The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a $2.75 million settlement of an administrative action against Eastman Chemical Co. for alleged violations of monitoring and recordkeeping under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
In 1996, Eastman voluntarily reported to Tennessee officials inaccuracies in the measurement of biosludge burned in some of the company's coal-fired boilers between November 1995 and August 1996. EPA and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation assessed the compliance status of seven steam boilers that burn a combination of hazardous waste and coal for energy generation.
The settlement, announced Sept. 7, resulted from the joint investigation and was facilitated by cooperation between state and federal officials. "The settlement reaffirms the agency's commitment to maintaining an enforcement program that provides a credible deterrent to noncompliance," said John Hankinson Jr., EPA's Atlanta regional administrator.
According to a company spokesperson, Eastman cooperated fully with the investigators and has corrected the measurement errors. "We are also confident that human health and the environment were not harmed as a result of this incident," said Betty DeVinney of Eastman.
Eastman waited five months to notify regulators of the problems with the sludge flow meters, according to EPA. This delay and the long period of noncompliance led to the major penalty, an agency spokesperson said.
Federal and state regulations violated by Eastman are designed to ensure that hazardous waste is not burned in quantities that exceed limits set for each boiler.
Information submitted to federal officials concerning the company's biosludge management continues to be under review by various agencies.