including anhydrous ammonia. Catastrophic accidents at ammonia refrigeration facilities—historically about 150 each year—result in fatalities and serious injuries, evacuations, and other harm to human health and the environment. EPA inspects these facilities as part of the Agency’s National Enforcement and Compliance Initiative, which seeks to reduce risk to human health and the environment by decreasing the likelihood of accidental releases and mitigating the consequences of chemical accidents. Learn about the National Enforcement and Compliance Initiative on reducing risks of accidental releases at industrial and chemical facilities.

Additional Information:

For more information on reporting possible violations of environmental laws and regulations visit EPA’s enforcement reporting website.

Learn more about EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. Connect with us on Facebook and on X

Region 09

EPA Announces Settlement with Mosaic Fertilizer for Alleged Chemical Accident Prevention Violations at St. James, La., Facility

3 weeks ago

DALLAS, TEXAS (Feb. 6, 2024) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently finalized a settlement with Mosaic Fertilizer and Tampa Port Services over alleged violations of the chemical accident prevention provisions of the Clean Air Act at Mosaic’s facility in St. James, Louisiana. Under the settlement, the companies will pay more than $217,000 in civil penalties, install two ammonia gas monitors and donate equipment to the St. James Parish Emergency Response Department.

“Preventing chemical accidents is one of the most important goals of the Clean Air Act, which can only be fulfilled with the full participation and commitment of owners and operators of industrial facilities,” said Regional Administrator Dr. Earthea Nance. “Companies must prioritize safety for their workers and surrounding communities, and be held accountable when they violate these requirements.”

An on-site inspection found violations associated with Mosaic’s processing of granular monoammonium phosphate and diammonium phosphate and Tampa Port Services’ adjacent anhydrous ammonia process. Violations included failure to document required safety precautions and operating procedures, failure to promptly address recommendations of the process hazard analysis team and compliance audit, failure to train employees according to requirements, failure to implement written procedures for maintaining safety equipment, and failure to test and inspect certain process equipment.

Under the settlement, Mosaic and Tampa Port Services must correct violations and pay a civil penalty of $217, 085. They have also agreed to complete two supplemental environmental projects (SEPs) to benefit the St. James community—installing two area ammonia gas monitors for two years, and donating two 20-kilowatt generators to the St. James Parish Emergency Response Department.

Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act Amendments requires EPA to publish regulations and guidance for chemical accident prevention at facilities that use certain hazardous substances. These regulations and guidance are contained in the Risk Management Program rule, which requires facilities that use extremely hazardous substances to develop a Risk Management Plan which:

  • identifies the potential effects of a chemical accident,
  • identifies steps the facility is taking to prevent an accident, and
  • spells out emergency response procedures should an accident occur.

To learn more about the Clean Air Act’s accident prevention provisions, see https://www.epa.gov/rmp.


Connect with the Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 on Facebook, Twitter, or visit our homepage.

Region 06

EPA Reaches Settlement with Greenidge Generation LLC on Actions to Address Compliance with Coal Ash Regulations

3 weeks ago

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement under the Agency’s Coal Ash (Coal Combustion Residuals) program with the Greenidge Generation LLC, an electrical generating plant in Dresden, New York. This settlement, the first under EPA’s National Enforcement and Compliance Initiatives, commits Greenidge to address groundwater monitoring issues and to ensure the proper closure of a coal ash surface impoundment under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The company will also pay a fine of $105,000.

Produced primarily from the burning of coal in coal-fired power plants, coal ash, also referred to as Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR), is a large industrial waste stream by volume and can contain harmful levels of contaminants such as mercury, cadmium, arsenic, and cobalt. Prior to 2015, the management and disposal of coal ash was not regulated at the national level; instead, it was regulated to varying degrees, if at all, by some states under various programs.  Historic disposal occurred through placement in unlined surface impoundments and landfills.  Without proper containment and management, contaminants from coal ash can pollute waterways, groundwater, drinking water, and the air.

“Coal ash contamination wreaks havoc on the environment and drinking water systems, particularly in overburdened communities,” said David M. Uhlmann, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “EPA is committed to ensuring that coal ash surface impoundments and landfills operate and close in a manner that protects public health and the environment. This settlement is an important step forward in the federal government’s nationwide effort to ensure coal burning plants clean up the harmful effects of the toxic waste they produce.”

“EPA is working to ensure that companies comply with environmental regulations designed to protect public health, our lands and water resources,” said EPA Region 2 Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. “This settlement requires Greenidge to cease using, and close, its surface impoundment and to monitor groundwater at the facility to protect surrounding communities and determine whether further steps are required.”

Greenidge burns natural gas to generate electricity for its bitcoin mining operation, and also provides energy to the state’s electricity grid.

EPA alleges that Greenidge did not meet certain requirements under the coal ash program, including:

  • Failure to comply with certain groundwater monitoring system requirements.
  • Failure to adequately prepare annual groundwater monitoring and corrective action reports.
  • Failure to timely prepare initial closure and post closure plans for its coal ash impoundment.

The settlement requires Greenidge to assess groundwater contamination from the coal ash impoundment at its facility. Greenidge will conduct groundwater sampling and analysis, evaluate groundwater flow to determine if additional wells are needed, and update and implement a closure plan for the coal ash impoundment. Ultimately, if groundwater monitoring reveals contamination above the federal groundwater protection standards, Greenidge will be required by self-implementing regulation to design and implement a corrective action program to address the contamination.

To address the risks from disposal and discharge of coal ash, including leaking of contaminants into groundwater, blowing of contaminants into the air as dust, and the catastrophic failure of coal ash surface impoundments, in April 2015, EPA established national rules for coal ash management and disposal.  These rules establish a comprehensive set of requirements for the safe handling and disposal of coal ash from coal-fired power plants, which established technical requirements for coal ash landfills and surface impoundments.

EPA is increasing its efforts and working with its state partners to investigate compliance concerns at coal ash facilities around the nation to ensure compliance and protect the health of communities overburdened by pollution such as coal ash residuals.

For more information on coal ash and the Agency’s coal ash program activities, please visit EPA’s Coal Ash (CCR) website.

Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA)

United States and Commonwealth of Massachusetts Announce Settlement with City of Lowell to Address Pollution in Merrimack River

3 weeks 1 day ago

WASHINGTON – Today, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Justice Department and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts announced a settlement agreement with the City of Lowell, Massachusetts, requiring the city to reduce sewage discharges into the Merrimack River. Under the consent decree, Lowell will pay a $200,000 penalty for past violations.

A portion of Lowell’s wastewater collection system consists of sewers that convey sanitary sewage and stormwater runoff in a single pipe.  During wet weather, untreated combined sewage is discharged through combined sewer overflow (CSO) outfalls to the Merrimack River and its tributaries, including Beaver Brook and the Concord River. The Merrimack River is a drinking water source for several downstream communities. Today’s settlement requires work to separate wastewater and stormwater, which will minimize the number of times untreated sewage is released into nearby waters. 

Lowell will also implement a program to detect and eliminate illicit connections that discharge wastewater to the city’s stormwater system thereby reducing pollution in stormwater that flows into local streams and rivers. Lowell must also establish and implement city ordinances to help prevent stormwater runoff from construction and post construction sites.

The total cost to update the sewer system has been estimated at approximately $195 million.

This consent decree was the result of a joint enforcement action brought by the Justice Department on behalf of the EPA, and the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, on behalf of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

“For far too long the city of Lowell, Massachusetts has failed to protect the communities that rely on the Merrimack River and other water sources for their drinking water,” said Assistant Administrator David M. Uhlmann of EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Today’s settlement demonstrates EPA’s commitment to ensure cities and towns meet their obligations under the Clean Water Act to prevent the overflow of sewage, pollutants, and debris into our nation’s waterways.”

“Today’s settlement will result in cleaner and healthier water for the residents of Lowell and downstream communities, including some with environmental justice concerns, that rely on the Merrimack River for drinking water,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “The Justice Department is committed to upholding our nation’s water protection laws for the benefit all.” 

“With this consent decree, the City of Lowell is taking necessary steps to further protect Lowell’s historic river ecosystem and improve the quality of the Merrimack River for its residents,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell.  “These measures are critical as we continue our work to ensure that all of our residents live in a healthy and safe environment.”

“This settlement is good news for Lowell and for communities downstream who will be better able to enjoy healthful activities on and near the Merrimack River. The Merrimack flows through several historically disadvantaged communities, so this settlement is especially important for ensuring that all citizens can enjoy a clean and healthy environment,” said EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash. “EPA is committed to continuing our work to ensure that Massachusetts and New Hampshire citizens along the Merrimack River have clean and safe water. The timing of this is fortunate, as funding assistance available in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law may help defray costs borne by local ratepayers.”

“We are proud to have worked alongside our colleagues at the Attorney General’s Office and with our federal partners to make significant progress toward reducing contamination in the Merrimack River,” said Commissioner Bonnie Heiple of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. “The Healey-Driscoll Administration is committed to addressing complex issues like combined sewer overflows head-on, using all available tools – including technical support, funding, and enforcement – to promote better environmental and public health outcomes.”

This settlement is part of EPA’s continuing efforts to keep raw sewage and contaminated stormwater out of our nation’s waters. Raw sewage overflows and inadequately controlled stormwater discharges from municipal sewer systems introduce a variety of harmful pollutants, including disease causing organisms, metals and nutrients that threaten our communities’ water quality and can contribute to disease outbreaks, beach and shellfish bed closings, flooding, stream scouring, fishing advisories and basement backups of sewage.

Lowell owns and, through the Lowell Regional Wastewater Utility, operates the Duck Island Clean Water Facility, a 32 million gallon per day secondary wastewater treatment facility that discharges to the Merrimack River. The treatment facility treats wastewater not only from Lowell but also from the Towns of Chelmsford, Dracut, Tewksbury and Tyngsboro, Massachusetts.

Lowell had previously signed a consent decree with the federal government and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1988 to address its illegal CSO discharges. While several interim actions have taken place, Lowell has not yet fully complied with the federal and state environmental statutes. More information on EPA’s efforts to address water quality issues can be found on the agency’s Merrimack River website.

The Justice Department’s Environmental Enforcement Section filed today’s proposed consent decree in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. It is subject to a 30-day public comment period and court approval. A copy of the consent decree will be available on the Justice Department’s website.

Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA)

EPA to Review Cleanups at Five New Hampshire Superfund Sites this Year

3 weeks 5 days ago

BOSTON (Feb. 1, 2024) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will conduct comprehensive reviews of completed cleanup work at five National Priorities List (NPL) Superfund sites in New Hampshire this year.

Each individual site will undergo a legally required Five-Year Review to ensure that previous remediation efforts at the sites continue to protect public health and the environment. Once the Five-Year Review is complete, its findings will be posted to EPA's website in a final report.

"Every step of the process at a Superfund site is critical and reflects a commitment we make with local communities to be as thorough as possible. Cleaning up hazardous waste sites takes extensive time and effort, and these Five-Year Reviews allow EPA to ensure our cleanup efforts continue to protect public health and the environment, while keeping everyone informed and accountable, especially in those communities that have been overburdened by industrial pollution." said EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash. "EPA continues to evaluate these cleanups, with the overarching mission to protect public health and the environment and ensuring that New Hampshire communities will continue to be protected."

In 2024 EPA will conduct Five-Year Reviews at the below listed sites. The included web links provide detailed information on site status as well as past assessment and cleanup activity.

Five-Year Reviews of Superfund sites in New Hampshire to be completed in 2024:

Sylvester, Nashua

Ottati & Goss/Kingston Steel Drum, Kingston

Tinkham Garage, Londonderry

Pease Air Force Base, Portsmouth & Newington

Five-Year Reviews of Superfund sites in New Hampshire to begin in 2024, to be completed in Fiscal Year 2025:
New Hampshire Plating Co., Merrimack

More information:

The Superfund program, a federal program established by Congress in 1980, investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled, or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country and EPA endeavors to facilitate activities to return them to productive use. In total, there are 123 Superfund sites across New England.

Superfund and other cleanup sites in New England (pdf) (91.4 KB)

EPA's Superfund program

Region 01

EPA to Review Cleanup at Woodstock, Connecticut Superfund Site this Year

3 weeks 5 days ago

BOSTON (Feb. 1, 2024) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will conduct a comprehensive review of completed cleanup work at the Linemaster Switch Corporation National Priorities List (NPL) Superfund site in Woodstock, Connecticut this year.
Each individual site will undergo a legally required Five-Year Review to ensure that previous remediation efforts at the sites continue to protect public health and the environment. Once the Five-Year Review is complete, its findings will be posted to EPA's website in a final report.

"Every step of the process at a Superfund site is critical and reflects a commitment we make with local communities to be as thorough as possible. Cleaning up hazardous waste sites takes extensive time and effort, and these Five-Year Reviews allow EPA to ensure our cleanup efforts continue to protect public health and the environment, while keeping everyone informed and accountable, especially in those communities that have been overburdened by industrial pollution." said EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash. "EPA continues to evaluate these cleanups, with the overarching mission to protect public health and the environment and ensuring that Connecticut communities will continue to be protected."

In 2024 EPA will conduct Five-Year Reviews at the below listed sites. The included web links provide detailed information on site status as well as past assessment and cleanup activity.

Five-Year Reviews of Superfund site in Connecticut to be completed in 2024:

Linemaster Switch Corp., Woodstock

More information:

The Superfund program, a federal program established by Congress in 1980, investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled, or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country and EPA endeavors to facilitate activities to return them to productive use. In total, there are 123 Superfund sites across New England.

Superfund and other cleanup sites in New England (pdf) (91.4 KB)

EPA's Superfund program

Region 01

EPA to Review Cleanup at Saco, Maine Superfund Site this Year

3 weeks 5 days ago

BOSTON (Feb. 1, 2024) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will conduct a comprehensive review of completed cleanup work at the Saco Tannery Waste Pits National Priorities List (NPL) Superfund site in Saco, Maine this year.

Each individual site will undergo a legally required Five-Year Review to ensure that previous remediation efforts at the sites continue to protect public health and the environment. Once the Five-Year Review is complete, its findings will be posted to EPA's website in a final report. 

"Every step of the process at a Superfund site is critical and reflects a commitment we make with local communities to be as thorough as possible. Cleaning up hazardous waste sites takes extensive time and effort, and these Five-Year Reviews allow EPA to ensure our cleanup efforts continue to protect public health and the environment, while keeping everyone informed and accountable, especially in those communities that have been overburdened by industrial pollution." said EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash. "EPA continues to evaluate these cleanups, with the overarching mission to protect public health and the environment and ensuring that Maine communities will continue to be protected."

In 2024 EPA will conduct Five-Year Reviews at the below listed sites. The included web links provide detailed information on site status as well as past assessment and cleanup activity.

Five-Year Reviews of Superfund site in Maine to be completed in 2024:

Saco Tannery Waste Pits, Saco

More information:

The Superfund program, a federal program established by Congress in 1980, investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled, or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country and EPA endeavors to facilitate activities to return them to productive use. In total, there are 123 Superfund sites across New England.

Superfund and other cleanup sites in New England (pdf) (91.4 KB)

EPA's Superfund program

Region 01
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