5 Mistakes that Lead to Hazardous Waste Fines

No one wants to be slapped with a hazardous waste fine. Not only is the fine punishment, the knowledge that you may have done something that could harm the environment can weigh heavy on many people’s shoulders. This fine can also snowball in to a long and expensive legal battle and investigation. In order to avoid the hassle and the guilt, we have compiled a list of five mistakes that lead to fines.

  1. Toxic waste into the sewer system – This is less common these days than it was in the eighties and nineties, but we will still find some companies dumping toxic waste into a sewer system, either without realizing that it could be harmful, or laboring under the belief that they will not be caught. This kind of dumping is unequivocally illegal, and because most municipal sewer systems are equipped with specialized sensors, it is now easier than ever for law enforcement individuals to figure out who has been dumping what kind of waste into the system. The take away from this mistake is to just not dump your hazardous waste into the sewer.
  2. Incorrectly labeling hazardous waste. This is one of the most common mistakes and definitely one of the most common reasons a company is fined by the Department of Toxic Substances. It is easy to commit. You’re just working along, and a container is incorrectly labelled—or, even worse, not labeled at all. Labels are required by just about every state, not just on the containers themselves, but on the rooms that house the containers.
  3. No lids for hazardous waste containers, or improper use of lids. This occurs most often as a result of incorrect handling procedures. Both the EPA and the DTS require most hazardous materials to be in closed containers. This means that the lid is closed tightly enough to prevent both leaves and the escape of vapors. Neglecting this could lead to serious fines, so make sure that all containers are properly closed.
  4. An improper contingency plan. As a company that handles hazardous waste, it is required by law that you have a contingency plan. However, some companies, even if they have a plan, will not keep it up to date. This can lead to serious fines, as every company is required to have an updated plan that includes the newest guidelines and methods.
  5. Exceeding the limit of hazard waste accumulation. Most companies are only allowed to store 55 gallons of waste at a time, before correctly disposing of it. Having more than this allotted amount can incur fines, even if the containers themselves are properly closed and sealed and the waste is being properly disposed of.

About Brickley Environmental

Brickley Environmental creates safe-and-sound schools, homes, and buildings by designing and executing safe, cost-effective containment, abatement and removal solutions. We do it right the first time — making your profits predictable while supporting your ethical standards and reputation for excellence — and have served Southern California for over 30 years.