Feds Fine Galvanizer Over Waste Storage

TUESDAY, JULY 26, 2016

A Baltimore steel galvanizer is facing $60,000 in federal fines over alleged violations of hazardous-waste storage laws.

Galvco Maryland, also known as Baltimore Galvanizing, entered into an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency earlier this month, according to a recent EPA announcement. While no hazardous materials were released as a result of the alleged mishandling, the agency assessed $60,000 in penalties over the company’s failure to comply with regulations governing permits, inspection, evaluation and spill containment.

The violations relate to the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, which governs how companies should store and handle hazardous waste. As part of the agreement, Galvco has not admitted any wrongdoing, but, the EPA says, the company has proven it is now in compliance.

Permit, Inspections and Detection

The corrective order from the EPA lists 10 counts against Galvco. They include:

  • Operating a hazardous waste storage facility without a permit or interim status;
  • Failure to make hazardous waste determinations;
  • Failure to install a proper secondary containment system around its hazardous waste storage tank;
  • Failure to perform daily hazardous waste inspections;
  • Failure to install a leak detection system for the hazardous waste storage tank; and
  • Failure to properly mark and store universal waste lamps.
Galvanized steel
By Trissi1234 - CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hydrochloric acid is used in preparing metal to be dipped in the zinc bath during hot dip galvanization.

The allegations are related to Galvco’s storage of spent hydrochloric acid, governed by hazardous waste regulations because of its corrosive properties. Hydrochloric acid is used in preparing metal to be dipped in the zinc bath during hot dip galvanization. The EPA refers to the plant as a “large quantity generator,” meaning that it produces at least 1,000 kilograms of hazardous waste each month.

The alleged violations stem from inspections that took place in 2014 and 2015.

The EPA alleges that between 2012 and 2014, the tank storing the caustic acid was not properly protected; a tank of that nature must be equipped with a leak detection system, to alert operators of any problems, and a proper secondary containment system, to stop materials from leaking out into the environment if a breach of the initial tank should occur.

During the same time period, the agency claims, the storage tank was not inspected on a daily basis, as required by the RCRA.

The Penalty

Galvco has been given a schedule for six payments of $10,000 each, all to be made within 180 days of the agreement.

Galvco President Neal Mercer told PaintSquare News the company worked with the government to ensure compliance, and underscored that no spills or damage occurred at the plant at any time. “They wanted us to be reporting daily, and we were doing weekly,” he said. “It was really just procedural. It was all done amiably.”

In addition to the Baltimore plant, Galvco has locations in Tulsa, OK, and Richmond, VA.


Tagged categories: Enforcement; Environmental Controls; EPA; Galvanized steel; Hazardous waste; Inspection; North America

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