Environmental Enforcement Roundup: Hawaii Public Works Violations; E-Waste Fine; Ore Knob Meeting

by | Oct 29, 2010

Environmental Leader’s daily roundup of key environmental enforcement news

EPA Fines Hawaii Public Works Company

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a new order fining the state of Hawaii’s Housing Finance and Development Corporation $110,000 for failing to close large-capacity cesspools at its Jack Hall Memorial Housing property, EPA announced yesterday.

“While many large-capacity cesspools have been closed, those owners and operators who still have such wastewater systems are overdue in taking steps to comply with the 2005 ban,” Alexis Strauss, Water Division Director of EPA’s Pacific Southwest region said in a press release.  “EPA will continue to bring compliance actions to protect Hawaii’s water resources.”  

In April 2005, EPA entered into a compliance agreement with the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation’s predecessor, the Hawaii Community and Development Corporation, to close over 100 large-capacity cesspools by March 2009, including the 13 cesspools at Jack Hall Memorial Housing.  

The large capacity cesspools at Jack Hall are now to be closed two years later than the deadline set in the April 2005 agreement. In addition to paying the fine for missing the March 2009 closure date, HHFDC has agreed to a new closure date of March 2011.

“We will continue to pursue targeted enforcement actions as there are large-capacity cesspools still in use by restaurants, hotels, office complexes and multiple dwellings in violation of EPA’s regulations,” said David Albright, manager of the EPA Pacific Southwest region’s Ground Water Office.
A large-capacity cesspool is one that discharges untreated sewage from multiple dwellings, or a non-residential location that serves 20 or more people per day.  Cesspools are used more widely in Hawaii than in any other state.  Cesspools discharge raw sewage into the ground, allowing disease-causing pathogens and other contaminants to potentially pollute groundwater, streams and the ocean.  Federal regulations, which prohibit large-capacity cesspools as of April 2005, do not apply to single-family homes connected to their own individual cesspools.

Calif. DTSC Fines eWaste Center

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) yesterday filed a consent order (pdf) with eWaste Center, Inc., which generates, handles, treats, stores, and disposes of hazardous waste.

In March, DTSC inspected eWaste Center’s City of Commerce facility and found violations of rules for handling of cathode ray tubes from discarded televisions and computer monitors.  According to the consent order, the company did not take precautions to prevent breakage of the cathode ray tubes, which could result in the release of several toxic compounds.

eWaste Cemter waived its right to a hearing, and accepted a fine of $18,000 for the violations, and may pay it in four installments over the next year.

EPA to Hold Public Meeting Regarding Ore Knob Mine Site

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold a public meeting on Thursday, November 4, 2010 regarding the Ore Knob Mine site in Ore Knob, NC. EPA, the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the North Carolina Department of Health will provide information about the assessment, cleanup and upcoming activities at the site. The public meeting will be held from 6:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at the Peak Creek Community Bldg., 7062 NC Highway 88 E, Laurel Springs, NC.

The Ore Knob Mine site is a former mining site that contains areas affected by mining. There are three principal areas (1950s Mine and Mill Area, the 19th Century Operations Area and a Main Tailings Impoundment) that were directly affected by mining along with other areas, primarily downstream. Hazardous substances are present downstream and in the mining areas.

Community members interested in obtaining additional information are encouraged to contact Sherryl A. Carbonaro, EPA Community Involvement Coordinator, at (678) 575-7355.

Where: Peak Creek Community Bldg., 7062 NC Highway 88 E, Laurel Springs, NC

When: Thursday, November 4 –  6:30 – 8:00 p.m.

Contact: Sherryl A. Carbonaro, EPA Community Involvement Coordinator, at (678) 575-7355.

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