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Conn. City and Private Waste Hauler Take Steps to Correct Toxic Waste Violations

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Emily Bender (

BOSTON – Under a recent settlement with the US Environmental Protection Agency, the City of Ansonia, Conn., and a private waste hauler, Connecticut Oil Recycling Services based in Middletown, Conn., have taken steps to resolve and correct separate, but related violations of federal laws regulating the handling and transport of toxic chemicals.

"These actions demonstrate the importance that all parties involved with PCB waste take great care to ensure that every step in the handling and disposal process is done consistent with federal regulation," said Alexandra Dunn, regional administrator of EPA's New England office.

EPA's New England office alleged that the City of Ansonia failed to properly prepare a hazardous waste manifest when, on Aug. 2, 2016, it offered about 500 gallons of waste oil containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) to Connecticut Oil for transport from a city transfer station to an off-site facility for storage or disposal. Connecticut Oil failed to prepare a hazardous waste manifest when several days later it brought a larger volume of PCB-contaminated oil, including the oil picked up from Ansonia, to a facility in New Haven for storage or disposal.

Due to these omissions, more than 4,500 gallons of used oil was contaminated with levels of PCBs, which meant that the oil could not be recycled. Under the federal Toxic Substances Control Act, PCB waste must be disposed of as TSCA-regulated waste rather than recycled for reuse. The company and the municipality have each certified that they have addressed the violations and the company is now in compliance with federal toxic substances law and PCB rules.

EPA's complaint alleged that the violations occurred even though city employees had previously sampled the oil at its transfer station for PCBs, received analytical results showing PCB concentrations above regulatory limits, and communicated the sampling results to Connecticut Oil before the company came to collect the waste oil. Connecticut Oil was already familiar with the PCB requirements since it had entered into another penalty settlement with EPA in 2015 resolving a substantially similar manifesting violation.

PCB regulations are intended, among other things, to help reduce the chances for PCBs to be released into the environment, and to limit any harm to human health or the environment if they are released. Once in the environment, PCBs do not readily break down and therefore may remain for long periods of time. PCBs are classified by EPA as a probable human carcinogen and have been demonstrated to cause a variety of other adverse health effects on the immune system, reproductive system, nervous system, and endocrine system. In this case, even though the PCBs in question are believed to have been discovered and properly contained before any uncontrolled releases occurred, the violations did result in the cross-contamination of thousands of gallons of used oil that then required disposal as TSCA-regulated waste.

Under the settlement, the City of Ansonia agreed to pay $19,125 and Connecticut Oil Recycling Services agreed to pay $32,397 to resolve the Toxics Substances Control Act violations.

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