Emporia Foundry Settles Complaint Alleging Hazardous Waste Violations at Virginia Plant

January 23, 2004

Emporia Foundry, Inc. has settled a complaint by EPA alleging violations of federal hazardous waste regulations at its plant in Emporia, Va.

Emporia Foundry has agreed to pay a $110,000 settlement and end the on-site treatment and storage of lead-containing baghouse dust. In a related settlement with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VaDEQ), the foundry will pay an additional $54,000 penalty to Virginia. VaDEQ will also review and approve closure plans for the on-site baghouse dust treatment unit and concrete pad where the treated dust was stored.

The foundry is now sending the baghouse dust to an approved disposal facility.

EPA's complaint alleged violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which governs the treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste.

Emporia is a metal foundry engaging in the production of gray iron castings, such as storm sewer gratings, from scrap iron. The hazardous waste in this case is lead-containing baghouse dust from the foundry=s furnace that was collected and treated as part of Emporia's pollution control system.

According to EPA, from July through September of 2000, Emporia did not adequately treat the baghouse dust to make it nonhazardous. EPA also alleged that the company improperly stored the treated baghouse dust in a waste pile from July to October, 2000. EPA also cited the company for shipping about 142 tons of this hazardous waste to a non-permitted facility, without preparing required waste manifests. These violations were documented in inspections by EPA and VaDEQ in May, July and September of 2000.

As part of the settlement, the company neither admitted nor denied liability for the cited violations.

RSPA Rule Updates Radioactive Material Regulations

On January 26, 2004, DOT's Research and Special Program Administration (RSPA) issued a final rule under Docket HM-230 revising safety standards for the packaging and transportation of radioactive material. This rule amends requirements in the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) pertaining to the transportation of radioactive materials. Most of the changes update U.S. regulations to make them similar to international standards established by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The IAEA periodically revises its transportation standards to reflect scientific and technical advances, and RSPA accordingly updates the HMR to be compatible with those of the IAEA. The current revision has been coordinated with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which regulates high-level radioactive material in the United States.

Among other things, the final rule would phase-out the use of older approved designs for certain transportation packages.

This change is being made to take advantage of newer and safer designs and to bring U.S. transportation regulations into alignment with international regulations. Operators will have four years to phase-out the use of the older designs.

EPA Makes Available Online Toolbox to Assess Contamination Threats to Drinking Water Systems

EPA is making available the interim final Response Protocol Toolbox: Planning for and Responding to Contamination Threats to Drinking Water Systems. The Toolbox is designed to help the water sector effectively and appropriately respond to intentional contamination threats and incidents. It was produced by EPA, building on the experience and expertise of several drinking water utilities, in particular, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

Organized in modular format, the Toolbox will be of value to drinking water utilities, laboratories, emergency responders, state drinking water programs, technical assistance providers, public health and law enforcement officials. This interim final release includes Modules 1 through 4, as well as an overview. Users are encouraged to review the overview before using other Modules. Please note that the Toolbox contains guidance that may be adopted on a voluntary basis.

Overview of the Response Protocol Toolbox (EPA-817-D-03-007) (PDF, 3482KB)
Water Utility Planning Guide - Module 1 (EPA-817-D-03-001) (PDF, 3025KB)
Contamination Threat Management Guide - Module 2 (EPA-817-D-03-002) (PDF, 3737KB)
Site Characterization and Sampling Guide - Module 3 (EPA-817-D-03-003) (PDF, 2883KB)
Analytical Guide - Module 4 (EPA-817-D-03-004) (PDF, 4966KB)
Public Health Response Guide - Module 5 (EPA-817-D-03-005) under development
Remediation and Recovery Guide - Module 6 (EPA-817-D-03-006) under development

EPA Issues Guidance About Landowners Whose Property May Be Contaminated by a Neighbor's Actions

EPA has issued a new policy that provides guidance on liability protection under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) for landowners who own property that is or may be contaminated by a neighbor's actions.

This interim guidance discusses a new section added to the Statute by the Brownfields Amendment of 2002, Section 107(q), that is directed at contiguous property owners: landowners who own property that is or may be contaminated by hazardous substances but is not the original source of the contamination. To meet the contiguous property owner liability protection requirement, a landowner must meet statutory criteria that include but are not limited to: demonstrating that he did not cause, contribute, or consent to the release of hazardous substances; is not affiliated with a liable party in any way (familial, financial, contractual); and has taken reasonable steps to stop any continuing release, and prevent or limit human and environmental exposure to the hazardous substances. EPA's interim guidance also addresses three other issues: (1) the application of section 107(q) to current and former owners of property; (2) the relationship between new section 107(q) and EPA' Residential Homeowner Policy and Contaminated Aquifers Policy; and (3) the mechanisms EPA may provide, in its discretion, to resolve the liability concerns of contiguous property owners.

The policy is available on EPA's website at http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/policies/.

Manufacturer Pleads Guilty to Illegal Storage of Phosphorus Waste in $18 Million RCRA Case

On Jan. 14, 2004, Rhodia Inc., of Cranbury, N.J., former operator of a phosphorus manufacturing plant in Silver Bow, Mont., pled guilty to two felony counts of violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act by illegally storing phosphorus contaminated waste and sludge. In its plea, Rhodia agreed to pay a $16.2 million criminal fine, $1.8 million in restitution to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, clean up pollution at the closed facility, and serve probation for five years or for the duration of the cleanup, whichever is longer. This sentence is subject to approval by the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana.

Rhodia manufactured elemental phosphorus from 1986 until the plant's 1996 closure. In its plea, Rhodia admitted that from January 1999 until August 2000, it illegally stored carbon brick and precipitator dust contaminated with elemental phosphorus waste, and also admitted that it illegally stored elemental phosphorus-contaminated sludge. Waste elemental phosphorus is highly reactive, can ignite when exposed to air and presents a significant risk to human health and the environment.

The case was investigated by the Denver Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center and legal and technical assistance from EPA Region 8 in Denver. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Missoula.

EPA Cites Hazardous Waste Violations at Two Southeastern Pa. Foundries

EPA has cited two metal foundries in southeastern Pennsylvania for violations of federal hazardous waste regulations. In separate complaints, EPA has proposed a $69,198 penalty against Buck Company, Inc., owner of a foundry in Quarryville, Lancaster Co., Pa, and a $16,698 penalty against Kief Industries, Inc., owner of the Excelsior Brass Works foundry in Blandon, Berks Co., Pa.

Both companies were cited under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the federal law governing the treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste. RCRA is designed to protect public health and the environment, and avoid costly cleanups, by requiring the safe, environmentally sound disposal of hazardous waste.

The Buck Company Foundry produces gray, malleable, and ductile iron as well as brass, bronze, and aluminum. This process creates toxic heavy metal waste. In an inspection by EPA and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection on March 25, 2003, inspectors identified alleged violations, including several instances of storing hazardous waste without a RCRA permit beyond the allowable 90-day limit. Inspectors observed hazardous baghouse dust on the ground near the dust collection containers.

EPA's complaint also cited Buck Company for one open container of hazardous waste and storing hazardous waste in a manner that didn't allow for inspection or quick response to emergency. The company also allegedly failed to maintain records of employee training in hazardous waste handling, storage, and disposal.

The Excelsior Brass Works produces zinc oxide sludge (ZOS), a hazardous waste containing lead and cadmium, as part of its metal ingot melting process. EPA inspections on September 25 and October 29, 2002 revealed that the facility was storing an estimated 11,000 kilograms of ZOS in 92 55-gallon drums, which had apparently accumulated at the facility since 1998.

In its complaint against Kief Industries, the owner of Excelsior Brass Works, EPA alleges that the facility stored ZOS without a RCRA permit beyond allowable accumilation periods, did not properly label or date drums containing this waste, and did not prepare required hazardous waste manifests when this waste was shipped to a reclamation facility.

EPA has ordered both companies to immediately comply with applicable RCRA hazardous waste regulations. The companies have the right to a hearing to contest the alleged violations and proposed penalties.

Ohio Man Sentenced for Falsifying Clean Air Act Permit Application

John D. Littlehale of Terrace Park, Ohio, former Vice President for Manufacturing of the Multi-Color Corp., was sentenced on Jan. 13 to 18 months in prison, a $4,000 fine and 50 hours of community service for falsifying an application for a Title V permit under the Clean Air Act.

From approximately July 1997 to January 1998, Multi-Color's Scottsburg, Ind., Label Division illegally operated a rotogravure printing press (known as press #3) without an air pollution control device, allowing the press to vent approximately 100 tons of pollutant-laden emissions directly into the atmosphere. The pollutants included volatile organic compounds, hazardous air pollutants and other chemicals contained in inks, solvents and adhesives. Venting these pollutants into the air can cause people who live near the plant and who have respiratory illnesses to suffer an increase in adverse respiratory symptoms.

In a related matter, Roger Taylor, former plant manager of the Scottsburg Label Division from 1996 to 1998, was sentenced to six months of home detention, five years of probation and 500 hours of community service for failing to report Littlehale's illegal activities to authorities.

The case was investigated by the Chicago Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with the assistance of the Indiana Interagency Environmental Crimes Task Force of the Southern District of Indiana. It was prosecuted by the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.