Waste Recycler Settles RCRA Case with EPA

The settlement requires Rho-Chem, LLC to complete a supplemental environmental project to purchase and provide at least $352,992 worth of emergency response instruments and communication and computing equipment to the Los Angeles County Fire Department's Homeland Security/Hazardous Materials Response Section.

EPA on Sept. 26 announced a settlement with Rho-Chem, LLC, a solvent recycling and storage facility in Inglewood, Calif., for federal hazardous waste violations. Under the agreement, Rho-Chem will take specific steps to better track and more safely manage hazardous wastes at its Inglewood facility. The company also will purchase more than $353,000 in emergency response equipment for the Los Angeles County Fire Department and pay a $120,527 penalty.

"Improper management of hazardous waste can lead to fires, explosions, or unplanned release of hazards into the environment," said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. "We are pleased that through this settlement, our local first responders are able to receive additional equipment necessary to protect the community."

Rho-Chem is a fuel blending, solvent recycling, and repackaging distribution and storage facility. EPA reported that its September 2015 inspection found that Rho-Chem was in violation of federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act regulations, which require the safe management of hazardous waste to protect public health and the environment and to prevent costly and extensive cleanups. The company's violations included:

  • Failure to make a hazardous waste determination for certain solid waste generated
  • Failure to maintain and inspect secondary containment areas to prevent leaks and spills
  • Failure to regularly inspect its hazardous waste operations area to detect discharges
  • Failure to inspect and properly maintain its closed ventilation monitoring systems
  • Failure to properly manage ignitable hazardous waste in certain areas of the facility
  • Failure to maintain adequate operating records
  • Failure to obtain the proper permit to store and treat hazardous waste for longer than 90 days

In addition to the penalty, Rho-Chem is required to complete a supplemental environmental project to purchase and provide at least $352,992 worth of emergency response instruments and communication and computing equipment to the Los Angeles County Fire Department's Homeland Security/Hazardous Materials Response Section. The equipment will improve its ability to identify and monitor chemicals and other hazardous materials in the field.

The settlement also requires Rho-Chem to implement an electronic system that will more accurately document the amounts and types of hazardous waste received, treated, stored, or scheduled for off-site disposal. The company will complete an audit of hazardous air emissions at its facility and provide its audit report to EPA, along with a schedule of corrective actions. As part of its renewal application for its hazardous waste permit, the company will submit a revised Waste Analysis Plan that outlines procedures for accurately determining the appropriate treatment standard for hazardous waste and debris and a revised Closure Plan to close certain units at its facility.

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