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EPA seeks $171,050 from Plymouth State University, Plymouth, NH for Hazardous Waste Violations

Release Date: 03/03/2005
Contact Information:

Contact: Sheryl Rosner, EPA Office of Public Affairs, (617) 918-1865

For Immediate Release March 3, 2005; Press Release #sr050301

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has proposed a $171,050 penalty against Plymouth State University, in Plymouth, NH for violations of hazardous waste laws. The proposed penalty stems from violations found during an EPA inspection at the college's campus in June 2003.

According to the complaint, the university violated both state and federal hazardous waste requirements. Specifically, EPA claims that the University failed to:

    • make hazardous waste determinations;
    • properly store hazardous waste;
    • maintain spill and fire control equipment;
    • post “no smoking” signs;
    • post emergency telephone numbers and locations of emergency equipment;
    • keep hazardous waste containers closed;
    • mark hazardous waste containers with accumulation dates and other important information; and
    • conduct inspections of hazardous waste storage areas.
“Plymouth State failed to follow basic hazardous waste regulations and put its students and employees at risk," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England Office. “The public and the environment will be safer when all schools are in compliance with our nation's environmental laws."

This action is the latest of numerous enforcement actions EPA's New England Office has filed against colleges and universities as part of its College and University Initiative. Launched in 1999, the initiative has also included enforcement actions against Boston University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, as well as other colleges and universities in the region.

The initiative was launched after EPA inspectors noticed generally poor compliance during their visits to universities, which typically have large numbers of laboratories and other operations generating a large array of toxic chemicals. In addition to enforcement activities, the initiative includes extensive compliance assistance, including workshops geared for university environmental compliance personnel and a university compliance web page at:

EPA New England is also conducting a College and University Audit Initiative, in which colleges and universities voluntarily disclose and promptly correct violations before an EPA inspection occurs. By making such disclosures, participants may become eligible for significant penalty reductions or even penalty elimination. More than 175 university facilities in New England are participating in this program and more than 125 self-disclosures have been received and reviewed by EPA, to date. Plymouth State University has not participated in this project.

To find out more about environmental audits visit:

Related information:
EPA New England College and University Web site