An Abingdon manufacturer has agreed to pay more than $50,000 in fines for hazardous waste violations, including improperly disposing of more than 6,200 pounds of it, according to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).
A 2019 DEQ inspection of Wolf Hills Fabricators uncovered a slew of violations of federal codes, all of them related to documenting, storing and disposing of hazardous waste, as well as training employees on how to properly handle it.
Wolf Hills Fabricators LLC is a facility on Old Trail Road that specializes in building heavy-duty equipment for clients in the mining industry and other industrial sectors, according to a consent order signed Sept. 15 and posted to DEQ’s website. The company’s Facebook page states that it also houses the Damascus Corp., a company that sells underground mining vehicles, and Platnick Crane & Steel, which sells cranes and other industrial equipment.
The facility’s activities generate waste from paints, solvents and aerosol cans, all of which are listed as hazardous because of their potential to harm human health or the environment.
When DEQ staff inspected Wolf Halls Fabricators in December 2019, they found that the company had not properly identified, documented or kept up-to-date records on some of that hazardous waste, according to the order.
The order also states that the facility had been storing some of the hazardous waste in drums that lacked the necessary labels and risk warnings; it kept such drums for longer than 180 days without the required permit or documentation; and it sent more than 6,200 pounds of the hazardous waste, without proper documentation, to a facility that wasn’t authorized to treat or dispose of it.
Additionally, the inspectors found that Wolf Halls Fabricators had not been training employees how to safely handle some of its hazardous waste, nor had it adequately prepared the facility or local emergency response teams for a hazardous waste emergency, the order states.
The company agreed to pay a total of $54,040 for the violations.
Eric Miller, the president of Wolf Hills Fabricators, said that the company had been mismanaging its hazardous waste records, not the waste itself.
“We bought the business in 2016. We didn’t keep up our paperwork,” Miller said by phone last Tuesday. “We did everything right. We just didn’t know what paperwork to keep up.”
Miller said that once Wolf Hills Fabricators was notified of the violations, the company addressed them.
“Now we’re back to where we should be,” he said.
The consent order, which is viewable on DEQ’s Public Notices page, is still in draft form and is open for public comment until Nov. 12. After that, the department will issue a final order.
Wolf Hills Fabricators also agreed to pay $26,577 for violating state air pollution regulations in September 2019.
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