Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), a Hawthorne-based space vehicle manufacturer, is required to pay a penalty of $45,600 to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for violating hazardous waste requirements of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

During a 2009 inspection, EPA investigators found multiple hazardous waste violations at SpaceX’s facility, which is used to design and manufacture orbital space delivery vehicles and liquid fuel rockets that power the launch vehicles and associated avionics.

The SpaceX violations that surfaced due to the inspection included improper storage of hazardous waste on site for longer than the 180-day time limit, failure to close hazardous waste containers and improper or no labeling of hazardous waste containers.

Further, EPA discovered that the facility stored hazardous waste in crowded conditions that impaired inspection in addition to failing to perform waste determination, in violation of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

EPA’s hazardous waste rules mandate facilities to properly store, label and close hazardous waste containers and maintain properly trained staff to avoid the threat of potential spill of hazardous waste, thereby posing risk to workers and the environment.

EPA regional administrator of Pacific Southwest Jared Blumenfeld said that high tech stature does not preclude innovative firms from complying with federal environmental laws that protect their employees, the surrounding community and the environment

“SpaceX, like any other manufacturer, will be held accountable for improper storage and handling of the hazardous waste it generates,” Blumenfeld said.