Jet Fuselage Manufacturer Pays $132,500 to Settle Hazwaste Issues

Spirit AeroSystems Inc., an aircraft component company that manufactures fuselages, under-wing components, composites, wings, and spare parts for large jet engine aircraft, has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $132,500 to the United States to settle a series of alleged violations of federal hazardous waste management regulations at its facility in Wichita, Kan., which was formerly part of Boeing Commercial Airlines.

According to a consent agreement and final order filed in Kansas City, Kan., EPA Region 7 staff conducted an inspection of the Wichita plant in July 2006 and noted a series of violations of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which regulates the generation, transportation, treatment, storage, disposal, and management of hazardous wastes.

The EPA inspection found that Spirit had offered hazardous waste for transport without a proper manifest, and failed to perform hazardous waste determinations on primer-coated machine residue, industrial wastewater sludge, and chromium primer spillage. The inspection further found that the company was operating as a hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facility without an RCRA permit by having an inadequate secondary containment system for its hazardous waste tanks, failing to maintain the facility to minimize the possibility of fire, failing to properly close and/or date accumulation and storage containers of hazardous waste, failing to maintain an adequate contingency plan, and failing to provide and document hazardous waste training for its employees.

EPA notes that RCRA and its regulations are designed to protect public health and safety and the environment from serious problems associated with hazardous wastes. Failure to properly manage wastes, maintain secondary containment structures, and perform hazardous waste determinations can lead to releases of hazardous waste that pose safety hazards and health risks to employees and members of the community, as well as harm to the environment. Compliance with RCRA ensures that wastes are managed in an environmentally sound manner and protect human health and the environment from the potential hazards of waste disposal, EPA said.

Spirit’s operations in Wichita generate significant quantities of hazardous waste, including industrial wastewater treatment filter sludge, primer residue waste containing chromium and cadmium, tetrachloroethylene and trichloroethylene waste from degreasers, and hazardous waste oil. Currently, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment is overseeing the investigation and remediation of trichloroethylene (TCE) at the site as a result of historical manufacturing activities at the facility when it was owned by Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

As part of the settlement, Spirit has certified that its Wichita facility is now in full compliance with RCRA and its regulations, EPA added.

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