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Release Date: 7/25/2001
Contact Information: Leo Kay, Press Office, 415/744-2201

     Numerous violations discovered at Oakland Maintenance Facility

     SAN FRANCISCO   -The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it has fined Alaska Airlines $84,500 for hazardous waste violations discovered at its maintenance facility at the Oakland Airport in 1999.

     The EPA cited Alaska Airlines for violations under California's Resource Conservation and Recovery Act program, which governs the storage, transportation, and disposal of hazardous waste in the state.  EPA investigators discovered the violations in December 1999 during a routine inspection of the airline's maintenance facility, where employees perform a variety of aircraft maintenance tasks, including repairing corrosion, tuning up engines, and painting landing gear.

     "This action has set in place a number of measures that will make the facility safer for its workers and the surrounding community," said Jeff Scott, director of the U.S. EPA's Waste Management Division in San Francisco.  "All facilities, including airlines, have the responsibility to properly manage their hazardous waste."
      Alaska Airlines was cited for the following violations:

          Storage of hazardous waste without a permit, which included a failure to properly label or mark 49 containers holding hazardous waste and exceeding 55 gallons of hazardous waste accumulation at a satellite location.

          Failure to transfer hazardous waste from three ripped plastic bags to adequate containers.

          Failure to close eight containers holding hazardous waste during storage.

          Failure to have available a communication device -- such as a telephone or two-way radio-- capable of summoning emergency assistance for local police departments, fire departments or emergency response teams.  Also, failure to have a portable fire extinguisher in the hazardous waste storage area.

          Failure to maintain aisle space between containers holding hazardous waste to allow unobstructed movement of personnel and equipment in an emergency.

          Failure to have a compiled contingency plan that describes arrangements agreed to by emergency services; a list of names, addresses, and phone numbers of all persons qualified to act as emergency coordinator; a list of all emergency equipment at the facility; and an evacuation plan for facility personnel.

     To resolve these issues, Alaska Airlines agreed to pay a penalty of $84,500, to develop a standard operating procedure to ensure containers holding hazardous waste are properly labeled, and to implement other appropriate compliance measures.