Archive for the ‘Correctional Facilities’ Category

Putting Pollution Behind Bars

Did you know that the EPA has materials available that are especially designed to help corrections facilities comply with environmental regulations?

Photo by abardwell. Some rights reserved.

According to the EPA’s Information for Prisons and Correctional Institutions, environmental violations that are common to prisons and their daily operations include “improper handling and disposal of hazardous waste materials, inadequate monitoring of underground storage tanks, and the failure to have Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Plan in place.” Even inmate training programs can have environmental challenges. For instance, dry cleaning operations and woodworking shops both would require the use of hazardous materials that need special handling.

Air pollution can also become a problem in facilities where boiler plants spewing particulate matter, sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide may cause respiratory problems or “create haze.” Earlier this week, the EPA and the DOJ announced a settlement with Pennsylvania’s Department of Corrections for alleged boiler-related violations of the Clean Air Act at four correctional facilities.

Want to avoid a similar $300,000 civil penalty at your facility? Consider the benefits of self-policing. Under the EPA audit policy, prisons that voluntarily review their environmental compliance and report their violations can reduce, or even eliminate, penalties on the condition that “1) the violations cause no direct harm to public health or the environment; 2) violations are corrected immediately; and 3) the facility has an overall good track record.”

Need further information? More resources for correction facilities can be found on the EPA’s Prison Initiative page. Or, keep your eye out for face-to-face assistance from the EPA – there are currently none upcoming, but this list of past workshops (with sessions such as “What You Don’t Know Can Hurt!” and “Solid Waste 101”) shows where the EPA has provided educational outreach for facilities in several southeastern states. Original agendas and presentations are available online for each workshop.

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