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EPA orders defunct business, property owner to clean up waste

George C. Ford, CR Gazette –

A defunct Cedar Falls company and the owner of the property where it was located have been ordered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to clean up leaking tanks and other containers of hazardous waste.

The EPA Region 7 office in Kansas City, Kan., said it visited the former Cedar Valley Electroplating at 5611 Westminster Dr. in Cedar Falls last week. The agency had previously inspected the business, which ceased operating last year, in 2005 and 2010.

The most recent inspection found numerous totes, tanks, drums and other containers and materials stored in an unsafe manner throughout the facility, including numerous containers that were open and several that were leaking. Some of the hazardous wastes identified during last week’s limited visit included chromium, ferric sulfate, ferric chloride, sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, sodium hypochlorite and sodium hydroxide.

During the visit, an EPA representative noted that the containers of chemicals cited in the 2005 and 2010 inspections were still present, but that some of the containers had since deteriorated and were leaking.

The property, owned by R Squared Properties LLC, is located in a southwest Cedar Falls industrial park. It is approximately 700 feet southeast of a child care center, about 1,000 feet east of a stream, and roughly 1,300 feet east and southwest of nearby homes.

Cedar Valley Electroplating and R Squared Properties have been ordered to:

–Immediately comply with the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and its implementing regulations

–Immediately identify and contain any leaking tanks, containers or other vessels on the property.

–Identify all solid and hazardous wastes currently being treated, stored or disposed at the facility.

–Restrict access to solid and hazardous wastes that have been stored and/or disposed at the facility and to areas on the property where hazardous material has been released.

–Develop a plan for the immediate cleanup of releases, an investigation to determine if wastes have migrated off the property, and the cleanup of the building and any surrounding areas that may have been contaminated by the releases.

Violations of the EPA order could subject Cedar Valley Electroplating and R Squared Properties to civil penalties of at least $7,500 per violation per day. The violations also could trigger unilateral actions by EPA to carry out the terms of the order, under its legal authority.

The agency also could seek judicial enforcement of its order.

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