§128D-8  Civil penalties.  (a)  Any person who is liable for a release, or threat of a release, of hazardous substances, and who fails, without sufficient cause, to properly provide removal or remedial action pursuant to an administrative order issued by the director, may be liable to the department for punitive damages up to three times the amount of any costs incurred by the fund pursuant to this chapter as a result of the failure to perform the actions specified in the order.  The director is authorized to commence a civil action against any such person to recover the punitive damages, which shall be in addition to any costs recovered from such person pursuant to section 128D-5.

     (b)  In addition to liability for costs incurred by the State for the investigation, assessment, containment, and removal of a release or a threat of a release of hazardous substances, any person who wilfully, knowingly, or recklessly violates or fails or refuses to comply with any provision of this chapter, or any order issued, or rule adopted under this chapter, shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $50,000 for each separate violation.  Each day a violation continues shall constitute a separate violation.  The director is authorized to commence a civil action in the appropriate circuit environmental court to recover such penalties.

     (c)  Any rule issued pursuant to this chapter shall be adopted in accordance with chapter 91.

     (d)  Civil penalties collected under this chapter shall be paid to the department for deposit into the revolving fund and may be recovered in a civil action in [an] environmental court of competent jurisdiction where the violation is alleged to have occurred.

     (e)  In determining the amount of any civil penalty assessed pursuant to this section, the environmental court shall take into account the nature, circumstances, extent, and gravity of the violation or violations and, with respect to the violator, ability to pay, any prior history of such violations, the degree of culpability, economic benefit of savings, if any, resulting from the violation, and such other matters as justice may require.  The director may compromise and settle any claim for a penalty pursuant to this chapter. [L 1990, c 298, pt of §17; am L 1991, c 280, §§9, 10; am L 2014, c 218, §8]