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US EPA Orders Meriden, Conn. Company to Comply with Environmental Laws; Proposes Fine for Violations

Release Date: 10/10/2001
Contact Information: Mark Merchant, EPA Press Office (617) 918-1013

BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced it is proposing a penalty of more than $1.2 million for violations of environmental laws by United Oil Recovery Inc. of Meriden, Conn. and ordering it to immediately comply with the federal environmental laws it broke.

The company, located on Gracey Avenue, has a permit to treat and store commercial hazardous and non-hazardous waste. The facility treats and blends various wastes to make hazardous waste fuels and used oil fuels. United also transports hazardous and non-hazardous wastes.

"These violations are particularly egregious, putting the health and environment in considerable risk," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "I cannot stress enough that companies which handle or process hazardous waste need to follow environmental regulations."

EPA conducted inspections at United in July and August 1999. Follow-up visits were also performed in 2001. EPA's order and the proposed penalty are based on what was uncovered during those inspections, as well as documents submitted by the company in response to EPA requests for information.

Numerous violations of the company's hazardous waste permit issued by the state of Connecticut, as well as violations of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act were discovered. Some of these violations include the following:

    • storage of flammable hazardous waste in heated tanks;
    • storage of containers of hazardous waste and other materials outside permitted storage areas and above permitted quantities;
    • failure to define waste characterization parameters as well as sample and evaluate waste streams for waste verification purposes;
    • failure to maintain an up-to-date inventory list of all wastes managed at the facility;
    • failure to minimize unauthorized access to busy areas of the facility and ensure that all entrances to the plant are locked at all times unless employees are present;
    • failure to comply with numerous regulations related to the control of volatile organic air emissions from the facility's tank systems including requirements associated with the design, testing, operations, maintenance, monitoring and inspection.
Varney also noted that the company's failure to adequately sample and analyze incoming hazardous waste means that it may have been improperly treated or disposed of. And the company's failure to install and operate and maintain equipment to capture the volatile organic air emissions from its tank systems means that there was a likelihood of increased levels of ozone and air toxics, which can also lead to an increased risk to human health and the environment.