October 2005

Nation’s largest hazardous waste treatment and disposal operator comes to agreement with EPA

Washington, DC— The Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement with Clean Harbors Environmental Services that is expected to enhance calculating and reporting on benzene emissions from North America’s largest operator of hazardous waste treatment and disposal facilities.

This settlement involves ten facilities in eight states. It confirms the proper industry standard for compliance with the Clean Air Act regulation that limits benzene emissions from facilities that treat, store, and dispose of hazardous waste.

The affected facilities are located in Chicago, Illinois; Cincinnati, Ohio; Braintree, Massachusetts; Bristol, Connecticut; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Plaquemine, Louisiana; La Porte, Texas; Deer Park, Texas; Kimball, Nebraska; and Aragonite, Utah.

The agreement with Clean Harbors is part of EPA’s efforts to enhance compliance with benzene regulations among hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facilities. Benzene is a hazardous air pollutant and a known carcinogen.

A consent decree, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, will require Clean Harbors to properly determine the benzene quantities in waste shipments received from its customers.

Clean Harbors will not be allowed to estimate the benzene received by using the middle number in a range of possible benzene concentrations that a customer supplies.

Instead, Clean Harbors will have to measure the actual benzene concentration or use the high end of the range in order to ensure that benzene is not underreported. Under reporting benzene can result in failing to install pollution controls on tanks and other equipment that handle benzene.

The states of Illinois and Louisiana are joining the settlement.

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