After a dozen hazardous waste violations were found during inspections, ALS Environmental has agreed to settle a $16,667 penalty from the Washington Department of Ecology to reach a speedy conclusion and avoid costly legal fees.
The violations were found during an inspection of the Kelso laboratory in late 2013 and through additional disclosures by ALS in 2014. These ranged from illegal disposal of dangerous waste, not meeting training requirements for employees handling dangerous waste, and recurring violations of dangerous waste container management. The mishandling of chemicals and waste can jeopardize the health and safety of employees and create expensive and lengthy environmental cleanups.
ALS Environmental produces a wide array of dangerous waste, including corrosives, heavy metal-laden water, and spent methylene chloride solvent. Skin and eye irritation, nausea and respiratory issues are some of the health problems stemming from exposure to these wastes.
“We’re pleased to see ALS do the right thing by correcting their violations and agreeing to work on reducing toxic threats, and ensuring safety for their employees, the environment and the public,” said Ava Edmonson, Hazardous Waste and Toxics Reduction section manager for Ecology’s Southwest Regional Office.
The penalty was originally set at $25,000, but with the expedited settlement agreement, the recommended penalty is reduced by one-third and ALS Environmental waives its right to appeal. This process saves the state and the firm the costly expense of litigation during an appeal process.