Medical Waste Disposal Company Agrees to Pay Fine and Purchase School Busses in Settlement

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Friday that it reached a settlement with Stericycle, Inc. resolving allegations that the company’s medical waste incinerator used for non-hazardous waste breached the Clean Air Act (CAA) and Utah air quality laws.  

A Consent Decree was filed on Friday with the District of Utah, under which Stericycle agreed to pay a $600,000 civil penalty and spend an additional $2 million to purchase between 15 and 20 school buses with low emissions for a Utah school district, replacing high-emitting busses, which fulfills the settlement requirement of a Supplemental Environmental Project. 

“This settlement will benefit all who live in and visit North Salt Lake,” said EPA Acting Regional Administrator Debra H. Thomas in the EPA press release. “In addition to NOx reductions at the facility, the settlement requires Stericycle to replace old, high-emitting school buses for a local school district, providing cleaner air for school children and nearby neighborhoods.” 

The complaint in the matter was filed by the United States on Friday as well. It explained that Stericycle provides medical and pharmaceutical waste management is headquartered in Illinois but does business in Utah where it operates a hospital, medical, and infectious waste incinerator. The United States asked in the complaint for a civil penalty of up to $37,500 per day of violation. 

In the filing, the United States alleged that although the company did test runs in 2011 to ensure they complied with emission limits, the tests that did not exceed the limits were “not characteristic of the Facility’s waste stream” and were not accepted as valid. Stericycle did not do another compliance test until April 2013 and reportedly were not in compliance between 2011 and 2013. 

Under the consent decree, if Stericycle does not comply with deadlines for its Supplemental Environmental Project and submit the required reports it will pay further penalties. Friday’s Consent Decree has been published in the Federal Register and will now have a 30-day period for public comments before it goes to the court for final approval.