EPA is using non-traditional methods for locating violations.
On October 2, EPA announced a PCB enforcement case stemming from an eBay auction. EPA investigators found Railside LLC, a factory surplus liquidator, offering to sell an unmarked General Electric Pyranol capacitor on eBay. EPA then inspected the seller’s warehouse, and alleged that Railside violated PCB regulations by failing to mark its capacitor with a label identifying it as containing PCBs as prescribed by federal law. Railside responded quickly and cooperated with EPA; the Agency settled for a penalty of $250 and an enforceable agreement to properly dispose of the PCB-containing equipment. This disposal cost the seller $1,200. It should be noted that eBay was not a party to this enforcement action and did not violate any environmental regulations in this case.
While the actual enforcement costs are low in this case, it does highlight EPA’s success at using new ways of finding violations. Companies using web-based asset management methods should ensure that those activities do not escape EHS review.