Missouri Wood Treater To Pay More Than $225,000 For Hazardous Waste Violations

A federal court in Missouri has ordered Timber Industries Inc. to pay a penalty of more than $225,000 for illegal disposal of hazardous wastes at its wood treatment facility, the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) and EPA announced on May 12.

The company, which was previously cited for violating the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), also was ordered to fully comply with the terms of an expedited settlement agreement reached in 2002 to resolve the RCRA violations.

As part of the 2002 settlement, EPA ordered Timber Industries to stop all releases of pentachlorophenol -- a probable human cancer-causing substance -- into the environment and to submit evidence of compliance. The company was also required to submit site evaluation and cleanup action work plans and reports. The settlement further required the company to provide evidence that the facility was registered with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources as a hazardous waste generator and that all hazardous wastes stored at the facility were shipped off-site.

On Nov. 18, 2005, DOJ and EPA filed a complaint alleging that Timber Industries failed to comply with several terms of the agreement, specifically failure of the facility to clean up past releases of pentachlorophenol and failure to clean up new releases, which were found during a follow-up inspection.

"This action sends an important and clear message to the wood treatment industry that they must promptly and properly investigate and clean up any releases of hazardous wastes. EPA is committed to making sure companies take necessary actions to comply with environmental regulations," said Jim Gulliford, EPA Region 7 administrator.

The 2002 settlement resulted from an EPA inspection of the Salem facility in December 2000 as part of the EPA Region 7 Wood Treatment Initiative and Compliance Incentive Program. Inspectors found that the pentachlorophenol solution dripped onto the ground near the treatment tank and staging area. EPA also found new evidence of illegal disposal during a re-inspection.

The 2002 agreement can be accessed at http://www.epa.gov/region7/businesses/consent_agree_final_order/2002/index.htm. EPA Region 7 can be contacted at http://www.epa.gov/region7/index.htm.

This article originally appeared in the 05/01/2006 issue of Environmental Protection.

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