A South Carolina industrial coatings company will pay a $55,000 fine and develop a training regimen to settle federal allegations of hazardous waste violations at its facility.
The allegations include unmarked, open, improperly stored and/or uninspected 55-gallon drums, 300-gallon steel totes, and “numerous” other containers of paint waste, spent solvents and so-called “dirty wash” (rinse water from containers of solvents) at Sumter Coatings’ plant in South Sumter, SC.
|Founded after the death of Southern Coatings and its successors, Sumter Coatings produces industrial coatings, coatings for structural steel, and other products.|
The company, also known as SCI, manufactures primers and other coatings for structural steel, custom coatings, industrial coatings, electrostatic coatings and other coatings products.
Series of Violations
A new Consent Agreement and Final Order by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency resolves a series of hazardous-waste violations alleged at SCI's plant. In addition to the fine, the company has agreed to develop a personnel training program, develop a schedule for implementing that program, and identify employees who require training. The company admits no wrongdoing under the settlement.
The case began in April 2010, when inspectors from the EPA and the state Department of Health and Environmental Control performed a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Compliance Evaluation Inspection. The findings were documented in reports that August and the following January.
Among the conditions cited:
• Inadequately or improperly labeled totes and drums filled with spent solvent mixtures and other hazardous waste;
• Use of a gravel base and an unsealed concrete floor for storage of hazardous waste containers;
• Floor drains that were not sealed or coated and that discharged into unknown systems;
• Containers of waste stored too closely together to allow inspections;
• “Numerous” containers of hazardous waste left open or without lids;
• Totes of hazardous waste left outside the storage area;
• Failure to inspect and to document inspections as required;
• Failure to develop personnel training programs; and
• Lapses and omissions in the contingency plan.
EPA said SCI had implemented a number of changes since the inspection. The company has labeled all containers with the necessary information; reduced the number of locations where short-term storage occurs; changed container sizing; and completed all necessary waste determinations, EPA said. SCI also applied a non-porous sealant to the base floor surface where the majority of hazardous waste containers are regularly staged.
SCI did not respond Tuesday (Feb. 28) to a request for comment.
SCI was established in late 1996, after the closing of what was long known as Southern Coatings. Southern, founded in 1938, was sold to Pratt & Lambert in 1981, then to Sherwin-Williams in January 1996. Sherwin-Williams closed the plant that September.
SCI’s 71,500-foot facility, however, is the “newest and most modern coatings plant in the Southeast,” the company says.