Pharma health-care company GlaxoSmithKline LLC has agreed to pay a $317,550 penalty to the US Environmental Protection Agency after a summer 2012 inspection discovered poorly managed hazardous waste at its Pennsylvania research and development facility.
The EPA cited GSK for violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the federal law governing the treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste. The Act is designed to protect public health and the environment, and to avoid costly cleanups, by requiring the safe, environmentally sound storage and disposal of hazardous waste.
EPA cited the company for hazardous waste storage violations involving a 150-gallon hazardous waste tank containing waste ethanol, an ignitable substance; a 55-gallon drum containing a hazardous waste substance. Additionally, the company was cited for the improper handling of fluorescent light tubes, which contain mercury.
The alleged violations included:
· failure to comply with monitoring, storage, marking, and recordkeeping requirements related to a 150–gallon hazardous waste aboveground tank used to store waste ethanol;
· failure to determine the volatile organic concentration of the ethanol that was stored in the 150-gallon hazardous waste tank;
· failure to conduct monthly leak detection of valves associated with the ethanol storage tank;
· failure to keep closed a 55-gallon drum containing hazardous waste;
· failure to keep closed several boxes of used fluorescent light tubes; and,
· failure to properly document the length of time that the fluorescent light tubes were stored for disposal.