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Release Date: 10/11/1995
Contact Information: Lois Grunwald, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1588

   (San Francisco) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) today announced that it has cited the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), Bureau of Indian Affairs, charging it with hazardous waste violations at its Fort Defiance Navajo Agency facility and proposing a $269,019 penalty.

     "The U.S. EPA is committed to working with the U.S. Department of the Interior to achieve compliance with environmental regulations to assure protection of human health and the environment," said Laura Yoshii, U.S. EPA's deputy director of the hazardous waste management division.
     DOI operates a facility in Fort Defiance, Ariz. that constructs and maintains roads on the Navajo Nation.

     The facility violated the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) by failing to notify U.S. EPA of its hazardous waste activities and operating the facility without a storage permit. In a joint inspection with the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. EPA found that DOI was storing over 2,000 gallons of ignitable hazardous wastes containing chromium and lead. Some of the waste has been stored at the facility for ten years.

     Inspectors also found that the facility stored restricted hazardous wastes at the facility for longer than one year, instead of transporting the waste to a treatment, storage or disposal facility.

     DOI is being ordered to transport all hazardous waste to a treatment, storage or disposal facility within 30 days.
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