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In re Zaclon, Inc.

Case Number: 
RCRA No. 05-2004-0019
ELR Citation:36 ELR 47873

An administrative law judge (ALJ) granted in part and denied in part cross motions for accelerated decision in an action brought by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) against the owner and operator of a hazardous waste facility for alleged Resource Conservation and Recovery Act violations. EPA alleged that the facility received, stored, and treated hazardous waste--spent stripping acid--without a permit or interim status. The facility argued that it received a letter from the state environmental agency stating that the stripping acid it accepts to produce zinc chloride is not considered a waste and, therefore, is not a hazardous waste. The facility also argued that it reasonably relied on that letter and that EPA and the state agency had provided no basis for the change of interpretation. The ALJ, however, held that the facility had notice in 1994 that the stripping acid may be regulated as a solid waste, and that it was “ascertainable” that the stripping acid was a solid waste. The ALJ, therefore, denied the the facility's motion for accelerated decision on this count. And because EPA presented persuasive evidence that the stripping acid at issue is a “spent material," the ALJ partially granted EPA's motion for accelerated decision. The ALJ, however, refused to hold that the facility was liable for the violations set forth in that count.