Submarine Base in Groton, Conn. Faces Penalty for Hazardous Waste Violations
The U.S. Naval Submarine Base in Groton Conn., faces $186,445 in civil penalties as the result of an EPA enforcement action alleging improper storage and management of hazardous wastes. A complaint recently filed by EPA outlines numerous concerns discovered during an inspection of the base’s hazardous waste storage facilities in August of 2006.
One of the most significant violations discovered by EPA involved the failure of the base to maintain adequate building ventilation in the main building used for the storage and treatment of hazardous wastes. With summertime temperatures documented during the inspection peaking at about 95 degrees, the buildings lacked adequate ventilation to ensure that flammable materials were stored at a safe temperature and that employees could work under safe conditions.
The purpose of the routine EPA inspection of the facility’s hazardous waste storage and treatment facility was to ensure compliance with federal requirements of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). This law governs the generation, treatment, storage and disposal of hazardous wastes and provides EPA with authority for conducting compliance monitoring and enforcement activities.
EPA’s inspection identified the facility’s failure to follow required practices intended to minimize the possibility of fire, explosion or any unplanned release of hazardous waste. In addition, during the inspection, EPA inspectors discovered a bunker containing improperly managed hazardous wastes. Base employees were unaware that the hazardous wastes had been stored in that location.
The Groton Submarine Base has a history of non-compliance with RCRA, having received Notices of Violation from EPA and the Conn. Dept. of Environmental Protection in the past, both of which cited RCRA violations similar or the same as the ones EPA has alleged in its complaint.
“Its important that any facility storing or handling hazardous wastes follow established procedures to protect public health and our environment,” said Robert Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office.
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