Chemical manufacturer fined for hazardous waste violations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced this week that it has discovered multiple violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) while conducting evaluations at Wharton Chemical, also known as Lamberti USA, Inc.

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, a federal law passed in 1976 as an amendment to the Solid Waste Disposal Act, addresses solid and hazardous waste management activities. Regulated entities that generate hazardous waste are subject to accumulation, manifesting, and recordkeeping standards, while facilities that treat, store or dispose of hazardous waste must obtain a permit from the EPA or an authorized state agency.

The RCRA  intends to protect human health and the environmental from the potential hazards of waste disposal, to conserve energy and natural resources where possible, to reduce the amount of waste generated and to ensure that all waste is managed in a safe way.

This greatly decreases the occurrence of costly clean-up missions and dangerous environmental releases. The RCRA regulates garbage, toxic waste and underground storage tanks containing petroleum products and certain chemicals.

Wharton Chemical is an industrial chemical manufacturing business and is classified as a small-quantity generator of hazardous waste. However, between January 2009 and December 2013 the facility generated 1,000 kilograms of hazardous waste per month. This amount was stored and handled outside of RCRA guidelines, according to the EPA.

The company will pay a $230,000 civil penalty to settle the alleged violations of the RCRA. As a part of the agreement the facility will be required to take steps to protect the local community from the health and environmental risks associated with mismanaged hazardous waste.

Businesses should work with environmental consultants to conduct regular assessments of all facilities and ensure that federal rules and regulations are being followed.