US Ecology has agreed to pay a $497,982 penalty to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for 18 counts of hazardous waste violations at its commercial hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facility in Nye County, Nevada, on the outskirts of Beatty.

The violations at a hazardous waste unit, designed to thermally treat contaminated materials, like soils, to remove the hazardous components, included release of hazardous components to the air on two occasions and improper labeling, storing and handling of PCBs.

Further, EPA inspectors discovered failure on the part of the company to report six spills, leaks or other uncontrolled PCB discharges that occurred between 2006 and 2008 and detected PCBs at elevated levels both in and outside the PCB storage building (43,500ppm and 900ppm respectively).

The settlement resolves US Ecology’s alleged violations of EPA’s Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, which oversees the safe management and disposal of hazardous waste to avoid posing risk to human health and environment.

EPA regional administrator of Pacific Southwest Jared Blumenfeld said that the EPA’s goal is to safeguard worker health and nearby communities, so it’s imperative for facilities like US Ecology to properly manage their waste.

“We impose strict environmental controls to make sure hazardous waste is actually treated and not simply released into the air,” Blumenfeld said.