Inspection of Columbia lab reveals Clean Water Act violations

In April 2012 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted Compliance Evaluation Inspections at Analytical Bio-Chemistry Laboratories Inc.'s (ABC Labs) two Columbia, Missouri facilities. The firm was cited after the inspections revealed hazardous waste storage and handling violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Now, almost two years later, the firm has agreed to a $19,040 settlement to resolve the situation. (link?)

The settlement agreement, announced by the EPA earlier this week, details the results of the probe. ABC Labs is a bio-chemical testing laboratory serving the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, animal health and agriculture industries.

The lab extracts testing samples through the use of a number of solvents, which become classified as hazardous waste after they are used. EPA inspectors discovered that ABC Labs had failed to regulate their waste storage and handling procedures.

The agency found an open container of hazardous solvents when they visited the firm. Officials also discovered a 1-gallon container full of toxic waste that had been stored for one year and four months, despite federal regulations requiring removal no later than one year after use.

The report also stated that the company failed to provide documentation regarding weekly damage inspections of waste containers. EPA spokesman told the Columbia Tribune that a lack of regular checks increases the chances that container corrosion could be  overlooked, which might result in a dangerous leak.

Kristen King, vice president of marketing and communications at ABC Labs assured the Columbia Tribune that the company had taken immediate steps to correct the problems, and that each item the EPA pointed out was addressed.

ABC Labs was founded almost 50 years ago by a former University of Missouri biochemistry professor along with two graduate students. Environmental consultants can work with businesses to conduct assessments, ensuring that all federal regulations are being followed.