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Washington University in St. Louis to Pay $15,000 Civil Penalty, Clean High School Labs to Settle Hazardous Waste Allegations

Release Date: 08/09/2010
Contact Information: Chris Whitley, 913-551-7394,

Environmental News


(Kansas City, Kan., August 9, 2010) - Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., will pay a $15,000 civil penalty and spend at least $45,000 on a supplemental project to help clean local high school laboratories of hazardous waste, as part of a settlement with EPA Region 7 over hazardous waste management issues at the university’s Danforth and School of Medicine campuses.

According to an administrative consent agreement filed in Kansas City, Kan., an EPA representative conducted compliance evaluation inspections at the university’s Danforth Campus, at One Brookings Drive, and at the School of Medicine, 660 S. Euclid Avenue, on separate dates in April 2008. Those inspections noted several violations of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which regulates the generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste.

At both campuses, the inspections found RCRA violations for failure to make hazardous waste determinations; operating as a treatment, storage or disposal facility without a proper permit; issues related to the storage of hazardous waste beyond legal time limits; failure to properly label hazardous waste storage containers; inadequacies in contingency plans for hazardous waste-related emergencies; inability to provide documentation of hazardous waste training plans; and failure to properly manage waste lamps.

Additionally, the School of Medicine inspection noted RCRA violations for storage of mixed waste drums with inadequate aisle space, and storage of ignitable waste within 50 feet of the property line. The latter violation involved 13 drums of ignitable material stored on the Fourth Floor, and another four drums of ignitable material stored on the First Floor of the building.

As part of the settlement with EPA, Washington University has agreed to perform ongoing clean-out operations of laboratories at its Danforth and School of Medicine campuses, and provide documentation of those activities to EPA.

Additionally, the university has agreed to spend a minimum of $45,000 on a supplemental environmental project to address hazardous waste issues in 12 high schools within the St. Louis Public Schools District. Through the project, the university will hire an environmental services firm to remove, transport and dispose of wastes from school laboratories. University representatives also will meet with school staff members to discuss each school’s unique hazardous waste challenges and provide ideas to reduce future waste production.

Schools targeted in project work plan include Beaumont, Blewett, Carnahan, Clark, Cleveland, Des Peres, Gateway, Laclede, Lyon, Mark Twain, Sherman and Sigal.

“This enforcement action, coupled with the supplemental project to help the St. Louis Public Schools, will ultimately make academic laboratories, school campuses, and their surrounding urban communities safer places in which to learn, work and live,” said Karl Brooks, EPA Region 7 Administrator.

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