Florida Institute of Technology receives $64,000 fine for hazardous waste violations

Unmarked and leaking chemical containers were found in several campus labs.

July 20, 2017

The Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) in Melbourne, Florida, must pay a $64,100 fine for multiple hazardous waste violations, a report by Florida Today says. In 2016, federal and state regulators conducted an inspection in the science labs and found toxic chemicals leaking from containers.

The labs included in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state inspections were the pharmaceutical chemistry lab, physics lab, organic metallic synthesis lab, physical organic chemistry lab and Knight lab.

During the inspection, which took place Aug. 8-9, 2016, inspectors found containers of old chemicals with peeling labels, residues forming on lids, with leaking waste and no determination of whether they should be classified as hazardous waste and leaking or deformed containers of formaldehyde, bleach waste, biological stain waste and alcohol/water waste.

Inspectors also reported that the school did not conduct weekly inspections of containers used to store hazardous waste, mishandled hazardous waste by not properly labeling waste while being consolidated and storing the waste without a permit or properly labeled status, the report says.

This is the third hazardous waste violation the school is facing, the report says. Two others occurred in 2008 and 2012 and resulted in large fines.

In 2012, FIT paid $4,575 in penalties and $500 in costs of the investigation after five buildings underwent renovations without an asbestos inspection. In 2008, the school was issued a $178,902 penalty for open chemical container and failure to properly label wastes or document personnel training in hazardous waste handling, the report says. FIT offset the fine with pollution prevention projects on campus.

FIT officials say some violations have been fixed and the school will continue to improve its compliance.