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GENZYME FACES FEDERAL FINE FOR HAZARDOUS WASTE PROBLEMS AT CAMBRIDGE FACILITIES
Release Date: 01/29/1998
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA Press Office, (617) 918-1064
Boston - A New England biotechnology company faces an environmental fine from the New England office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, for violations of federal hazardous waste management laws spanning a period from 1993 to 1996. EPA is proposing to fine Genzyme Corporation, which specializes in pharmaceutical research and development, $139,792 for problems at the company's two Boston, Massachusetts facilities: the Kendall Square laboratory facility and Binney Street manufacturing facility. The Binney Street facility manufactures the prescription drug Ceredece.
EPA's administrative complaint alleges that Genzyme failed to follow federal requirements for the identification of hazardous wastes leaving their facilities for land disposal. These wastes must be properly identified in order to determine the need for treating the wastes before their disposal in landfills. The EPA also alleges that Genzyme failed to properly label and store containers of hazardous waste at the facilities which can result in storing incompatible wastes near one another, posing a risk of fire or explosion.
Genzyme was also cited for inadequate record-keeping for the company's employee hazardous waste training programs from 1993 to 1996.
"Federal hazardous waste rules are a way to ensure that toxic chemicals do not wrongly end up in landfills when their disposal requires special care," said Ira Leighton, director of EPA's Office of Environmental Stewardship. "Training employees who deal with these wastes is the first step in preventing mistakes which might result in chemical leaks, spills or other problems."
Following EPA's inspection of Genzyme in 1996, the company informed EPA that its previously informal on-the-job training program had been replaced in by a formal hazardous waste training program.
EPA inspectors went to Genzyme in August, 1996, because the company generates large quantities of hazardous wastes, uses large amounts of regulated chemicals, and is located in a heavily populated area in Cambridge.