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M'ville business to reduce hazardous waste 40 percent after EPA fine
MARYSVILLE – Seacast was a lemon when it came to handling hazardous waste, but the Marysville company is going to use a new "water blast" system to turn it into lemonade.
The Environmental Protection Agency fined Seacast Inc., a metal casting facility at 6130 31st Ave. NE, $18,000 for numerous violations at an inspection Jan. 31, 2012.
But Bert Robbins, vice president of the company, said those procedures have been fixed, and the firm is going to reduce its hazardous waste by 40 percent. It will spend $230,000 on a machine that uses water pressure to clean metal, rather than caustic sodium hydroxide solutions, thereby reducing hazardous waste.
According to the consent agreement between the EPA and Seacast signed Aug. 12, Seacast has five months to start using the industrial pressure washer.
"We are going to use this opportunity to greatly reduce" our waste, Robbins said. "We are very committed to being environmental stewards."
The EPA applauded Seacast for changing its cleaning method.
“SeaCast has found a way to modify its production process and reduce its reliance on caustic cleaning solutions as a part of this settlement,” said Scott Downey, manager of EPA’s hazardous waste inspection unit in Seattle.
Robbins said one of the biggest issues was some hazardous waste drums were stored on-site longer than the 90-day EPA limit. He said the problem was simple: the wrong drums were picked up.
"The EPA has very strict requirements," he said. "It's up to you to ensure" things happen correctly "regardless of the reason."
Robbins said the procedures for handling hazardous waste drums have been restructured.
"That should never occur again," he said, adding that the violation got Seacast asking how it could reduce the number of drums it sends out to process.
At the inspection almost three years ago now, the EPA found drums in storage for 138 days and 128 days.
In signing the agreement, Seacast did not admit or deny any wrongdoing. But the EPA did find many other alleged violations at its inspection, including:
• A 55-gallon drum the company had no record of.
• A type of hazardous waste not in a container.
• Some containers not labeled "Hazardous Waste."
• Other containers not dated correctly.
• No emergency contingency plans posted.
• No emergency communications devices.
• Pallets with containers holding hazardous waste too close together.
• Hazardous waste that is supposed to be checked weekly, only checked eight times in two years.
The company hired a full-time environmental manager after the violations were identified, the EPA reported.