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The Department of Ecology has fined a Tacoma, Wash., waste-handler and recycler $42,000 in connection to a spill last year.
In August of 2005, Emerald Services accidentally spilled 250 gallons of recycled solvent containing toluene, a toxic and flammable substance. The spill then entered a storm water collection vault. Due to error and design problems, the toluene was not fully removed from the vault. Vapors built up and in September there was an explosion and a fire. According to the Seattle Post-Intelligence, no one was injured.
In addition to the fine, Emerald Services has agreed to update its operations to prevent toxic materials from harming the environment. The company also signed an agreement that will defer an additional $86,000 penalty as long as the required changes are made.
The penalty is based on the spill’s threats to human health and the environment. The clean-up was inadequate and the company also failed to promptly report the spill.