The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement with Tesla Motors Inc. over federal hazardous waste violations at Tesla’s automobile manufacturing plant in Fremont, Calif. Under the agreement, Tesla will take specific steps to properly manage hazardous wastes at its factory. Tesla will also purchase $55,000 in emergency response equipment for the City of Fremont Fire Department and pay a $31,000 penalty.
EPA led unannounced inspections at the Fremont facility in 2017 along with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. The inspections identified violations of federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulations. RCRA rules require the safe management of hazardous waste to protect public health and the environment and to prevent costly cleanups.
As a result of the inspections, EPA determined that Tesla:
Failed to comply with air emissions standards for equipment leaks;
Failed to comply with management requirements for generators of hazardous wastes; and
Failed to make an adequate hazardous waste determination for certain solid waste generated at the facility.
In addition to paying the $31,000 penalty, Tesla is required to complete a supplemental environmental project to purchase and provide at least $55,000 worth of emergency response equipment for the City of Fremont Fire Department. This equipment will improve the department’s ability to respond to hazardous materials incidents.
Tesla has since addressed all the identified violations and has come into compliance with RCRA requirements. Tesla also delivered hazardous waste training to more than 1,100 paint shop associates, technicians and supervisors at its facility.
The settlement is part of the EPA’s National Compliance initiative to reduce hazardous air emissions at hazardous waste facilities.