Fines and Penalties

Colleges and universities are regulated and if found in violation, are subject to penalties and negative publicity, just like any other facility.

EPA Fines at Other Universities & Colleges

  • April 2003 - A private college in Long Island, NY was fined $112,310 for alleged violations of hazardous waste regulations by the U.S. Environmental Protections Agency (EPA). The complaint charged the college with violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) which ensures that hazardous waste is managed in an environmentally sound manner from "cradle to grave." The inspection of the campus revealed that the college generated waste chemicals, waste solvents, and other hazardous waste from its laboratories, art departments, and maintenance facilities.
  • October 2003 - A private university in upstate NY was fined $60,500 for alleged hazardous waste regulations by the EPA. The EPA found that the university: failed to determine whether the wastes generated in two of its buildings were hazardous wastes; failed to comply with requirements for separating or protecting wastes which are incompatible with each other; stored hazardous waste without a permit; and failed to qualify for an exemption for permitting requirements.
  • July 2003 - A medical/dental teaching facility in New Jersey was fined $166,658 for alleged violation of hazardous waste regulations by the EPA. An EPA inspection of the campus, which includes a School of Medicine and Dentistry, a hospital, and a doctor's office center, revealed that they failed to determine if waste chemicals, solvents, and other hazardous wastes generated in its laboratories were hazardous wastes. The complaint also alleges they: failed to maintain and operate the facilities to minimize the risk of releases of hazardous waste to the environment; did not ensure that its facility and staff received required training; did not keep waste containers closed; and improperly disposed of hazardous wastes, such as solvents and mercury-containing dental amalgam waste.

Some typical guidelines for environmental violation penalties in NY State are:

Citation Penalty
Hazardous Waste: Violation of the statutes and rules governing the handling of hazardous and acutely hazardous substances.
Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) 71-7303
Civil: Up to $2,500 per violation; up to $500 for each day the violation continues.
Hazardous Waste: Violation of the rules governing hazardous waste management or hazardous waste facilities.
Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) 71-2705
Civil: Up to $37,500 per day per violation; $75,000 per day per violation for subsequent violations.
Criminal: Misdemeanor and up to $37,500 per day per violation and/or up to 1 year's imprisonment; $75,000 per day per violation and/or up to 2 years imprisonment for subsequent violations.
Asbestos: Violation of the rules governing asbestos abatement.
Labor Law 909(1)(b)
Civil: Up to either $5,000 or 25% of the contract value, whichever is greater for the first violation; up to $25,000 or 50% of the contract value for subsequent violations.
Oil Spills: Discharge of petroleum to state waters.
Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) 12-181
Administrative: Any person who discharges oil is liable, without regard to fault, for all cleanup and removal costs and all direct and indirect damages.

For more information on Major Enforcement Actions Against Colleges and Universities in New York, New Jersey, and the Caribbean, go to the EPA's Region 2 Enforcement webpage.

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