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Police, health department busted by state environmental cops

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A state laboratory used by the Indiana Department of Health and Indiana State Police is in trouble with the environmental police.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management says an inspection of the State of Indiana Forensic and Health Sciences Lab found open jugs of acetone and other hazardous materials during an inspection in December.

The lab, at 550 W. 16th St. in Indianapolis, also failed to label hazardous waste as required and failed to conduct proper inspections, according to an IDEM complaint filed last month.

The 1,495 pounds of hazardous waste the lab shipped last year should classify it as a “large-quantity generator,” but the lab is designated as a small-quantity generator.

As such, the lab did not provide employees the required hazardous-waste training or implement other measures required of a large-quantity generator, according to an order IDEM issued last month that outlines corrective measures.

Agencies using the lab, which also includes the Department of Toxicology, will not pay a fine, however.

 “We typically do not impose fines when other state agencies are involved,” said Amy Hartsock, spokeswoman for IDEM’s Office of Land Quality.

She said fines would merely result in moving money from one part of state government to another, with environmental compliance the objective.

Ultimately, “all the agency heads are answerable to the governor’s office,” she said.

Jupiter Aluminum Corp. of Shelbyville was not so lucky.

A week earlier, IDEM entered into an agreed order with Jupiter stemming from an inspection conducted last year. The order, which does not constitute an admission of violation, will result in a $14,400 civil penalty.

Jupiter, an aluminum coating and fabrication company, was cited for not making proper hazardous waste determinations on chromium waste, of not preparing a hazardous waste manifest for transporting waste and for not labeling hazardous waste containers in one area, among issues cited.

Jupiter either made corrections during the inspection or will do so in the future, under terms of the order recently issued by IDEM.

IDEM pursues government agencies less frequently than private businesses but actions against fellow agencies aren’t unprecedented.

In 2006, IDEM targeted INDOT for violations at 15 highway rest stops, mostly for problems involving the stops’ wastewater plants.

In one case, concentrations of ammonia in effluent at the Kankakee rest stop in Jasper County were deemed to be at dangerous levels for aquatic life in the area.
INDOT said it spent more than $20,000 making short-term repairs and on better training for plant operators.

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