- General Electric (GE) will pay a $2.25 million civil penalty for allegations of illegal practices at an incinerator at a Waterford, NY manufacturing facility. Because GE generated hazardous waste during its manufacturing of silicone-based sealants at the site, the company was required to operate an automatic waste feed cut-off system to shut down the incinerator in order to ensure compliance with the Clean Air Act (CAA) and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). GE is charged with using a computer to override that cut-off system — exposing the public to carbon monoxide, dioxins, furans and other pollutants.
- The DOJ claimed that GE overrode the safety controls on at least 1,859 occasions from September 2006 until February 2007, according to Recycling Today. And the company submitted falsified compliance reports to the federal government and the state of New York indicating compliance with the law and its permit.
- This case was investigated by EPA and DEC, and is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas Spina Jr. and Adam J. Katz, as well as Assistant Attorneys General Maureen F. Leary and James C. Woods.
This settlement reflects the combined efforts of federal and state government to crack down on illegal waste management operations that pose a public threat.
The government has recently stepped in on other occasions when manufacturers allegedly violated mandated protocol tied to their handling of hazardous waste.
“Violations of New York State’s environmental laws and regulations are serious offenses, which carry serious consequences," says Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos for DEC. "This fine is the result of the collaborative efforts of state and federal partners working together to accomplish a shared mission to protect our citizens and communities and should send a strong message that New York State has zero tolerance for those who shirk environmental policies and procedures put in place as protections."
"This office will continue to pursue vigorously companies that thwart laws designed to protect public health, safety, and our environment," says First Assistant U.S. Attorney Grant C. Jaquith for the Northern District of New York