Pacific Southwest, Region 9
Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations
2008 Region 9 Compliance and Enforcement Annual Results
Highlights by States in Region 9
Lost Lake Resort confirmed the release of a significant amount of gasoline after performing two site assessments required by EPA's regulations. The facility is now developing a clean-up plan to address the contamination. EPA is working in partnership with the Colorado River Indian Tribes' Environmental Protection Office to ensure that soil and groundwater are properly cleaned up at Lost Lake Resort. EPA fined Lost Lake Resort, near Poston, Arizona, $55,000 for underground storage tank violations that caused groundwater and soil contamination on the Colorado River Indian Tribes reservation.
EPA settled with Sun State of Tempe, Arizona for alleged dust violations at commercial construction sites in Maricopa County. Sun State allegedly failed to comply with Maricopa County rules during earth moving and dust generating operations at construction projects. The primary cause of particulate pollution in the Phoenix area is wind-blown dust from construction and home development sites, road building activities, and unpaved parking lots and roads. As part of the settlement, Sun State employees involved in dust-generating activities must complete dust-control training and the company must certify every six months that the training is up-to-date, and employ a dust control coordinator at all Maricopa County sites equaling or exceeding 5 acres of disturbed surface area.
EPA settled with Exxon Mobil Corporation for allegedly disposing of and improperly handling polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) on an offshore oil and gas platform in the Santa Barbara Channel, off the southern California coast. Between 2002 and 2005, two large electrical transformers located on Platform Hondo, part of Exxon's Santa Ynez Unit, leaked nearly 400 gallons of PCB-contaminated fluid. Exxon allowed one of the transformers to leak for almost two years before repairing it. The leaking from the transformers constitutes illegal disposal of PCBs, a violation of the Toxic Substances Control Act. The settlement was for $2.64 million.
EPA settled with the Riverside Cement Company for allegedly violating Clean Air Act standards at its Oro Grande plant, located near Victorville. The Oro Grande facility is one of the largest sources of damaging nitrogen oxides in California. Under the terms of the settlement, the Riverside Cement Company will improve local air quality by shutting down seven 50-year old short dry kilns. In place of the kilns, the Riverside Cement Company will begin operation of a single state-of -art kiln which will remove 1,500 tons of harmful nitrogen oxide emissions annually.
EPA settled with the county of San Bernardino for $11 million to be used for clean-up and enforcement work at the site of the Newmark Groundwater Contamination Superfund Site, located near San Bernardino. The Superfund Site was formerly the Cajon Landfill which was operated by San Bernardino County from 1963 until 1980. EPA concluded that the landfill contributed to the contamination of groundwater and the settlement resolves the county's potential liability at the site, although the county does not admit any liability in the settlement. This is the second cost recovery consent decree for this site. Under a 2005 consent decree, EPA, the City of San Bernardino and the United States Army agreed that the Army would pay to the City $69 million, and the City would operate and maintain the Newmark and Muscoy Operable Units of the Site for up to fifty years. The Army also paid $6.5 million to EPA and $3 million to the California Department of Toxic Substances Control.
The Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System violated five requirements of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) which governs the storage and handling of hazardous materials. The teaching hospital agreed to pay a penalty for the violations and has come into compliance with RCRA regulations. The hospital also instituted a new tracking system for managing pharmaceutical waste.
EPA settled with ATEN Technology Inc., of Irvine, acting for its subsidiary, IOGEAR, for selling unregistered pesticides and making unproven claims about their effectiveness. Products that kill or repel bacteria or germs are considered pesticides and must be registered with EPA prior to distribution or sale. EPA maintains that IOGEAR made unsubstantiated public health claims regarding unregistered products and their ability to control germs constituting a violation of the Federal Insecticides and Rodenticide Act (FFRA). IOGEAR products at issue included a wireless laser mouse with nano shield coating and a wireless keyboard. After being contacted by EPA, IOGEAR stopped making claims that the products protected against germs.
EPA ordered six dairies in the Chino area to comply with California's Dairy Permit, which is designed to protect streams, rivers and and groundwater from discharges of manure waste and other pollutants. EPA and the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board are collaborating to ensure compliance with the dairy general permit, which helps to protect human health and the environment./p>
EPA settled with four home builders to resolve alleged violations of stormwater run-off regulations at construction sites in 34 states and the District of Columbia. The settlements require the companies to develop improved pollution prevention plans for each site, increase inspections and promptly correct any problems that are detected. In Region 9, Pulte Homes will spend approximately $608,000 to help restore two major tributaries to the Garcia River in Mendocino County, California. The river is impaired for sediment and contains important steelhead and coho salmon habitat in need of restoration. Pulte will also spend an estimated $418,000 on the North Fork of the Garcia River, the largest sub-watershed of the river, to treat sediment and upgrade roads and stream crossings within the sub-watershed. The North Fork project will decrease sediment loading and runoff and improve the anadromous fish habitat. Pulte will also spend an estimated $190,000 to restore the Blue Waterhole Creek; the project will prevent road-related sediment runoff associated with the 17 miles of roads on the surrounding land and, by adding to the riparian canopy, will decrease water temperatures needed to provide suitable habitat for coho salmon.
EPA ordered tenants of the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles to comply with Clean Water Act stormwater regulations. Because of the concentration of industrial facilities at the ports and their proximity to the Los Angeles and Long Beach harbors, EPA and the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board reviewed stormwater management practices at industrial facilities at both ports, including inspections of tenant compliance with the state's industrial stormwater permit. The orders required each tenant to fix violations found during the inspections, including completing on-the-ground corrective measures.
EPA and the Department of Justice settled a case with 39 parties for the clean-up of the South El Monte area of the San Gabriel Valley Superfund site located outside Los Angeles. The site was listed on the National Priorities List in 1984 after industrial solvents and other materials in the south El Monte area contaminated soil and groundwater with volatile organic compounds, perchlorate, and other chemicals. Three local water companies were operating clean-up systems. EPA will use funds from the settlement to reimburse the water companies through a cooperative agreement with the San Gabriel Basin Water Quality Authority. The settlement was for $12.4 million.
EPA settled with Alpheus Kaplan Nehemiah Development Company and eleven other parties to pay $721,000 to pay for the clean-up the Central Eureka Mine, an abandoned gold mine site in Amador County, California. The defendants were responsible for moving arsenic-laden waste from previous mining operations on to sub-divided properties and, in many cases, constructing homes directly on the contaminated mine tailings. EPA had previously entered into a separate cost recovery settlement with Honeywell International. Inc., the successor to the mine operator, for $2 million. The District Court entered that consent decree at the same time that it entered the consent decree with Alpheus Kaplan Develpment Company and the other parties. EPA cleaned up the mine site and the settlement funds will reimburse EPA and be used to finance future clean-ups.
At the direction of EPA and, in conjunction with state and local authorities, Greka Oil and Gas, Inc. has been engaged in clean-up efforts at its Gato Ponds site. Greka has failed to meet multiple clean-up deadlines set by EPA at Gato Ponds. As a result, EPA has assumed control of a portion of clean-up activities at Gato Ponds in Santa Maria California. EPA ordered Greka to mitigate the hazards at Gato Ponds due to their close proximity to Cat Canyon Creek. The ponds were leaking in multiple locations and posed an extreme hazard for a spill. Greka may face fines and penalties pursuant to the order; the law allows for fines up to $32,500 per day for each violation.
EPA fined Imperial Toy LLC., of North Hills, California, $66,180 for selling a novelty toy which contained R-22, an ozone depleting substance. Selling or distributing products containing R-22 violates the Clean Air Act.
EPA ordered 11 public drinking water systems in California to reduce the level of arsenic in their drinking water systems or face penalties of up to $32,500 per day for each violation. The orders require the public drinking water systems to develop and meet a schedule to comply with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act's arsenic standard.
EPA settled with Waste Management of Hawaii, Inc. and the County of Hawaii for $33,500 in fines and at least $184, 400 for a beneficial environmental project after violating the Clean Air Act at the West Hawaii Landfill at Waikoloa. The supplemental environmental project will address the ongoing smoldering conditions at the closed Kona Landfill by conducting heat mapping of the site for a future landfill-wide fire suppression program. The project will also test the effectiveness of proven landfill fire suppression techniques using fire-retardant foam that could be used at the Kona site. Finally, air monitoring will be done around the Kona landfill to assess any potential impacts from the smoldering landfill.
- Waste Management fined for West Hawaii Landfill violations, to implement fire controls at closed Kona landfill
EPA settled with Syngenta Seeds, Inc. for $17, 550 in fines for alleged violations of federal pesticide regulations. The settlement is part of three separate administrative complaints totaling $284,050 in penalties with Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc. and Syngenta Seeds, Inc. for violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. EPA's Region 4 office in Atlanta consolidated the violations throughout the U.S. to emphasize the need for quality control in all aspects of pesticide production and distribution. EPA found alleged pesticide worker protection violations by Syngenta Seeds in Kekaha, Kauai. The violations included failing to store all personal protective equipment separately from clothing and apart from pesticide-contaminated areas, and failing to post the spraying of the pesticide Liberty at it Central Notification site.
EPA fined Del Monte Fresh Produce Co., a Kunia, Oahu fruit grower, $190,000 for hazardous waste storage, handling and used oil management violations. EPA also found the facility had stored containers of hazardous waste without a permit and for longer than the 90 days allowed by EPA hazardous waste storage rules.
EPA ordered Bali Hai Villas Ltd. To comply with the Clean Water Act requirements at its residential construction project in Princeville, Kauai. The company failed to implement stormwater pollution controls outlined in its stormwater permit at the Princeville area construction site. The order requires the company to install soil stabilization and erosion and sediment controls at all locations of exposed soil and locations where stormwater runoff could leave the project site.
EPA settled with Electronic Evolution Technologies, Inc. in Reno, Nevada, for failing to submit reports detailing the amounts of lead processed at its facility from 2002 through 2005. Federal Community Right-to-Know laws require facilities processing, manufacturing, or otherwise using more than 100 pounds of lead to report releases of this highly toxic chemical on an annual basis to EPA and the state. Electronic Evolution Technologies exceeded these thresholds but did not submit reports to the agency during the 2002-2005 time period. The settlement was for $80,000.
EPA fined PTP, Inc. a Nevada-based developer, $43,000 for violating its underground injections control (UIC) permit at the Pineview Estates subdivision in Gardnerville, Nevada, a violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Companies must comply with underground injection control regulations of the Safe Drinking Water Act for wastewater treatment and disposal systems which have the potential to impact subsurface waters. PTP has been working closely with EOA to come into compliance with the UIC permit requirements.
Republic Services of Southern Nevada, the current operator of the Sunrise Mountain Landfill located in Clark County, Nevada, agreed to construct and operate a comprehensive remedy for the site and to pay a $1 million civil fine to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Water Act. Sunrise Landfill, a 440-acre closed municipal solid waste landfill, is located three miles outside of Las Vegas city limits. The landfill cover failed during a series of storms in September 1998, sending waste into the Las Vegas Wash, which discharges directly into Lake Mead, a primary drinking water resource for southern Nevada, including Las Vegas, the lower Colorado River, the Phoenix metro area and southern California. The settlement required Republic Services to implement extensive stormwater controls, an armored engineered cover, methane gas collection, groundwater monitoring, and long-term operation and maintenance.