ABX Air, Inc., Agrees to Pay $85,000 Penalty for Hazardous Waste Violations

August 15, 2003

Ohio EPA has reached a settlement with ABX Air, Inc., (ABX) for violations of hazardous waste management laws at its production facility in Wilmington, Ohio. The company agreed to pay an $85,000 civil penalty in large part for failure to receive certification for the installation of two hazardous waste tanks. Independent certification ensures that tanks have been correctly installed and meet all applicable engineering requirements.

ABX operates its general maintenance facility at the site. As part of these operations, the company generates rinse water sludge, paint waste and plating wastes and stores the wastes in tanks and other containers. On January 17, 2001, Ohio EPA inspected the facility and determined that ABX had failed to obtain a written certification for rinse water storage tanks.

The company also failed to meet minimum requirements for secondary containment. Secondary containment is required to ensure hazardous waste would not be released into the environment if the primary system fails. There is no evidence that any product was released to the environment.

ABX has corrected the violations by receiving certification for the tank system, installing secondary containment in the form of a trench system and agreeing to conduct daily visual inspections of the system.

The $85,000, payable no later than August 25, 2003, will be deposited in the state hazardous waste cleanup fund. A complete copy of the findings and orders is available at http://www.epa.state.oh.us/dhwm/pdf/07-28-03ABXAir.pdf.

EPA Proposes Penalty Against Arkansas Company for Underground Storage Tank Violations

On July 25, 2003, EPA issued an administrative penalty order (complaint) against Cecil Dale, Jr., Wholesale Distributor, Inc., proposing a $260,264 penalty for 54 alleged underground storage tank (UST) violations.

The violations were from 18 underground storage tanks owned and/or operated by the company, located at five different facilities in Arkansas (listed below). The action resulted from joint compliance inspections conducted by EPA and the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) in January and February 2002.

EPA cited the company for failure to meet the December 1998 upgrade or closure deadline, failure to provide adequate corrosion protection for piping on new and existing systems, failure to provide adequate release detection for tanks, failure to provide adequate release detection for piping, placing product in a UST without registering the UST with the ADEQ, failure to have adequate financial assurance, and failure to meet new tank standards upon installation.

Although no releases were observed during the inspection, maintaining corrosion protection and determining each month whether an underground storage tank system is leaking are important requirements. Without these protections, leaks can occur undetected.

More than half of the drinking water in the United States is obtained from groundwater. One gallon of gasoline can contaminate approximately five million gallons of drinking water.

Leaks may cause significant contamination to the soil and groundwater and other related hazards such as explosions. Also, the cost of cleanup increases with the duration of an undetected leak, which may be billed to taxpayers.

The company is headquartered in Russellville, Ark. The five facilities cited in the complaint include:

- Pepper Pan Food Mart, Conway, Ark.,
- Paris Exxon, Paris, Ark.,
- Pepper Pan Food Mart, Dardanelle, Ark.
- Pepper Pan Food Mart, Danville, Ark., and
- Plainview Superette, Plainview, Ark.

A copy of the complaint is available at http://www.epa.gov/region6/6xa/cecildale_ao_final.pdf.

EPA Performance Track Criteria to be Considered in Assessments by International Investment Advisory Firm

Innovest Strategic Value Advisors, an investment advisory firm which rates companies on several issues, including the environment, will use the criteria within EPA's Performance Track Program to develop their ratings.

The Innovest ratings are considered by investors of the subject companies. In the Performance Track program, companies are rewarded for consistently exceeding regulatory requirements, working closely with communities, and excelling in protecting the environment and public health. Among the Performance Track considerations is a demonstration by companies of a solid understanding of environmental management issues and a commitment to report on results. Innovest has found that companies demonstrating strong environmental performance and a commitment to environmental improvement usually are well managed overall.

Currently, 46 Performance Track members are rated in Innovest's sector-specific industry reports for pharmaceuticals, auto parts and equipment, manufacturing, chemicals and forest products, among others.

EPA Issues Policy Regarding the Role of the EPA Inspector in Providing Compliance Assistance During Inspections

On June 25, 2003, EPA issued a policy regarding the role of the EPA inspector in providing compliance assistance during inspections. Although applicable to EPA, it may be of interest to small businesses who receive EPA inspectors at their facilities. The Policy's major points include:

  • EPA compliance inspectors are encouraged to provide appropriate general, and limited site-specific, compliance assistance, consistent with the primary purpose of compliance determination. The Policy provides examples of general and site-specific compliance assistance.
  • The Policy is not intended to address every inspection scenario or situation. The Policy does not supplant the need for prudent judgement by EPA inspectors, based on their knowledge, experience, and expertise.
  • EPA inspectors should not provide site-specific interpretive technical assistance during compliance inspections.
  • EPA inspectors should not provide site-specific interpretive legal assistance during compliance inspections.
  • EPA inspectors should not make applicability determinations in the field.
  • Specific activities occurring during the inspection should be documented and reported after the inspection, including potential violations, actions taken to address potential violations, and compliance assistance provided.
  • Facilities receiving compliance assistance are not shielded from possible enforcement actions for violations identified during the compliance inspection.

If you have any questions, contact the Compliance Assessment and Media Programs Division (CAMPD) at (202) 564-2300. Download the memo and Final Policy at http://www.smallbiz-enviroweb.org/html/pdf/epapolicy_inspector_role_062503.pdf

Bush Taps Utah Governor Mike Leavitt as Next EPA Administrator

President Bush has announced his intention to nominate Utah Governor Mike Leavitt as the next Administrator of the U.S. EPA.

"I selected Mike Leavitt because he is a trusted friend, a capable executive and a man who understands the obligations of environmental stewardship," said President Bush. "With the Senate's approval, Mike Leavitt will lead an Agency with 18,000 dedicated employees in offices all across our country. The work of the EPA is vital and reflects a national consensus on the importance of good stewardship."

Governor Leavitt is currently the longest serving state chief executive in the country, having served as Utah's governor since 1993. He is the former chair of the National Governors Association, the Western Governors Association, the Republican Governors Association and the Council of State Governments. Leavitt is also a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council and chairs the state and local government subcommittee.

Prior to being elected to governor, Mr. Leavitt worked in the Leavitt Group, a regional insurance firm. He eventually became president and chief executive officer of the company, establishing it as one of the top insurance brokers in America. He also was a member of the Utah State Board of Regents, overseeing the state's nine colleges and universities. Governor Leavitt earned his bachelor's degree in economics and business from Southern Utah State University.

"I look forward to welcoming Governor Leavitt to the Agency as EPA Administrator," said Acting EPA Administrator Marianne Horinko. "This is a great Agency with an important mission – to protect human health and the environment. Governor Leavitt will enjoy working with the dedicated and passionate people here, as I do. We will do everything we can to help facilitate a smooth and speedy transition, and will work with Governor Leavitt to achieve the important environmental goals put forth by this Administration."

EPA Seeks $28,000 Penalty from NY Hazardous Waste Transporter

EPA announced it is seeking a penalty of $28,820 from a transport company for allegedly violating environmental laws regulating the transport and export of hazardous wastes from the United States to Canada. EPA’s complaint claims that Frank’s Vacuum Truck Services Inc. of Niagara Falls, New York, violated the Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest regulations of the federal Resource and Conservation Recovery Act on numerous occasions while transporting hazardous wastes from the United States into Canada.

The regulations regarding hazardous waste manifests are intended to track the movement of these wastes from generators to disposal sites, and to create clear lines of accountability among all participants to ensure that these wastes are properly managed during transportation.

According to EPA’s complaint, Frank’s Vacuum Services Inc. failed to properly indicate on several manifests its acknowledgment of receipt of hazardous waste shipments from the generator prior to transport, and failed to properly complete 124 manifests when leaving the jurisdiction of the United States and entering Canada at the U.S./Canadian border.

EPA randomly reviews manifests from transboundary shippers to determine if violations exist.