Hazardous Waste:

A North Carolina Incinerator's Noncompliance With EPA and OSHA Requirements

RCED-92-78: Published: Jun 30, 1992. Publicly Released: Jun 30, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed a hazardous waste treatment, storage, and incineration facility in North Carolina, focusing on: (1) the operator's compliance with federal environmental and worker safety laws; (2) federal and state efforts to ensure compliance with federal environmental and worker safety laws; (3) hazardous waste site disposal policies and procedures from the Environmental Protection Agency; and (4) the Navy's policies and procedures for disposing of hazardous waste at the facility.

GAO found that: (1) federal and state regulators did not adequately ensure compliance with the Clean Air Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act; (2) regular inspection of the facility did not alter a pattern of federal environmental law violations; (3) reasons for the limited environmental and worker safety protection standards included the facility's interim status, less stringent air pollution laws, and a low-hazard facility designation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration; (4) the Environmental Protection Agency and the Navy contracted for hazardous waste disposal and incineration at the facility, while deeming it compliant with laws and regulations; and (5) since the facility's closing, significant federal changes have been instituted to ensure environmental and worker safety protection.