February 21, 2003
EPA reached a settlement with West Coast Cleaning and Preservation of Kapolei, Oahu that requires the company to pay $60,000 for used oil violations discovered during a routine inspection in 2000.

West Coast cleaned tanks and bilges at local shipyards and other facilities. West Coast was also a commercial used oil transporter and transfer facility based in Campbell Industrial Park. The facility improperly stored and managed used oil at its transfer facility.

EPA investigators discovered the following violations in August of 2000:

  • failure to ship off-site 13 containers of used oil before the 35-day storage limit, including one tanker storing 5,000 gallons of used oil, which was stored for 623 days and a tanker truck storing 3,900 gallons of used oil, which was stored for 68 days;
  • failure to install secondary containment for 19 containers of used oil;
  • failure to properly mark the 19 containers of used oil; and
  • failure to maintain records of analyses or information to ensure that the used oil was not hazardous waste.

EPA and Hawai'i Department of Health inspectors revisited the facility in December 2001 and June 2002 to verify the facility was in compliance with used oil regulations. West Coast notified the Department of Health in September 2002 that it was ceasing its operations at the Kapolei facility. West Coast vacated its offices and all on-site equipment and vehicles were removed from the property.

The former operations manager of West Coast has registered at the State of Hawai'i's Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs as the "agent" for "Hawai'i Cleaning & Coatings, Inc." According to the Department, Hawai'i Cleaning & Coatings is "active" and provides industrial marine cleaning and related services. Hawaii Cleaning & Coatings was incorporated in July 2002.


Lowe's Homes Centers, the world's second largest home improvement retailer, has agreed to pay a penalty of $137,500 to settle claims by EPA that the company failed to obtain necessary permits for storm water discharges at four construction sites in Massachusetts and failed to adequately control storm water runoff at its construction site in Woburn, MA.

The claims against the company stem from violations at construction sites in Woburn, Danvers, Brockton and East Springfield. Although Lowe's obtained necessary state and local permits at these locations, the company failed to seek necessary federal discharge permits. Lowe's also failed to prepare required storm water pollution prevention plans for the four sites.

The Woburn site was inspected in August 2001 and found to lack adequate storm water controls. EPA inspectors found silt-laden water discharging into a storm drain leading to the Aberjona River. Storm water runoff from a construction site can present a significant threat to water quality, carrying sediment and other pollutants. Lowe's responded quickly to address its violation by seeking general permit coverage and preparing a storm water plan within a month of EPA's inspection.

Lowe's Homes Centers, the 14th largest retailer in this country, has more than 800 stores in 43 states and is in the midst of an expansion plan that involves opening a new store on an average of every three days across the country.

Following EPA's initial communications with the company regarding site compliance, Lowe's embarked on a comprehensive nationwide plan to improve its storm water management program. Lowe's program has been fully revised to address storm water management during site planning and through all stages of development. The company set up new criteria and staff training to ensure that its sites meet or exceed EPA's criteria.

"Storm water runoff from a construction site can present a significant threat to water quality," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England Office. "We appreciate that Lowe's responded quickly to our concerns and are pleased with the company's commitment to carefully follow environmental laws as they begin construction at new sites across the country."

The Lowe's case is part of a two-pronged effort by EPA to bring developers and builders into compliance with storm water runoff regulations. The effort combines extensive compliance assistance activities, including technical assistance workshops, with stepped up enforcement, including on-site inspections. EPA has conducted nearly four dozen inspections at construction sites across the region since June 2001 and more are planned.

Existing federal storm water rules require all parties conducting construction activity disturbing at least five acres of soil to develop and implement a storm water pollution prevention plan to prevent erosion, control runoff and capture sediment and other pollutants. As of March 10, 2003, the requirement will be triggered when only one acre is disturbed.

For more information on the storm water requirements, attend Storm Water Permits and Pollution Prevention Plans training. See http://www.ercweb.com/train/index.htm#STORM for details and course dates and locations.


EPA has settled an administrative complaint against Ford Motor Co. for alleged hazardous waste violations at 14 U.S. auto assembly plants. A $244,000 penalty will be paid and Ford will bring all of its plants into compliance with EPA requirements.

The complaint was initially issued by EPA Region 5 under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act to the Ford facility in Avon, Ohio. Region 5 also added Ford painting and waste storage systems in Chicago, St. Paul, Minn., Dearborn, Wixom and Wayne (two facilities), Mich., to the complaint. EPA Regions 2, 3, 4 and 7 joined in the agreement that involves Ford plants in Hapeville, Ga.; Edison, N.J.; Claycomo and Hazelwood, Mo.; Louisville, Ky. (two facilities); and Norfolk, Va.

EPA cited the automaker for not monitoring for leaks from the equipment used to paint vehicles and for not keeping records of monitoring practices. Ford was also cited for not assessing and inspecting the integrity of equipment and secondary containment systems.


The Justice Department and EPA announced settlements with 50 parties totaling $31.9 million to be used to cleanup the Casmalia Resources Hazardous Waste Management Facility Superfund site in Central California. The site was listed on the National Priorities List on September 13, 2001.

The settlements are part of four separate consent decrees involving 46 private parties and four federal agencies. Each of the settling parties is considered a major waste generator because individually it sent large volumes of waste to the site. The settlements require all of the parties to pay their pro rata share of site costs based on volume, plus a premium for future costs.

The Casmalia site was a commercial hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facility located 10 miles from Santa Maria, California. It consisted of more than 40 surface impoundments, two waste treatment systems and numerous landfills, including facilities for the treatment and disposal of solvents, pesticides, metals, PCBs, caustics and acids.

Between 1972 and 1989, the site accepted in excess of 5.5 billion pounds of liquid and solid hazardous waste, including seven million drums of disposed waste material. This massive volume of waste disposal is attributable to over 10,000 private and governmental entities.

By the summer of 1992, the site's condition had deteriorated and was in need of certain short-term response actions to control the spread of pollutants at the site, particularly as the rainy season approached. Therefore, EPA took action to secure the site and limit the migration of pollutants based on its Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) Section 104 removal authority.

In 1996, EPA required a group of potentially responsible parties to perform a portion of the response action at the site, first through a unilateral administrative order and later through a partial work settlement embodied in a judicial settlement. EPA has also been engaged in a series of settlements with other parties to raise money to fund other portions of the response action. The settlements announced today are part of that effort.

The United States will hold 60-day public comment periods on the proposed settlements, which will begin in the next several weeks.


Following an extensive 2-year review, EPA Region 5 announced it has found no basis to withdraw federal approval of Ohio environmental programs. The review had been requested by four Ohio environmental groups.

"We exhaustively reviewed Ohio EPA's programs, along with each of the thousands of comments provided by the petitioners, the public and state officials. We found nothing that would justify the withdrawal of these programs," said EPA Region 5 Administrator Thomas V. Skinner.

EPA sent a letter denying the request to the attorney for Ohio Citizen Action, the Ohio Sierra Club, the Ohio Public Interest Research Group and Rivers Unlimited. It was at the request of these groups that EPA reviewed the state's administration of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery, Clean Water and Clean Air Acts. EPA also looked at Ohio's environmental enforcement offices and criminal enforcement program. EPA staff visited Ohio district and central offices, the Ohio attorney general's office and local air agencies; interviewed employees; and reviewed files.

In September 2001, EPA issued a draft report of its review and held two public meetings in Columbus to take comments. The public meetings were followed by a 60-day comment period. Although the draft report was critical of some Ohio programs, the reviewers said additional information and Ohio EPA's efforts to address program shortcomings led them to alter their preliminary findings.

EPA received and considered almost 6,700 comments during the review. Many of the comments identified facility-specific environmental problems, which are now being pursued by EPA's and Ohio EPA's enforcement staff.

The final report and other relevant documents will be available in several site repositories in Ohio. They are also on the Web at http://www.epa.gov/region5/ohioreview/. A notice of the decision will be published soon in the Federal Register and will be available at http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/ the same day it is published.