Enforcement and Assistance in New England
Kanthal Corporation is the first company in New England to be charged under a new federal initiative aimed at making sure companies that handle hazardous waste have the money to properly clean up hazardous wastes units when they stop treating, storing or disposing of such wastes. The Region is seeking a $385,100 penalty from this manufacturer in Bethel, CT, for failing to meet financial assurance requirements of federal and state hazardous waste laws.
Kanthal, which closed its hazardous waste unit in 1997, manufactures heating systems, resistance wire and other heating-related materials. It is a subsidiary of Sandvik Inc. of Fairlawn, NJ. As a facility that manages hazardous waste, Kanthal was required to comply with requirements of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), including maintaining financial assurance for closure and post-closure care of the facility. According to the complaint issued by EPA’s New England office, Kanthal violated four of the financial assurance requirements of RCRA.
EPA began the nationwide effort to enforce financial requirements of RCRA after the agency’s inspector general issued a report indicating that many companies might not be in compliance with laws regarding financial assurance. The Region conducted a review of the files of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to determine if facilities in that state were in compliance with the law.
After reviewing DEP’s files, EPA New England identified compliance problems at Kanthal. Information indicated that Kanthal was not in compliance with financial assurance regulations in 2003, 2004 or 2005, and was thus required to establish an alternative mechanism for financial assurance, which it did not do. Kanthal had also failed to include certain required items in its reports to show it met the financial test, failed to adjust its post-closure cost estimates for inflation for several years after it closed its hazardous waste unit and failed to update corporate guarantee information.