The owner and operator of a hazardous waste management facility in Providence, R.I. face an EPA penalty for violating federal and state hazardous waste laws.
According to the recent complaint filed by EPA’s New England office, Northland Environmental and PSC Environmental Services (operator and owner of the facility, respectively) violated state and federal hazardous waste laws, as well as their state issued permit to operate a commercial hazardous waste and non-hazardous waste treatment, storage and transfer facility located on Allens Avenue in Providence.
The facility is located in a densely populated Environmental Justice (EJ) area of Providence. EPA considers it an EJ area due to the high proportion of minority and low-income population, which historically has had higher exposure to pollutants than other segments of the population.
In its complaint, EPA details 16 counts of hazardous waste management violations at the facility. The most significant violations were that the companies failed to properly determine that some of the wastes managed and shipped off site as non-hazardous wastes, were in fact, hazardous. This resulted in hazardous wastes being disposed of at facilities not designed or permitted to handle hazardous wastes. In addition, Northland Environmental and PSC Environmental Services failed to properly list all hazardous waste constituents on required notification and shipping documents. These violations could result in hazardous wastes not being properly managed and treated by the final disposal facilities. Moreover, many incompatible hazardous wastes were stored next to one another without adequate means of separation or protection, potentially resulting in fires or explosions.
PSC Environmental Services owns and Northland Environmental operates the facility, which accepts and handles a variety of wastes, including acids, alkalis, flammable wastes, water reactive wastes, cyanides, sulfides, oxidizers, toxic wastes, oily wastes, photochemical wastes and laboratory packs. Hazardous and non-hazardous wastes are received at the facility, stored and or consolidated and then shipped off site for treatment and/or disposal. The affiliated companies face a penalty of up to $37,500 per violation per day.