(The Center Square) – The New Mexico Environment Department issued an enforcement action against Advanced Chemical Treatment this week.
The action comes in response to alleged violations witnessed during a February 17, 2021, on-site safety inspection.
ACT operates a waste treatment, storage and disposal facility, located at 6137 Edith Boulevard NE in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It has 17 locations throughout the western and southwestern United States.
NMED said ACT violated its operating permit in several ways, including “the storage of hazardous waste outside of designated areas, improperly recorded facility inspections, inaccurate waste reporting, and not sufficiently characterizing hazardous wastes accepted by the facility,” the department said in its press release.
Due to these violations and the company’s history of noncompliance, NMED issued a $745,000 civil penalty. Plus, NMED started the process to revoke ACT’s s hazardous waste operating permit. To keep operating in New Mexico, ACT must address its current violations and create a plan to address nearly 10 years of past compliance issues.
“Operating a hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facility must exceed New Mexico Environment Department’s rules and permits,” Compliance and Enforcement Director Bruce Baizel said. “The alleged violations and history of noncompliance demonstrate an unacceptable threat to public health and the environment in Albuquerque.”
Compliance and Technical Assistance Program Manager Aaron Coffman said the violations show ACT is not doing its job.
“ACT’s business model is to receive, manage, and store hazardous waste,” Coffman said. “ACT is not safely managing these responsibilities.”
NMED gave ACT 30 days to respond to the enforcement action and to offer its plan to conduct proper waste management practices.
“If ACT demonstrates the ability to manage hazardous waste in a safe and compliant manner moving forward, NMED and ACT may negotiate a conditional permit to allow for continued operation of the facility,” the release explains. “If ACT is unable to correct organizational waste management practices that resulted in these actions, NMED will engage in legal proceedings, including public notice and the opportunity for a public hearing, prior to a final determination of permit revocation. If the permit is revoked without a conditional permit in place to allow for continued operation, ACT will be required to begin closure.”
The compliance rate for hazardous waste management facilities across New Mexico averaged 25% from July 2022 to July 2023.
One can read the ACT enforcement action here.