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Bakersfield, Fresno firms fined by EPA for hazardous waste violations

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The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced it has settled violations of federal hazardous waste laws committed by two San Joaquin Valley companies. The settlement is part of what EPA described as its effort to reduce human health and environmental risks from such facilities. Failure to comply with these regulations could result in unhealthy exposures to nearly four million residents in the Valley.

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The Bakersfield based company, B.C. Laboratories, ironically is an environmental testing company that does business with both the private sector and the government. It agreed to pay $40,600 to settle violations discovered during an EPA inspection in November of 2012. During that inspection, EPA found that the company had failed to properly label and close hazardous waste containers, failed to provide adequate aisle space for unobstructed access by personnel and inspectors, and failed to submit a biennial hazardous waste report. Additionally, the company was not following proper practices, thus increasing the risk for releases of hazardous wastes into the environment.

The Fresno firm, WCR, Inc., is a heat exchanger refurbishing company. During a March 2013 inspection, EPA discovered hazardous waste containers that were improperly labeled and were not closed. Additionally, another container was found to be leaking and was stored in an outdoor, uncovered area. EPA described this as a failure to maintain the tank in good condition and to minimize possible unplanned releases. WCR settled the violations with EPA by agreeing to pay $34,600.

“Facilities that deal with hazardous waste are responsible for its safe storage and handling,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “It’s vital to protect employees and nearby communities from the risks of accidental leaks and releases of harmful waste products.”

The laws that were violated stem from the Resource Conservation and Recovery ACT (RCRA). RCRA requires hazardous wastes to be stored, handled, and disposed of in specified ways that safeguard public health and the environment.

Further information may be obtained by contacting Nahal Mogharabi of EPA at 213-244-1815 or mogharabi.nahal@epa.gov.

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