Washington State Department of Ecology - October 16, 2013


Spokane company pays $40,000 settlement for dangerous waste violations

SPOKANE – N.A. Degerstrom Inc. (NAD) will pay the state $40,000 to settle recent violations for mishandling dangerous waste at its Spokane Valley property.

In response to a complaint in May, Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) inspectors found two illegal disposal pools of chemicals on the company’s property. The pools were filled with a variety of chemicals, some which require special disposal under state law.

NAD hired contractor Able Cleanup Technologies to remove the waste from the pools, excavate the contaminated soil, and properly dispose the materials.

People and the environment are put at risk when dangerous chemicals are mishandled. Health problems can develop if people are exposed to these substances.

Ensuring proper safety and environmental practices at facilities that generate hazardous waste supports Ecology’s priority of preventing and reducing toxic threats to human health and the environment.

"We are pleased that NAD responded to our concerns recognizing the problem and acted quickly to come into compliance with the state’s regulations," said Lisa Brown, a manager in Ecology’s Hazardous Waste and Toxics Reduction Program in Spokane. "Doing so means their staff, the public and the environment are protected from exposure to these toxic chemicals."

NAD Vice President of Environmental Health and Safety Mike Coleman said: "Our company has worked cooperatively with Ecology to ensure our waste handling practices are safe and protective. We have addressed this issue with appropriate staff to ensure the problem does not occur again in the future, and look forward to continuing to work cooperatively with Ecology regarding the operation of our business at the highest possible level of compliance."

The recommended penalty was originally $60,000 but NAD entered into an expedited settlement agreement with Ecology to reduce the recommended penalty by one third to $40,000. The settlement lowers the recommended penalty and requires NAD to waive its right to appeal. The expedited settlement process is an effort to save the state, taxpayers, and NAD the expense of costly litigation.

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Media Contact:

Brook Beeler, @ecyspokane, 509-329-3478, brook.beeler@ecy.wa.gov

For more information:

Hazardous Waste and Toxic Reduction Program (www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/hwtr/index.html)

Ecology’s social media (www.ecy.wa.gov/about/socialmedia.html)