Washington University to Pay $15,000 Penalty for EPA Violation, Another $45K for Clean Up

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Washington University is to pay a $15,000 civil penalty and spend an additional $45,000 on a supplemental project to help clean science laboratories of hazardous waste in several St. Louis public schools.

The settlement follows an April 2008 inspection of the school's Danforth Campus and School of Medicine in which the Environmental Protection Agency noted several violations of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which regulates the generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste.

In a statement yesterday, Washington University described the violations as "administrative in nature" having to do with the labeling of small amounts of toxins. "There were no life safety concerns and no harm to the environment," according to the university.

As part of the settlement, the university will spend a minimum of $45,000 to address hazardous waste issues in 12 high schools within the St. Louis Public Schools District. Schools targeted in project work plan include Beaumont, Blewett, Carnahan, Clark, Cleveland, Des Peres, Gateway, Laclede, Lyon, Mark Twain, Sherman and Sigal.

"This enforcement action, coupled with the supplemental project to help the St. Louis Public Schools, will ultimately make academic laboratories, school campuses, and their surrounding urban communities safer places in which to learn, work and live," said Karl Brooks, EPA Region 7 Administrator.

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