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Environmental Protection Agency fines Owens Corning in KCK for allegedly violating hazardous waste regulations

Posted at 12:17 PM, Feb 13, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has fined Owens Corning in Kansas City, Kansas, for allegedly violating hazardous waste regulations, according to a press release.

Owens Corning, which produces insulation, roofing and fiberglass composites, will pay $115,302 in civil penalties for alleged violations detected during an October 2022 inspection conducted by the EPA. Alleged violations include breaching the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and failing to follow Kansas hazardous waste management regulations, per the EPA.

Owens Corning has returned to compliance since the 2022 inspection, according to the EPA.

“This settlement demonstrates EPA’s commitment to protect communities from releases of hazardous waste, especially those already burdened by historical pollution,” said David Cozad, director of EPA Region 7’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division, in a statement. “The Agency is also committed to leveling the playing field for companies that comply with federal law.”

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Specific alleged violations observed by the EPA include: failure to conduct and document determinations of hazardous waste at the facility; failure to notify the state when it generates new hazardous wastes; operating as a hazardous waste treatment, storage and/or disposal facility without obtaining a required permit; and failure to properly manage wastes at the facility.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) previously fined Owens Corning in 2017 for the same or similar violations, according to the EPA.

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CleanAirNow, a environmental nonprofit based in KCK, has a history of advocating for the EPA to look into violations at Owens Corning. The nonprofit believes the company contributes to environmental justice concerns in the communities surrounding the production facility.

"EPA identified the community surrounding the Owens Corning facility as a potentially sensitive area because of exposures to diesel particulate matter, air toxics cancer risk, and hazardous waste proximity," the EPA said in its press release. "EPA is strengthening enforcement in overburdened communities to address disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of industrial operations on vulnerable populations."