Yale is not doing its homework, and the Environmental Protection Agency is getting a little annoyed.
The EPA is fining the University more than $28,000 for failing to provide documentation confirming that Yale has the required funds to properly take care of its hazardous waste, the agency announced Monday.
Yale is required by federal law to submit documentation to the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection confirming that it has the funds to properly clean up facilities that store hazardous waste, such as the Wright Nuclear Structure Laboratory on Whitney Avenue. But the University has failed to submit the proper paperwork for the years 2003 and 2004, the EPA said in a statement issued Monday.
Deputy Provost Charles Long said he was unaware of the violation and suspects it is an administrative mistake on the University’s part.
“I’ve heard in the past frequently that the rules for disclosing and reporting are complicated,” Long said. “They change a lot, and it’s very difficult to keep up with what you’re supposed to say and do on time. If I had to guess, I’d say it was a bureaucratic slip-up, not an attempt to hide anything.”
The fine comes as part of the EPA’s goal to more strictly enforce the federal Resource and Conservation Recovery Act, which regulates the handling of solid and hazardous waste. Many hazardous waste facilities across the nation have not complied with various stipulations of the regulation in past years, according to the EPA statement, and numerous Connecticut facilities were found to be in violation of the law after the EPA audited the Connecticut DEP’s files this year.
DEP spokesman Dennis Schain said he did not know enough details about the fine to comment Monday night.
Wright Nuclear Structure Laboratory hosts a 90-day storage facility that stores hazardous waste mixed with radioactive waste. Yale was audited by the EPA in 2002 and found to be in violation of several federal environmental laws. The University submitted documentation later that year to confirm it had funds to dispose of hazardous waste in the lab, but failed to follow up in succeeding years, the EPA statement said.