The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued an order against a Cedar Falls company requiring them to take action to deal with hazardous materials at their plant site. E.P.A. spokesman, Chris Whitley says they issued the order against Cedar Valley Electroplating, for its operation in the industrial park area of Cedar Falls.
“There are a number of containers of waste that have been present at the facility for some time. The reason for the recent action is, that it’s been noticed that those containers have been leaking. So action does need to be taken now,” Whitley says. It’s believed the business shut down sometime last year.
Whitley says some of the hazardous wastes identified during the E.P.A visit included chromium, ferric sulfate, ferric chloride, sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, sodium hypochlorite and sodium hydroxide. He says the E.P.A. order requires the owners to take several steps.
“Segregate the business, have it posted as a hazard, and then begin the long process of undertaking hazardous wastes determinations to develop a list of, basically an inventory of what’s in the business,” Whitley explains. “The types of materials, the chemicals, the substances, and in what quantities.” Whitley says the ultimate goal is to get the materials clean up and removed.
There is not an immediate safety concern for other businesses in the area. “As long as people stay off the property, it shouldn’t pose any serious or immediate threat. But part of what we are ordering this company to do is to make any determination as to whether there has been any type of waste that has migrated off site that would pose a threat,” according to Whitley.
“We don’t believe that is the case, but the only way to determine that is to make a thorough investigation, and they are required to do that.” Whitley says most companies will hire someone from outside to do an environmental survey. The company faces hefty fines if it does not follow through with what the order requires.
“Failure to abide by the terms of the order could result in fines (with a) maximum of $7,500 per violation, per day, so the ticker could run up pretty quickly on this,” Whitley says. He says most companies want to act pretty quickly to get the things done that they have to do. The property is owned by Cedar Valley Electroplating, and R Squared Properties, L.L.C.
Whitley says the E.P.A. will monitor the situation and could also seek a court order enforcing the action if the company does not respond.