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News / Business / Clark County Business

State Department of Ecology fines Washougal waste transfer facility $25,000 for violations

Inspectors observed infractions at business in Port of Camas-Washougal Industrial Park

By Lauren Ellenbecker, Columbian staff writer
Published: January 10, 2024, 6:06am

The Washington Department of Ecology fined a Washougal waste transfer facility for repeatedly violating dangerous waste regulations.

Ecology issued a $25,000 penalty against Burlington Environmental, a 10-day transfer facility in the Port of Camas-Washougal Industrial Park, where inspectors reported observing several violations since December 2022.

Specifically, the company stored dangerous waste on-site for about eight months instead of transporting materials to a disposal site within 10 days. Burlington Environmental failed to document waste shipments, making its management unclear, according to Ecology. In addition, training records for employees were incomplete, and workers did not receive regular retraining.

Inspectors encouraged Burlington Environmental to voluntarily comply with state regulations but issued a penalty because violations persisted, said Mugdha Flores, Ecology’s regional environmental assessment program communication manager.

The company did not respond to The Columbian’s requests for comment by the time of publication.

Burlington Environmental collects pharmaceutical, pesticide, aerosol and flammable material waste from commercial clients in Washington and Oregon. It is a subsidiary of Clean Earth (owned by Harsco), which specializes in multi-industry hazardous waste management nationwide.

The company’s violations do not pose an immediate risk to the public, but Flores said improperly handled waste could leak into the environment and potentially impact the Columbia River, nearby wetlands or communities.

Katrina Lassiter, Ecology’s hazardous waste and toxics reduction program manager, wrote in a statement that it is essential for a company like Burlington Environmental to fully understand dangerous waste processes.

Washington’s regulations exist to “protect our water quality, environment and the health of our community,” Lassiter said.

These regulations are also more expansive — subsequently, more protective — than federal law, according to Ecology.

Ecology inspectors regularly communicate with Burlington Environmental about improving its facility and make routine visits to ensure the company follows regulations.

Burlington Environmental has 30 days to pay its penalty or appeal it to the Washington Pollution Control Hearings Board.

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This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.

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Columbian staff writer