The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reached settlements over hazardous waste violations with three Texas universities, including Baylor University.
An EPA news release said Baylor sometimes did not identify hazardous waste as such, and claimed it was a small-quantity generator even though it sometimes put out more than allowed between 2011 and 2014.
Baylor had to pay a $11,330 civil penalty, correct violations, revise its operating procedures, and buy equipment for the Waco Fire Department in case it must help when the school has too much hazardous waste. The school, once again, complies with the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA ). The EPA said that hazardous wastes are created by a variety of facilities and industries. According to the settlement, the academic lab is the primary creator of waste.
The EPA said it discovered the violations by analyzing data the facilities are required to submit under RCRA, as well as analysis of additional records that the universities voluntarily provided. Passed by Congress in 1976, RCRA gives the EPA the authority to control hazardous waste from "cradle-to-grave."
News Channel 25 reached out to Baylor University about the issue. Spokeswoman Lori Fogleman sent us the following statement:
"While Baylor did not agree with certain allegations made by the EPA, compliance staff did work cooperatively to modify procedures that further ensure Baylor is operating in full compliance with the RCRA. As noted by the EPA, its allegations focused on data submittable and record keeping; this did not involve any improper disposal of hazardous waste. As part of the settlement, Baylor will purchase and donate emergency response equipment to local first responders to support their preparedness for hazardous emergencies."
It was not only Baylor University that the EPA said violated hazardous waste standards. The agency said it also reached settlements with Texas A&M University and Texas Christian University. Those two had to pay $30,591, and $141,912 in civil penalties respectively.
News Channel 25 reached out to Texas A&M. Spokesperson Laylan Copelin sent us answers to our questions via email. He said there was never any danger from the waste as a professional waste company removed it. The only problem was that it was a larger quantity than allowed. Copelin said the school paid all the fines from its funds and its back in compliance.
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