The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE) Monday announced a settlement with Clean Harbors Environmental Services Inc. to address alleged violations at the company’s commercial hazardous waste incinerator in Kimball, Nebraska.
The alleged violations included failure to manage and contain hazardous wastes; failure to comply with air emission limits; failure to comply with chemical accident prevention safety requirements; and failure to timely report use of certain toxic chemicals. Under the terms of the settlement, the company agreed to pay a $790,000 civil penalty and will improve facility practices to protect facility workers and the surrounding community from potentially harmful releases of pollutants.
“Today’s settlement addresses the repeat violations observed through numerous state and federal inspections at Clean Harbors’ Kimball facility,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. “We are encouraged by the positive steps taken by the company to protect its workers and those living in the Kimball community and downwind from the facility.”
According to the EPA and NDEE, the Kimball facility has been subject to previous enforcement actions, including penalty assessments, in 1997, 2004 and 2010.
The agencies alleged improper management of wastes incinerated at the facility led to unsafe conditions that could result in employee injury and/or releases of harmful air pollution outside the facility. For example, the agencies allege that Clean Harbors failed to address multiple fire incidents resulting from the company’s mixing of incompatible wastes.
Terms of the settlement include upgraded plans to classify, manage and contain the wastes incinerated at the facility; an updated fire prevention and response program; and the performance of an environmental audit at the facility to identify and address any continuing noncompliance.
Clean Harbors Environmental Services Inc. operates over 150 facilities throughout the U.S. and Canada, including landfills, wastewater treatment facilities, and incineration and recycling centers.
Reducing risks from such accidental releases of hazardous substances at industrial and chemical facilities is a top priority for the EPA and is identified as one of seven National Compliance Initiatives for the Agency. Allegations included offenses of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Clean Air Act, and Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.