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EPA Has Cited Marshall University for Environmental Violations

Release Date: 5/1/2003
Contact Information: Donna Heron, 215-814-5113

Donna Heron, 215-814-5113

PHILADELPHIA – The mid-Atlantic regional office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it has cited Marshall University of Huntington, W. Va., for environmental violations found during a multi-media inspection in September, 2002.

EPA is seeking a cash penalty of $15,400 for the allegedly violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act by owning and/or operating a hazardous waste storage facility without a permit, and failing to properly label containers of used oil, as well as giving used oil to an individual for use as a fuel in a residentially-operated oil burner.

This action was taken as a result of EPA’s college and university initiative, started in 1999 because many institutions of higher learning were not aware of their responsibilities under various environmental laws or had failed to implement strategies to comply with these laws. In addition to inspections and appropriate enforcement actions, this initiative included free workshops to help colleges and universities comply, and established a web site that provides information about their duties under the law.

During the 2002 inspection, the EPA found that Marshall University was operating a hazardous waste storage facility without a permit. The hazardous waste primarily consisted of spent chemicals produced in the chemistry and biology labs, including formaldehyde, methanol, sulphuric acid, nitric acid and benzene. None of the storage containers were labeled as hazardous waste or had an accumulation start date, as required.

In the university’s maintenance shop, inspectors also found several 30-gallon containers of used oil, but there were no labels identifying the contents. It was also discovered that the used oil was being taken offsite to be unlawfully used as fuel in a residence. The university also kept no records detailing the transfer of used oil to the private individual.

Marshall University is one of 12 schools inspected to date during EPA’s College and University Initiative. Four of the schools were found to have good overall compliance – Howard University, Washington, D.C.; The U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md.; University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa.; and the University of Delaware, Newark, Del.

Eight inspections resulted in enforcement actions at the University of DC, Washington, D.C.; Marshall University, Huntingdon, W. Va.; Lincoln University, Oxford, Pa.; Villanova University, Villanova, Pa.; George Washington University, Washington, D.C.; University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.; the University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore, Md., and Delaware State University, Dover, Del.

EPA will continue to monitor environmental compliance at other colleges and universities.

Marshall University has the right to request a hearing to contest the alleged violations and the proposed penalties.

EPA’s audit policy is posted at:

For more information on environmental audits and compliance assistance, visit