The State University of New York’s Downstate Medical Center campus is under investigation by federal officials after inspections revealed the center stored chemical waste in improperly labelled, corroded leaking containers.
The US Environmental Protection Agency says Brooklyn-based SUNY faces fines of up to $156,710.
“Hospitals and research facilities should take steps to reduce the generation of hazardous waste, and ensure wastes are properly stored and handled,” said Judith Enck, EPA regional administrator “When not properly handled, hazardous wastes can pose a danger to employees and those living in the surrounding community.”
The EPA conducted inspections of SUNY in June 2013.Among the violations of federal hazardous waste law discovered during these inspections were:
- The failure to determine which substances should be considered hazardous waste to ensure that they are managed properly.
- The storage of hazardous waste without a permit. Owners or operators of facilities used for the treatment, storage or disposal of hazardous waste must first obtain a permit or qualify for interim status, unless they meet certain conditions for short term storage of waste without a permit.
- The failure to maintain and operate its facilities in a manner that minimized the possibility of a fire, explosion or accidental release of chemicals.
- The failure to ship hazardous waste to an authorized facility.
- The failure to use hazardous waste manifests for the transportation of hazardous wastes from its facility. Generators of hazardous waste must prepare a manifest before shipping hazardous waste for transport off-site.