Two Southern California companies improperly handled hazardous waste and will pay more than $130,000 in penalties under a settlement with the EPA.
The two companies are Bachem Americas, the US-arm of a Swiss pharmaceutical company, and waste treatment and disposal company Crosby & Overton.
In April 2015, the EPA inspected Bachem’s US manufacturing facility in Torrance, California. Hazardous waste at the facility included acetonitrile, which is flammable, and trifluoroacetic acid, which is corrosive.
The agency found that the company operated hazardous waste storage tanks and related equipment without inspecting and monitoring them for leaks, in violation of air emission standards. Bachem also failed to store hazardous waste correctly, with containers closed and properly labeled.
Bachem has agreed to pay a $22,376 penalty and spend at least $29,000 on a supplemental environmental project in support of the Torrance Fire Department’s emergency planning and preparedness efforts.
The EPA inspected Crosby & Overton’s hazardous waste treatment facility in Long Beach, California in August 2014. The agency found that the company failed to safely store broken batteries, which contain corrosive hazardous waste.
In addition, Crosby & Overton did not properly use and maintain equipment — such as a diaphragm pump for pumping paint waste — and failed to conduct the required inspections and monitoring to manage hazardous materials and related air emissions.
Crosby & Overton has corrected the violations and agreed to pay a $78,570 penalty.
The violations fall under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, which says hazardous substances must be stored, handled and disposed of using measures that safeguard public health and the environment.
The EPA says compliance with RCRA Air regulations will be emphasized as part of a National Enforcement Initiative beginning in 2017 and, as such, will be a focus of upcoming RCRA investigations.