Compliance and Enforcement Annual Results:
FY2007 Land Case Highlights
FY2007 Annual Results Topics
EPA's enforcement program protects human health and the environment by preventing the improper management and release of regulated substances and hazardous waste, and requiring those responsible for a hazardous waste site to either clean up or reimburse EPA for its cleanup. Under EPA's preventative programs, the agency utilizes a regulatory framework that relies upon compliance with the requirements and enforcement where there is a failure to comply. EPA pursues liability for violations which promote the cleanup and sustainable reuse and redevelopment of land.
Criminal Enforcement Cases
In Fiscal Year 2007, EPA reaped the benefits of its vigorous pursuit of past and future costs in several bankruptcy proceedings.
The following are major cases concluded this fiscal year 2007:
CMC Heartland Partners, et al.,
CMC Heartland Partners in the bankruptcy liquidation of CMC Heartland Partners, et al., the debtors originally proposed to abandon 56 potentially environmentally impacted properties, but the U.S. ultimately reached an agreement under which the debtors agreed to investigate and clean up any properties determined to be imminent and identifiable threats prior to abandonment, at the cost to the estate.
EaglePicher Carefree Battery Site
EaglePicher Carefree Battery Site in April 2007 the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Ohio ruled in EPA's favor regarding EPA's $23.6 million future response cost estimate for cleaning up the soil and groundwater at the site in Socorro, New Mexico. The court reduced the past and future costs to a final, total allowable claim amount of approximately $9.1 million in accordance with the terms of the 1996 settlement agreement from EaglePicher's first bankruptcy. [More Information]
Passaic River in July 2007, the United States reached a favorable settlement with Marcal, a paper recycling company responsible for discharges of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxin into the Passiac River. The U.S. filed a proof of claim under CERCLA in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding against Marcal on June 14, 2007. Marcal quickly filed a motion to expunge the claim and sought relief from the court, which ordered an estimation hearing to determine the value of EPA’s claims. On the first day of the hearing, the U.S. reached a settlement with the debtor for a $3 million allowed, unsecured claim. [More Information]
Federal Facilities Enforcement Cases
Air Force Plant 44
EPA issued a Safe Drinking Water Act order for Raytheon and the Air Force to clean up a migrating plume of contaminated groundwater, which threatens the drinking water for the city of Tucson, Arizona. The Raytheon Company currently operates the site. The order requires both Raytheon and the Air Force to install and operate a new treatment system to effectively deal with the contamination. [More Information]
Department of Energy, Hanford
EPA assessed stipulated penalties totaling $1.14 million against the U.S. Department of Energy for violations of the Hanford Superfund cleanup agreement. This enforcement action addressed a number of significant operational concerns – primarily proper inspection and testing to ensure safe operation and cleanup of the site – which EPA identified at the site, located in eastern Washington.
EPA issued a unilateral order to the Army. This order was necessary to assert EPA’s oversight authority for the work being done at the site. The order requires the Army to assess the nature and extent of the contamination, and to determine and implement appropriate corrective measures to protect human health and the environment. EPA also issued an Administrative Order on Consent to the Department of the Interior which owns part of the site. Fort Meade is located in Maryland. [More Information]
EPA signed an important Federal Facility Agreement (FFA) with the Department of Energy (DOE) for the long-term maintenance of this former nuclear production site. While cleanup at DOE's Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site near Denver, Colorado is virtually complete, in 2007, EPA, DOE and the state of Colorado successfully negotiated an agreement addressing the long-term post construction management of the site. Historically, Rocky Flats made components for nuclear weapons using various radioactive and hazardous materials, including plutonium, uranium and beryllium. Nearly 40 years of nuclear weapons production left behind a legacy of contaminated facilities, soils and ground water.
This agreement transitions the site from active cleanup to long-term land use institutional controls that include surveillance and monitoring. These controls are designed to ensure that the remedy continues to be protective of human health and the environment.
The EPA and Navy signed an agreement for the Roosevelt Roads site, a former naval facility near San Juan, Puerto Rico. The agreement includes the transfer of 3,333 acres of wetlands and other conservation areas,1,851 acres for airport and port-related operations, and 291 acres for economic development purposes to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and to local municipal governments. [More Information]
Veterans Health Administration, New England
Veterans Health Administration in a settlement with EPA, the U.S. Veterans Health Administration committed to implementing a comprehensive hazardous waste and chemicals management inventory system at all Veterans Administration facilities in New England. The VA is developing the system to settle an EPA enforcement action for hazardous waste violations at the VA’s medical center in White River Junction, Vermont.
The system will incorporate hazardous waste pollution reduction measures into a comprehensive software system that tracks chemical purchase, use, storage and disposal. The hazardous waste management tracking system will be piloted in all VA hospitals in New England. If successful, the system could be applied to other VA hospitals and health centers, as well as for other private and public hospitals across the country. The waste management system will cost at least $500,000. Under the settlement, the VA paid a penalty of $49,748. [More Information]
Vieques/Atlantic Fleet Weapons Training Area
EPA, the Navy, Department of Interior and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico successfully negotiated and signed an FFA at Vieques, an island off the coast and under the jurisdiction of Puerto Rico and which is currently owned and/or operated by both the Departments of Navy and Interior. The provisions in the law that provide for these enforceable agreements were created to ensure that government agencies can coordinate the clean-up properly. Vieques was used for naval training from the 1940s until 2003, when the Navy ceased operations and transferred some property to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Vieques land transfer creates the largest national wildlife refuge in the Caribbean. The Vieques National Wildlife Refuge includes habitat for threatened and endangered sea turtles, subtropical dry forest, mangrove lagoons, salt flats and a bioluminescent bay. [More Information]
Pesticides are regulated under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) which establishes regulatory standards for the manufacture, sale, distribution and use of pesticides and pesticide devices. Compliance with FIFRA's regulations helps ensure that people and the environment are protected from harmful impacts of pesticides. Recent advances in pesticide technology have created a significant increase in the development, registration and use of genetically engineered plant incorporated pesticides as well as other new generation chemicals. EPA pursues enforcement actions against companies or individuals who fail to comply with the requirements of FIFRA.
The following is a major case concluded in fiscal year 2007:
Syngenta Seeds, Inc.
Syngenta Seeds, Inc. of Golden Valley, Minn., entered into a Consent Agreement to pay a $1.5 million penalty to EPA for selling and distributing seed corn that contained an unregistered genetically engineered pesticide called Bt 10. The case originated from a 2004 disclosure by Syngenta to EPA that it may have distributed the seed corn to the United States, Europe and South America. Immediately following the disclosure, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and EPA began an investigation and evaluation that confirmed distribution of the unregistered seed corn on over 1000 occasions. An additional penalty was assessed by USDA and the company destroyed all the affected seed under USDA supervision.
In FY 2007 EPA entered into several privatization agreements to address contamination at federal facilities. Privatization is a redevelopment initiative under which a federal agency transfers ownership of a contaminated parcel to a private entity, but provides the funds to that party, who implement the cleanup. EPA enters into an agreement with the private party performing the work and oversees the cleanup.
Fort Ord, Monterey, California
EPA, DOJ, the State of California, and the Fort Ord Reuse Authority (FORA) negotiated a large privatization agreement wherein the U.S. Army will give FORA $99 million to do additional cleanup of unexploded ordnance at Fort Ord in Monterey, California. On December 29, 2006, EPA, FORA, DOJ and California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control signed an administrative order on consent (AOC) to govern the oversight of FORA's remediation work. Under the privatization plan, the U.S. Army will transfer to FORA, a non-liable party, 3,484 acres for clean up, with oversight by EPA and the State of California. This action completes the transfer of Fort Ord properties to local governments. The contaminant being addressed is Munitions and Explosives of Concern (MEC). As required by the AOC, FORA will conduct additional remedial investigation and feasibility studies and the Army, along with EPA, will select the long-term cleanup remedy.
McClellan Air Force Base, California
EPA, the California Department of Toxic Substance Control, the United States Air Force, Sacramento County and McClellan Business Park have joined forces to create the first privatized cleanup of a federally owned Superfund site in the nation. Privatization is a redevelopment initiative under which a Federal Agency transfers ownership of a contaminated parcel to a private entity, but provides the funds to that party, who implements the cleanup. EPA enters into an agreement with the private party performing the work, and oversees the cleanup.
At this site, Sacramento County will receive funding from the Air Force ($11.3 million) through an Environmental Services Cooperative Agreement to perform cleanup actions at a 62-acre parcel on the former base. The County will then contract with McClellan Business Park to implement the cleanup. EPA has entered into an Administrative Order on Consent with McClellan Business Park, under which McClellan Business Park will perform the cleanup.
Under the Superfund law, the military service that operated the base is responsible for implementing the cleanup. The work is done with oversight by EPA and state regulatory agencies under a Federal Facilities Agreement. Even under privatization, the United States Air Force is ultimately responsible to ensure that the site is cleaned up.
The former McClellan Air Force Base, a 3000-acre facility located in Sacramento, California, was placed on the EPA’s National Priorities List in 1987. McClellan was slated for closure under the Base Realignment and Closure Act in 1995 and shuttered in 2001. [More Information]
RCRA Corrective Actions
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. [More Information]
The following is a major case concluded this fiscal year 2007:
Chevron Cincinnati Refinery, Hooven, Ohio
On November 1, 2006, EPA issued an Administrative Order on Consent to the former Chevron refinery located near Hooven, Ohio for cleanup of groundwater, prevention of releases of petroleum to the Great Miami River, and soil vapor extraction of petroleum hydrocarbon vapors in the Town of Hooven. The pumping of groundwater pursuant to the order already has removed approximately 60,000 gallons of liquids that are lighter than water, which causes them to float on top of the water. The November 2006 order is the third and final consent agreement for remediation of Chevron’s Cincinnati refinery. The value of the work performed by Chevron pursuant to the November 2006 order is projected to be worth over $20 million. The total value of the work for all three agreements is estimated to be worth $100 million.
EPA regulates solid and hazardous wastes under authority of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. When improper management of hazardous or solid wastes present a real or potential threat to human health or the environment, RCRA section 7003 authority can be used to order immediate remedial action to correct the situation.
The following are major cases concluded in this fiscal year 2007:
Doe Run Resources Corporation
EPA entered into a RCRA 7003 administrative order on consent with The Doe Run Resources Corporation to implement specific work practices to reduce the release of lead onto public roads. The order applied to transportation of lead ore and concentrate from Doe Run facilities in southeast Missouri. Doe Run agreed to install and operate enclosed vehicle wash stations at all facilities where concentrate, ore and leading-barring materials are transferred on or off vehicles; clean 70 feet of roadway from the exit of each vehicle wash station three times a day; ensure that all trucks transporting lead materials are equipped with liners and other equipment to prevent release of materials; implement a truck inspection procedures for trucks hauling these materials; and periodically perform residential and street sampling and submit this data to EPA. These activities will reduce lead by 342,120 pounds, zinc by 110, 970 pounds and copper, cadmium and arsenic together by 23,708 pounds. It will cost Doe Run $55,300,00 to effect these reductions.
HPI Products, Inc.
HPI Products, Inc., a pesticide manufacturer, was issued three RCRA Section 7003 orders to address extreme threats to human health and the environment at three separate warehouse facilities in Missouri. EPA’s investigations discovered serious violations of RCRA’s storage and disposal regulations, including large quantities of improperly stored and leaking hazardous wastes at each of the three facilities. The orders mandated proper treatment and disposal of the wastes. Compliance with the orders will result in proper disposal of approximately 5-6 million pounds of wastes from the pesticide manufacturing process, expired chemicals, and off-spec pesticides.
Puerto Rico Open Dumps
Puerto Rico Open Dumps using RCRA section 7003 authority, four significantly large, unregulated open dumps located in Puerto Rico were ordered to close operations. The dumps operating under the names Florida Municipal Solid Waste Landfill, Vega Baja Municipal Solid Waste Landfill, Aquadilla Municipal Solid Waste Landfill and Santa Isabella Municipal Solid Waste Landfill, were required under the orders to cap the landfills and treat storm water and leachate on-site. Projected injunctive relief and supplemental environmental project (SEP) value is estimated to amount to $37.5 million.
Tribal - Lawson Brothers / Torlaw Realty
On March 21, 2007, a federal district court in Riverside, California, ruled that defendants Kim Lawson and Torlaw Realty are liable for penalties and damages resulting from their illegal operation of an open dump on the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indian Reservation in Thermal, California, which caused an imminent and substantial endangerment due to periodic burning of waste. The Court assessed penalties for violations of a RCRA 7003 order in the amount of $2,362,000. Additionally, the Court ruled that the United States was entitled to damages under RCRA and the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ (BIA) trespass and ejectment actions in an amount up to $42,800,000. This amount includes all response, abatement and cleanup costs related to the open dump, including $1.8 million in fire response costs. This action began in 2003 with the coordinated issuance of a RCRA 7003 order and a BIA cease and desist order. The dump began operating in 1992 and by 2007 the dump encompassed 40 acres and contained 1 million cubic yards of waste including green waste, construction demolitions debris, plastics, automobiles, computers, household garbage, vehicle parts, compressed gas cylinders, insulation and CCA (chromated copper arsenate) treated wood.
EPA settled an action to enforce a 7003 order against WCI Steel in Warren, Ohio, requiring the company to address hazards to wildlife presented at 11 surface impoundments managing oily wastes. Numerous oiled dead birds and bats were found at the impoundments prior to the Order. WCI was ordered to remove all oily waste at the impoundments or alternatively, at 3 impoundments, install exclusionary netting, which are nets to keep wildlife, and in particular birds, away from the area. Direct environmental benefit from this enforcement action includes removal and treatment of approximately 34 million pounds of oily sludge and an 500,000 gallons (3.75 million pounds) of oily liquids. [More Information]
The Superfund statute (officially the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, "CERCLA") provides EPA with multiple authorities to achieve cleanup and receive payment for cleanup at Superfund hazardous waste sites. EPA ensures that viable parties responsible for contamination conduct or pay for cleanup of these sites. [More Information]
The following are major cases concluded in fiscal year 2007:
Commencement Bay-Near Shore Tideflats Superfund Site
Commencement Bay-Near Shore Tideflats Superfund Site a settlement was entered into in October of 2006 amending the Consent Decree for the Asarco Tacoma Smelter portion of the Commencement Bay – Nearshore Tideflats Superfund Site in Tacoma, Washington. This amendment to the Consent Decree provides for the sale of property within the site to Point Ruston, LLC which will perform an estimated $28 million cleanup. Asarco, the company that is responsible under the original consent decree for the cleanup of the site, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in August 2005. Under the agreement reached with Point Ruston, the company will complete over $28 million of remedial work at the smelter site and portions of the sediments/groundwater operable unit. EPA will recover all of its past costs at the two operable units (approximately $2 million), its future oversight costs, and an additional $2 to $3.5 million for future work. The remedial work performed by Point Ruston will result in 67 acres of the former smelter’s waterfront property being returned to productive use and developed for residential and recreational purposes. [More Information]
Empire Canyon Daly West Mine Site
Empire Canyon Daly West Mine Site located in Park City, Utah, is a historic ore mining and processing area undergoing cleanup by United Park City Mines. DV Luxury Resort, LLC approached UPCM with a proposal to construct a hotel, spa and condominium project at the site. UPCM agreed to lease a portion of the Empire Canyon site to DV Luxury Resort for a term of 999 years. DV Luxury Resort’s redevelopment of the site raised liability issues.
EPA and the Department of Justice then negotiated a Prospective Lessee Agreement to address DV Luxury Resort’s potential Superfund liability and to facilitate the cleanup and redevelopment of the site. This Prospective Lessee Agreement is the first pilot project under EPA’s Environmentally Responsible Redevelopment and Reuse initiative. As part as the Prospective Lessee Agreement, DV Luxury Resorts agreed to develop a detailed workplan incorporating numerous environmentally friendly and sustainable elemments. This resort will be not only a “healthy building,” but will be built according to smart growth principles, encouraging alternative transit to and from the resort, as well as helping to provide affordable housing for resort workers. [More Information]
Hudson River PCBs Superfund Site
Hudson River PCBs Superfund Site on November 2, 2006, the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York approved the consent decree signed by EPA, DOJ, and General Electric Company in October, 2005 for the dredging of the Hudson River called for in EPA's 2002 record of decision (ROD). The ROD anticipated the removal of approximately 2.65 million cubic yards of PCB-contaminated sediment from the Upper Hudson River. The ROD also divided the remedy into two phases, with Phase 1 calling for the removal of approximately 10% of the contaminated sediment at an estimated cost of $100-150 million. Under the terms of the consent decree, General Electric will perform Phase 1 of the remedy, build the sediment transfer/processing facility, and pay $43 million of EPA's past and future response costs. Currently, the estimated value of the phase one settlement is $177 million.
General Electric can then opt in to conduct the remainder of the dredging (Phase 2) at an estimated cost of $500 million and pay an additional $35 million for EPA's past and future costs. If GE chooses not to perform Phase 2 of the remedy, EPA retains the right to order the company to perform the remainder of the dredging. In approving the proposed consent decree for the Hudson River PCBs Superfund site, the court stated that it is reasonable, fair, consistent with CERCLA, and in the public interest. [More Information]
Lower Fox River and Green Bay Site Superfund Site
Lower Fox River and Green Bay Site Superfund Site under a settlement entered in November 2006, NCR Corporation and Sonoco-U.S. Mills agreed to perform cleanup work at the Lower Fox River and Green Bay Site, Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Fox River is the biggest source of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) flowing into Lake Michigan. The settlement calls for an estimated $30 million worth of response work to address a 100,000-cubic yard area that contains a significant PCB hotspot and presents an imminent and substantial endangerment to human health and the environment. [More Information]
McCormick and Baxter/Triangle Park Property, Multnomah County, Portland, Oregon
McCormick and Baxter/Triangle Park Property, Multnomah County, Portland, Oregon an administrative settlement was filed on December 26, 2006, providing for the University of Portland to conduct removal work at property it is acquiring with status as a bona fide prospective purchaser (BFPP). A bona fide prospective purchaser may purchase property with knowledge of contamination and not acquire Superfund liability as long as that party meets the BFPP criteria3. Pursuant to an earlier settlement, the University conducted a limited removal action; however, this BFPP agreement supersedes the earlier agreement for work at this site.
The BFPP settlement is for cleanup of the McCormick and Baxter/Triangle Park property, part of the Portland Harbor Superfund Site. The removal work is a soil and groundwater investigation to determine what work is needed at the site. The BFPP settlement provides EPA with its oversight costs. Once the contamination is addressed, the property will become a “green way trail” along the bank of the Willamette River, with public access to be maintained along the river. [More Information]
Spectron, Inc. Superfund Site
Elkton, Maryland, signed a Consent Decree which settled the claims of 95 Defendants who agreed to an estimated $20 million cleanup and to pay $1.8 million for EPA’s past costs. In this settlement, the volume of contaminated media that will be addressed is estimated at 35,000 cubic yards of soil and 150 cubic yards per day of groundwater. This broad settlement resolves not only the claims of EPA, but also the claims of the federal (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) and state (the Maryland Department of the Environment, and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources) Natural Resource Trustees. The Site operated as a solvent recycling facility from 1961 through 1988, reprocessing wastes from the pharmaceutical, paint, and chemical process industries, and resulting in soil and groundwater contamination with hazardous substances including Trichloroethylene (TCE) and Perchloroethylenes (PCE). In 1988, Spectron, Inc. went bankrupt and closed the facility, abandoning chemicals used in its operations. In 1989, EPA took emergency response measures to remove and dispose of approximately 1,300 drums and 62 tanks, and entered into a consent order requiring several potentially responsible parties to continue the cleanup activities. [More Information]
Underground Storage Tanks
The U.S. holds the federal government accountable for compliance with RCRA Subtitle I, requirements for underground storage tanks (UST) that store petroleum and hazardous substances which can leak into the soil and groundwater. EPA took action against several federal facilities nationwide for violations of UST requirements.
The following is a major case concluded this fiscal year 2007:
McGuire Air Force Base
EPA issued an order to compel the Air Force to study base contamination and take steps to clean it up. This order dictates the timeframe for these steps, from study to cleanup measures. Along with the technical work to be completed, the Air Force is required to work with the local community of New Hanover Township, New Jersey to get input into the process. [More Information]
RCRA regulates the generation, treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste to ensure its safe management from the time it is generated until its ultimate disposal, that is, “cradle to grave.” Among other things, the statute prohibits the storage of hazardous waste unless an owner or operator of a hazardous waste storage facility obtains a permit pursuant to the implementing regulations.
The following are major cases concluded this fiscal year 2007:
Dennis Rodriguez was sentenced to five months in prison for violating hazardous waste transport law while operating his company, North American Waste Assistance. Rodriguez was also sentenced to five months home confinement, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine. [More Information]
Hydromet Environmental and five of its former officers and employees were indicted for engaging in a criminal conspiracy to illegally transport, store and dispose of hazardous wastes beginning in 1999 and continuing to February 2003. Three individuals ultimately pled guilty to making false statements and received terms of probation ranging from one year to three years. A fourth, the former plant manager, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy under 18 USC 371 and 2(a) and was sentenced to nine months incarceration, nine months of home confinement and 15 months probation. [More Information (PDF)], (pp 2, 70K, About PDF)
Krister Evertson a federal jury convicted Krister Evertson for violating the Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety Act and illegally storing and disposing of hazardous waste, violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Evertson is the former owner and president of SBH Corp., a now defunct Nevada corporation. He transported 10 metric tons of sodium metal from its port of entry at the Seattle-Tacoma Port Complex to Salmon, Idaho. Sodium metal and the materials in the tanks were highly reactive with water, and the jury found that Evertson failed to take protective measures to reduce the risk that the transported material would react and damage persons or property. Sentencing had not yet taken place by the end of Fiscal year 2007. [More Information]
Southern Finishing, Inc
Southern Finishing, Inc. a manufacturer of wood and metal components for the furniture and cabinet industry pled guilty to a felony for illegally storing hazardous waste. More than a hundred and fifty 55-gallon drums of hazardous wastes (including waste paint, solvents and finishes) were found on site. Some of the drums were not labeled, some had hazardous waste labels and accumulation dates more than 90 days old, and some were in poor condition (i.e., leaking or punctured), according to the charge filed in court. Sentencing had not yet taken place by the end of fiscal year 2007. [More Information (PDF)], (pp 3, 39K, About PDF)