Businesses engaged in toxic chemical disposal have significant responsibilities, not only toward their own workers, but also to the public which could be negatively impacted by their actions. A lot can go wrong with the storage and disposal of hazardous chemicals, and state and federal regulators take violations seriously.
For instance, the University of Georgia may have to pay nearly $100,000 in fines to federal regulators in connection with a hazardous waste treatment facility used to store liquid radioactive waste mixed with other hazardous waste products. The university facility was found to have been in violation of various safety rules in 2014 and 2015.
According to sources, the facility would move materials to hazardous waste storage or to regular waste streams once they had deteriorated enough. According to federal regulators, though, the facility was not in compliance with federal safety rules. Among the violations cited by the Environmental Protection Agency were failing to inspect fire extinguishers and other safety equipment, failing to property identify materials, mixing incompatible hazardous waste, storing radioactive materials longer than is allowed, and failing to keep accurate records.
It isn’t the first time the university has been involved with regulators over violations. In 2009, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division fined the University of Georgia for violating air quality permitting rules in its operation of incinerators. Back in 1999, the university paid for the cleanup of a tract of its own land that had previously been used to dump barrels of DDT, which later began to leak.
Luckily, nobody was harmed by the university’s violations in storing and disposing of toxic chemicals, but such things certainly can lead to harm, sometimes extensive harm. When that happens, it is important for victims to reach out to an experienced environmental law attorney to ensure their rights are protected.