DOE fines Walla Walla chrome business for hazardous waste violations

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WALLA WALLA -- A Walla Walla chrome plating company has reached agreements with the state Department of Ecology over hazardous waste violations, DOE said.

Smith Chrome Plating Inc., has signed two legal "agreed orders" intended to bring the case to a close, said Lisa Brown, manager of Ecology's Hazardous Waste and Toxic Reduction Program in Eastern Washington

Although the orders call for fines totaling $74,000, the company will not pay the full amount if specific terms are met, according to a release from Ecology.

Smith Chrome, at 1012 N. Ninth Ave., will pay $30,300 to Ecology, some of which will be used to enhance the environment. The company will then receive credit for up to $27,700 of the fine if it makes improvements to the facility's wastewater and dangerous-waste management systems beyond what is required by regulations.

Ecology will suspend the remaining $16,000 if Smith Chrome complies with the agreed order and remains in compliance for at least the next three years, the release said.

Brown said the alleged violations surfaced during compliance inspections in 2010 and 2011 when inspectors found unlabeled containers of dangerous waste and an actual release of dangerous waste to the ground.

Ecology said the company also violated water quality permit limits for several pollutants 10 times between January 2010 and Oct. 13, 2011, and failed to analyze all water samples as required by its wastewater discharge permit.

Most of the previously identified problems have been resolved and Ecology and Smith Chrome are working together to remedy the remainder of the violations, Brown said.

The company is a small chrome plating shop that plates concaves from agricultural equipment for local farmers. Concaves are pieces of equipment on combines used for harvesting grains.

A man who answered the phone at the company Monday said that under the terms of the orders, the company could make no comment.

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