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EPA Waives $73,000 Penalty After Company Voluntarily Discloses Chemical Violations at Concordville Plant
Release Date: 6/7/2001
Contact Information: Donna Heron, (215) 814-5113
Donna Heron, (215) 814-5113
CONCORDVILLE, Pa. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is waiving a potential $73,000 penalty against Southco, Inc. because the company voluntarily disclosed and corrected toxic chemical release reporting violations at its plant in Concordville, Pa.
Acting under an EPA policy that rewards companies for strictly monitoring their own environmental compliance, the agency’s mid-Atlantic office today announced that it is waiving total penalties of $345,100 against Southco and seven other companies in Pennsylvania and Virginia after they voluntarily disclosed chemical reporting violations.
In June 2000, Southco notified EPA that it had discovered potential violations of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) – the federal law requiring companies to file annual reports on toxic chemicals. Under EPCRA, companies that manufacture, process or use more than a threshold amount of regulated chemicals must report both routine and accidental releases of these chemicals.
After a voluntary audit of its environmental compliance, Southco discovered that it had inadvertently failed to file timely reports on releases of chromium compounds from1995 through 1998. The company promptly filed the required reports.
Acting Regional Administrator Thomas Voltaggio noted that in recent years EPA has collected substantial penalties for similar EPCRA violations. “Companies can protect the environment and their own bottom lines by closely monitoring their regulatory compliance, promptly disclosing and correcting violations, and acting to prevent future problems,” Voltaggio said.
EPA determined that the company qualified for a penalty waiver under the agency’s audit policy, which encourages companies to self-police their own compliance with environmental regulations and voluntarily report of violations. The policy substantially reduces, and often eliminates, penalties for violations discovered and corrected by a company. The policy does not cover criminal violations, or violations resulting in significant harm to public health or the environment.
EPA determined that the company’s reporting violation did not result in any serious actual harm to human health or the environment. Because the company did not gain a significant economic benefit from these reporting violations, EPA agreed to a complete penalty waiver.
For more information on the policy, call the EPA Business Assistance Center at 800-228-8711 or check out EPA’s web site at www.epa.gov/reg3ecej/audits.htm.