Property and business owners of a defunct electroplating company in Iowa are facing thousands of dollars in daily fines under a new federal order to clean up leaking tanks and containers of hazardous waste at the facility.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered Cedar Valley Electroplating LLC., a metal electroplating business, to “take a series of immediate actions to address multiple issues” at its facility in Cedar Falls, IA.
The facility, first cited by EPA in 2005, is within 1,300 feet of a child care center, a stream and homes.
The EPA’s unilateral administrative order, announced Friday (March 9), names the company and New York City-based R Squared Properties, LLC, which owns the property where the business was located.
Cedar Valley Electroplating went out of business in 2011. R Squared did not respond Monday (March 12) to a request for comment.
EPA’s order notes that its representatives inspected Cedar Valley Electroplating in September 2005 and September 2010. The 2005 inspection resulted in the business being cited for failure to make a hazardous waste determination on 28 55-gallon containers of waste material. The 2010 inspection cited the same issues, as well as issues with additional containers.
Earlier this month, EPA inspected the site again and noted numerous totes, tanks, drums and other containers and materials stored in an unsafe manner throughout the now-shuttered facility. Numerous containers were open, and several were leaking.
The hazardous wastes identified during the limited visit included chromium, ferric sulfate, ferric chloride, sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, sodium hypochlorite and sodium hydroxide.
Inspectors also noted that the containers of chemicals cited in 2005 and 2010 were still present and were now leaking.
EPA ordered the companies to
• Comply immediately with the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA);
• Immediately identify and contain leaking tanks, containers or other vessels;
• Identify all solid and hazardous wastes being treated, stored or disposed of at the site; and
• Restrict access to wastes stored at and/or disposed of there, and to waste areas.
The companies must also develop a plan for the immediate cleanup of releases, investigate to determine if wastes have migrated off the property, and clean up contaminated buildings and surrounding areas.
The companies face civil penalties of at least $7,500 per violation per day in the case. Violations could also trigger unilateral actions by EPA to enforce the order. EPA could also seek judicial enforcement of the order.