WASHINGTON, D.C.—Two railcar cleaning facilities in different parts of the US are facing orders from the EPA over their handling of hazardous waste. One company, Dana Container, faces $12,000 in fines as part of a settlement with the EPA over the handling and labeling of containers of waste. The other, Railcar Cleaning Services LLC, has not been fined, but has been ordered to immediately take steps to protect the public from risks posed by allegedly improperly stored crude oil and ethanol.
Dana Container, Wilmington, Dela., entered into a settlement over its violations in October. The allegations stemmed from a January 2016 inspection that the EPA says uncovered violations related to hazardous materials such as benzene, vinyl acetate, and waste solvent. Allegations against Dana Container include violations of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) related to the failure to ship hazardous waste offsite in a timely manner, failure to keep proper records, and failure to maintain an adequate contingency plan. As part of the settlement, Dana Container did not admit liability, but certified compliance on the matters cited by the EPA.
The EPA issued what it calls an Imminent and Substantial Endangerment Administrative Order to Nebraska Railcar. The order, made under the RCRA, calls for the company to immediately engage in hazardous waste determinations at its sites, and dispose of hazardous materials as required by law. The EPA order references a deadly incident in April 2015 in which two workers were killed in an explosion at one of Nebraska Railcar’s Omaha facilities. That incident led OSHA to issue 33 violations to the company, carrying a total proposed fine of $963,000, and to place Nebraska Railcar in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program. Those violations, issued in October 2015, are still listed as under contest.
At the time, OSHA alleged that air quality in confined spaces was not properly monitored, and workers at the site were not properly fit-tested for respirators. Other violations related to fall hazards, lack of hazardous materials training, and more. In 2013, the company paid a total of $6,856 as part of two informal settlements with OSHA, covering a total of eight violations (three serious and five other). In 2015, as a result of a follow-up inspection, the company faced three more violations, which, after an informal settlement, cost the firm $3,800.
The agency says more recent onsite inspections indicate that the company continues to improperly manage its hazardous waste, contrary to RCRA requirements. The company is ordered to immediately address the issues presented, and to provide regular reports on its waste disposal practices to EPA Region 7. Failure to comply could result in civil penalties of at least $14,023 per violation per day.