Heritage-Crystal Clean, LLC sued by Multiple States Over Management of Hazardous Waste

On Wednesday, the United States of America, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and the State of Indiana filed a complaint in the Northern District of Illinois against Heritage-Crystal Clean, LLC alleging violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. 

According to the complaint, Heritage-Crystal Clean is an Indiana limited liability company that provides parts cleaning solvent services, containerized waste management services, used oil and solvent collection services and the distribution of solvent products. The complaint further states Heritage-Crystal Clean owns numerous facilities across the United States including 89 branch facilities that make up part of its distribution network and waste consolidation and transfer network. 

The plaintiffs allege that part of the defendant’s solvent distribution and consolidation process involves the collection of used solvents from various customers which is combined in tanks for the removal of waste and impurities from the used solvent. Further, it is alleged once the waste is removed from the used solvent additional solvent and other materials is added so the solvent meets the specifications for customer use. 

According to the complaint the used solvents and the waste contained in them is considered hazardous waste under Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. 

The plaintiffs state that the Environmental Protection Agency, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Georgia Environmental Protection Division, and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection conducted compliance inspections on Heritage-Crystal Clean facilities in Louisiana, Indiana, Colorado, Georgia and Pennsylvania and found several violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. 

Particularly the plaintiffs allege that the defendant did not properly classify, control, contain, store and dispose of the used solvents and the associated waste from the solvent recycling process. Further, the complaint alleges that during the inspections samples taken from various drums of recycled solvent for customer use showed characteristics of toxicity and was considered a hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

Due to the defendant’s alleged mismanagement of solvents and solvent waste, the plaintiffs bring 21 claims against the defendant and the five facilities at issue including failure to make required hazardous waste determinations, storage of hazardous waste without a permit or interim status, failing to control emissions from hazardous waste, failure to maintain records, management of used oil and failure to provide adequate secondary containment for hazardous waste storage.