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Waste Fines Cost Coatings Firm $80K

Monday, July 11, 2016

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An industrial coatings company in Seattle is facing $80,000 in fines after state inspections turned up repeated violations related to the handling of dangerous waste at its facilities.

The State of Washington’s Department of Ecology announced July 1 that it had levied the fines on Puget Sound Coatings after inspections revealed alleged repeated violations related to the handling and disposal of dangerous waste.

Containers left open during Puget Sound Coatings inspection
Images: State of Washington Department of Ecology

The Department of Ecology alleges Puget Sound Coatings failed to keep containers of dangerous waste closed, documented in inpection photos.

According to the state agency, inspections in July and August of 2015 turned up violations at Puget Sound’s facilities in Seattle and Auburn, WA. The Department of Ecology said in a press release that the firm “showed no marked improvement in its compliance history” after repeated inspections since 2008.

Alleged Violations

The department alleges that Puget Sound failed to:

  • Conduct designation, to determine what waste is dangerous;
  • Keep containers of dangerous waste closed;
  • Prevent evaporation of waste, including solvents, into the air;
  • Properly label waste containers;
  • Label waste containers with an accumulation start date; and
  • Properly clean up waste spills.

Additionally, the state said the company failed to register its Auburn facility as a hazardous waste generator, and failed to properly train employees there on dealing with hazardous waste.

About Puget Sound Coatings

Puget Sound Coatings, according to its website, does a variety of coating work, including industrial, architectural, aerospace, marine, OEM, municipal and residential jobs. In addition to painting, sprayed metal coating and tape coating, the company performs surface preparation, including blasting and wheelabrating.

Solvents allegedly left to evaporate

The state says the firm allowed solvents to evaporate into the air at the  Seattle facility, allegedly illustrated here in inspection photos.

“We recognize the importance of diligent adherence to the department’s rules and regulations and strive to be a leader in environmental practices in the industry,” said Puget Sound Coatings president Hugh LaBossier. “We will redouble our efforts to protect public health and our environment.”

Previous Violations

The Department of Ecology lists a prior enforcement action at the Seattle facility in 2009. In 2012, Puget Sound Coatings entered an agreement with the federal Environmental Protection Agency to pay $8,500 for allegedly failing to submit timely Toxic Chemical Release Inventory Reporting Forms.

The company has the right to appeal the citation within 30 days of its issuance.

“These were significant violations by a firm we’d expect to see in better compliance, given its experience and knowledge,” said Darin Rice, manager of the Department of Ecology’s Hazardous Waste and Toxics Reduction program. “We recognize the corrections the company makes after individual inspections, but those changes don’t seem to last. Many similar firms follow state hazardous waste laws to protect the environment, and Puget Sound Coatings must do so as well.”

   

Tagged categories: Enforcement; Environmental Protection; Government; Hazardous waste; Health & Safety; North America; Violations

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