Used Oil PCBs Settlement (US)

(Seattle – September 30, 2013) The City of Tacoma settled with the US Environmental Protection Agency for violating federal rules on used oil contaminated with toxic polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs.

According to the USEPA, the City of Tacoma shipped 750 gallons of used oil contaminated with PCBs from the City’s landfill to an oil recycling and reuse company. The City did not know that the used oil was contaminated with PCBs before they shipped the oil. The recycling company found the problem during their routine oil testing and was able to trace the PCB-contaminated oil to the City’s shipment.

The USEPA discovered the violations when the recycling company provided a waste report to EPA, as required by federal regulations, describing the PCB waste. The City’s oil shipment resulted in the PCB contamination of approximately 8,250 gallons of used oil at the recycling company. Under federal rules, the recycling company could not recycle the PCB-contaminated oil, and instead was required to dispose of the used oil as hazardous waste.

PCBs are chemicals used in paints, industrial equipment, and cooling oil for electrical transformers. Per the USEPA Press Release – more than 1.5 billion pounds of PCBs were manufactured in the US before the USEPA banned their production in 1978, and many PCB-containing materials are still in use today.

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