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Portland, Maine College of Art Fined for Violating Hazardous Waste Laws

Release Date: 07/05/2005
Contact Information:

Contact: Sheryl Rosner, EPA Office of Public Affairs, (617) 918-1865,

For Immediate Release: July 5, 2005; Release # sr050702

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing a $107,165 penalty against the Maine College of Art in Portland for violating numerous hazardous waste regulations that are part of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

According to a complaint and order filed today by EPA's New England office, Maine College of Art failed to properly determine if wastes were hazardous, thus putting the school's staff and students at risk.

"As a result of the school's violations, students and staff may have been unnecessarily exposed to hazardous waste, and wastes were improperly disposed of as non-regulated solid waste," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England office.

According to the complaint, waste glaze and related floor sweepings were put in the trash or washed down the sink, and acid pickling solution neutralized with marble was washed down the sink. In addition, cans of old waste paint, metal blasting debris and paint thinners and other solvents were managed improperly. Also, the college, which has 400 students, improperly stored and labeled fluorescent bulbs and computer monitors, EPA said.

As a result of the inspection at MCA in April 2004, EPA observed other hazardous waste management violations, such as improperly labeling containers, failing to obtain a site-specific hazardous waste generator identification number, failing to provide containment around containers in case of spills, and failing to keep containers of hazardous waste closed.

According to the complaint, Maine College of Art must comply with federal hazardous waste regulations and correct all violations. In addition, the college must comply with Maine hazardous waste regulations related to fluorescent bulbs and computer monitors, which are known as "universal wastes." The school must submit documents showing compliance.

This penalty action is among numerous enforcement actions EPA's New England Office has taken against universities and colleges across the region as part of its College and University Enforcement and Compliance Initiative. Launched in 1999, the initiative included inspections, extensive compliance assistance, including workshops geared for university environmental compliance personnel, and development of a university compliance web page, which can be visited at

Related Information:
College & University Enforcement & Compliance Initiative
RCRA Enforcement in New England
RCRA/Hazardous Waste