Missouri Warehouse Firm Ordered to Comply with Hazwaste Storage Laws

EPA Region 7 has issued a legal order against a St. Joseph, Mo.-based warehouse company, directing the firm to conduct assessments of the storage, handling, and management of hazardous wastes at multiple sites within the city. The consent agreement and final order, filed in Kansas City, Kan., directs Brown Transfer and Storage Company to address issues at four of its warehouses located in St. Joseph.

Inspections in January 2008 found the company was storing a combined total of more than 5,000 pounds of various hazardous wastes at those facilities, all without proper permits as required by the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and Missouri state laws.

The stored materials included xylene, hydrochloric acid, sodium hydroxide, paint wastes, petroleum distillates, flammable liquids, sodium hydroxide, waste aerosols, and broken fluorescent bulbs, among others. These hazardous wastes were determined to be ignitable, corrosive, reactive and/or toxic, and potentially harmful to human health and the environment. According to EPA, the company properly disposed of the wastes in March 2008.

In addition to storing the materials without proper permits, the legal filing alleges that Brown Transfer failed to conduct hazardous waste analysis for the stored materials for at least a year, that it failed to perform weekly inspections of the materials, and that it failed to properly train employees on the management of hazardous wastes. The company also failed to make necessary precautionary arrangements with local hospitals and emergency responders in regard to each facility, and did not have contingency plans and emergency procedures in place for each facility, the order says.

The company must now act by May 12 to select a contractor, subject to EPA approval, to develop a plan to conduct site characterizations of areas in which wastes were stored and where releases of solid and hazardous wastes have occurred. Related work plans must include schedules for the ultimate cleanup of any contaminated areas.

EPA may require the company to perform investigatory sampling of air, soil, surface water and groundwater, and other activities that may be determined necessary for the protection of human health and the environment.

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