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EPA fines Washington University

By Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis – Washington University will pay a $15,000 civil penalty over hazardous waste violations.

EPA inspections at the Danforth Campus and the School of Medicine in April of 2008 found several violations of the handling of hazardous waste at laboratories.

EPA spokesman Chris Whitley says some of the problems stemmed from having waste storage drums too close together.

"On the surface that may sound a little silly but you actually have to maintain adequate space between some of the collection vessels that you have in the case of a fire," Whitley said

Washington University also has agreed to spend $45,000 to help the St. Louis Public Schools remove hazardous waste at 12 school buildings.

Whitley says the project helps the school district and allows the university to mitigate its civil penalties.

In a statement, Washington University officials said the university has fully complied with the EPA's rules.