Sunday, November 18, 2007
EPA report highlights hazardous wastes in Pacific
By Marconi Calindas
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued its Pacific environmental enforcement accomplishments and highlighted hazardous waste-related cases in the CNMI and the rest of the Pacific region for 2007.
The EPA's enforcement actions for 2007 in Guam, American Samoa and the CNMI highlight the agency's successful efforts to make polluters achieve on-the-ground improvements to bring environmental and public health benefits.
The report said that increased focus on compliance with hazardous waste, underground storage tanks, and oil spill management regulations made up a majority of the cases for CNMI, Guam, and American Samoa.
“Polluters committed to more than $2.48 million to correct environmental violations and prevent future pollution, resulting in over 1 million pounds of pollutants reduced in the environment,” said EPA.
The report highlighted three environmental citations issued to three major entities in the CNMI.
One firm is the Everbright Company, Ltd., which was fined $5,000 for hazardous waste violations at its facility at the Fina Sisu Village. The company is a full-service screen-printing business and generated wastes such as toluene, turpentine, naphtha-based and other cleaning solvents, and waste ink.
Another company cited was the JG Sablan Rock Quarry Inc., which was fined $400,000 for used oil and used battery management violations at its Lower Base facility on Saipan.
The report said that in March 2005, EPA inspectors discovered 2,000-gallons of used oil and 85 severely corroded and leaking 55-gallon containers of used oil inside the company's secondary containment area. The inspectors also found heavily oil-stained soil under 50 additional containers and on surrounding soil, along with many other leaking containers, vehicles, and lead acid batteries throughout the facility.
The EPA also ordered the government-owned Commonwealth Utilities Corp. to clean up spilled oil and prevent discharges of oil at Power Plants 1 and 2 at its Lower Base facility on Saipan. The order required CUC to stop all oil discharges and take steps to prevent future spills. The order also required CUC to develop a used-oil management and disposal program aimed at reducing the amount of used oil stored at the facility.
“Our actions against companies mismanaging hazardous waste in Guam and CNMI will provide island residents cleaner air, water and land,” said Wayne Nastri, administrator of the EPA's Pacific Southwest office. “The EPA will continue to enforce environmental laws and ensure compliance of environmental regulations to improve public health.”
The EPA worked with the Guam EPA, CNMI Division of Environmental Quality and the American Samoa EPA to continue the successful compliance and enforcement partnership in the islands.
The report also cited its enforcement achievements in Guam and American Samoa.
The Carrier Guam of Tamuning, a refrigeration and heating equipment services company, was fined $63,922 for allegedly importing refrigerants regulated by the Clean Air Act. The company imported 32,356 kilograms of hydro chlorofluorocarbon, an ozone-depleting substance.
Guam Waterworks Authority was fined $40,000 for failing to fully comply with a 2003 court order to repair and improve its wastewater system. “GWA failed to meet April and June 2007 deadlines for the Agana sewage treatment plant and a May deadline for the Northern District plant to ensure compliance with federal permit limits from these two facilities,” said the report.
California-based Four Seasons General Merchandise, Inc. and 26 California Bazar were fined $24,960 and $9,360 respectively for the alleged sale and distribution of unregistered pesticides in Guam and California, a violation of federal pesticide law.
Four Seasons sold the unregistered pesticides Clorox Disinfecta, a Mexican version of Clorox Bleach, and Citronella Incense mosquito coils to retailers in Guam and California on five occasions between August 2006 and March.
26 California Bazar sold the unregistered Pyrethroid pesticide, Camping Mosquito Sticks, to Guam retailers on two occasions. In addition to the fine, the company has agreed to stop selling the product.
The Guam Waterworks Authority was issued a compliance order for improperly reusing sewage sludge from its Northern District Sewage Treatment Plant. EPA found sewage sludge from the treatment plant that was distributed, violating the Clean Water Act. Sludge of an unknown quality was distributed between January and August 2006 to several individuals for use on fruit trees and bushes.
In American Samoa, the American Samoa Seaside Service Station was fined $10,400 over alleged federal underground storage tank violations at its facility in Malaloa Village. Seaside Service Station failed to meet federal requirements by not conducting line tightness tests or using a monthly leak detection method on its petroleum piping, and by not adequately monitoring the underground tanks for leaks.
For the full description of US EPA 2007 enforcement cases visit http://www.epa.gov/region09/enforcement/results/index.html. The report also provides full description of the EPA_s enforcement cases throughout California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands in 2007.
For information on the EPA's national enforcement summary for 2007, go to http://www.epa.gov/compliance/data/results/annual/fy2007.html.