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KCMO manufacturer fined for violating federal waste management law

EPA ordered business to clean up 9K pounds of hazardous waste
Environmental Protection Agency EPA
Posted at 4:22 PM, Jul 18, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Following a 2022 inspection conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a steel lawn mower blade manufacturer in Kansas City, Missouri, cleaned up 9,000 pounds of ignitable hazardous waste from its facility and is now ordered to pay a $337,253 penalty.

Oregon Tool Inc., located at 4840 East 12th Street, allegedly violated the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) by allegedly allowing hazardous, ignitable waste to build up on the floor, walls, ceiling and equipment throughout its facility.

The EPA also alleges the manufacturer neglected its responsibility to prevent the release of the hazardous waste.

According to the EPA, such waste was hazardous to the facility's 130 employees and the surrounding community, which is a low-income, Spanish-speaking area already plagued by high-levels of pollution.

Last month, the EPA fined a KCMO environmental service company for violating RCRA, and less than a month ago, the EPA settled a federal Clean Air Act enforcement case with a KCK auto repair shop, which is also located in an area overburdened by pollution.

“Oregon Tool’s operations presented a significant risk to its workers and the surrounding community,” said David Cozad, director of EPA Region 7’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division. “This settlement represents the federal government’s commitment to protect residents from harmful releases of hazardous substances, particularly in communities that are already overburdened by pollution.”

During the inspection in Sept. 2022, EPA officials found an accumulation of spent sodium nitrate, sodium nitrate and potassium nitrate mixture on the walls, floor, ceiling and equipment, and found these substances were emitting from the ceiling vents. Such substances can "stimulate and accelerate combustion," according to the EPA.

In addition to the cleanup of the facility, Oregon Tools Inc. agreed to take preventative measures for future hazardous waste, such as installing controls to prevent its release.