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EPA fines Ennis Paint, Inc., over $4,200 for failure to properly report the release of xylene into the environment


For failing to report the release of approximately 725 lbs of xylene (paint thinner) from their Salem, Oregon facility, Ennis Paint, Inc. (Ennis) (1675 Commercial St. NE) will pay a $4,257.00 U.S. Environmental Protection agency (EPA) fine. The facility produces paint products used to mark streets and highways.

In addition to the penalty, Ennis will also perform a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) which will provide $8,280.00 to purchase and donate approximately 9,000 reflective road markers to the city of Salem, Transportation Department. These markers will be used to identify parking and response areas for emergency vehicles at facilities with chemicals on-site as well as warn of hazardous road conditions in the Salem area.

On July 22, 2006, Ennis released approximately 725 lbs of xylene into the environment and failed to notify the National Response Center (NRC) of the release. No known injuries occurred as result of the release.

The xylene release and the failure to notify appropriate agencies are violations of the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). According to Mike Bussell, Director of EPA’s Office of Compliance & Enforcement in Seattle, these laws help communities prepare for and respond to chemical accidents.

“In this case, Ennis was very lucky that no one was injured due to the xylene release,” said Bussell. “When these kinds of incidents occur, it is very important that facilities immediately notify the appropriate agencies so that the necessary steps can be taken to protect the public and the environment.”

Xylene is considered an extremely hazardous substance and is listed as a hazardous substance under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA).


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