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EPA increases Arizona enforcement actions in 2003

Release Date: 12/11/2003
Contact Information: Wendy L. Chavez, (415) 947-4248

SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency increased by 100 percent its enforcement actions against polluters in Arizona over 2002 efforts.

The EPA took 94 actions against polluters in Arizona in 2003 compared to 45 actions in 2002 -- collecting a total of $115,500 in civil penalties for numerous air, water, hazardous waste, community right-to-know, and pesticide violations.

The EPA also recieved $71,079,862 in injunctive relief -- $70 million of which came from an EPA settlement with responsible parties over cleanup of the North Indian Bend Superfund site in Scottsdale, Ariz.

"A strong enforcement program is one of the primary tools the EPA employs in ensuring companies comply with environmental regulations," said Wayne Nastri, administrator of the EPA's Pacific Southwest region. "Thanks to our partnerships with the state, tribes and local communities, we are continuing to bring cleaner air, water and land to all Arizonans."

Nationally, the EPA increased environmental benefits from enforcement actions by 131 percent over 2002 efforts reducing, treating or managing roughly 600 million pounds of pollutants this past
year compared to 260 million pounds in 2002.

Below are a number of agency enforcement highlights taken in Arizona for 2003. For a full description of the EPA's 2003 enforcement actions throughout Arizona, California, Nevada, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands, visit:

Supplemental environmental projects

  • In July, the EPA and the city of Phoenix celebrated the successful completion of a three-year $1.2 million drinking water project that went beyond an enforcement action and paying a penalty -- it improved the taste and odor of the drinking water for Phoenix residents. The environmental project was part of a 2000 settlement in which the city of Phoenix agreed to pay a $350,000 penalty for failing to consistently comply with state and federal regulations on drinking water monitoring and reporting.
  • In an administrative settlement finalized in September, the Phoenix recycling company, Onyx Special Services Inc., formerly Superior Special Services, agreed to pay $11,481 in penalties for PCB storage and worker protection violations and improper disposal. The company also agreed to spend $43,000 to purchase four thermal imagers for the Phoenix fire department. In an earlier action this year, Onyx had already agreed to pay $143,000 in fines and $125,000 for an environmental project to settle other state and federal hazardous waste violations with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and the EPA. Onyx provides companies with hazardous waste recycling services for fluorescent lights and ballasts, lamps, transformers, batteries, mercury waste, and PCBs. For the environmental project in the 2002 settlement, Onyx will spend $125,000 to collect and dispose of unwanted hazardous chemicals from Phoenix school chemistry labs.
  • The EPA reached settlements with six companies for air emission violations all six companies used halogenated solvents in their degreaser machines to clean parts. Chromalloy Gas and Turbine Corp, which has facilities in Phoenix, AZ, Carson City, NV and Gardena, CA paid a $92,522 penalty and will initiate a phaseout of the company's use of halogenated solvents at its Phoenix facility.
  • The EPA fined Southwest Jet Aviation, a private jet company, in Scottsdale, Ariz., $9,936 for storing 10,000 pounds of the hazardous chemical kerosene without notifying the appropriate local, state and federal authorities. The company will pay $2,720 penalty and has agreed to spend an additional $7,266 on emergency response equipment for the Scottsdale Fire Department.
  • The EPA fined Hadco Corp., a circuit board manufacturer, $20,000 for failing to immediately notify authorities after 165 pounds of chlorine were released to the air from its South Phoenix, Ariz. facility in May 2000. The release lasted about 35 minutes and sent several Hadco employees to the local hospital. As part of the settlement, the company also agreed to buy $46,000 worth of equipment for the Phoenix Fire Department.
Air enforcement highlights
  • Advanced Materials Technologies Inc. of Tempe paid $62,500 and Industrial Coating and Plating of Phoenix paid $2,500 for allegedly violating the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants, which governs how much halogenated solvent, such as trichloroethylene or perchloroethylene, a company can emit from machines used to degrease metal parts. The EPA also filed complaints against five others in Arizona for similar violations.
Water enforcement highlights

  • EPA ordered 22 small public water systems in 19 towns across Arizona to monitor their drinking water for lead and copper contamination, as required by the Safe Drinking Water Act. The 22 water systems in Arizona serve nearly 3000 people.
  • Mine owner Phelps Dodge Corp. paid $220,000 for Clean Water Act violations and will spend nearly $12 million to control the surface and groundwater discharges of contaminated water from the United Verde Mine in Jerome, AZ. In a typical year, thousands of pounds of copper and zinc, and hundreds of pounds of cadmium, are discharged into Bitter Creek and have the potential to wash down to the Verde river in wet years and harm aquatic life. Phelps Dodge will cooperate with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and EPA to prevent future discharges.
Superfund actions
  • The EPA reached a final settlement with responsible parties Motorola, Inc., Siemens Corp., SmithKline Beecham, Inc., the Salt River Project and the City of Scottsdale that requires restoration of a 95 billion gallon TCE-contaminated drinking water aquifer by building four treatment plant systems at the North Indian Bend Wash Superfund site in Scottsdale, Ariz. The total cost of the cleanup is estimated at $129 million; the estimated value of the current settlement is $70 million.
  • EPA fined Central Garden and Pet Company $69,000 for failing to immediately report to the proper authorities its release of hazardous chemicals as a result of a fire that broke out at its South Phoenix warehouse in August 2000. The chemicals, included pesticides, such as malathion and diazinon; pool care chemicals; and products used for yard, garden and pet care.
Emergency planning, community right-to-know

  • EPA fined a Phoenix company $33,817 for failing to report the amount of toxic chemicals it was processing at its facility, a violation of the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act. International Technical Coatings, Inc., failed to submit timely, complete and correct reports regarding the amount of copper and nickel processed at its plant.
  • EPA fined Price Intermodal Southwest LLC, a Phoenix trucking and warehouse storage company, $12,000 for failing to report to the appropriate local and state authorities the amount the facility was storing of an extremely hazardous chemical. The facility was storing approximately 40,000 pounds of sodium azide at its facility. Reporting should have been made at 500 pounds.
  • EPA fined the Delta and Pine Lane Company, located within the Gila River Indian Community, $16,575 for failing to report the release of a hazardous chemical at its Chandler, Ariz. facility. The agriculture seed supplier released 45,000 pounds (100 percent) of the facility's sulfuric acid into the soil from a leak in the facility's holding tank.
  • The EPA took an enforcement action against a modular homes manufacturer for failing to report the amount released of a toxic chemical from the company's Chandler, Ariz. facility. Redman Homes processed approximately 48,750 pounds of diisocynates in 1999 and the federal community-right-to-know law require companies processing more than 25,000 pounds of diisocynates in a year to report to the EPA. Redman Homes is no longer in business and its parent company, Champion Homes, will pay the $11,050 fine.
  • The EPA fined Costco Wholesale Corp. $16,877 for failing to report to the appropriate local and state authorities the amount its Tolleson, Ariz., facility was storing of extremely hazardous chemicals for the year 2000. The company's cold storage warehouse was storing 18,000 pounds of liquid ammonia in a closed circuit refrigeration system, and 134,360 pounds of sulfuric acid and 188,535 pounds of lead both contained in forklift batteries and charging batteries.
Other Arizona enforcement highlights
  • EPA fined the landowner and the operator of a Cibola, Ariz., farm $11,000 for a diesel oil spill that reached the Colorado River in 2002. Landowner Wayne Sprawls Family Trust and Red River Farms estimated that approximately 564 gallons of diesel oil drained from a storage tank and reached the Colorado River 30 feet away. Oil spills can cause serious environmental damage -- drinking water can become contaminated and wildlife can be harmed.
  • EPA fined Crop First Aviation, an aerial pesticide applicator, $5,500 after the company sprayed pesticides, or allowed them to drift onto residential properties adjacent to cotton fields in Queen Creek, Ariz. The label directions for these pesticides forbid application when persons other than protected handlers are in the area, or when the pesticides will contact persons either directly or through drift.
  • EPA fined the Dial Corporation $19,800 for failing to first notify the EPA of its chemical exports to other countries, violations of the Toxic Substances Control Act. The Scottsdale, Ariz., company failed to report its export of sodium nitrite to the Bahamas, St. Vincent and Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and the United Arab Emirates in 1998 and to Suriname in 1999. Ethyl acetate was exported to Bahrain in 2001 and isopropanol was exported to the United Arab Emirates in 1998. The exported solvents were contained in finished household products.
  • EPA ordered Phoenix-based Asarco Inc. to apply for discharge permits for its inactive Trench Camp Mine and January Adit sites south of Patagonia, Ariz. Both mines are discharging acid mine drainage containing zinc, copper and cadmium above water standards into Alum Gulch, which eventually drains into Patagonia Lake. Discharges of acid mine drainage from the sites contribute to water pollution in Alum Gulch. A fine of up to $27,500 per day can be assessed for each day of non-compliance with each part of the order.
Waste enforcement highlights

EPA penalized the Biosphere 2 Center, a non-profit educational and research affiliate of Columbia University, $30,745 for storing hazardous waste without a permit and for improperly storing lead acid batteries, some of which were cracked or uncapped.
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