Crosby & Overton's hazardous waste treatment facility at 1610 West 17th Street in Long Beach was required to pay the Environmental Protection Agency a $78,570 penalty for mishandling hazardous waste. Screenshot of the facility courtesy of Google Maps.
A Long Beach treatment facility is one of two Southern California companies required to pay more than $130,000 collectively for improperly handling hazardous waste, following a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, officials announced this week.
An August 2014 inspection by EPA officials of Crosby & Overton’s hazardous waste treatment facility in Long Beach found that the company “failed to safely store broken batteries, which contain corrosive hazardous waste,” an EPA release stated.
EPA officials said the waste treatment facility did not properly use and maintain equipment, like a diaphragm pump for pumping paint waste.
“[They] failed to conduct the required inspections and monitoring to manage hazardous materials and related air emission,” the release stated.
The company agreed to pay a $78,570 penalty. It has since corrected the violations.
Crosby & Overton's hazardous waste treatment facility in Long Beach.
During an April 2015 inspection of a manufacturing facility in Torrance—owned by the Swiss pharmaceutical company Bachem—EPA officials found that the company “operated hazardous waste storage tanks and related equipment without inspecting and monitoring them for leaks,” a violation of air emission standards. The Swedish company also failed to store hazardous waste correctly, with containers closed and properly labeled, according to the release.
The facility handled the following hazardous waste: acetonitrile, which is flammable, and trifluoroacetic acid, which is corrosive.
Bachem agreed to pay a $22,376 penalty. It has also agreed to spend at least $29,000 on a supplemental environmental project supporting the Torrance Fire Department’s emergency planning and preparedness efforts, the release stated.
The funds would go toward providing the TFD with emergency response equipment, such as tablets and laptops. Bachem will also enhance the fire department’s “ability to plan for and respond to hazardous material spills or releases in the community.”
All identified compliance issues have been corrected by that firm as well, according to the release.
“Whether a company generates its own hazardous waste or treats waste from offsite, the material must be handled correctly to keep surrounding communities safe,” stated Kathleen Johnson, EPA’s enforcement division director for the Pacific Southwest region.
Johnson said the state and the agency are working together to improve oversight of the facilities, especially as the EPA increases its focus on Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) air emissions compliance.
Under EPA’s RCRA program, hazardous substances must be stored, handled and disposed of using measures that safeguard public health and the environment, officials stated.
Compliance with RCRA Air regulations will be a focus of upcoming RCRA investigations when it becomes emphasized in 2017, as part of EPA’s National Enforcement Initiative. NEIs are selected every three years to focus resources on national environmental problems where there is significant non-compliance with laws, and where federal enforcement efforts can make a difference, according to EPA’s website.