Billboard manufacturer Selective Structures pleaded guilty to illegally storing hazardous waste at its Athens, Tenn., facility, a U.S. Department of Justice news release announced June 8.
The company was ordered to pay $80,000 in criminal fines and $179,174.18 in penalties and damages to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. In addition, the manufacturer was placed on probation for 37 months to give it time to pay its fines and penalties, and required to hire an outside consultant to conduct quarterly environmental compliance audits during the probation period and report those results to the U.S. Justice Department.
According to the Justice Department, Selective Structures accumulated and stored spend Xylene solvent at its Athens site rather than having it transported by a licensed waste management company to an approved hazardous waste disposal site, as required by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The manufacturer generates hazardous waste in the form of spent Xylene solvent during its manufacturing process.
The company accumulated more than 60 55-gallon drums of the spent Xylene solvent, which is highly ignitable, and then attempted to dispose of it by pouring drums of it into a large pile of sawdust and mixing it, the Justice Department said. An inspection by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation revealed the activities, and the criminal division of the Environmental Protection Agency executed a federal search warrant at the facility in April 2008.