Alaska Department of Transportation Fined Over Hazardous Paint

Jul 31, 2014

Credit US Environmental Protection Agency

Due to improper disposal of highway paint, the Alaska Department of Transportation will have to pay a hefty environmental fine.  KDLG’s Chase Cavanaugh has more.

The Alaska Department of Transportation has just resolved violation with the US Environmental Protection Agency over the improper disposal of hazardous waste.  EPA spokeswoman Hanady Kader says the violations stem from an incident in Soldotna, where the Department buried a 250 gallon batch of unused yellow highway paint in a shallow, plastic-lined pit.

“The paint remained there for over a year, where they were attempting to allow it to solidify in the open air, and then they later took the paint solids that were left to dispose of them in a landfill.”

It remained in the pit for over a year before disposal, and while the EPA says nobody was harmed by the paint, it’s still considered dangerous.

“It’s an ignitable hazardous waste, it contains chromium and lead, and due to all that, it’s considered a hazardous waste, and it does pose a risk to the environment and anyone who might come into contact with it.  It can also be a risk for groundwater resources.  If not properly handled, it can end up creating a groundwater hazard by seeping into the ground and jeopardizing the water that people drink.” 

EPA also alleged that DOT didn’t label a used oil tank nor several 55-gallon drums filled with hazardous waste.  Kader said ultimately, the agency spoke with the Department about the violations and arranged appropriate restitution.

“The Alaska Department of Transportation has resolved the violations and agreed to pay a penalty of about $118,000.  This is to comply with hazardous waste requirements.”

More information on hazardous waste laws can be found at the website of the United States Environmental Protection Agency.