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EPA Cites University of Pittsburgh for PCB Violations

Release Date: 1/4/2002
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, (215) 814-5543

Bonnie Smith, (215) 814-5543

PHILADELPHIA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has cited the University of Pittsburgh for violating federal regulations on registering and labeling electrical equipment containing polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) fluids. EPA seeks a $25,300 penalty for the alleged violations, which occurred at the university’s Oakland, Pa. campus.

The administrative complaint alleges that the university failed to register eight PCB-containing transformers with EPA until April 12, 2000 – more than 16 months after the December 1, 1998 registration deadline. EPA’s April 18, 2000 inspection also revealed a failure to affix a required PCB warning label on a PCB transformer vault at Victoria Hall.

PCBs, a probable human carcinogen, were commonly used as a nonflammable coolant for transformers and other electrical equipment until the 1970s, when Congress enacted strict requirements on the manufacture, use and disposal of this toxic substance.

The university has the right to a hearing to contest the alleged violations and proposed penalties.