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Bay area company ordered to clean up after haz materials release

Release Date: 06/23/2006
Contact Information: Leo Kay, (415) 947-4306

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today ordered Romic Environmental Technologies Inc. to clean up areas impacted by the June 5 hazardous materials release that occurred at its East Palo Alto, Calif. facility at 2081 Bay Road.

Approximately 4,000 gallons of a chemical mixture that contained hydroxylamine, monoethanolamine, toluene and acetonitrile released to the environment in the form of a fine mist that settled approximately over more than 2 acres, including an adjoining empty lot, Bay Road, a PG&E substation, and the Laumeister and Faber Tract marshes.

“The EPA’s priority is to ensure that the health and safety of nearby residents and workers are protected,” said Janet Yocum, the EPA’s on-scene coordinator. “We will continue to work with Romic and the county until the cleanup is complete, and the impacted areas are returned back to their normal state.”

Under the EPA order, Romic must do the following:

– immediately restrict access to the site for the duration of the cleanup;
– cannot allow any materials, equipment or other property to be removed from or brought into the facility without EPA approval;
– submit a work plan to the EPA that includes a schedule of the hazardous material removal
– complete cleanup within 60 days of the EPA-approved work plan;
– prepare a sampling and analysis plan to identify all chemical compounds within the site and characterize impacts on the surrounding area;
– segregate all incompatible hazardous substances;
– remove non-hazardous chemicals to appropriate disposal or recycling facility or return to distributor or manufacturer -- including complete documentation to the EPA;
– monitor and sample air during cleanup;
– demonstrate financial ability to complete all cleanup work;
– prepare a health and safety plan; and
– submit a final summary report to the EPA.

If Romic fails to comply with the order, the company may be liable for up to three times the costs the EPA would incur to complete the action. However, Romic is conducting the response under the EPA's direction, and is expected to continue the response and comply with the terms of the order.

Last week, the California EPA’s Department of Toxic Substances and Control issued an order requiring Romic to limit blending of hazardous waste to make fuel and ensure safe operation of fuel blending activities. The order took effect immediately and reserves the state’s right to impose fines and penalties in the future.

Romic is a hazardous waste recycling facility that has been in operation since 1964. The company treats hazardous waste at the facility in tanks and other containers, and transports materials into and from the facility in tanker trucks and drums. The facility has a permitted hazardous waste storage capacity of 241,000 gallons in 50 storage tanks and 2,531 drums in four facility warehouses.