Penalty Upheld for Waste Violations at Roanoke, Virginia, Chemical Distributor

Operator Chem-Solv, Inc. and Owner Austin Holdings-VA, L.L.C. Ordered to Pay Full Penalty

PHILADELPHIA (February 18, 2015) – The U.S. EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) has upheld the results of an EPA enforcement action involving hazardous waste storage that was initiated in 2011 against Chem-Solv, Inc. and Austin Holdings-VA, L.L.C., the operator and owner of a chemical blending and distribution facility in Roanoke, Va.

In a January 26, 2015 Final Decision and Order, the EAB upheld in its entirety the 2014 Initial Decision made by the EPA Chief Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), and ordered respondents to pay the full, original $612,338.78 civil penalty.

Chem-Solv, Inc., the operator of a chemical distribution facility located at 1111 and 1140 Industry Ave. in Roanoke, and Austin Holdings-VA, L.L.C., the facility owner, handles and distributes various chemicals, including alcohols, acids, caustics, mineral oils, surfactants, glycols and solvents.

EPA’s complaint cited violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the federal law governing the treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste. RCRA is designed to protect public health and the environment, and avoid costly cleanups, by requiring the safe, environmentally sound storage and disposal of hazardous waste. The RCRA requirements mandate the use of safe practices which greatly reduce the chances that hazardous waste will be released into the environment.

In its 2014 appeal, Chem-Solv raised four issues questioning the ALJ’s determination that: (1) the company had impermissibly operated a hazardous waste storage tank regulated under RCRA; (2) a leaking chemical drum contained a solid waste rather than a useful product; (3) the company had failed to make required hazardous waste determinations for materials in the storage tank and for certain aerosol paint cans; and (4) whether the ALJ demonstrated bias against the Chem-Solv in the underlying decision.

In its January 26, 2015 Final Decision and Order, the EAB found that the ALJ’s Initial Decision was “supported by a preponderance of the evidence” and that Chem-Solv’s allegations that the ALJ exhibited bias were “without merit.” The EAB found “no evidence of bias in the record” and noted how the ALJ’s Initial Decision “thoroughly explain[ed] why she found each witness’ testimony credible or not, and cited to other facts in the record upon which she relied in reaching her decision.”

The EAB ordered full payment of the civil penalty within 30 days and let stand the ALJ’s original compliance order requiring the company to comply with applicable RCRA hazardous waste tank closure requirements.

Respondents have the right to appeal the EAB’s Final Decision and Order to federal district court.

The Final Decision and Order is available at: http://yosemite.epa.gov/oa/EAB_Web_Docket.nsf/146aca7a3e02423e8525706c005493da/aaefef2f47fee91085257dd90061c4a3!OpenDocument

The 2014 Initial Decision is available at: http://www.epa.gov/aljhomep/orders/2014/RCRA-03-2011-0068_Chemsolv_14-06-05_ID_Biro.pdf

Written by greenlivingguy

The Green Living Guy, Seth Leitman is a green living expert, celebrity and Editor of the McGraw-Hill, TAB Green Guru Guides. Seth is also an Author, Radio Host, Reporter, Writer and a Environmental Consultant on green living. The Green Living Guy writes about green living, green lighting, the green guru guides and more. Seth's books range from: # Build Your Own Electric Vehicle by Bob Brant and Seth Leitman (2nd and 3rd editions) # Build Your Own Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle by Seth Leitman # Build Your Own Electric Motorcycle by Carl Vogel # Green Lighting by Seth Leitman, Brian Clark Howard and Bill Brinsky # Solar Power For Your Home by David Findley # Renewable Energies For Your Home by Russel Gehrke # Do-it-Yourself Home Energy Audits by David Findley # Build Your Own Small Wind Power System by Brian Clark Howard and Kevin Shea # and more green living books to follow.