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University of Washington to Spend $135,769 for CFCs Violations

Release Date: 2/21/2003
Contact Information: Bill Dunbar
(206) 553-1203

February 21, 2003

The Environmental Protection Agency today announced that the University of Washington will pay $29,975 in penalties and spend at least $105,794 on environmental improvement projects to settle EPA complaints alleging the university violated federal Clean Air Act regulations on ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs.

CFCs are known to contribute to the depletion of Earth’s protective stratospheric ozone layer. Careful tracking of the use and disposal of CFCs is regulated under the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments which include rules adopted after the U.S. signed the Montreal Protocol, an international agreement that calls for a phase-out and an eventual ban on production of CFCs.

The EPA alleged the UW violated CFCs regulations when the university failed to adequately repair a leak in one its refrigeration systems and failed to keep adequate records of maintenance and repair work done on several other campus refrigeration systems.

In addition to paying the cash penalty of nearly $30,000, the university has agreed to spend at least $105,794 on a Supplemental Environmental Project, or SEP, which requires the university to:
  • educate other four-year colleges and universities, and environmental health and safety organizations in Washington about ozone-depleting substance rules;
  • lower UW emissions to air and water by replacing its Art Spray Booth wet scrubber with a dry filter system, thus eliminating wastewater; and
  • lower emissions by replacing the Quarternary Research Refrigeration System by retrofitting some equipment and moth-balling others.

While the university is required to spend $105,794 on the projects, officials there indicated the school may spend up to $150,500.

Contact: Ann Wawrukiewicz

Bill Dunbar