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NASA to pay fine for environmental violations at Wallops

NASA to pay fine for environmental violations at Wallops
An Orbital Sciences Corp. Antares rocket is seen on the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad-0A at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Virginia, in this NASA handout photo taken April 16, 2013. Orbital Sciences , is NASA's commercial space partner. (NASA / Reuters)

NASA has agreed to pay $50,660 to settle environmental violations at its Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia's Eastern Shore, the Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday.

EPA cited NASA for several seemingly minor violations of federal hazardous waste and clean-air regulations at Wallops, which provides a launch pad for a variety of rockets and spacecraft.

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The flight facility staff allegedly failed to label as hazardous waste and properly cover old coffee cans used to collect lead solder and alcohol rags, according to information supplied by EPA and NASA. A five-gallon drum holding wastes transferred from other containers wasn't properly labeled, nor was a carton of old fluorescent light tubes, which may contain mercury, NASA acknowledged.

EPA also cited Wallops for not having needed paperowrk to certify the fuel oil it was using met federal limits on its sulphur content.

NASA spokesman Jeremy Eggers said most of the infractions were fixed the same day in July 2013 that EPA inspected the facillity, and all were remedied within two weeks.

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