Compliance and Enforcement Annual Results:
FY2006 Land Case Highlights
FY2006 Annual Results Topics
Under EPA's preventative programs, such as the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Subtitle C (hazardous waste) and Subtitle I (underground storage tanks), EPA utilizes a regulatory framework establishing provisions to fully protect human health and the environment. EPA's clean up enforcement program establishes environmental cleanup liability to encourage the clean up and sustainable reuse and redevelopment of property, such as brownfields. EPA uses a number of laws and regulations, including Superfund and RCRA Corrective Action, independently and in combination, to address specific cleanup situations.
Criminal Enforcement Cases
The Superfund statute (officially the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, "CERCLA") provides EPA with multiple authorities to achieve cleanup and payment for cleanup at Superfund sites. EPA reaches cleanup agreements through negotiation with parties that have been identified as having had association with the site and potentially have liability as a result of that association.
The following are major cases concluded in FY2006:
EaglePicher Multi-Regional Bankruptcy Settlement The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Ohio approved several settlement agreements totaling over $16 million with EPA and the states of Michigan, Oklahoma, Illinois, Kansas, and EaglePicher, to address environmental concerns at four contaminated properties in Michigan, Ohio and Illinois. EaglePicher, which owns numerous plants throughout the country, filed for bankruptcy on April 11, 2005. Under these agreements, EaglePicher will transfer title of the contaminated properties to a custodial trust and set aside $16.5 million to fund the trust. The affected properties and their cleanup will be administered by a court-appointed trustee.
Many Diversified Interests (MDI) Superfund Site, Houston, Texas EPA entered into an administrative agreement with Clinton Gregg Investments, Ltd, to perform all remedial design/remedial action work at the Many Diversified Interests (MDI) Superfund Site located in Houston, Texas. As a result of this agreement, lead contamination on the site will be cleaned up to residential use standards. This is the first agreement in which a bona fide prospective purchaser, a purchaser who is protected from prosecution under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, will perform the work at a Superfund Site. EPA has spent $4.4 million at the MDI Site. The estimated cost of the future on-site work to be performed pursuant to the record of decision for operable unit one, is approximately $6.6 million. The proposed new use of the site, following completion of all work in the Agreed Order, will be mixed residential/commercial use development.
San Gabriel Valley (Area 4) City of Industry Superfund Site, Puente Valley, California Carrier Corporation and its parent company, United Technologies, Inc., will clean up contaminated groundwater at the Puente Valley Operable Unit of the San Gabriel Valley Superfund Site in Southern California. Carrier Corp. will spend an estimated $26.5 million to build a groundwater cleanup system that will involve the installation of wells to pump out contaminated groundwater and prevent it from continuing to migrate. As part of the settlement, Carrier Corp./United Technologies will spend an additional $1.5 million for past response costs and civil penalties, a supplemental environmental project associated with the contaminated groundwater at the site, and to monitor upgradient contamination for a total commitment of $28 million.
Sheboygan River and Harbor Superfund Site, Sheboygan, Wisconsin A settlement was reached with Tecumseh Products Company to cleanup a portion of the Sheboygan River and Harbor Superfund Site. This site is a complex polychlorinated biphenyls contaminated river consisting of three portions: the “Upper River,” “Lower River” and “Harbor.” Tecumseh is the sole party responsible for the Upper River portion of the Site, which is being addressed pursuant to this settlement. Cleanup work at the Upper River portion is estimated to cost approximately $30 million. This innovative agreement is a work-party substitution settlement that is expected to be a model for future settlements. Under this agreement, Pollution Risk Services and an insurance company, Chubb Corporation, assume Tecumseh’s responsibility to clean up the upper portion of the river. [More Information]
Upper Columbia River Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study, Washington State EPA, DOJ and Teck Cominco entered into an agreement to fund a remedial investigation and feasibility (RI/FS) study of the Upper Columbia River Site, to be conducted under EPA oversight and with the participation of the U.S. Department of Interior, Washington State, the Colville Confederated Tribes and the Spokane Tribe of Indians. The purpose of the RI/FS is to investigate the nature and extent of contamination at the Site, provide information for EPA's Baseline Risk Assessment, and develop and evaluate potential remedial alternatives. A large swath of the Columbia River in Washington State has been contaminated by the company’s operations just over the border in Canada. Some provisions in the agreement include $20 million in escrow to ensure there are sufficient funds to finance the study, dispute resolution and judicial review, upfront payment for EPA oversight and monies for the involvement of Washington State, the Colville Tribes, the Spokane Tribe, and the Department of Interior.
White King /Lucky Lass Superfund Site, Lakeview County, Oregon On January 20, 2006, a Consent Decree with Kerr McGee Corporation, Western Nuclear Corporation and Fremont Lumber was entered for the White King/Lucky Lass Superfund Site. The site includes two abandoned uranium mines, and is contaminated with arsenic and radionuclides. The settling defendants agreed to perform the cleanup work and pay most of EPA's past costs and future oversight costs associated with clean up of the site. The estimated cost of the remedy is $7.9 million. The settling defendants agreed to pay the U.S. Forest Service $2.7 million toward its claim of more than $5 million. Also, the settling defendants agreed to pay a $50,000 penalty and perform a supplemental environmental project benefitting wetlands with an estimated cost of $299,000.
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulates hazardous and non-hazardous wastes. The law establishes a system for controlling hazardous waste from the time it is generated until its ultimate disposal. Facilities that generate, treat, store, or dispose of hazardous waste are regulated under RCRA. RCRA also mandates when action is needed to clean up contamination at a facility.
The following major case was concluded this fiscal year.
Giant Yorktown, Grafton, Virginia EPA entered an Administrative Order with Giant Yorktown, Incorporated. Giant is the current owner/operator of a hazardous waste management facility in Grafton, Virginia. The plant produces unleaded gasoline, diesel fuels, liquefied petroleum gas, butane, furnace oil, petroleum coke, and sulfur and has the capacity to refine approximately 56,000 barrels of crude oil per day. The Order requires Giant to design and implement the remedial action selected by EPA for the facility. Giant Yorktown must prepare a detailed written cost estimate of the total costs of the corrective action required by the Order and to establish and maintain a performance guarantee in the amount of the estimated cost of the work. It is one of the first corrective action orders based on the new model financial assurance language which requires the facility owner to establish and maintain financial assurance for the total cost of completing the remedy.
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Subtitle I regulates underground storage tanks that store petroleum and hazardous substances which can leak into the soil and groundwater, in addition to underground structures, such as basements and subways in densely populated areas causing serious environmental harm and threatening public health.
The following is a major case concluded this fiscal year 2006:
Carroll Independent Fuel (Carroll) settled self-disclosed violations of the underground storage tank provisions of RCRA at 32 facilities under a September 2006 administrative agreement. Carroll will pay a $280,000 civil penalty and spend $480,000 on supplemental environmental projects. In exchange for Carroll’s performance of a third party audit and disclosure to EPA, violations were resolved through reduced penalties. This settlement is the last in a series which addresses more than 60 Carroll facilities in Maryland.
City of New York resolved violations of the underground storage tank provisions of RCRA for its over 1,600 underground storage tanks in over 400 locations throughout the City and will bring all its storage tank systems into compliance under a March 2006 settlement. The City will pay a $1.3 million civil penalty and spend an estimated $500,000 or more to implement a centralized monitoring plan. The centralized monitoring plan would monitor from a centralized location the release detection for all the underground storage tank systems operated by the City’s Police, Fire and Transportation Departments. This Plan goes beyond what is required by EPA’s regulations.
Tanana Oil was ordered to permanently close tanks, perform a site assessment and take corrective action for contamination caused by Tanana/Tri-Angle at their abandoned gas station facility located in Edgemere, Maryland under an April 2006 Judicial Default Order and Judgment. Tanana must also pay a $745,000 penalty.
Federal Facilities Enforcement
EPA holds the federal government accountable for compliance with environmental laws and regulations. This includes federal legislative branch organizations as well as federal executive branch departments and agencies.
The following major case was concluded this year:
Architect of the Capitol Settlement In settling a RCRA enforcement action with the Architect of the Capitol, EPA established that federal legislative entities are accountable for compliance with environmental laws and regulations. The Architect is responsible for maintaining and preserving the U.S. Capitol, the Library of Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court and surrounding buildings. The Architect agreed to operate as a RCRA large quantity generator and to improve training of its employees. The Architect will send information to other organizations operating in the U.S. Capitol complex to either apply for their own RCRA identification numbers or use the Architect’s waste management services. The Architect will also pay a $58,500 penalty.
This demonstrates that legislative entities’ need to adhere to environmental laws and regulations like other regulated entities. Second, it shows that EPA is sensitive to the security needs of governmental agencies by respecting the U.S. Capitol Police’s requests to keep certain information confidential.
Hazardous Waste Disposal
Federal and state governments have regulatory systems in place to help ensure the safe handling and disposal of hazardous wastes, which can, if not dealt with properly, cause fires, explosions and contamination of both groundwater and surface waters.
The following major cases were concluded this fiscal year.
Behzad Kahoolyzadeh was sentenced to 37 months in jail and $1.29 million in cleanup costs for conspiracy to improperly store and transport dangerous chemicals, primarily the dry cleaning solvent perchloroethylene (PERC). Kahoolyzadeh was associated with AAD Distribution and Dry Cleaning Services, Inc., one of the largest handlers of dry cleaning waste in California until it was shut down in January 2001. The company charged dry cleaners to pick up, treat and arrange for the disposal of a hazardous dry cleaning compound known as PERC, a cancer-causing chemical that is the number one contaminant of groundwater in Southern California. In order to hide permit violations from city and state inspectors, Kahoolyzadeh and his partners conspired to load drums filled with PERC waste onto trucks before inspections, ship them off-site, and then store them at other facilities that were not permitted to store hazardous wastes. The manifests for these shipments were falsified to conceal these illegal shipments. [More Information]
Joel D. Udell and two affiliated businesses, Pyramid Chemical Sales Co. and Nittany Warehouse LP, were sentenced to pay more than $2 million in restitution and fines for mishandling hazardous wastes in Pottstown, Pennsylvania., and in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, between 1998 and 2000. In addition, Udell must spend six months in home confinement under electronic monitoring and perform 500 hours of community service. The defendants pled guilty to storing hazardous waste without a permit at the former Nittany Warehouse in Pottstown, Pennsylvania., from May 1998 to early 2001, exporting hazardous waste outside the United States without consent of the receiving country, and transporting hazardous waste without manifests and to unpermitted facilities in 2000. Local authorities attempted to get Udell to improve storage of thousands of containers of chemicals, including flammable, corrosive and toxic material stored in deteriorated or broken containers and bags. EPA wound up forcing the defendants to perform a Superfund clean up from July, 2000 to early 2001. During that period, the defendants shipped 29 forty-foot containers of aging chemicals to Rotterdam. The containers stayed at the port for three years when the Dutch refused to permit them to be reshipped because of their poor condition, and the defendants refused to have them repackaged and returned to the United States. The restitution imposed as part of the sentences covers the port operators costs for storing the chemicals for three years, the Dutch government’s costs in incinerating almost 300 tons of chemicals at the end of 2003, and EPA’s costs in overseeing the warehouse clean up in Pottstown. [More Information]