WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency has reached a settlement with United Parcel Service to address hazardous waste violations at more than 1,100 facilities in 45 states and Puerto Rico, the agency announced Wednesday.
The consent agreement with Atlanta-based UPS addresses a number of alleged violations, including failure to make land disposal decisions and to properly manage hazardous waste on site. The company has three years to come into compliance at 1,160 locations and will pay a civil penalty of $5.3 million.
UPS, whose famous brown trucks are known around the world, 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 daily operations such as maintenance, the EPA said.
“This settlement is yet 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. The settlement requires UPS to address the wrongful practices at all of its facilities and “implement policies that prevent future noncompliance,” Starfield said.
UPS spokeswoman Lauren Spangler said the package delivery service has long-standing procedures for handling hazardous waste and is taking additional steps to improve its practices.
“The safety of our employees and communities, as well as caring for our environment, are top priorities at UPS,” she said in an email. “We will continue to work with agencies and authorities around the world to ensure the security of our network and the well-being of our employees and the customers and communities we serve.”
Texas-based EPA Region 6 officials reached a settlement agreement with UPS last year for facilities in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas. Following that settlement, the EPA expanded its investigation to other UPS facilities across the country and identified similar claims across the country. UPS facilities generated, accumulated and offered for transport, treatment and/or disposal certain hazardous waste streams, including flammable, corrosive and acute hazardous wastes, the EPA said.
UPS has developed compliance strategies at its facilities in Region 6 and has begun similar steps nationwide, the EPA said.
Under the settlement, UPS agreed to comply with state and federal RCRA laws and regulations, including more accurate hazardous waste designations, proper employee training and proper on-site hazardous waste management, the EPA said.