JUNE 2009

Midas Muffler mishandles PCBs in used motor oil

A Midas Muffler shop located in Bellevue, Washington has reached a $9,300 settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to resolve alleged federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) violations related to the mishandling of PCBs.

The PCB problems were initially discovered by a used oil recycler in Seattle, who received a shipment of 150 gallons of used oil from Midas in October 2007. Midas did not inform the recycler that the used oil contained PCBs. When the recycler tested the oil and found that it was contaminated with PCBs, they notified EPA. The company was forced to dispose all of the used oil as PCB-contaminated fluid.

According to Daniel Duncan, EPA’s regional PCB program coordinator in Seattle, facilities that handle used oil that may contain PCBs need to have proper testing, notification, storage, shipping, and disposal practices and follow their obligations under the TSCA.

Midas’ alleged violations included:

  • Failure to properly mark the contaminated oil container with a PCB label;
  • Failure to notify EPA in advance of the shipment of the PCB waste;
  • Failure to prepare a manifest for the shipment of the PCB waste.

Companies should use either a field screening test kit or send a sample of their used oil to a laboratory for analysis to determine if it contains PCBs. It is important for companies to make this determination before sending the used oil for energy recovery/disposal. If the used oil is found to have PCBs, the company must isolate the PCB-containing oil to prevent it from further contaminating other used oil.