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EPA Fines Nevada Company a Record $13.75 Million For PCB Contamination

PHOTO: One of the world's biggest titanium manufactures is facing a record penalty from the EPA for storing PCB-contaminated waste at its plant in southern Nevada. Photo courtesy EPA.
PHOTO: One of the world's biggest titanium manufactures is facing a record penalty from the EPA for storing PCB-contaminated waste at its plant in southern Nevada. Photo courtesy EPA.
May 15, 2014

HENDERSON, Nev. – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has fined a Nevada company a record $13.75 million for PCB contamination.

Jared Blumenfeld, EPA regional administrator, says Titanium Metals Corporation also will have to clean up and remove about 84,000 pounds of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at its southern Nevada plant in Henderson. He says the fine is so big because the company failed to comply with cleanup orders dating back to 2005.

"This is one of those cases where there is such a large quantity of, in this case, PCB over such a large period of time that it really amounted to the largest penalty of its kind in U.S. history for a single facility under this statute," he says.

Blumenfeld explains that the company was unknowingly creating PCBs while manufacturing titanium, which is used in jet engines and other products. He says Titanium Metals Corp. has been storing the toxic waste at its 108-acre facility in Henderson.

PCBs have been banned in the United States for about 30 years, and exposure is known to cause cancer and other serious health problems. Although Titanium Metals Corp. had been storing the PCBs in what the EPA says is an illegal manner, Blumenfeld adds there doesn't appear to have been any adverse impact on human life.

"We don't have knowledge of that material going off-site and damaging human health and the environment," he says, "but certainly, there was a lot of risk."

The settlement with Titanium Metals Corp. is expected to keep tens of thousands of pounds of contaminated waste out of the environment each year. Blumenfeld says the company has agreed to transport the waste to another facility that can properly dispose of it. He adds the EPA is monitoring the company's cleanup, which is ongoing.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NV