DEQ Levels Fines Against Oregon Governments And Industries
Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality has announced 29 penatlies for violations that were sent in March and April. This includes several governmental bodies and a recurring offender.
The City of Newport was fined for discharging raw, untreated sewage into the Pacific Ocean. In a letter to the city’s attorney, the DEQ says several discharges happened in December 2019 and last January, culminating in a $28,400 penalty.
Lane County Public Works was fined $4,200 for failing to contain leachate at its Oakridge Transfer Station.
And the JH Baxter plant in Eugene received a penalty for $223,440 for numerous hazardous waste law violations. In 2018, the company agreed to pay $64,000 and take corrective action for mishandling and improperly storing hazardous waste, according to the EPA.
A DEQ spokesperson says Lane County Public Works paid its fine, while the City of Newport and JH Baxter have both appealed.
DEQ representative Dylan Darling shared the following history between his agency and JH Baxter's Eugene facility:
The most recent DEQ enforcement of J.H. Baxter & Co. was the civil penalty for hazardous waste and water quality violations issued on March 3, 2021. Baxter appealed and settlement discussions are underway, so no settlement yet.
Here’s a look at DEQ enforcement history of Baxter.
DEQ Water Quality Program
1993 – Stipulated order, no penalty, for violations of waste discharge limits.
2000 – Stipulated order, $25,000 penalty for violating waste discharge limits.
2002 – Notice of Civil Penalty Assessment, $1,800 penalty for violating waste discharge limits.
February 2010 – Warning Letter regarding December 2009 discharge of unknown volume of untreated stormwater resulting from a broken pipe.
August 2011 – Warning Letter with Opportunity to Correct for failing to collect a new whole effluent toxicity (WET) test within two weeks of failing whole effluent toxicity test. Failing to follow proper whole effluent toxicity monitoring protocols.
January 2016 – Warning Letter collecting one whole effluent toxicity test in 2015. The permit requires semiannual whole effluent toxicity sampling.
2018 – Notice of Civil Penalty Assessment, $19,200 penalty for violating effluent limits, reducing water quality below standards, failing to timely submit monitoring report. DEQ later withdrew the effluent limits violation and associated $6,400 civil penalty. DEQ and Baxter came to a $12,000 settlement.
DEQ Hazardous Waste Program all related to issues found during inspections.
May 2003 – Notice of violation (NOV), no penalty, for multiple violations of hazardous waste regulations: failing to label, date and close containers storing hazardous waste; failing to inspect drip pads; failing to update the contingency plan; failure to maintain a complete employee training plan; and failing to ship hazardous waste under an accurate hazardous waste manifest.
April 2011 – Warning letter with opportunity to correct, no penalty. Two violations: failing to label and close a container storing hazardous waste.
May 2014 – Warning letter with opportunity to correct, no penalty, for multiple violations of hazardous waste and used oil regulations: failing to label, date and inspect containers storing hazardous waste; failing to inspect drip pads; failing to submit updated contingency plan to local emergency responders; failing to properly label used oil and failing to immediately clean up a spill of used oil.
June 2019 – Expedited enforcement offer (EEO) for $2,400 for three hazardous waste violations: failing to close containers of hazardous waste; failing to inspect drip pad; and failing to clean out waste from secondary containment.
December 2019 – Expedited enforcement offer for $1,200 for multiple hazardous waste and used oil violations: failing to close and label containers of hazardous wastes; failing to properly label used oil and failing to immediately clean up a spill of oil; failing to update contingency plan; and failing to inspect and maintain drip pad.
Copryight 2021, KLCC.