Environmental advocates question delayed reporting of hazardous waste infraction

Environmental advocates question delayed reporting of hazardous waste infraction

EnergySolutions was recently hit with a proposed $50,000 penalty for infractions reported in 2015.

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January 12, 2018
Edited by Adam Redling
Legislation and regulations Special and Hazardous Waste

Environmental advocates at Salt Lake City, Utah-based HEAL Utah have expressed concern that details of a company’s negligent hazardous waste contamination oversight wasn’t made public in a timely manner, The Salt Lake Tribune reports. EnergySolutions, Salt Lake City, is a hazardous waste disposal site that was recently hit with a proposed $50,000 penalty for infractions reported in 2015.

According to the report, EnergySolutions self-reported infractions after a new manager at the site discovered that the company had failed to apply a chemical coating to some of its hazardous waste disposal cells. This coating is designed to prevent dust from blowing away in areas of recently disturbed soil.

While EnergySolutions believes that no radioactive material escaped, as the hazardous material is encased in cement before being buried, the coating is meant to serve as a precautionary measure. State inspectors found that the company had failed to apply the coating 11 times over two years.

“At the time that the violation was reported, there was no mention of it,” Scott Williams, executive director of HEAL Utah, says in the report. “To me, it speaks to the fact that we don’t really have sufficient oversight at that facility. It shouldn’t have taken two years for this to be identified.”

EnergySolutions employees have received additional training since the incident to increase compliance in the future.

Because the proposed penalty exceeds $25,000, Utah’s Waste Management and Radiation Control Board will have to approve the fine before the sanctions are finalized. The deal is also subject to public review. Comments are due via email to dwmrcpublic@utah.gov by Jan. 29.