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EPA Charges Manati Pharmaceutical Facility with Violating Air Emissions Regs; Seeks $82,500 in Penalties

Release Date: 01/18/2001
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(#01011) Puerto Rico -- EPA has charged Manati, Puerto Rico-based Schering-Plough Products, L.L.C. with violating regulations aimed at preventing emissions of toxic chemicals into the air. The agency is seeking a penalty of $82,500 for violations of regulations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act -- the federal law dealing with hazardous waste management -- and has ordered the company to immediately comply with all appropriate environmental regulations. A June 2000 EPA inspection of the facility at State Road #686, Km. 0.5, revealed that the company had not met certain federal requirements for three tanks used to store hazardous waste produced in Schering’s pharmaceutical drug manufacturing processes. The hazardous wastes held in the tanks contained volatile organic compounds – toxic chemicals that can easily evaporate into the air. EPA charged that Schering: had not determined the maximum vapor pressure of the hazardous waste in two of the three tanks before filling them with the waste for the first time; did not initially inspect the roof covering these two tanks and devices used to keep them closed to ensure that they would not allow volatile organic compounds to be emitted into the environment; and failed to perform yearly inspections for defects of the roofs and closure devices of two tanks in 1997, 1998 and 1999 and the remaining tank in 1997 and 1999. The three tanks have a combined capacity of 35,000 gallons of hazardous waste. Schering-Plough Products employs 600 people at the Manati facility, and recently reported sales of approximately $153 million. The company has until the end of January 2001 to respond to EPA’s complaint.