Tesla settles with EPA over hazardous waste

Tesla settles with EPA over hazardous waste

Tesla will pay a $31,000 penalty and purchase equipment for a local fire department.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a settlement with Tesla Motors Inc. of Palo Alto, California, over federal hazardous waste violations at the company’s automobile manufacturing plant in Fremont, California.

Under the agreement, Tesla will take specific steps to properly manage hazardous wastes at its factory.  Tesla will also purchase $55,000 in emergency response equipment for the Fremont fire department and pay a $31,000 penalty. EPA says the fire department equipment will improve the department’s ability to respond to hazardous materials incidents.

“It's vital that businesses comply with hazardous waste laws that keep facilities safe for workers and the community,” says EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker in a news release. “We are pleased that this settlement will bring much needed emergency response equipment to the City of Fremont.”

As a result of the inspections, EPA determined that Tesla:

  • failed to comply with air emissions standards for equipment leaks;
  • failed to comply with management requirements for generators of hazardous wastes; and
  • failed to make an adequate hazardous waste determination for certain solid waste generated at the facility.

The company has since addressed all the identified violations and has come into compliance with Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) requirements. Tesla also delivered hazardous waste training to over 1,100 paint shop associates, technicians and supervisors at its facility. 

EPA led unannounced inspections at the Fremont facility in 2017 along with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. The inspections identified violations of federal RCRA regulations. RCRA rules require the safe management of hazardous waste to protect public health and the environment and to prevent costly cleanups. The settlement is part of the EPA’s National Compliance initiative to reduce hazardous air emissions at hazardous waste facilities.