EPA Orders Louisiana Waste Treatment Facility to Cease Operations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in coordination with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ), announced Friday it has ordered Global Environmental Methods to cease all operations at its waste oil and industrial process waste management and treatment facility in New Iberia, La., after it was found in violation of its discharge permit issue by LDEQ.

On Feb. 4, 2009, EPA and LDEQ representatives conducted an inspection at the facility during which numerous deficiencies and discrepancies were observed, all in violation of the requirements of the facility's state-issued permit. These deficiencies and discrepancies included inadequate treatment of process wastewater and waste oil, and discharge volumes significantly greater than the total available treatment and storage capacity. Inspectors also noted the current treatment process varied significantly from the treatment process described in the discharge permit application submitted to LDEQ and were unable to determine the facility's compliance status with the permit due to lack of documentation.

Inspectors also observed 27 55-gallon drums in poor condition. Some of the drums were leaking, and the contents of the drums were not consistent with drum labeling. Soil staining, indicating a release of petroleum waste, was observed in several areas throughout the facility and included a path that led directly to Commercial Channel which discharges to Vermilion Bay. The facility’s wastewater treatment system was leaking pollutants suspected to be hazardous waste.

"EPA will continue to vigorously enforce our nation's environmental laws through a strong enforcement program," said EPA Region 6 Compliance Assurance and Enforcement Division Director John Blevins. "When these facilities fail to follow the rules, immediate actions will be taken to ensure compliance with the law."

Peggy Hatch, DEQ Assistant Secretary of the Office of Environmental Compliance, added “This is an example of how state and federal government working together can improve compliance, and therefore the quality of our environment, within the state of Louisiana. We hope that other facilities that are willfully disobeying the environmental regulations take notice. There are so many businesses that operate within the rules. Those who don’t should expect to face the stiffest enforcement action possible."

Global Environmental Methods has been ordered to notify EPA and the state within 15 days of the details and efforts conducted to cease and desist all operations at the facility and within 30 days submit a report to EPA and LDEQ detailing all actions to comply with the order.

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