Seattle, WA, July 30, 2015 – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the North Slope Borough, Alaska have reached a settlement that resolves alleged violations of hazardous waste requirements under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
RCRA regulations require solid waste to be evaluated to determine if the waste is hazardous. EPA alleges that the North Slope Borough failed to perform hazardous waste determinations on at least five separate waste streams generated at the South Pad facility located on Nunavaaq Street in Barrow, Alaska.
In addition, EPA alleges that the Borough stored more than 45,000 pounds of hazardous waste on the South Pad without the required RCRA storage permit. The hazardous waste included acids, alkalis, antifreeze contaminated with benzene, corrosive solvents and paint and other related materials stored in more than 200 metal drums and five gallon buckets for more than 90 days.
“Performing timely and accurate hazardous waste determinations is a keystone of the RCRA program,” said Ed Kowalski, Director of EPA Region 10’s Office of Compliance and Enforcement. “Waste must be evaluated by the generator so that it can be safely managed and to prevent releases that endanger human health and the environment.”
Obtaining a RCRA permit prior to operating a storage facility is a critical requirement of the RCRA program. The permitting process insures that hazardous waste storage facilities are operated to prevent harm to the environment or human health. Circumventing that process can lead to dangerously poor waste management.
The Consent Agreement and Final Order, signed by EPA and the North Slope Borough addresses Resource Conservation and Recovery Act violations, which occurred from 2012 – 2014. The drums and containers of hazardous waste have been removed from the site.
As part of this agreement, the North Slope Borough will pay a $445,336 penalty.
RCRA is 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 storage and disposal of hazardous waste. The RCRA requires the use of safe practices to greatly reduce the chance that hazardous waste will be released into the environment.
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