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EPA, Leed Foundry Settle Hazardous Waste Charge

June 13, 2008
Baghouse dust ruled hazardous; $25,000 penalty for RCRA violations
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that Leed Foundry Inc. agreed to pay a $25,000 penalty to settle alleged violations involving hazardous-waste management and storm water discharges. EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board previously ruled that Leed’s baghouse dust is subject to federal hazardous waste regulations, a decision the agency calls “precedent setting.” Leed Foundry produces gray iron municipal castings in St. Clair, PA, including storm sewer grates and manhole covers. As part of its settlement agreement, it neither admits nor denies liability for alleged violations, but commits to comply with applicable requirements (ie., paying the penalty and addressing the violations.) In September 2004, EPA cited Leed for storing baghouse dust improperly. The dust, which is particulate matter captured from furnace off-gases, contained toxic concentrations of lead and cadmium. The agency reports that the foundry had removed approximately 514 tons of dust from a baghouse and stored it in a pile. This resulted in some toxins being released to the surrounding environment. EPA’s cited Leed Foundry for violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Leed challenged EPA’s authority to regulate gray-iron foundry waste, arguing that this substance is covered by a RCRA provision (the “Bevill Amendment”) that exempts certain fossil-fuel combustion wastes from hazardous waste regulation. An administrative law judge agreed with the company’s position, but in February of this year the Environmental Appeals Board reversed that ruling in favor of federal court decisions maintaining that Bevill pertains only to “high-volume and low-toxicity waste.” The board deferred to EPA, which had determined that gray-iron foundry waste is sufficiently toxic to be regulated by RCRA. Leed Foundry’s waste was found to exceed regulatory standards by 10 times for cadmium and 185 times for lead, according to EPA. Prior to its citation regarding baghouse dust, an EPA administrative law judge had penalized Leed for Clean Water Act violations because of storm water discharges from the plant. Leed did not appeal that decision, and the penalty for it is included in the settlement. EPA states that Leed Foundry cooperated in negotiating the settlement, after the appeals board ruled on the dust’s toxicity. The company will submit a plan for site clean-up to the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection, and submit a revised Preparedness, Prevention, and Contingency plan, including monitoring of flow and constituents related to the plant’s storm water discharge permit. Finally, Leed Foundry agreed to treat the baghouse dust to prevent it from exceeding RCRA’s toxicity standards.