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Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

2007 Region 9 Compliance and Enforcement Annual Results

Highlights by States in Region 9

States of Region 9 click for Pacific Islands click for Hawaii click for California click for Nevada click for Arizona

Arizona

desert butte in Arizona

EPA focused enforcement efforts to reduce exposure to asbestos in our schools.  The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) requires local education agencies to inspect schools for asbestos-containing building material (ACBM) and prepare management plans for the reduction of asbestos hazards. This year EPA issued eight complaints to charter schools in the Tucson area and inspected 21 charter schools in the Phoenix area. 

EPA ordered Raytheon Company and the U.S. Air Force to cleanup a migrating plume of contaminated groundwater at the Tucson International Airport Area Superfund Site.  EPA issued the order to ensure that the contaminated water does not continue to migrate and impact City of Tucson drinking water resources.

EPA is working closely with its state partners in the Phoenix area to improve the air quality in the Sun Valley.  Together with Maricopa County Air Quality Department, EPA fined Henry Products, Inc. $175,000 for releasing excess emissions into the air in violation of the Clean Air Act.  As part of this action the facility installed a state of the art emissions capture and control device to reduce 95 percent of its VOC emission.

Also in concert with Maricopa County, EPA fined Richmond American Homes of Arizona, Inc. $155,000 dust violations that occurred at five residential construction sites in Maricopa County. As part of the settlement, all current and new company employees involved in dust-generating activities must complete dust-control training, the company must certify every six months that training is up-to-date, and employ a qualified dust control coordinator at all Maricopa County sites equaling or exceeding 50 acres in disturbed surface area.

The regional program also focuses on compliance with the Federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know-Act to ensure that facilities that store hazardous chemicals provide timely and accurate information about the risks posed by these chemicals. Region 9 fined the Shasta Beverages, Inc. facility in Phoenix $11,900 for failure to file the required annual chemical inventory forms with state and local response agencies.

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California

Golden Gate Bridge in California

EPA Region 9 entered into the first agreements in the nation to implement the privatized clean-up of  two Superfund sites.  At the former McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento and the shuttered Ft. Ord Army base near Monterey, the military is funding clean up through local jurisdictions in order to combine clean up efforts with redevelopment activities.  The remediation activities will be overseen by EPA and state agencies under enforceable administrative consent orders.  The cleanup at McClellan centers on a 62 acre parcel contaminated with industrial solvents.  At Ft. Ord, EPA will oversee the remediation of nearly 3000 acres of land contaminated primarily with unexploded ordnance. 

booms used to absorb captured oil
Absorbent booms are laid out in the Suisun Marsh to capture oil spilled from a ruptured Kinder-Morgan pipeline in 2004.

EPA settled claims against Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP, and SFPP LP to resolve the company’s liabilities under the Clean Water Act, Oil Pollution Act, Endangered Species Act, and state laws for several oil spills into California water bodies.  The companies agreed to pay nearly $5.3 million in penalties.  The settlement includes a $3.7 million civil penalty and $1.3 million to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Department of Fish and Game to compensate for natural resource damages. In addition, Kinder Morgan has agreed to fund restoration projects, implement stringent oil spill prevention policies and re-designate pipelines in the eastern Sierras to apply additional precautionary measures that will minimize environmental risks and potential damage if future spills occur.

EPA, the California Air Resources Board, and North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District  reached a $5 million settlement with Evergreen Pulp, Inc. that will protect air quality in the Eureka area by reducing emissions of particulate matter and hazardous air pollutants from its wood pulp mill by approximately 340 tons annually.

EPA and two environmental organizations entered settlements with the City of San Diego requiring the City to spend over $1 billion to improve its aging sewer system to prevent future spills of raw untreated sewage. San Diego will complete a number of capital projects to repair or replace the aging sewer system.

photo of trash at the AuClair waste disposal site
Hazardous waste at the AuClair waste disposal site

EPA and the Torres Martinez Collaborative, a consortium of 25 federal, state and local agencies including the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Torres Martinez Cahuilla Indian Tribe, California Integrated Waste Management Board, and Riverside County Fire Department, successfully shut down an illegal dump on the Torres-Martinez Reservation in the Coachella Valley outside Los Angeles. 

Torres Martinez feature story

EPA fined a southern California conveyor equipment manufacturer $83,926 for failure to submit required toxic chemical reports, a violation of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). The settlement will consist of a $19,197 cash penalty and a $64,729 supplemental environmental project (SEP) that includes the donation of hazardous material response equipment to the City of Burbank Fire Department.

EPA settled with a private company, its owners, and several federal agencies for $1.7 million in cleanup costs at the San Gabriel Valley Area 2 Superfund Site near Los Angeles.  The settling parties, Azusa Pipe and Tube Bending Corp., Frederick Tressel, Ronald Tressel, the Trustees of the Tressel Family Trust, the General Services Administration, Department of the Army, Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, Department of the Air Force, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will pay $1,515,000 to the U.S. and $180,000 to the state of California for their efforts to direct and oversee clean up of the contamination.

photo of:
Baldwin Contracting Co. illegally discharged fill material into 1.74 acres of wetland to expand their stockpile area in 2003.

EPA settled with Baldwin Contracting Company, Inc., an operator of a sand and gravel mining site, for discharging gravel and other fill material into Stony Creek and adjacent wetlands without the federally required permits. Baldwin, located near Orland, Calif. agreed to stop discharging fill material into Stony Creek and adjacent wetlands. The company has also agreed to take on comprehensive wetlands restoration efforts and submit a plan for creating 3.5 acres of wetlands.

EPA settled with 26 central California facilities for a total of $18,800 for failing to resubmit Risk Management Plans (RMPs), a violation of the Clean Air Act.  Using expedited settlement agreements (ESAs), facilities located in Fresno, Kings, Kern, Madera, and Tulare Counties received reduced penalties of $200 to $2,000 for quickly bringing their facilities into compliance with federal regulations.

In close cooperation with California Department of Pesticide Regulation, EPA took a number of actions against various companies for selling products making a variety of claims ranging from general household disinfection to claims for use in controlling harmful bacteria in hospitals.  Fines totaling greater than $1 million were levied against 15 companies statewide for the alleged sale and distribution of unregistered pesticides and/or pesticides with inaccurate labels, in violation of federal regulations.

EPA settled with the Pala Tribe for $915,000 for illegal discharges of dredged and fill material to the San Luis Rey River in San Diego. The settlement requires the Pala Band of Mission Indians to provide $545,000 toward The Nature Conservancy's acquisition of ecologically valuable property for permanent protection within the San Luis Rey River watershed as mitigation for the impacts caused by the defendants’ activities. The Pala Band of Mission Indians will pay a civil penalty of $370,000, and the other defendants will collectively pay a civil penalty of $65,000.

EPA sentenced a refinery to three years probation and ordered it to pay a criminal penalty for violating the Safe Drinking Water Act. The Santa Maria Refining Company, a subsidiary of Greka Energy Corporation, must apply $500,000 of the $1 million penalty towards the Los Padres National Forest Restoration Project.

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Hawaii

Sea turtle in Hawaiian waters

In October 2006, EPA  learned that, in addition to abandoning the cess pool replacement project  a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) required under its Consent Decree, Pflueger had also failed to begin any of the restoration work at its Pila’a property.  EPA issued a demand for stipulated penalties that had accrued for missed SEP deadlines.  More importantly, EPA facilitated a resolution of the impasse in obtaining the necessary grading permit from the County of Kauai that had stalled the restoration work.

EPA settled with RHS Lee, Inc. a specialty contracting firm with emphasis in grading, site preparation, excavation, demolition, and trucking for $10,000 for hazardous waste violations on its facility located in Pearl City, Oahu

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Nevada

Lake Tahoe

In this past year, EPA settled two major cases against Nevada Power Company for significant and prolonged violations of the Clean Air Act. The cases involve the Reid Gardner facility and the Clark Generating Station, both in the highly-congested and fast-growing Las Vegas area in southern Nevada. The natural gas-fired power plant will be required to reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) by approximately 2,300 tons annually.  Exposure to high concentrations of NOx can cause lung irritation and possible lung damage, leaving children and those who work and exercise outside more susceptible. The pollutant is also a contributor to smog and haze which pose serious environmental and health risks.  Not only do these settlements achieve major air quality improvements in a problematic air district, they also serve as a significant deterrent to the utility sector.

In addition to the NOx reductions, Nevada Power will fund more than $4 million in energy conservation for the Clark County School District over the next 7 years, and a $400,000 environmental mitigation project for the installation of solar arrays on a non-profit's building in the Las Vegas area. Not only do these settlements achieve major air quality improvements in a problematic air district, they also serve as a significant deterrent to the utility sector in general, including both coal- and gas-fired power plants.

This year EPA took five enforcement actions totaling almost $300,000 in fines and additional environmental projects against companies which were selling cancelled pesticides

EPA ordered Atlantic Richfield Company to conduct a comprehensive investigation to determine the nature and extent of contamination at the Anaconda mine in Yerrington, Nevada.

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Pacific Islands

Pacific island palm tree

Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands

Region 9 fined JG Saipan Rock Quarry, Inc. $400,000 for used oil and used battery management violations at its Lower Base facility in Saipan. The facility repairs and maintains heavy equipment and small vehicles used in its quarrying operations and stores large quantities of used oil and lead acid batteries. During an inspection, EPA discovered 2,000-gallons of used oil and 85 severely corroded and leaking 55-gallon containers of used oil inside of the facility’s secondary containment area. The inspectors also found heavily oil stained soil under 50 additional containers and on the surrounding soil, along with many other leaking containers, vehicles, and lead acid batteries throughout the facility. The EPA’s used oil and used battery rules require facilities to properly store wastes, and label and manage waste containers. Facilities must also take care to properly train employees to manage waste and to manage their used oil, as improperly stored used oil can potentially spill and pose a risk to workers and the environment.

Guam

EPA settled  with Carrier Guam, of Tamuning, a refrigeration and heating equipment services company, for allegedly importing refrigerants regulated by the Clean Air Act.

The company imported 32,356 kilograms of hydrochlorofluorocarbon, an ozone-depleting substance. The EPA’s stratospheric ozone protection regulations limit and regulate the import of the product from sources outside the United States.  A May 2006 inspection by the Guam EPA, in consultation with the U.S. EPA, identified the alleged violations of the stratospheric ozone protection regulations committed by Carrier Guam

EPA issued an ordered against Guam Waterworks Authority for improperly reusing sewage sludge from its Northern District Sewage Treatment Plant. The EPA found sewage sludge from the treatment plant was distributed in violation of the Clean Water Act. Sludge of an unknown quality was distributed between January and August 2006 to several individuals for use on fruit trees and bushes.  The order prohibits GWA from using the sludge for land application without prior EPA approval and requires notification to the land owners of site and harvesting restrictions. GWA also needs to provide a description of exactly how the sewage sludge was applied and have tests done measuring sludge quality with respect to pollutants and pathogens.

American Samoa

photo of lagoon in American Samoa

EPA settled with Seaside Service Station for a fine of $10,400 over alleged federal underground storage tank violations at its facility in Malaloa Village, American Samoa.  EPA alleged that Seaside Service Station failed to meet federal requirements by not conducting line tightness tests or using a monthly leak detection method on its petroleum piping, and by not adequately monitoring the underground tanks for leaks.  As part of the settlement agreement, the EPA is requiring Seaside Service Station to conduct a site assessment to determine if a release of petroleum product has occurred underground.

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