Submitted by The Washington Department of Ecology.
The Washington Department of Ecology is penalizing PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center $21,000 for repeated violations of the state’s dangerous waste laws. Dangerous waste is material that is ignitable, corrosive, reactive, and/or toxic. If it is not properly managed, dangerous waste can quickly become a safety issue for people and the environment; depending on the specific type of waste, it can release toxic fumes or even cause explosions. The state’s dangerous waste laws are designed to head off problems before they begin.
St. Joseph has had longstanding issues related to complying with dangerous waste regulations. Despite repeated regulatory assistance and a previous penalty for similar violations in 2018, St. Joseph has not established a long-term system for safely managing their dangerous waste.
Ecology’s inspection in 2022 found violations related to basic preventative measures, including failure to properly train staff in dangerous waste management and emergency procedures, failure to inspect and document waste storage areas on a weekly basis, and failure to submit required annual reports to Ecology. Ecology has cited St. Joseph for these violations in the past.
“Safe management of dangerous waste begins with prevention,” said Raman Iyer, manager for the Hazardous Waste and Toxics Reduction program in Ecology’s Northwest Region. “Training personnel, regular inspections of storage areas, and accurate reporting are all crucial safety measures that prevent potential harm and ensure the future health of the public and the environment.”
PeaceHealth St. Joseph has 30 days to pay the penalty or appeal it to the state Pollution Control Hearings Board.