Veteranclaims’s Blog

August 19, 2009

Topeka and Leavenworth VA Hospitals Admit Violation of EPA Regulations

Filed under: Uncategorized — veteranclaims @ 12:00 am

VA hospitals agree to pay penalty

By The Capital-Journal
August 18, 2009 – 4:13pm

Kansas City, Kan. — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Eastern Kansas Health Care System has agreed to pay a $51,501 civil penalty and spend nearly a half-million dollars on a plan to manage pharmaceutical and chemical wastes, all in an agreement to settle alleged violations of hazardous waste laws at its hospitals in Leavenworth and Topeka, according to a news release issued Tuesday afternoon by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The agreement, filed Tuesday in Kansas City, Kan., resolves a series of violations noted during inspections of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Veterans Medical Center in Leavenworth in January 2006 and the Colmery O’Neil Veterans Medical Center in Topeka in April 2006, the news release stated.

A three-count complaint filed Jan. 19, 2009, accused DVA of one count of failure to perform hazardous waste determinations; one count of operation of a hazardous waste treatment, storage or disposal facility without a permit; and one count of offering hazardous waste for shipment to a transporter without a manifest and offering hazardous waste to an unregistered transporter.

The complaint, according to the news release, alleged that the 2006 inspections by EPA Region 7 staff found multiple violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, including:

— Failure to perform proper hazardous waste determinations at Leavenworth and Topeka.

— Failure to properly manage hazardous waste satellite accumulation containers in the Histology Lab and Lab Storage Room at Leavenworth.

— Failure to properly mark hazardous waste containers in the Histology Lab storage room, a paint waste storage room and one other room at Leavenworth.

— Failure to keep proper emergency information posted near telephones at both facilities.

— Failure to document all weekly inspections of hazardous waste storage areas at Leavenworth.

— Failure to conduct weekly inspections of an area storing large quantities of acute hazardous waste at Topeka.

— Failure to make proper advance arrangements with local fire and police departments and other emergency responders for responding to emergencies at both facilities.

— Failure to develop a proper emergency contingency plan for the Topeka facility.

— Failure to document a personnel training plan for the Topeka facility.

— Failure to store incompatible wastes without proper segregation at Leavenworth.

— Unpermitted on-site incineration of some hazardous wastes at both facilities.

— Unlawful shipping of hazardous waste between the two facilities without proper manifests, including the transportation of hazardous waste from Leavenworth to Topeka by an unauthorized waste transporter.

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