JULY 2009

DEQ issues penalty to Star Bright Plating for waste violations

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has issued a $77,744 penalty to Star Bright Plating Inc., a former chrome plating business in Mulino, for operating as a hazardous waste treatment site without a permit.

DEQ learned of numerous hazardous waste violations at the facility during a December 2007 inspection of the site at 24225 South Highway 213. DEQ specifically observed that the company was using applied heat to evaporate chrome plating process wastewater, which is a hazardous waste, without first obtaining a hazardous waste treatment permit. Evaporation of such wastewater released lead and chromium into the air and posed a potential health threat. DEQ learned that the company had been evaporating the process wastewater from approximately 2005 through 2007.

In calculating the penalty, DEQ noted that the company saved $68,144 by processing the waste on site instead of properly disposing of it off site as hazardous waste. DEQ also noted the company’s efforts to close a storage tank to prevent further illegal treatment of the process water and efforts to correct other hazardous waste management violations that it discovered during the December 2007 inspection.

Prior to February 2008, Star Bright Plating incorrectly reported to DEQ that it was a conditionally exempt generator of hazardous waste for the years 2005, 2006 and 2007. (Conditionally exempt generators generate less than 200 pounds of hazardous waste on a monthly basis.) In February 2008, the company amended this report, noting that it was in fact operating as a small-quantity generator of hazardous waste, due to the generation of between 200 and 2,200 pounds of hazardous waste monthly. DEQ decided not to assess a civil penalty to the company for failing to accurately report its hazardous waste generation activity, but noted the violation in its records.

Star Bright Plating ceased plating operations at the Mulino facility in November 2008, according to the company’s representative, Victor van der Star, who has been in contact with DEQ.