SEATTLE – A Seattle industrial barrel recycler faces $80,000 in Department of Ecology fines for violations that included failing to prevent the disposal of hazardous waste down a sewer drain.
Ecology’s penalty augments a $55,250 action earlier this year by King County’s Industrial Waste Program for related violations by the company. The county assessed a $17,225 penalty and agreed to a $38,025 supplemental environmental project.
Seattle Barrel Co., 4716 Airport Way South, collects industrial barrels, and cleans and prepares them for re-use. Many barrels the company receives last contained chemical compounds that require disposal as hazardous waste.
King County, which operates the region’s wastewater treatment system, requires pre-treatment of industrial wastewater released into the sanitary sewer system.
County and Ecology inspectors have detected and ordered corrections on permit, wastewater discharge, and hazardous waste requirements, some of them repeated, over the past five years.
Ecology’s penalty cites Seattle Barrel for eight incidents in 2013 where monitoring equipment documented discharges of highly caustic materials into the sewer. The company failed to identify and designate the waste from the company’s process as hazardous waste. Some chemicals can interfere with the wastewater treatment process, create potential dangers for treatment plant workers, or both.
The Ecology fine also covers instances where Seattle Barrel did not label hazardous wastes or provide secondary containment to prevent the escape of hazardous liquids if a primary container leaks or breaks.
“There has been a pattern of repeated violations over the past several years,” said K Seiler, who manages Ecology’s Hazardous Waste and Toxics Reduction program. “Our aim is to get voluntary compliance first, if possible. Many other firms consistently shoulder the cost to properly manage and dispose of their hazardous wastes, which protects public safety and the environment.”
Ecology’s penalty may be appealed within 30 days to the Washington State Pollution Control Hearings Board.