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Utility Must Properly Manage Hazardous Waste, Pay $39K Penalty Under EPA Settlement

Southern California EdisonSouthern California Edison, one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, will pay a $39,127 penalty to settle federal charges that it improperly managed hazardous waste on Catalina Island.

The EPA conducted an unannounced site inspection at Southern California Edison’s Catalina Island facility in Avalon, California, in September 2015 under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Inspectors found that the utility was storing hazardous waste for over 90 days and universal waste for over 1 year without the proper permits.

In addition, staff members conducting weekly inspections had not been adequately trained and were not checking the date labels on the waste containers. The EPA says Southern California Edison has since corrected all of the identified compliance issues.

Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act program, hazardous substances must be stored, handled and disposed of using measures that safeguard public health and the environment. The EPA routinely conducts RCRA inspections in its state oversight role.

This settlement illustrates the importance of having a robust hazardous waste management program in place. Not only does this waste pose environmental challenges, it also presents a legal risk to businesses.

Comcast recently settled with the state of California — to the tune of $25.95 million — as a result of its “careless and unlawful” hazardous waste disposal practices, which state regulators said put people and the environment at risk. Previously the state reached a $23.8 million settlement with AT&T over similar waste disposal violations.

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