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Sherwin-Williams Fined $570K for Waste

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

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Sherwin Williams will pay a $570,000 civil penalty to settle federal allegations of hazardous-waste violations at a paint production plant in Baltimore, MD, the Environmental Protection Agency has announced.

 Jeremy Brooks/Flickr

 Jeremy Brooks/Flickr

Federal regulations require labeling of hazardous waste containers. EPA said Sherwin-Williams had not labeled its containers.

The citations—which range from recordkeeping and inspection infractions to unreported leaks from damaged containers—stem from a series of EPA inspections that began in June 2009 at the Sherwin-Williams manufacturing facility, which dates to 1980.

EPA inspectors reported finding thousands of gallons of hazardous paint waste, waste resin and used aerosol cans improperly stored in dozens of drums and totes on the property.

The materials were stored longer than allowed and/or not labeled as hazardous waste, according to EPA. Some were stored in open, damaged or leaking containers and were not being inspected as required, EPA said in court documents.

Company Response

Sherwin-Williams neither denied nor admitted wrongdoing in the settlement, and spokesman Mike Conway said Wednesday (Oct. 19) that the company would have no comment on the matter.

He did note a statement by EPA that the settlement “reflects the company’s compliance efforts, and its cooperation with EPA in the investigation and resolution of this matter.”

The settlement was signed Sept. 21 in Philadelphia.

13 Counts

The settlement details 13 counts of widespread hazardous-waste violations, including:

• Operating without a Permit;

• Failure to Make Hazardous Waste Determinations;

• Failure to Maintain Facility;

• Failure to Immediately Respond to a Release at the Facility;

• Failure to Maintain Containers of Hazardous Waste in Good Condition during Storage;

• Failure to Keep Containers of Hazardous Waste Closed During Storage;

• Failure to Perform Weekly Inspections of Storage Areas;

• Failure to Document Daily Inspections of Hazardous Waste Tanks;

• Failure to Mark Each Piece of Equipment; and

• Failure to Comply with Recordkeeping Requirements for Air Emissions Standards.

RCRA Violations

The conditions alleged violate the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the federal law governing the treatment, storage and disposal of hazardous waste. Sherwin-Williams has now certified its compliance with RCRA, EPA said.

Among the conditions described in the settlement document:

• Storage of 88 unlabeled 55-gallon drums and eight unlabeled 275-gallon totes of waste paint-related materials;

• A leaking 55-gallon container of waste in a packaging area and 44 damaged 55-gallon drums of hazardous waste, “one of which was actively leaking its contents”;

• Failure to respond to that leak;

• A “severely rusted” 55-gallon container of waste;

• Lack of daily inspections of the above-ground portions and containment systems of hazardous waste tank systems for corrosion or releases of waste;

• Generating solid wastes (spent paint and used aerosol cans) without making hazardous waste determinations;

• Pumps and valves in tank systems not inspected monthly or visually checked weekly as required from Jan. 1, 2007, to July 3, 2009;

• Violation of air emission standards for pressure relief devices in gas/vapor service; and

• Various recordkeeping violations, including some from Jan. 1, 2008, to July 3, 2009.

   

Tagged categories: Coatings manufacturers; EPA; Hazardous waste; Paint disposal; Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA); Sherwin-Williams

Comment from peter gibson, (10/20/2011, 1:57 PM)

It is unbelievable that a big company, in this day and age,can blatantly ignore operating procedures. Once again,no leadership. Absolutely astounding.If you read their website. Stewards of the environment,and oh so green.What hypocrites !!!


Comment from Joni McGinnis, (10/20/2011, 4:00 PM)

SW is the Walmart of paints. Their logo is accurate - covering the world with toxins.


Comment from George McCormic, (10/24/2011, 6:48 AM)

Do a cost comparison. Is the fine less than what it would have taken to adhere to all the requirements. It's all about bucks.


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