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Environmental Policy Roundup – 10/5/2010

Plastics Manufacturer Fine Ordered to Comply with Hazardous Waste Laws and Pay Civil Penalties

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a Complaint and Compliance Order against Hudson Color Concentrates, a division of L&A Molding, Inc., for violating state and federal hazardous waste management requirements, the agency reports.

Hudson Color, of Leominster, Mass., produces custom color plastic pellet concentrates for the plastics industry by blending, mixing, melting, extruding, quenching, drying and chipping processed mixtures of color pigments.

EPA’s complaint alleges that that Hudson Color violated the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) by failing to conduct an adequate hazardous waste determination of waste pigment powders containing high concentrations of lead found in the Facility’s raw material storage areas, pigment room and blending area. In addition, According to the complaint,  EPA inspectors found that the company did not handle universal waste in accordance with state and federal regulations by not properly managing mercury-containing fluorescent bulbs in a way that would prevent bulbs from breaking, potentially releasing of mercury into the environment.

The failure to conduct adequate hazard waste determinations of the pigments could result in release of lead into the environment and unnecessarily expose the company’s employees and others to hazardous wastes.

EPA has  proposed fines of up to $68,466, EPA and ordered Hudson Color to correct these violations by conducting appropriate waste determinations: ensure that mercury-containing universal waste is managed so as to prevent releases of mercury; and, ensure that containers of universal waste are marked with dates of accumulation.

Manufacturer and Distributor to Pay Civil Penalties for Selling Misbranded Lawn Herbicide-Fertilizer

A North Carolina manufacturer and registrant for the herbicide Barricade (prodiamine), and a Wisconsin company that served as an authorized distributor of a fertilizer product containing the herbicide, have agreed to pay civil penalties to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to settle allegations that they sold a misbranded pesticide and altered labels on the pesticide product.

Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc., of Greensboro, N.C., will pay a civil penalty of $9,152, and Eau Claire Co-op Oil Company, Inc., of Eau Claire, Wis., will pay a civil penalty of $6,864, according to separate but related administrative consent agreements filed by EPA.

Syngenta is the official EPA registrant for Prodiamine Pro F 0.38% Herbicide. Eau Claire Co-op Oil is an authorized distributor of the herbicide in a herbicide-fertilizer product marketed as Award Turf Fertilizer with 0.38% Barricade.

During an inspection of a Missouri lawn care business in March 2010, a representative of the Missouri Department of Agriculture found bags of Award Turf Fertilizer with 0.38 percent Barricade that bore conflicting stick-on labels for the percentage of active ingredients. The stick-on labels also partially covered the directions for the product’s safe and proper use.

The bags containing the misbranded product and bearing the altered labels were produced by Eau Claire Co-op Oil Company.

 The Company’s distribution of  the herbicide-fertilizer product constituted a violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). EPA said that Syngenta was also in violation because it was the registrant and Eau Claire was its supplemental distributor for the pesticide.

The sale or distribution of misbranded or mislabeled pesticides can pose serious risks to human health, plant and animal life, and the environment. Without proper labeling or safety instructions on packaging, users can unintentionally misapply pesticides and may not have adequate information to address needs for first aid in the event of emergency.

As part of their respective settlements, Syngenta and Eau Claire Co-Op Oil Company have both certified that their operations are now in compliance with FIFRA and its regulations.

EPA Finalizes L Range Cleanup Plan

 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has signed a final decision document to address contamination near the “L Range” at the Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR) on Cape Cod, the agency announced yesterday.

The decision addresses both the groundwater contamination and its source. The majority of the L Range groundwater contamination is located on the eastern portion of the base, adjacent to the Town of Sandwich.  The agency said in a press release that sampling and monitoring efforts have shown that it does not threaten public or private drinking water supplies.

Monitored natural attenuation, or natural reduction in the environment, with land-use controls will serve as the remedy for groundwater contaminated from former military training activities at the L Range. Land-use controls will ensure there is no future use of the contaminated water as long as groundwater contamination levels exceed the state action level. 

Most of the surface source area contamination at the L Range has been removed, however, long term monitoring of the groundwater will take place to ensure the cleanup plan for the source is adequate. Long term groundwater monitoring will also help determine if the groundwater contamination levels are decreasing as modeled.  

Groundwater modeling and sampling indicate that perchlorate concentrations in the L Range groundwater plume are already below the most conservative risk-based level, according to EPA. Under this plan, the most conservative risk-based level for RDX will be achieved by 2027. The chosen remedy will comply with state and federal standards that require that these remedies be protective of human health and the environment.

Perchlorate contamination is often found at or near weapons testing facilities, because large amounts of ammonium perchlorate were used to fabricate rocket propellant and explosives, and disposal of spent materials often occurred on site.

Earlier this year EPA sought public input on the possible cleanup alternatives for the L Range, on EPA’s proposed remedy of natural attenuation and land use controls, and on the rationale for EPA’s recommendation of this alternative.   A public informational meeting was held on May 19, at the Forestdale School, in Sandwich, Mass. Submitted comments were considered by EPA, in consultation with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

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