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Union College fined $1,400 for environmental violations

Thursday, August 15, 2013
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— Union College has been ordered to pay more than $1,400 after a May 22 inspection of its campus revealed a series of environmental violations that stem from improper management of hazardous waste.

The violations occurred at the college’s Science & Engineering Center on North Lane, as well as at the nearby Olin Center, Peter Irving Wold Center and Facilities Services building. They ranged from failing to determine whether solid waste was considered hazardous to keeping containers of hazardous waste open while not in use, according to an order of consent filed Monday by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

In particular, DEC staff found that the college had not made a hazardous waste determination for containers of waste housed in seven areas throughout the Olin Center’s visual arts print shop.

State regulations allow a generator to accumulate up to one quart of acutely hazardous waste or 55 gallons of hazardous waste in containers so long as the containers are closed when not in use and they are marked with the words “hazardous waste” or other words that identify their contents. DEC staff discovered several of these containers on campus that were open while not in use, and found several more that weren’t marked appropriately.

Staff also determined that a battery collection container and a bulb collection container in the Facilities Services building entryway were not marked appropriately. State regulation also requires handlers of waste, including bulbs and batteries, to mark down the initial date something was received so that it doesn’t sit for any great length of time. The accumulation start dates of these containers at Union were never marked down.

In all, Union College agreed to pay $1,439 to the state DEC and has until Aug. 22 to regain compliance with state environmental regulations. Part of that compliance includes establishing procedures to make sure such violations don’t occur again.

 
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