- Associated Press - Monday, April 28, 2014

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) - State regulators have proposed a $33,380 fine for West Virginia University for violating hazardous waste storage practices.

The fine, part of a proposed consent order, stems from an inspection by the Department of Environmental Protection in September 2013.

Violations found by DEP inspectors included failing to mark the date of accumulation on a container of hazardous waste, and failing to keep containers closed except when adding or removing wastes. University personnel also failed to participate in an annual review of hazardous waste training, the DEP said in the order.

Many of the violations were technicalities, said John Principe, WVU’s environmental health and safety director.

For example, a lid was on a container but a metal banding sealing the top wasn’t secured. The container also was tucked away and not exposed to people, Principe told The Dominion Post (http://bit.ly/1gbvbB4 ).

The proposed consent order requires WVU to submit a proposed corrective plan to the DEP for approval.

Principe said many of the issues were corrected immediately. The materials were chemical waste from chemistry, physics and other operations.

The proposed civil penalty includes a base fine and escalators due to issues that the DEP found during an inspection in 2011, Principe said. The university was fined $42,000 following that inspection for violations that included storing hazardous waste in leaking containers and failing to provide training to employees with hazardous waste management duties.

“We now pay for some the history,” he said.

University officials made policy changes after the 2011 inspection but issues remain. For example, WVU could fail the training aspect if one person misses it and 9,000 others receive it, Principe said.

Principe said his office is focused on getting the training to employees, but that it takes a long time for small changes to make an impact.

“Our goal is to keep faculty, staff and students safe,” he said.

A public comment period on the proposed consent order runs through May 8. The order is posted on the DEP’s website at http://bit.ly/S1Jlwy .

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Information from: The Dominion Post, http://www.dominionpost.com

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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