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Maine facilities improve hazardous waste management and protect health and safety

12/18/2018
Contact Information: 
John Senn (senn.john@epa.gov)
(617) 918-1019

(BOSTON) – A Hartland, Maine, tannery has agreed to come into compliance with state and federal hazardous waste laws and to pay a penalty of $48,000 to settle claims by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that it violated these laws at its facility in Hartland. Another Maine company, GVS North America of Sanford, also recently came into compliance with state and federal hazardous waste laws and agreed to pay a penalty to settle charges of violations of hazardous waste regulations by EPA's New England office.

"These settlements improve compliance with important federal and state laws that protect Maine communities, facility employees and first responders from hazardous waste exposure," said EPA New England Regional Administrator Alexandra Dunn. "The companies' work with EPA and steps taken to return to compliance will help us together to advance public and worker health and safety."

Tasman Leather Group, LLC agreed to correct all violations of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and State of Maine Hazardous Waste Management Rules, and certified compliance with these requirements. This case stems from a June 2016 inspection by EPA inspectors who found that the facility had failed to get a site-specific identification number, maintain a compliant hazardous waste contingency plan, conduct an annual review of hazardous waste training, and conduct an adequate hazardous waste determination, among other alleged violations. Without a site-specific identification number, a facility may avoid regulatory oversight. Without a compliant contingency plan and proper training, facility employees and emergency responders may not know how to respond in an emergency.

These violations posed a threat to the health and safety of employees and the surrounding community because they could have led to hazardous waste releases. This settlement reduces the likelihood of a release of hazardous waste to the Hartland community. The Hartland facility, which re-tans and finishes leather for the military, footwear and fashion industries, generates hazardous waste, including flammable solvents.

According to EPA, GVS North America – a Delaware-based subsidiary of a company based in Italy – was found to be out of compliance in that they failed to provide employee hazardous waste management training, failed to have adequate space between containers of hazardous waste, and failed to do weekly inspections of hazardous waste containers, among other violations of RCRA and the State of Maine Hazardous Waste Management Rules.

In the case of GVS North America, the company is now doing the training and inspections necessary to comply with federal and state hazardous waste laws. GVS also agreed to pay a penalty of $63,036 to settle claims by EPA that it failed to properly manage its hazardous waste. The Sanford facility, which makes filters for life sciences applications as well as throttle plates for cars, generates hazardous wastes containing sodium hydroxide, sulfuric acid, methanol NMP, flammable solids, universal wastes, and chromium.