March 14, 2019

EPA’s 2019 Adjustment to RCRA Civil Penalties

In 2015, Congress amended the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, requiring all federal agencies to adjust maximum statutory civil penalties for inflation on an annual basis. Starting in 2016, EPA has issued annual adjustments, and now it’s time for the 2019 increases.

The agency promulgated the inflation adjustment rule on February 6, 2019 [84 FR 2056] and corrected an error in the effective date on February 25, 2019. [84 FR 5955] The table below provides the maximum penalties as promulgated. Keep in mind that when pursuing penalties, enforcement personnel may consider a variety of factors, including the seriousness of the violation, the violator’s good-faith efforts to comply, any economic benefit gained by the violator as a result of noncompliance, and a violator’s ability to pay.

Comparison of Newly Adjusted and Previous Year’s RCRA Civil Penalties

RCRA statue section number

Civil penalty description

Previous year’s maximum penalty1

Newly adjusted maximum penalty2


Violation of a RCRA Subtitle C compliance order

$97,229 per day

$99,681 per day


Continued violation of a RCRA Subtitle C compliance order

$58,562 per day

$60,039 per day


Violation of the RCRA Subtitle C hazardous waste program

$72,718 per day

$74,552 per day


Violation of a corrective action compliance order

$58,562 per day

$60,039 per day


Failure to comply with an order to monitor for the presence or release of a hazardous waste

$14,543 per day

$14,910 per day


Failure to comply with an imminent and substantial endangerment order

$14,543 per day

$14,910 per day


Violation of an UST compliance order

$58,562 per day

$60,039 per day


Failure to notify state/local agency of the existence of an UST subject to RCRA Subtitle I

$23,426 per day

$24,017 per day


Violation of the RCRA Subtitle I UST requirements

$23,426 per tank per day

$24,017 per tank per day

UST = underground storage tank.

1For violations that occurred after November 2, 2015, where penalties are assessed on or after January 15, 2018 but before February 6, 2019.

2For violations that occurred after November 2, 2015, where penalties are assessed on or after February 6, 2019.

Source: Adapted from 84 FR 2059, 5955.


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This document addresses issues of a general nature related to the federal RCRA regulations. Persons evaluating specific circumstances dealing with the RCRA regulations should review state and local laws and regulations, which may be more stringent than federal requirements. In addition, the assistance of a qualified professional should be enlisted to address any site-specific circumstances.