California-based Woodland Biomass Power fined $4.22m for disposal of hazardous waste

A US-based biomass company has been ordered to pay a $4.22 million (€3.83m) settlement related to its disposal of hazardous waste at its power facility in Woodland, California.

According to a press release from the Yolo County District Attorney's office, Woodland Biomass Power was found to have falsified records to dispose of its hazardous waste. The settlement includes $2.12 million in civil penalties, $850,000 to reimburse for the costs of investigation, and over $1.25 million to remediate the one site where testing has indicated hazardous materials are present.

Woodland Biomass Power operates a biomass facility in Woodland that burns wood fuel to produce electricity, and, in the process, generates ash. For years, Woodland Biomass Power claimed its ash was non-hazardous.

This claim, however, was supported with faulty methods, and at times, falsified summaries of the test results for its ash, Yolo County District Attorney said in a statement.

It added: “The company’s own test results have shown that much of its ash had elevated levels of dioxins and constituted hazardous waste because of high levels of pH and high concentrations of contaminants like arsenic, lead, and copper. Woodland Biomass Power also provided these falsified records to various governmental entities, individuals, and companies.”

According to the release, Woodland Biomass Power co-operated in the investigation and has since re-evaluated its plant operations and implemented numerous improvements to its ash-management practices.

This story was written by Liz Gyekye, editor of Bioenergy Insight. 

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