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Yale University Faces Fine for Failing to Provide Updated Financial Guarantee Information

Release Date: 02/27/2006
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. - Feb. 27, 2006) – Yale University is facing a fine of nearly $30,000 for failing to meet financial assurance requirements of federal and state hazardous waste laws.

The EPA complaint, which could result in a fine of $28,375, states that Yale violated the financial assurance requirements of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) by failing to submit updated financial assurance information to the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (CT DEP) for the years 2003 and 2004.

The action is part of a new federal initiative to ensure that companies and institutions that handle hazardous waste have the funds available to properly clean up areas where the hazardous wastes have been treated, stored or disposed of when they stop the hazardous waste activity.

Yale University operates a greater-than-90-day storage facility at its Wright Nuclear Structure Laboratory (WNSL), where it stores containers of hazardous waste mixed with radioactive waste. As a facility that stores hazardous waste for greater than 90 days, Yale was required to comply with the requirements applicable to treatment, storage and disposal facilities, including the requirement to maintain financial assurance for closure of the WNSL storage area.

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. EPA's New England regional office conducted a review of the files of the Connecticut environmental agency to determine if facilities in that state were in compliance with the law. After reviewing the CT DEP’s files, compliance problems were identified for many facilities, including Yale.

As a participant in EPA’s College and University Audit Initiative in 2002, Yale disclosed, among other violations, that it was not maintaining financial assurance for the WNSL. Later that year, Yale submitted to CT DEP documents demonstrating that it met its financial assurance obligations. However, EPA’s file review found that Yale failed to provide annual updates to its financial assurance documentation for fiscal years 2003 and 2004.

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