Waste Transport Company Ordered to Pay $100,000 for Transporting Waste Oil From Unregistered Facilities, Submitting Inaccurate Reports to MassDEP
Also Required to Take Additional Steps to Ensure Future Compliance with Environmental Laws Regulating Hazardous Waste Transportation
BOSTON – A Texas-based waste transportation company operating in Massachusetts has agreed to pay $100,000 for allegedly transporting waste oil from unregistered facilities and submitting inaccurate reports to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today. The company will also be required to take additional steps to ensure future compliance with environmental laws regulating the transportation of hazardous waste.
According to the complaint filed in Suffolk Superior Court, Safety-Kleen Systems, Inc. (Safety-Kleen) transported hazardous waste, particularly waste oil, from facilities that did not first receive valid identification numbers, as required under law. The complaint also alleges that Safety-Kleen submitted to MassDEP inaccurate electronic monthly operating reports regarding their transportation of hazardous waste.
“This company allegedly skirted laws intended to protect the environment by accepting and transporting hazardous waste from unregistered facilities,” AG Coakley said. “Under this settlement, the company must pay a civil penalty and is also required to take steps to ensure that facilities it accepts waste from are registered.”
“Massachusetts has ‘cradle-to-grave’ regulations for hazardous waste handling and disposal. Compliance with those regulations is the foundation for protecting the public health and the environment from threats created by incorrect toxic waste management,” MassDEP Commissioner David W. Cash said. “Most companies correctly report the wastes under their control. However, when we uncover a company that disregards these laws, they will face significant penalties.”
Safety-Kleen is a licensed hazardous waste transporter that picks up hazardous waste from customers who generate it and transports it to facilities licensed to accept such waste. In Massachusetts, facilities that generate hazardous waste must first receive a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency identification number or a valid Massachusetts identification number. Hazardous waste transporters may only accept such waste from facilities that have a valid identification number and must submit monthly operating reports that include detailed information for each shipment of hazardous waste.
According to the complaint, between November 2010 and November 2012, MassDEP identified nearly 1,000 alleged instances where Safety-Kleen accepted hazardous waste from facilities that did not have valid identification numbers. The complaint also alleges that on numerous occasions the company submitted inaccurate monthly reports that listed invalid identification numbers or identification numbers that did not correspond with those listed in manifests filed with the MassDEP.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Safety-Kleen will pay a civil penalty in the amount of $100,000 to the Commonwealth. The company will pay $60,000 within 15 days of the final settlement, and the remaining amount, $40,000, will be suspended pending its compliance with environmental laws as outlined in the settlement.
Under the settlement, Safety-Kleen must take steps to ensure that they are accepting waste only from registered facilities. Those steps include prohibiting the company’s drivers from collecting waste from facilities that are not registered. Further, the company’s drivers will be required to supply any facility that does not have an identification number with registration information and a form. Safety-Kleen is then required to submit the completed forms to MassDEP within five days of receiving them.
Safety-Kleen is also required to provide training to employees and must institute penalties for employees who unlawfully accept hazardous waste from unregistered facilities and report those penalties to MassDEP. Additionally, Safety-Kleen is also required to take steps to ensure that all monthly reports are accurate and complete.
The settlement was approved by Judge Shannon Frison in Suffolk Superior Court.
This result stems from an investigation by the Massachusetts Environmental Strike Force, an interagency unit which is overseen by AG Coakley, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan, and MassDEP Commissioner Cash. The Strike Force comprises prosecutors from the Attorney General’s Office, Environmental Police Officers assigned to the Attorney General’s Office, and investigators and engineers from the MassDEP who investigate and prosecute crimes that harm or threaten the state’s water, air, or land and that pose a significant threat to human health.
This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Andrew Rainer, Chief of the AG’s Environmental Crimes Strike Force, with assistance from John MacAuley, Scott Fasulo, Karen Golden-Smith and Colleen McConnell from the Northeast Regional Office of MassDEP.