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EPA Settles with King County, Files Complaint Against Operator for PCB Violations at former Bellevue Daycare Center

Release Date: 6/1/2005
Contact Information: Dan Duncan
(206) 553-6693

June 1, 2005

As part of an ongoing effort to reduce exposure and potential health effects from contact with Polychlorinated bi-phenyls (PCBs), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has settled a Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) matter for $29,510 with King County. The settlement followed an investigation of PCB contamination from leaking light fixtures at a daycare center located at 609 112th Avenue SE, Bellevue, Washington. At the time of the investigation, the facility was owned by King County and operated by a lessee named Surrydowns Children Center.

Although the penalty case is now settled with King County who owned the facility, the owner and operator has not responded to an offer from EPA to settle their penalty claims. As a result, a Complaint has been issued against Surrydowns carrying a proposed $44,925 penalty.

According to Scott Downey, EPA TSCA enforcement manager, daycare owners and operators need to be especially vigilant to protect children from exposure.

"Owners and operators of places like schools and daycares really need to ‘go the extra mile’ to insure that any PCB contamination is recognized and cleaned-up right away. We can’t gamble with kid’s health," says Downey.

The investigation began in July 2004 when EPA was notified by a King County health inspector that there were potential PCB-laden leaking light ballasts at Surrydowns. EPA inspectors then visited the facility, obtained samples, and submitted them to a laboratory for analysis.

The lab results confirmed there was substantial leakage of liquid PCBs throughout the facility including the main office and in pre-school, kindergarten, and after-school areas. PCBs well-above the regulated level of 50 parts per million (ppm) were found in fluorescent light trays, in a plastic container on the floor, and on a carpeted floor.

Shortly after EPA’s notification to King County and the Surrydowns operator in August, the facility was closed. The County subsequently spent $81,500 to clean up and dispose of the PCBs under an EPA-approved plan. The operator elected not to participate in the clean up of PCBs.

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