Tesla settles with EPA over hazardous waste violations at Fremont

The OEM will have to buy new equipment for Fremont's fire department.

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Andrew Krok
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Tour of Tesla Factor in Fremont, California
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Tour of Tesla Factor in Fremont, California

This is not the first time Tesla has paid a fine to the EPA for alleged violations.

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In 2017, the US Environmental Protection Agency claimed that violated the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act by not following proper methods for handling hazardous waste at its Fremont facility. Now, the two parties have reached a settlement.

The EPA announced this week that it reached a settlement with Tesla over these alleged violations. The agreement states that Tesla will pay a $31,000 penalty, and in addition, the automaker will spend $55,000 purchasing additional emergency response equipment for the City of Fremont Fire Department. The equipment will help the fire department respond to future instances involving hazardous materials.

According to the EPA's release, Tesla addressed the violations in question and is now in compliance with the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The EPA also said that Tesla gave hazardous-waste training to "over 1,100 paint shop associates, technicians and supervisors at its facility."

"Since [the initial inspections], all gaps identified in the inspection have been resolved by Tesla," said a Tesla spokesperson in an emailed statement. "We are pleased to have worked collaboratively with EPA Region 9 and are particularly proud that the city of Fremont will benefit from the agreed settlement."

The EPA first made its claims after leading unannounced inspections at Fremont with the help of local authorities. The inspections led to three determinations, with the EPA claiming that Tesla "failed to comply with air emissions standards for equipment leaks, failed to comply with management requirements for generators of hazardous wastes, and failed to make an adequate hazardous waste determination for certain solid waste generated at the facility," but it did not offer specifics beyond that.

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Originally published April 2 at 7:23 a.m. PT.
Update, at 8:01 a.m. PT: Added Tesla's comment.