State environmental regulators have proposed fining Envirocare of Utah $9,750 for a minor violation, and they are still trying to figure out what to do about an unrelated problem the company told them about.

According to the notice of violation issued last week by the Utah Division of Radiation Control, Envirocare failed to notify the state in time when one of its groundwater-monitoring wells exceeded state water-quality standards.

But it quickly notified the state of an incident earlier this month that involved a small amount of contaminated dirt found on a piece of rental equipment used at Envirocare's landfill in remote Tooele County.

Over the past year, Envirocare has been using a forklift leased from NEFF Rental in Salt Lake City for its mixed-waste facility. After a three-month cleaning and decontamination process, the forklift was returned in mid-February. During a routine maintenance of the equipment, NEFF officials found some dirt stuck behind a bolted access panel after removing the radiator. They notified Envirocare of it earlier this month.

"It was a very small amount," said Envirocare President Charles Judd. "It was lodged behind a place that had to be taken apart. As soon as we found out about it, we accessed it quickly and cleaned it up."

Health experts determined that the amount — less than 0.15 cubic feet — and concentration of the dirt presented no health or safety risk to the workers or the environment.

"We responded swiftly, working closely with the state and the (rental operator) to carefully follow procedure and employ every precaution until the situation was resolved," Judd said.

Bill Sinclair, director of the Utah Division of Radiation Control, said he is still reviewing the situation to determine whether to issue a violation. But he praised the company for notifying the state.

"That's a key component," he said. "We encourage our licensees to do that."

Meanwhile, Envirocare has until late April to respond to the allegations of failing to comply with its groundwater permit requirements.

Judd said the company will have to review it more closely. There may be some issues that will need to be discussed with the state. But, he added, "We hope to resolve it quickly."


E-mail: donna@desnews.com