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U.S. EPA fines industrial laundry company nearly half-million dollars for hazardous waste violations

Release Date: 10/06/2008
Contact Information: Wendy Chavez, 415/947-4248,

G&K Services failed to control air emissions at its Northern, Southern California facilities

    (San Francisco, Calif. -- 10/06/08) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today fined a commercial industrial laundry company $425,000 for numerous violations at two of the company’s facilities located in Northern and Southern California.

    The EPA inspected the G & K Services facility in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., in February 2007 and the Pittsburg, Calif., facility in March, and found that the company failed to control air emissions, among numerous other hazardous waste management requirements.

    The Minnetonka, Minn.-based company is a commercial industrial laundry, with over 145 locations in 32 states. The Pittsburg and Santa Fe Springs facilities generated hazardous wastes from the cleaning of solvent contaminated rags. The two locations were not controlling air emissions from the solvent recovery process. The facilities are also large quantity generators of hazardous wastes, including waste solvent, volatile organics -- benzene, chloroform, and trichloroethylene -- used oil, used oil filters, spent fluorescent lamps, and spent antifreeze.

    “This is a large fine because these facilities had significant hazardous waste management problems,” said Jeff Scott, the EPA’s Waste Management Division director for the Pacific Southwest region. “Controlling air emissions is important in protecting air quality, and the EPA is committed to aggressively enforcing safe hazardous waste handling requirements, including air emission controls.”

    EPA inspectors found that G&K Services:
    failed to properly store ignitable hazardous waste;
    failed to meet air emission standards for equipment leaks;
    failed to meet air emission standards for tanks and containers;
    failed to assess small hazardous waste storage tanks;
    failed to provide overfill protection for small hazardous storage tanks;
    failed to mark and label hazardous storage tanks;
    failed to conduct and document weekly inspections of hazardous storage tanks;
    failed to maintain a contingency plan; and
    failed to maintain training records and a copy of the biennial report.

    The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act require facilities to properly manage hazardous waste to prevent accidental release, which would pose a risk to workers and the environment. A complete contingency plan assists workers and emergency responders in the event of an emergency.

    For more information on Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, visit: