Oregon agency fines recycler for stormwater issues

DEQ cites Pacific Recycling for failing to implement action plan.

June 24, 2014
Recycling Today Staff
Legislation & Regulations

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) says it has issued a civil penalty to Pacific Recycling Inc. for failing to implement an action plan to control stormwater pollution from its Eugene, Oregon, facility. The penalty includes a $9,600 assessment for the violation and $318,086 economic benefit assessment, which represents an estimate of the costs avoided and economic advantage Pacific Recycling gained by failing to install its proposed treatment system in a timely fashion.

In a letter sent by the Oregon DEQ to Pacific Recycling, the agency notes that in a 2011 Action Plan, Pacific Recycling said it would to install additional stormwater treatment. At that time, the company estimated the treatment would be installed by August 2012. In subsequent Action Plans developed in response to additional benchmark exceedances, Pacific Recycling stated that it intended to implement treatment, the Oregon DEQ asserts.

The DEQ says that if Pacific Recycling implements the treatment system, the agency will recalculate the economic benefit as a “delayed” rather than “avoided” expense, which will significantly reduce the total penalty assessment. Elevated pollutants in the facility’s stormwater discharge include copper, zinc, lead, total suspended solids, oil and grease, the Oregon DEQ reports.

According to the state agency, the company’s discharge has repeatedly exceeded benchmark s for these pollutants, but Pacific Recycling has not implemented treatment to reduce these pollutants as required by its industrial stormwater permit.

Mark Losco, environmental manager for Pacific Recycling, says that the company has been working very aggressively to complete a modular stormwater system. He expects to have the system done within the next few months. The company has been undergoing some significant work to complete an auto shredderr at the site. 

While acknowledging the company was not able to meet its initial deadline, Losco believes that the company will see a reduction in the fine. 

The Oregon DEQ also cited the company – without penalty – for repeatedly failing, since 2008, to submit action plans to reduce elevated pollutants in the facility’s stormwater discharge in a timely fashion and repeatedly failing to employ erosion control measures.

Along with the penalty, DEQ ordered Pacific Recycling to complete these actions:

  • submit a revised stormwater pollution control plan by July 14, 2014,;
  • install erosion and sediment control measures by Aug. 1, 2014; and
  • implement treatment to reduce stormwater pollution to acceptable levels by Oct. 1, 2014.

Pacific Recycling has the opportunity to appeal the penalty and order.