Ballard company fined more than $80,000 by Department of Ecology

A Ballard furniture-stripping business is facing an $82,200 fine by the Department of Ecology for improperly storing and disposing of hazardous waste.

On two dates in May of last year the Department of Ecology, Seattle Public Utilities and the King County Wastewater Treatment Division’s Industrial Waste program investigated several possible violations at a now-closed business called Furniture Spa (4813 8th Ave NW). The same owners own Ballard Refinishers and the former Furniture Spa location is now an annex of that business.

According to a release from the Department of Ecology, “City inspectors called in Ecology almost a year ago after finding that furniture-stripping waste put down the drain into the sewer. Some of the waste leaked into the ground from a damaged private sewer that connects to the city sewer.”

From the release:

Hazardous waste violations found during Ecology inspections include:

* Improper storage: Furniture Spa used a floor sump (a paved pit) as storage for waste methylene chloride used in furniture stripping. The sump did not meet storage tank requirements for hazardous wastes, and the company provided no secondary containment system to hold spills or leaks of liquid waste. Waste remained in the sump more than 90 days, the maximum time allowed under state and federal hazardous waste laws.

* Failure to designate hazardous waste: State and federal law require businesses to assess their process wastes, identify those that are hazardous – a process called designation – which determines proper storage, handling and disposal. Furniture Spa had not designated wastes from work areas that used methylene chloride, sodium hydroxide, soy-based solvents and the contents of the floor sump.

* Illegal disposal: Furniture Spa discharged waste from the floor sump into the sanitary sewer. Disposal to the sewer requires a discharge permit from the King County Wastewater Treatment Division.

* Failure to notify: A business that generates 220 or more pounds of hazardous waste must notify Ecology. The agency found records indicating that Furniture Spa shipped dangerous waste through a licensed dangerous waste disposal contractor by falsely identifying itself as exempt from this reporting requirement.

The Department of Ecology’s Toxic Cleanup Program has placed this location on the list of “Confirmed and Suspected Contaminated Sites” for contamination that entered soil and groundwater from the damaged side sewer line.

The company has 30 days to appeal the penalty.

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

18 thoughts to “Ballard company fined more than $80,000 by Department of Ecology”

  1. I work with solvents all the time. I also pay a “hazmat fee” each and every year along with a business license, bonding and insurance. Now there are also lead restrictions that will nearly double the cost of many projects, as well as an agency to monitor, due to the need for encreased revenue(s) as well as the hyper-sensitvity going on in todays society. It sounds as if this co. threw caution to the wind and exhibited blatant dis-reguard for their procedures of proper disposal of nasty chemicals. It’s people like this that give agencies the authority to invade. Follow the rules people.

  2. Thank you Dept of Ecology – Sounds like a dirty business doing dirty things. There is no reason they should either have a leg up on their competition who ARE following the requirements, an NO reason that they should have the right to pollute our environment with impunity either.

    I’m happy to have regulators “invading” this kind of business.

  3. you could insert so many other nouns/adverbs into what you’ve stated. too bad it’s so obvious though. the more violations, the higher the price for those paying for it.

  4. Shame on Ballard Refinishers. I have had work done at this location, but the environment is more important than getting rid of a few scratches in my furniture. They have lost my business.

  5. The article seems to imply that if only they had had a permit, it would have been OK to dump the stuff into the sanitary sewer as they did. Is that correct?

  6. As someone who has also had work done at Ballard Refinishers and liked both the people and the results, I’d be curious to know the exact relationship between them and the “now-closed” Furniture Spa.

    Was Furniture Spa always a subsidiary? Or was this other businesse purchased and absorbed recently? Exactly who was in charge at the time of the violations?

    (I’m not attempting to absolve Ballard Refinishers of responsibility if they were indeed the culprits, but my conflicted loyalties would like to know more…)

  7. Are you also against minimum wage laws, anti-discrimination laws, workplace safety laws, etc., etc. While we’re at it, are you in favor of brining back slavery? Where do you draw the line?

  8. Profits above all else right? who cares if you’re contaminating my drinking water, right? This mentality is EXACTLY why there is more of this “government intrusion” into the “free capitalist” markets you cherish so dearly. Because the market can’t do alot of things properly and safely, they just do it as quickly and cheaply as possible. Clean air = socialism? Dude, having opinions doesn’t replace having a 11th grade education.

  9. Good for Dept. of Ecology. I called them a few years ago after witnessing a company that services fire extinguishers discharging them into the sewer drain in their alley. Nothing came of it.

  10. No Mondoman, they could dump certain things into the sanitary sewer as long as it was within the permit limits. The permit would have allowed them to treat the waste and then dump residuals that meet the permit. In the case of this company they did not even approach that option. They dumped whatever.

    Maybe it isn’t clear but they spilled this stuff into the ground from the leak in their sanitary line. Who knows how much of this stuff is in the ground in Ballard. This property sits across the street from residences.

  11. I wasn’t being sarcastic…chemical stripper in the water is like getting a free liquor tap in the house! And cancer is a great weight loss program. You just have to look at the positives!

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