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EPA and SEPTA Settle Hazardous Waste Violations

Release Date: 10/06/2008
Contact Information: Donna Heron 215-814-5113 / heron.donna@epa.gov

PHILADELPHIA (October 6, 2008) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) have settled alleged violations of hazardous waste and underground storage tank regulations at nine SEPTA facilities.

In addition to a $169,527 civil penalty, SEPTA has agreed to spend $1.1 million on a project that will provide significant environmental and public health benefits. SEPTA will purchase approximately 152 million kilowatt-hours of renewable wind-powered energy, in lieu of conventionally-generated (fossil fuel) energy.

The project exceeds the requirements of federal and state environmental regulations and will result in pollution reductions of two billion pounds of carbon dioxide, 13.9 million pounds of sulfur dioxide, and 4.5 million pounds of nitrogen oxides.

"We are extremely pleased that SEPTA is not only bringing its facilities into compliance but will also perform such a significant environmental project," said Donald S. Welsh, administrator of EPA's mid-Atlantic region. "SEPTA is demonstrating environmental leadership by making special efforts to make the Delaware Valley cleaner."

EPA cited SEPTA for violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the federal law governing the treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste stored at a facility. RCRA is designed to protect public health and the environment and avoid costly cleanups, by requiring the safe, environmentally sound storage and disposal of hazardous waste. SEPTA was also cited for alleged violations of federal underground storage tank regulations.

The alleged violations included:


    Owning and operating a hazardous waste storage facility without a permit
    Failure to perform hazardous waste determinations and conduct environmental compliance training
    Failure to prepare a contingency plan for emergency services and prepare a closure plan
    Failure to keep containers closed during storage and failure to transfer hazardous waste from deteriorating containers
    Failure to provide safe access to containers for inspection and conduct weekly inspections
    Failure to complete and retain signed manifests for both intrastate and interstate transportation, and failure to transport hazardous waste without an EPA identification number
    Failure to perform release detection and line leak detection on underground storage tanks

    The violations were identified during four EPA inspections in 2006 at the following facilities:

        SEPTA Fern Rock Rail Shop SEPTA Victory Avenue
        11th and Grange Streets 103 Victory Avenue
        Philadelphia, Pa. Upper Darby, Pa.

        SEPTA Comly Garage SEPTA Allegheny Garage
        Comly and Penn Streets Allegheny Avenue and 27th Street
        Philadelphia, Pa Philadelphia, Pa.

        SEPTA Woodland Garage SEPTA 69th Street Shop
        50th Street and Woodland Avenue Victory Avenue
        Philadelphia, Pa. Upper Darby, Pa.

        SEPTA Callowhill Garage SEPTA Frontier Garage
        59th and Callowhill Streets 1100 W. Ridge Pike
        Philadelphia, Pa. Conshohocken, Pa

        SEPTA Midvale Garage
        4301 Wissahickon Avenue
        Philadelphia, Pa.

    As part of the settlement, SEPTA neither admitted nor denied liability for the alleged violations, but certified its compliance with the applicable environmental regulations. The settlement reflects the company’s cooperation with EPA’s investigation, and good faith compliance efforts.

    For more information about hazardous waste and RCRA, visit www.epa.gov/epaoswer/osw/hazwaste.htm. Information about EPA’s underground storage tank program can be accessed at www.epa.gov/swerust1/