Guam EPA issues notice of violation, order of compliance and administrative penalty order to FSM Recycling Guam Inc.

25 May 2017

May 25, 2017 (Tiyan, Guam) — The Guam Environmental Protection Agency (Guam EPA) initiated a Solid Waste Management Facility Evaluation Investigation (SWMFEI) on May 17, 2017 on FSM Recycling Guam Incorporated (FSM). The SWMFEI was conducted in relation to a fire that occurred on the FSM facility on May 13, 2017. The SWMFEI concluded on May 23, 2017. As a result, Guam EPA’s Solid Waste Management Program has issued a notice of violation, an order of compliance and an administrative penalty order to FSM.

Guam EPA Acting Administrator Yvette L.G. Cruz stated, “It is of utmost importance that every solid waste management facility on the island is managed and operated within the margins of their respective permit conditions set forth by our agency.” Cruz also stated that, “recycling centers like FSM Recycling play a fundamental role in reducing waste on Guam, and it is unfortunate that this fire occurred within their confines, but it certainly serves as an example of how a greater understanding of fire prevention can go hand in hand with safeguarding human and environmental health.”

Issuance of Notice of Violation (NOV):

The Guam EPA Solid Waste Management Program has discovered that FSM has:

• violated the provisions of the Solid Waste Management and Litter Control Act, cited in 10 GCA Chapter 51, §51110 (a)(1)

• placed or allowed to be placed an unknown amount of solid waste within their compound and on adjacent properties, cited in 10 GCA Chapter 51, §51110 (a)(3)

• stored or allowed the storage of an unknown amount of solid waste in a manner that degrades the environment, or creates a public nuisance and health and safety hazard, cited in 10 GCA Chapter 51, §51110 (a)(5)

• improperly managed and operated a solid waste management facility, cited in 10 GCA Chapter 51, §51110 (a)(9)

Issuance of Order of Compliance:

The Guam EPA Solid Waste Management Program has ordered that FSM perform remedial measures to enter into operating compliance. Orders include: an immediate cease in the acceptance of any solid waste into the facility, immediately cease illegal dumping solid waste on adjacent property, create a 20’ buffer zone around the perimeter of debris storage and piles within 15 calendar days, submit a clean up and disposal plan for the removal of solid waste from both the permitted site and the adjacent properties, segregate and lawfully dispose of materials impacted by the fire within 30 calendar days and submit a sampling and analysis plan to identify the extent of any contamination for the remediation of the site affected by the fire within 45 calendar days.

Should any of the orders issued to FSM not be met within the specified timeline, Guam EPA can issue further orders and additional fines and administrative penalties.

Administrative Penalty Order:

Violations itemized in an NOV are subject to a penalty of up to $1,000.00, per violation, per day. The penalty amount shall be due 15 calendar days from the issuance of the NOV. However, violators are able to file what is known as a “Petition for Penalty Adjustment,” within 15 calendar days from the issuance of the NOV, to lower the penalty amount if it is believed that mitigating factors in the law for lower penalties are present. Violators are also presumed to be able to pay for penalties. However, violators are able to file what is known as an “Inability to Pay Statement,” sworn under penalty of perjury, within 15 calendar days from the issuance of the NOV. Additionally, all violators have the right to appeal an NOV before the Guam EPA Board of Directors, by filing a “Notice of Defense,” within 15 calendar days of issuance, which should include a verified petition that outlines both legal and factual basis for any such appeal.

At this time, Guam EPA, through the assistance of the Guam Fire Department’s Fire Investigation Bureau is still actively investigating all parties involved in the May 13, 2017 fire. Cruz stated, “The expertise and diligence by Guam Fire Department firefighters and investigators have been essential to Guam EPA’s ongoing investigation into the Harmon fire thus far.”

Guam EPA will inform the public of all progress relative to this investigation as soon as more details are available.

For more information, please contact Guam EPA Public Information Officer Nic Lee at 300-4753 or nic.rupley@epa.guam.gov