EPA: UPS to pay fine, correct hazardous waste violations

The Environmental Protection Agency has reached a settlement with United Parcel Service to resolve violations of hazardous waste regulations at more than 1,100 facilities across 45 states and Puerto Rico, the agency said Wednesday.

The consent agreement with Atlanta-based UPS resolves a range of alleged violations, including failure to make land disposal determinations and to conduct proper on-site management of hazardous waste. The company has three years to reach compliance across 1,160 locations and will pay a civil penalty of $5.3 million.

UPS, whose familiar brown trucks are known worldwide, generates hazardous waste regulated under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act when a package containing certain hazardous materials is damaged, as well as during day-to-day operations such as maintenance, EPA said.

“This settlement is another example of EPA’s commitment to protecting communities from the dangers of hazardous waste,” said Larry Starfield, EPA’s acting assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance assurance. The settlement requires UPS to address illegal actions at all of its facilities and “implement policies that prevent future non-compliance,” Starfield said.

UPS spokesperson Lauren Spangler said the parcel-delivery service has long-standing procedures in place to handle hazardous waste and is taking additional steps to improve its practices.

“The safety of our employees and communities, and care for our environment are the highest priorities at UPS,” she said in an email. “We will continue to work with agencies and authorities around the world to ensure the safety of our network and the well-being of our employees and the customers and communities we serve.”

EPA officials in Texas-based Region 6 entered into a settlement agreement with UPS last year for facilities in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas. Following that settlement, EPA expanded its investigation into other UPS facilities across the country and identified similar claims nationwide. UPS facilities generated, accumulated and offered for transport, treatment and/or disposal certain hazardous waste streams, including ignitable, corrosive and acute hazardous wastes, EPA said.

UPS has developed compliance strategies at its Region 6 facilities and has begun similar steps nationwide, EPA said.

Under the settlement, UPS agreed to comply with state and federal RCRA laws and regulations, including more accurate hazardous waste determinations, proper employee training and proper onsite management of hazardous waste, EPA said.

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