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Crude oil maker fined $50,000 for hazardous waste mismanagement

DEQ says Agilyx has since corrected many of its cited offenses

A Tigard-based corporation has been fined nearly $50,000 after hazardous waste was found at its facility near a local dog park.

Agilyx converts waste plastics into synthetic crude oil. They operate a research facility at 7904 S.W. Hunziker St., next door to Potso Dog Park.

On Monday, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued a $49,702 penalty against the company.

According to DEQ officials, the company — whose headquarters is based on Southwest Nimbus Avenue, in Beaverton — improperly managed its hazardous waste, failed to keep up-to-date contingency plans and did not properly train its employees responsible for managing the hazardous waste.

The company also reportedly didn’t label its hazardous waste containers.

“DEQ issued this penalty because the improper management of hazardous waste threatens public health and the environment,” DEQ officials said in a statement.

Aqilyx opened in 2004 under the name Plas2Fuel. It changed its name in 2010 after opening its research facility on Hunziker Street.

Agilyx has made a name for itself as a major player in converting previously un-recyclable plastics into synthetic crude oil. In April, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson publically announced his investment with the company, saying that the company was moving the world one step closer to a zero-waste society.

In 2011, groups including Keating Capital and Waste Management, the country's largest garbage and recycling service, began investing with the company.

DEQ conducted a two-day inspection of the facility on Oct. 14 and 15, 2013.

According to DEQ, the research facility in Tigard generated about 2,200 pounds of hazardous waste per month.

“(Agilyx) did not maintain, at the facility, or with the local police department and other local emergency response authorities, an up-to-date list of all persons assigned to act as an emergency coordinator and their contact information,” wrote Leah Feldon, manager of DEQ’s office of compliance and enforcement on Oct. 21. “The plan listed as an emergency coordinator and backup coordinators individuals who no longer worked at or near the facility.”

From 2012 to Oct. 14, 2013, the facility stored hazardous wastewater in about two dozen filter columns in a storeroom, as well as several other containers in a hazardous waste area.

On Oct. 14, 2013, Feldon wrote, a 55-gallon drum of hazardous waste on a roll cart was left in the processing area of the facility and two open buckets of hazardous waste sludge near solvent sinks were not identified with the words "hazardous waste" or with a description of their contents.

In a letter to Agilyx dated Oct. 21, Feldon said the company had done some work to correct the problem and has since updated its contingency plan and addressed storage requirements for the containers.

That work was taken into account when DEQ levied it’s nearly $50,000 fine, Feldon said.

This isn’t the first time Agilyx has been in trouble for the way it handles hazardous waste, according to the DEQ. Similar violations were identified during an audit in 2011.

Agilyx has until Tuesday, Nov. 11, to file an appeal to the decision to DEQ.

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