Thursday, May 29, 2014

EPA Announces Record $14M Fine for PCB Contamination

Titanium Metals Corporation, or TIMET, which supplies nearly one-fifth of the world's titanium demand, faces a staggering $14 million fine for illegally making and disposing of titanium waste product, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), in Henderson, NV. The fine against TIMET is the largest ever imposed at a single facility for violations of the Toxic Substances Control Act. The Pennsylvania-based company must also clean up the site.

During inspections in the mid-2000s, government officials had discovered that TIMET had been illegally producing polychlorinated biphenyl as a byproduct of its titanium manufacturing. The EPA inspections also revealed that the company had disposed of PCB-contaminated waste in a solid waste landfill and a trench at the Black Mountain Industrial Plant.

EPA enforcement official Cynthia Giles said in a statement: "This record penalty reflects EPA's commitment to protect communities by reducing pollution from the mineral sector. Today's settlement ensures TIMET complies with the law and takes important steps to build transparency in the investigation and remediation of this facility."

Toxic Substances Control Act 
An Act to regulate commerce and protect human health and the environment by requiring testing and necessary use restrictions on certain chemical substances, and for other purposes.  The TSCA specifically regulates polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) products.

The Dangers of PCBs
Polychlorinated biphenyl was used in paints, plastics, and electrical equipment before 1978. PCB has been illegal in the United States for the last 30 years after it had been shown to cause cancer as well as other health problems.  When released into the environment, PCBs can persist for decades because they do not break down through natural processes.

Green Education Services offers a PCB Awareness course designed to assist building owners and abatement contractors who may be handling PCB-containing or PCB-contaminated building materials during planned renovation or repair activities or planned PCB abatement efforts in older buildings. Visit https://www.greenedu.com/pcb-awareness-courses to learn more!