EPA fines Firebird Raceway - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Localnews

EPA fines Firebird Raceway

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Posted: Sunday, October 18, 2009 11:00 pm

Firebird International Raceway was fined $31,851 by the federal Environmental Protection Agency for hazardous waste shipping and reporting violations in 2006.

The raceway, south of Ahwatukee Foothills on the Gila River Indian Community, combined motor oil that had been contaminated with solvents and used motor oil that was supposed to be sent separately for recycling.

“Everything was shipped off as used oil,” instead of shipping the contaminated oil to a special facility designed to handle it, said Kaoru Morimoto, an EPA hazardous waste compliance inspector in the agency’s San Francisco office.

“When we brought it to their attention in 2006 they fixed the issues,” Morimoto said. The fine was levied after several years of negotiations between the EPA and the raceway.

Firebird declined to speak about the issue.

The EPA said the violations posed little danger to the public or employees at the track.

“It’s relatively minor since we’re talking about the bulk of the material was used oil that was to be recycled. The hazardous waste was solvents. It was a regulatory issue,” Morimoto said by telephone on Wednesday.

In 2004, Firebird paid a $11,036 fine from a 2002 violation where waste was improperly stored in containers that weren’t properly labeled.

The raceway opened in 1983 and is nationally known. It hosts drag car races, the Bondurant School of High Performance Driving and drag boat races on the lake.

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