Waste management fine

Under a recent settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Precise Packaging LLC. (a subsidiary of Delaware-based PLZ Corp.) of Fall River, Mass. will now perform training, oversight, and reporting to regulators necessary to comply with federal and state laws regulating the management of hazardous waste.

The company will also pay a penalty of $43,877 under the terms of the settlement and has agreed to additional measures benefiting the local community.

"EPA's action underscores the importance of the safe management of chemicals, and when a company like Precise Packaging does not comply with its safety obligations, it threatens the safety of our communities," says EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash. "EPA's work is designed to protect all communities from chemical releases, and we have a special responsibility to reduce the burden of environmental pollution and risks of chemical accidents to the workers and residents of communities that have shouldered a greater share of these impacts."

An EPA inspection of Precise Packaging's hazardous waste management practices identified violations of state and federal hazardous waste management laws, including the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and the State of Massachusetts Hazardous Waste Rules. Specifically, EPA alleged that the facility failed to: provide required hazardous waste management training to employees; maintain a sufficient contingency plan designed to prevent and to minimize hazards to public health, safety, or welfare or the environment from unplanned sudden or non-sudden release of hazardous waste or hazardous waste constituents; conduct weekly inspections of the containers that held hazardous waste at the facility; maintain accurate records or provide accurate reporting to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), including regarding its status as a "large quantity generator."

The Precise Packaging facility is an aerosol and liquid product manufacturing plant, where the company manufactures an assortment of consumer products. As part of the settlement, the company has confirmed that the facility is complying with state and federal hazardous waste management laws.

In addition, under this settlement Precise Packaging has agreed spend no less than $57,114 on a supplemental environmental project that will provide the Fall River Fire Department with two handheld chemical detection units that permit more effective responses to hazardous-waste-related emergencies, including through better detection of the kind of hazardous waste generated at this facility. This equipment will benefit the community at large, including historically-disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Without proper training, employees may not know how to handle hazardous waste safely and how to respond in an emergency, thereby increasing the likelihood of a release and worker exposure. Not having a complete contingency plan makes responding to a chemical emergency more difficult for both the facility staff and local emergency responders. Conducting regularly scheduled inspections of hazardous waste storage areas is critical to ensuring that problems are identified and rectified in a timely manner in order to prevent a release of hazardous wastes.

More information on EPA enforcement of hazardous waste requirements can be found here.