EPA cites lab for violations at West Virginia Navy facility

June 3, 2021

Alliant Techsystems Operations LLC will pay a $350,000 penalty to settle several alleged environmental violations at the U.S. Navy-owned Allegany Ballistics Laboratory in Keyser, West Virginia. The violations include not following the water discharge requirements under the facility’s National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit

Alliant Techsystems, a subsidiary of the Northrup Grumman Corporation, operates the laboratory under a lease with the Navy. There, Alliant Techsystems manufactures military products that include solid fuel rocket motors, explosive warheads, solid fuels and propellants.

Other cited violations were related to hazardous waste storage and treatment operations, the facility’s Clean Air Act permit, and the facility’s Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures Plan.

Alleged NPDES violations included failure to conduct properly monitor perchlorate levels.

The company allegedly violated the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the federal law governing the treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste. The goal of RCRA is to protect public health and the environment, and avoid long and extensive cleanups, by requiring the safe, environmentally sound storage and disposal of hazardous waste.

RCRA violations included:

  • Failure to make proper waste determinations.
  • Failure to conduct weekly container storage area inspections.
  • Amending a facility contingency plan.
  • Transferring hazardous waste from a container in poor condition.
  • Failure to maintain records of waste analyses.

The company also allegedly failed to construct, maintain, and operate the facility’s open burning grounds to minimize the release of hazardous waste.

Alleged Clean Air Act Title V Permit violations included:

  • Failure to conduct emission observations.
  • Failure to comply with air conditioning and refrigeration unit leak calculation and repair requirements.
  • Failure to conduct sulfur dioxide emission calculations and sulfur dioxide weight emission testing for a coal-fired boiler.
  • Failure to submit a timely report to the state after burning coal with an excess sulfur content.

Alleged Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures Plan violations included failure to amend the plan to reflect changes in operations.

Along with the $350,000 penalty, Alliant Techsystems must ensure it is in full compliance with state and federal environmental requirements. Part of this includes:

  • Submitting proposed RCRA permit modifications to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP).
  • Obtaining WVDEP approval on proposed changes to the facility’s waste analysis plan.
  • Making construction modifications to the open burn pads to prevent hazardous waste contaminated stormwater runoff from migrating to adjacent soil, surface water, ground water and/or the subsurface environment.

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