Photo from file
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has issued Columbia Helicopters Inc. a civil penalty. The $27,000 fine is being handed down for “hazardous waste violations” found at the operator’s Aurora, Oregon, facility in January 2017, where the company performs maintenance, repair and overhaul services, according to a notice from the department.
According to the notice, various totes and other containers were found with cadmium, chromium, lead, selenium and other substances that were found to have toxic or corrosive characteristics. Parts of the total fine was issued for failing to label hazardous waste containers, failing to label containers with the accumulation start date, failing to perform hazardous waste determinations on residues and storing hazardous waste in excess of 90 days.
Penalties were also assessed for previous mishandling of hazardous waste in 2014 and 2015. The notice stated that while Columbia Helicopters “corrected its prior violations, the efforts did not constitute extraordinary efforts to correct or minimize the effects of the violation.”
The operator is considered a “large quantity” generator of hazardous waste by the Environmental Protection Agency and DEQ, the notice said, because it generates 2,200 or more pounds of hazardous waste in one month’s time.
Columbia Helicopters can request a hearing within 20 days of receiving the notice, which is dated Jan. 5. According to a Jan. 12 report by Statesman Journal, Columbia Helicopters’ lawyer said the company had not yet decided if it was going to appeal the fine.