Department Of Justice, EPA Reach Clean Air Act Settlement With Ohio Based Hazardous Waste Company
The Department of Justice and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) entered into a settlement with Heritage Thermal Services Inc., a subsidiary of Heritage Environmental Services LLC, resolving allegations that the company violated the Clean Air Act at its hazardous waste incinerator located in East Liverpool, Ohio.
Some of the alleged violations arose from an explosion at the incinerator on July 13, 2013, which ruptured incinerator ducting, releasing untreated flue gas, steam, and boiler ash beyond the incinerator’s fence line.
“The July 2013 explosion at the Heritage incinerator was a consequence of systemic failures to comply with the Clean Air Act, which protects communities and American workers from harmful releases of air pollutants,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey H. Wood. “This settlement requires the company to comply with Clean Air Act requirements and to perform important lead abatement work to make the East Liverpool community a safer and healthier place for workers and residents.”
“Today’s settlement will bring the Heritage plant into compliance with Clean Air Act regulations, preventing incidents like the July 2013 explosion,” said EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Associate Administrator Susan Bodine. “In addition, Heritage will perform a project that will help to protect people, especially children, from the harmful health effects of lead exposure.”
The U.S. alleges that Heritage violated the Clean Air Act on hundreds of days beginning in November 2010 and continuing thereafter, including violations emanating from the July 13, 2013 explosion. The violations include failures to comply with applicable emissions limits, operating parameter limits, and other Clean Air Act regulatory requirements.
The settlement, which was lodged in federal court for the Northern District of Ohio, requires that Heritage undertake extensive measures designed to bring its operations into compliance with the Clean Air Act. For instance, Heritage will not accept certain wastes that cause the kind of excess emissions that contributed to the July 2013 incident. Heritage is also required to investigate and implement corrective measures to reduce future emissions and will study whether other changes in its production process would also prevent Clean Air Act violations. Heritage is also required to pay a penalty of $288,000, and to spend at least $302,500 performing lead hazard abatement work at properties within 25 miles of East Liverpool, Ohio where the owners cannot afford to undertake lead abatement or replacement of lead water service lines.
The Department of Justice and EPA will hold a public meeting at the East Liverpool City Council Chambers on November 7, 2018, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm EDT to provide the public with information about the settlement and to answer questions by the public.
The proposed settlement is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. To view the consent decree or to submit a comment, visit the department’s website at: www.justice.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html.
Information about EPA Region 5's air enforcement program is at http://www.epa.gov/region5/air/enforce/index.html.
Potential environmental violations may be reported at http://www.epa.gov/compliance/complaints.