Alabama HVAC part manufacturer settles over hazardous waste allegations

An air conditioning parts manufacturer in southeast Alabama has agreed to pay $14,080 to resolve alleged violations of state rules for handling hazardous wastes.

Ruskin Company Inc. and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management announced a consent order this week resolving violations that were uncovered during ADEM investigations of the facility earlier this year.

According to the consent order, Ruskin’s violations included:

  • Failure to determine whether sludges from the plant’s wastewater treatment are hazardous wastes
  • Storing hazardous waste for more than 90 days without a permit
  • Failure to keep hazardous waste containers closed when not in use
  • Not labelling hazardous waste containers
  • Failure to post required warning signs at entrances to the facility
  • Failure to produce required paperwork during its inspection
  • Failure to keep containers of used oil closed and not properly labelling used oil containers

The ADEM consent order states that many of these violations were “easily avoidable” and that “Ruskin failed to exhibit a standard of care commensurate with the applicable regulatory standards.”

Ruskin manufactures aluminum components for heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems and is classified as a ”large quantity generator of hazardous waste,” in accordance with ADEM’s classification system.

The company has agreed to pay the $14,080 civil penalty and to maintain compliance with the state hazardous waste rules going forward.

By agreeing to the consent order, the company does not admit fault or concede to the violations described in the order, but avoids additional enforcement or legal actions stemming from those allegations.

“The Department has agreed to the terms of this Special Order by Consent in an effort to resolve the alleged violations cited herein without the unwarranted expenditure of State resources in further prosecuting the alleged violations,” the order states. “The Department has determined that the terms contemplated in the Special Order by Consent are in the best interests of the citizens of Alabama.”

The full consent order is available on the ADEM web site.