Department of Ecology News Release - December 1, 2016

Former Marysville tannery fined $120,000 for dangerous waste violations

MARYSVILLE – A former leather tannery faces $120,000 in state environmental penalties for improperly managing and illegally storing dangerous waste at its facility in Marysville. Some of the waste presented risks of fires or explosions.

The Washington Department of Ecology issued the fine to Quil Ceda Tanning Co. Inc., 3922 88th St. NE, after inspections on Oct. 22 and 23, 2015, found a large variety and volume of hazardous wastes abandoned at the site following the death of the owner of a tenant business. Inspectors also found hazardous waste being illegally stored at the site by a neighboring business.

Under Washington’s dangerous waste laws, landlords are responsible for the activities of their tenants and cannot look the other way when it comes to safely managing dangerous waste. Businesses are also required to have a permit to store hazardous waste for others.

A 2012 inspection found similar violations involving abandoned wastes at the tanning company, and Ecology had ordered the company to manage and properly dispose of the materials.

“These abandoned chemicals were an imminent threat to people visiting this site and to the nearby creek,” said Darin Rice, manager of Ecology’s Hazardous Waste and Toxics Reduction program. “After similar violations in 2012, this company should have understood its responsibility to safely manage these wastes. Their actions created a significant risk and are unfair to companies who follow the rules.”

Abandoned chemicals

Ecology cited the tanning company for failing to properly manage and dispose of waste chemicals, some of which were left behind after the death of the owner of NW Chemical Recycling in July 2015. Ecology’s inspectors identified 14 different chemical wastes, including flammable liquids, acids, peroxide and bromine. Some liquid and solid wastes were left unprotected and open to the elements.

After the 2015 inspection, Ecology ordered the company to properly manage the wastes and clean them up. The company eventually identified and removed 2,750 pounds of hazardous chemicals.

Illegal storage

Another section of the former tanning facility contained about 1,500 gallons of hazardous wastes stored by a neighboring business, Metal Finishing Inc. Storing wastes generated by another party requires a permit to operate a commercial transport, storage and disposal facility, which the tannery did not have.

An attorney for Quil Ceda Tanning Co. Inc., said that the company denies the allegations and any liability for the violations, and that the company plans to appeal the penalty.

The company has the right to appeal the penalty within 30 days to the Washington State Pollution Control Hearings Board.

Contact:

Andrew Wineke, Ecology communications, 360-407-6149, @ecologyWA