Summit Aviation near Middletown was ordered this week to pay an $81,426 fine, as well as administrative costs, for multiple violations of state laws governing hazardous waste management.
According to a penalty order issued by Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) on Thursday, Summit Aviation was found to have committed 18 violations, most of which were related to an unauthorized paint stripping operation, inadequate storage and disposal of hazardous materials and shoddy record keeping.
Officials from the aircraft maintenance and repair company at 4200 Summit Bridge Road did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday.
The violations were reportedly discovered a DNREC inspection of the 53-year-old company's aircraft maintenance and repair service on Sept. 26.
At that time, inspectors determined Summit Aviation had conducted as many five paint-stripping operations using a waste removal system that DNREC had previously rejected as inadequate, the penalty order states.
In each those instances, employees at Summit Aviation covered the floor and grates of a hanger with two layers of plastic sheeting before pumping paint stripping chemicals onto an aircraft and then using squeegees to push the chemical waste onto the sheeting, which was then rolled up and placed into drums labeled as hazardous waste. Power washers were then used to remove any remaining loose paint before shoveling the liquid residue into additional drums, also labelled as hazardous waste.
DNREC inspectors also reportedly learned that Summit Aviation has been improperly disposing of aerosol cans and mercury vapor lamps in its regular trash stream, instead of managing them as hazardous waste, as required by law.
Summit Aviation also was cited for failing to provide an emergency contingency plan and faililng to make arrangements with local emergency response agencies regarding the types of hazardous waste stored on site.
Other violations included failing to make proper hazardous waste determinations, failure to properly label containers of hazardous waste and used oil, failure to close containers of hazardous waste and used oil, failure to conduct weekly inspections of hazardous waste accumulation areas, failure to provide training for employees responsible for handling hazardous waste, and failure to provide a list of employees who handle hazardous waste.
In addition to an $81,426 fine, Summit Aviation also was ordered to pay $12,214 in administrative costs incurred by DNREC during its investigation.
The company has 30 days to appeal the penalty order.
The ful order can be found on DNREC's website at www.dnrec.delaware.gov/info/pages/SecOrders_Enforcement.aspx.