A Wilmington oil recycling plant fined last month by a federal judge for environmental crimes was issued a cease and desist order Monday by the state for new hazardous waste violations.
Beyond the company’s criminal troubles, which also include criminal charges against two managers, Monday’s order cited the plant for violations that occurred nearly weeks after the Feb. 2 guilty plea in U.S. District Court in Wilmington. The order said the company must “cease and desist all operations relating to the emptying, cleaning and offering for transportation waste generated from its on-site tanks” in Wilmington.
Delaware environmental regulators said owners of the 25-year-old plant at 505 S. Market St. have said they are no longer processing used oil, intend to shut down the facility completely and have been taking steps to empty and clean out on-site storage tanks. The plant formerly did business as International Petroleum Corp. and is now owned by Illinois-based Heritage-Crystal Clean, LLC.
A recent Wilmington News Journal article also focused on the city’s lax enforcement standards against the plant, saying it was “pumping potentially hazardous chemicals to the city’s sewage treatment plant.”
The order stems from violations involving a load of waste generated from the company’s tanks, according to the order from the state Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. During transport, some hazardous waste material leaked from the truck and spilled onto Pennsylvania roadways. Lebanon County authorities discovered an oily substance on roadways and found that the leaking container was delivered to a facility in nearby Myerstown, the order said.
Although plant officials said the load included non-hazardous materials, DNREC’s investigation found that the waste in the load exceeded regulatory limits of the known carcinogen benzene, the order said. Officials in Pennsylvania are also investigating, DNREC said.
The order said the company failed to make an accurate hazardous waste determination and failed to utilize a hazardous waste manifest for the shipments. Among other provisions, the order requires the company to submit a plan describing how the contents of remaining on-site tanks will be sampled and analyzed to ensure accurate hazardous waste determinations are made before shipping them off-site.
Officials have admitted in federal court that they failed to properly characterize waste generated from cleaning tanks and not using a hazardous waste manifest. A judge ordered the company to pay $1.3 million in fines to the federal government and $2.2 million in restitution to the city.