EPA settlement with Emerald Services, Inc. in Tacoma helps protect community from hazardous waste

DATE: November 20, 2017

Seattle – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 10, has reached a settlement with Emerald Services, Inc., a hazardous waste storage and treatment facility in Tacoma, Washington, over violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and violations of the facility’s RCRA permit. This enforcement action was coordinated with the Washington Department of Ecology. The facility is located within the boundaries of the Puyallup Tribe’s reservation.

DATE: November 20, 2017 Seattle – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 10, has reached a settlement with Emerald Services, Inc., a hazardous waste storage and treatment facility in Tacoma, Washington, over violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and violations of the facility’s RCRA permit. This enforcement action was coordinated with the Washington Department of Ecology. The facility is located within the boundaries of the Puyallup Tribe’s reservation.

Emerald Services manages large volumes of hazardous waste, solvents, and antifreeze and re-refines used oil at the Tacoma facility.

Emerald was purchased by Safety-Kleen Systems, Inc. on July 8, 2016, and both Emerald and Safety-Kleen are owned by parent holding company, Clean Harbors, Inc. Ensuring that funds will be available if the company’s operations harm people or damage property is an essential element of the “cradle to grave” RCRA hazardous waste management program.

This settlement resolves several RCRA violations at the Tacoma-area facility. Specifically, the company also failed to maintain adequate third-party liability insurance coverage. For that’s of the facility. Moreover and for the past six years.

As part of the settlement, Emerald Services agreed to pay a $125,800 penalty and amended its current insurance policy to comply with its RCRA permit.

“Having adequate insurance coverage for your business, especially one that stores and handles hazardous waste. For I mean it isn’t an option, it’s the law,” said Ed Kowalski, Director of EPA’s Region 10 Compliance and Enforcement Division in Seattle. “Liability insurance is a key requirement of the hazardous waste permitting system, ensuring that commercial hazardous waste handlers operate in a safe manner to protect people’s health and the environment.”

There is a history of spills and incidents at Emerald’s Tacoma facility. In 2013, a 1,900-gallon spill of a highly dangerous fuel oil/asphalt mixture injured a worker. Emerald’s pattern of spills and releases suggests the facility may have a higher probability of future accidents. Thereby underscoring the need to have liability coverage. All for possible bodily injury, property damage and environmental restoration.

Violating environmental laws puts public health and the environment at risk. EPA protects communities by ensuring compliance with federal environmental laws. By fairly enforcing environmental laws, we level the playing field. Especially by deterring violators and denying companies an unfair business advantage. For that’s over facilities and businesses that follow the rules.

In conclusion and to learn about RCRA: https://www.epa.gov/laws-regulations/summary-resource-conservation-and-recovery-act.  

Information on EPA’s environmental compliance and also enforcement efforts: http://www2.epa.gov/enforcement.

Finally and to report environmental violation tips and complaints. www.epa.gov/tips.

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