Hazardous Waste Law Enforcement: Alabama Department of Environmental Management and Sumter County Hazardous Waste TSD Enter Consent Order | Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, PLLC


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The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (“ADEM”) and Chemical Waste Management, Inc. (“CWMI”) entered into a July 12 Consent Order Regarding Alleged Hazardous Waste Regulatory Violations of Alabama. See Consent Order No. 21-XXX-CHW.

The Consent Order (“CO”) provides that CWMI operates a commercial hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facility (“TSD facility”) under a permit under the Alabama Hazardous Waste Management and Minimization Act ( “AHWMMA”).

CWMI reportedly self-reported to ADEM an alleged violation of the TSD facility on February 17. The alleged self-reported violation stated:

  • In accordance with the condition of the AHWMMA Hazardous Waste Treatment, Storage and Disposal Permit, Part VII.1.1., The holder must not place any hazardous waste whose disposal is prohibited or which does not comply with all applicable restrictions on waste disposal (LOR) treatment standards (as listed in ADEM administrative code R. 335-14-9, incorporating 40 CFR 268), in any landfill cell.
  • Between December 29, 2020 and January 3, 2021, approximately 320,436 gallons of site-generated leachate (EPA Hazardous Waste No. F039) from tank # 1407 was transferred to landfill cell number 3 for dust suppression. . This material was subject to land disposal restrictions, but the CWM does not have sampling data to demonstrate that applicable processing standards were met.

Representatives of the ADEM Hazardous Industrial Waste Department would have carried out a conformity assessment inspection (“CEI”) from March 23 to 25 of the TSD installation. The IEC reportedly stated the following:

  • Storage of hazardous waste prohibited for disposal in the ground (reference to a rolling container of hazardous waste stored for more than one year)

CWMI neither admits nor denies ADEM’s allegations in the CO. Further, she said:

  • CWM monitors the total flow of untreated and treated leachate entering and leaving its tank farm. Prior to December 2020, CWM monitored the flow in and out of the tank farm by visually observing tank levels, manually recording data and manually calculating the total volumes transferred into and out of tank farm # 4. In December 2020 , in order to provide additional control over tank transfers, CWM installed and began testing a new system of meters that automatically record the flow volumes entering and leaving each tank (the “PLC system”). When examining the data generated by the new PLC system, a discrepancy was identified between the PLC system data and the manual data. As a result of CWM’s investigation of this discrepancy, CWM determined that it did not have the data to confirm that the leachate transferred from a reservoir (Reservoir # 1407) to the landfill met the disposal restrictions at ground. All leachate transferred from tank # 1407 was returned to the landfill for use as dust suppression in the lined footprint of cell number 3; therefore, CWM is not aware of any real or potential danger to the environment or human health as a result of the incident. The MCG itself reported the incident to the Ministry on February 17, 2021.
  • The waste in question discovered during the CEI of the Ministry from March 23 to 25, 2021 was a rolling container of materials awaiting further treatment in an authorized and secure storage location at the facility. Although the waste was stored on March 3, 2020, as stated on the container label, CWM inadvertently recorded the wrong date in CWM’s electronic hazardous waste tracking system. The unintentional discrepancy between the tag and the electronic tracking system resulted in storage for over a year. Upon discovery of the problem, the waste in the container was treated and properly disposed of. There was no spillage or release from the container, and the container presented no threat to human health or the environment during storage.

A civil fine of $ 14,400 is imposed.

A copy of the CO can be downloaded here.

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