Are waste processors in compliance?
Hazardous waste processing facilities are required to follow operating guidelines set by the EPA. Data from the US EPA Enforcement and Compliance History Online (
ECHO) database shows whether plants have had any violations within the past 12 quarters. This map correlates compliance status with the number of shipments the facilities received from 2007 to 2012. You can filter to a specific time period by clicking on a date on the timeline. Some facilities of note are those owned by the firm Clean Harbors. Its Kimball, Nebraska and El Dorado, Arkansas sites are two of the top importers in the US, but these sites are regularly out of compliance. This raises environmental justice concerns.
*Indicates plant-wide status, not necessary imported waste processing.
Veolia is a French transnational corporation involved in the North American hazardous waste trade, but infamously
known as the company in part responsible for the Flint water
crisis. In Los Angeles County, Veolia has a waste recycling
and disposal facility. Despite the “green” face recycling
facilities often put forth, this facility has been subject to
numerous recurring violations.
Urban geographer Laura Pulido (2015) describes the
significance of white supremacy in producing environmental
injustices. Using the example of a battery recycling facility
in majority-Latinx East Los Angeles, Pulido argues that white
supremacy does not simply describe hate groups such as the
KKK. Rather, it is an attitude of superiority that is much
more ubiquitous, which
corporations put into
practice by knowingly
polluting black and brown
The case of Veolia extends
Pulido’s argument to a
transnational level. Not
only does the corporation
act in continued noncompliance,
but it is enabled
to do so through transnational
They import from 15 sites,
mostly on the US-Mexico
border. Veolia is not the exception. There were 31 hazardous waste generators in LA County that were in significant non-compliance with RCRA over the past three years. Only one of these was in a majority white neighborhood.