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GSK settles with US EPA over waste storage at US R&D site

By Gareth MacDonald+

12-Aug-2014
Last updated on 12-Aug-2014 at 12:24 GMT2014-08-12T12:24:01Z

GSK R&D facility in Upper Merion, Pennsylvania
GSK R&D facility in Upper Merion, Pennsylvania

GSK has stopped using an ethanol storage tank at a US R&D facility and agreed to pay a fine to settle US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allegations that it broke waste management laws. 

The EPA citation dates back to August 2012 when the US agency accused GSK of being in breach of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) following an inspection of its R&D site in Upper Merion, Pennsylvania.  

EPA criticisms included that GSK had failed to comply with RCRA mandated monitoring, storage, marking and record keeping requirements for a 150-gallon above ground tank used to store waste ethanol.

The agency also criticised the UK-headquartered drugmaker for its storage of used fluorescent light tubes.

According to a settlement announced yesterday GSK has agreed to “properly manage the hazardous waste at its research and development facility” and also "pay a $317,550 penalty.”

This was confirmed by a GSK spokesperson who told in-Pharmatechnologist.com “All of the EPA’s findings have now been corrected. The 150 gallon tank was immediately taken out of service upon determining the unit was not in compliance, and corrections were made.

The GSK spokesperson added that while working to regain RCRA compliance GSK had installed a conservation vent and appropriately labelled piping and appropriate equipment associated with the tank.

The tank has now been taken out of service, due to a reduction in the volume of waste ethanol” she added.

The Upper Merion facility – which has previously been involved in the production of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) for Phase I and II clinical trials - is an increasingly important R&D hub for GSK.

Just last month the drugmaker said it would start developing biocatalysts for drug production at the site using technology licensed from Codexis .

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