PA DEP fines Koppers for hazardous waste violations

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has fined Koppers, Inc. $23,213 for hazardous waste violations in 2008 at its wood preserving plant.

“The company did not notify DEP in a timely manner that hazardous creosote wastewater was leaking, and did not correct all the violations until five months later,” said DEP Northcentral regional director Robert Yowell.

Koppers notified DEP on September 29, 2008, that cracks in the Company’s containment area had allowed about 500 gallons of creosote-contaminated wastewater to leak to the soil. The notification occurred three days after the release instead of immediately, as required by state environmental regulations.

In addition to the cracks in the containment area, the collection system responsible for removal of waste was not being operated properly, which contributed to the release.

DEP conducted a follow-up inspection in November 2008 and discovered that three hazardous waste storage tanks were not properly labeled, and the hazardous waste storage tanks that accepted runoff were not being managed to maintain design and operating standards.

In early December 2008, Koppers personnel pumped 80,407 gallons of hazardous waste from the storage tanks for shipment by rail. The department did not document that all the violations were corrected until March.

The fine was paid to the Solid Waste Abatement Fund that pays for cleanups across Pennsylvania.