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U.S. EPA settles with Marin County company for chemical reporting violations

Release Date: 8/30/2005
Contact Information: Mark Merchant, (415) 947-4297

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it has reduced a monetary penalty against a Marin County company from $18,700 to $4,675 after it voluntarily disclosed its failure to submit a toxic chemical report as required by the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.

Panamax, located at 150 Mitchell Blvd. in San Rafael, California, failed to submit a timely, complete and correct report regarding the amount of lead processed at its facility in 2001. At the time of the violation, the facility processed lead while manufacturing electric surge protectors.

After having discovered this reporting violation in April 2005, Panamax disclosed it voluntarily to the EPA and corrected it within 60 days. As a result, the statutory penalty of $18,700 was reduced to $4,675 under the EPA’s Audit Policy.

The federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act requires facilities processing more than 100 pounds of lead to report their releases of this chemical to the EPA. Although Panamax exceeded this threshold at the San Rafael facility in 2001, it failed to submit a report to the EPA for this calendar year. Panamax no longer operates its San Rafael location.

“This is a good example of how the EPA and industry can work together,” said Enrique Manzanilla, director of the EPA’s Communities and Ecosystems Division for the Pacific Southwest region. “Panamax disclosed the violation and corrected it, ensuring the company complied with federal law. The records are now correct for public use.”

Under the agency’s Audit Policy, the EPA may reduce penalties up to 100 percent for violations that are voluntarily discovered, promptly disclosed and quickly corrected. Because Panamax failed to meet the first of nine conditions, systematic discovery, only a 75 percent reduction was applied.

Systematic discovery indicates that the violation was discovered through an environmental audit or compliance management system.

Enacted in 1986, the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act requires that reports detailing toxic chemical releases and waste management activities be submitted annually. Facilities that fail to report with accurate release information have not only failed to comply with the annual reporting requirement but have also defeated the purpose of Section 313 of EPCRA, which is to provide useful toxic release data to states and the public annually.

For more information on the right-to-know program, visit:

The U.S. EPA’s environmental databases, including the Toxics Release Inventory data, can be accessed at:

Additional information about the Audit Policy can be found at: