BOSTON -- A penalty paid by two related companies that transported toxic waste from Massachusetts through Vermont to Canada will serve to remind transporters that liquid waste of unknown origin should always be sampled for PCBs.
ENPRO Services Inc. and the related company, ENPRO Services of Vermont Inc. (EVI), agreed to pay $46,000 to settle claims by the US Environmental Protection Agency that they violated federal laws regulating PCBs when they transported drums from Lawrence, Mass., to Williston, Vt. and ultimately into Canada.
The settlement stems from the 2014 transportation of drums from a now-closed facility owned by the former Bolton-Emerson Americas Inc., which has since dissolved. ENPRO, hired to transport waste from the facility, did not sample 12 drums of waste for PCBs that were stored in a shed for many years at the Bolton-Emerson facility. ENPRO identified these 12 drums as containing flammable liquids. Two of the 12 drums were later found to contain elevated PCB concentrations of 490,000 and 510,000 parts per million.
ENPRO was hired by the former Bolton-Emerson Americas Inc., to characterize and dispose of waste remaining at its Lawrence, Mass. facility after the sale of Bolton-Emerson. ENPRO transported about 50 drums of waste to a facility owned by Environmental Services of Vermont in Williston, Vt.
EVI then exported the drums to the Newalta Corp. in Chateauguay, Quebec, which sent the waste to its fuel-blending facility in Barrie, Ontario. The waste was put into four storage tanks, resulting in the contamination of about 47,600 gallons of potential fuel with PCBs. The Barrie facility transported a load of fuel from these storage tanks to a cement kiln facility which tested the load and discovered elevated PCB concentrations.
EPA alleged that ENPRO violated the Toxic Substance Control Act when it failed to identify PCBs on the manifest when it transported regulated concentrations of PCBs to Vermont and EVI violated the same regulation in sending the load on to Canada. EVI also violated federal toxic substances law by exporting regulated concentrations of PCBs and for distributing PCBs in commerce when it shipped the drums of PCBs to Newalta Corp. in Quebec.
The failure to properly identify PCBs in waste shipments presents a risk to human health and the environment. The co-mingling of PCB regulated waste with non-PCB waste resulted in the contamination of thousands of gallons of waste which otherwise could have been used as fuel. The shipment of PCB-contaminated waste to a facility that is not authorized to dispose of PCBs may result in the release of PCBs into the environment and/or the exposure of humans to PCBs. Once in the environment, PCBs do not readily break down and therefore may remain for long periods of time cycling between air, water, and soil. PCBs are a probable human carcinogen and have been shown to cause a variety of other adverse health effects on the immune system, reproductive system, nervous system, and endocrine system.