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EPA files complaint against Romic for recent hazardous release


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today is requiring Romic Environmental Technologies to pay up to $32,000 per day per violation after the company mixed incompatible wastes on April 5 causing a series of releases into the air at its facility on the Gila River Indian Reservation in the Lone Butte Industrial Park in Chandler, Ariz.

As part of the complaint, the EPA alleges that the company failed to promptly notify the National Response Center or the local on-scene coordinator, and failed to take all reasonable measures necessary to ensure that releases do not recur.

“This release could have been prevented had the company followed proper waste handling and operating procedures,” said Jeff Scott, the Waste Management Division director for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “Romic’s hazardous waste operations must comply with the law to protect its employees, the surrounding community, and the environment.”

The morning of April 5, the facility’s alarm sounded after a Romic operator transferred approximately 50 gallons from a tote of hydrogen peroxide-bearing waste into a tank containing about 200 gallons of residual inorganic acid. The incompatible mixture caused a brief flash fire and generated smoke.

Approximately 30 minutes later, an evacuation horn sounded a second time after the pump transferring the hydrogen peroxide mixture from the tote into the tank became over-pressurized.

Just over an hour later, the tote holding the remaining 40 gallons of hydrogen peroxide combined and reacted with hose contents when it drained back into the tote – releasing approximately 40 gallons of hydrogen peroxide, an ignitable hazardous waste.

Romic is a hazardous waste storage and treatment facility. The company performs solvent recycling, blending, aerosol can processing, bulking, container crushing, and waste consolidation for off-site disposal.

In August 2005, the EPA fined Romic $67,888 for multiple hazardous waste violations at its facility. The company corrected the violations and spent $100,800 on life-saving equipment for the Gila River Indian Community Fire Department and air monitoring and meteorological equipment for the Gila River Indian Community Department of Environmental Quality.


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