Southern Wood Piedmont Co., a subsidiary of forest management company Rayonier, today agreed to pay a $317,000 penalty to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to resolve violations of hazardous waste financial assurance requirements at five of its facilities.

Financial assurance ensures that companies have enough financial resources available to properly close and clean up facilities in the event that they default on its closure and cleanup obligations under environmental laws.

The five facilities named are in Baldwin, Fla.; Augusta, Ga.; East Point, Ga.; Waverly, Ohio; and Spartanburg,  S.C.

The EPA notified Southern Wood Piedmont of the violation on Feb. 4, 2010. Under its administrative settlement, Southern Wood Piedmont obtained more than $41.7 million in financial assurance. The $317,000 penalty was its civil settlement.

“EPA is committed to bringing hazardous waste facilities into compliance with financial assurance requirements that prevent shifting future cleanup costs onto taxpayers,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Today’s settlement will reduce the likelihood of improper handling of hazardous waste and ensure that environmental damage at these facilities can be properly cleaned up.”