Thursday, September 18, 2003

Potential nerve-gas handler pays EPA fine

The Associated Press

DAYTON, Ohio - A company planning to dispose of a byproduct created by the destruction of a deadly nerve agent has agreed to pay $28,600 to settle violations of hazardous-waste management law, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday.

The EPA said Perma-Fix Environmental Services Inc. also agreed to pay the agency $16,000 in delinquent fees associated with the treatment of hazardous wastewaters at its Dayton facility.

The EPA said an inspection in September 2001 revealed that Perma-Fix stored more hazardous waste than allowed, failed to properly label all hazardous-waste storage containers and stored two drums of hazardous waste in a short-term storage area for longer than the maximum 90 days.

"It was a mutually agreed-upon settlement. It addresses some old issues," said Tom Trebonik, divisional vice president of compliance, safety and health for Perma-Fix. "They were alleged violations that were found during an inspection. For purposes of resolving the issues, we agreed to the civil penalty."

The Army has proposed awarding Perma-Fix a $9 million contract to dispose of 300,000 gallons of hydrolysate, a byproduct created in the destruction of VX nerve agent.

The hydrolysate would be shipped about 200 miles from the Army's Newport Chemical Depot in western Indiana to Perma-Fix's plant in suburban Jefferson Township, starting in late winter or spring.

Attorney Ellis Jacobs, who represents residents opposed to the plan, said the EPA penalty is an example of the problems Perma-Fix has had handling hazardous waste.

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