Most Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) commuters don’t give the proper disposal or recycling of the fluorescent lights over their heads a second thought as they ride in and out of Manhattan. However, this issue is at the heart of the recent resolution of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) complaint against the LIRR, which the railroad settled by paying a financial penalty of $43,875.

EPA inspected the Hillside Maintenance Facility in Hollis, N.Y., last year and based on that inspection and other information received from LIRR, found violations in the disposal of fluorescent light bulbs as regular garbage at three facilities. In addition to the Hillside facility, Richmond Hill Sheridan Shop in Richmond Hill, N.Y., and West Side Storage Yard in New York City were identified.The LIRR estimates that it generated nearly 260,000 spent fluorescent light bulbs from 2003 to 2005, but says it's now in compliance with all EPA rules on the proper handling of spent fluorescent bulbs.

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