EPA and New York City establish audit program
In a move that will ensure the proper handling of many
thousands of bulbs that contain toxic mercury and computer
monitors that contain lead in New York City, the United
States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reached
an agreement requiring the city to pay $50,000 in penalties
and launch a comprehensive program to properly manage
Inspections of several buildings managed by the Department
of Citywide Administrative services (DCAS), an agency
of the city, revealed improper disposal of mercury-containing
light bulbs as well as used computer monitors. The city
agreed not only to comply with requirements, but also
to surpass them by spending at least $300,000 on a multi-facility,
self-audit program to assess compliance with hazardous
waste management requirements.
The comprehensive audit program will cover more than
800 buildings owned or operated by the City of New York.
The program will play a critical role in protecting human
health and the environment by identifying, correcting
and preventing violations of environmental regulations.
Under the agreement the city has also committed to attempt
to increase the recycling of spent bulbs and used computer
monitors at their facilities.
Violations of hazardous waste disposal regulations were
discovered from 2003-2005 during inspections of seven
facilities managed by DCAS. Based on observations EPA
made during the inspections and subsequent responses
to requests for information, EPA concluded that DCAS
had failed to make a hazardous waste determination with
regard to spent fluorescent lamps or used computer monitors
at the inspected facilities. Additionally, EPA observed
that DCAS had failed to meet labeling requirements and
had failed to package the waste properly.