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$3 Million Enforcement Settlement Will Improve Air Quality and the Environment in Boston

Release Date: 11/14/2002
Contact Information:

Teresa Libera 202-564-7873/

(11/14/2002) On Oct. 17, Allied Waste Systems, Inc. reached a settlement, which resolves the government’s claims ALLIED violated the Clean Air Act (CAA). The proposed consent decree requires the company to pay a $782,550 civil penalty and spend $2.3 million on an environmental project that will improve Boston’s air quality at Allied’s Howard Transfer Station in Roxbury. A civil complaint was also filed simultaneously with the consent decree. According to the civil complaint, between July 1997 and August 1998, Allied compacted or crushed discarded appliances collected under the trash pick-up contract with the City of Boston, without either recovering any remaining refrigerant from the appliances, or verifying that the refrigerant was previously evacuated from the appliances. Upon learning of EPA’s inspections, Allied corrected the improper disposal practice. The settlement stems from violations of provisions of the CAA, which are intended to protect the stratospheric ozone layer from the harmful effects of certain chemicals, known as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). These chemicals, commonly found in coolants, are known to cause the depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer, which protects the earth’s surface from harmful ultraviolet radiation. Under EPA regulations, waste haulers who dispose of household appliances which may contain CFCs or HCFCs, including refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners, must take steps to ensure that these chemicals are not released to the atmosphere. In addition to requiring payment of a substantial civil penalty, the consent decree requires Allied to spend at least $2.3 million on a supplemental environmental project; to comply with Section 608(c) of the CAA; to conduct appropriate training of employees who are engaged in activities concerning the collection and disposal of appliances and to implement a tracking system for all appliances picked up by Allied in the City of Boston in order to ensure future compliance with the regulatory requirements. The case was handled by the U.S. Attorney’s office and the office of EPA’s Regional Counsel.