(a) An imminent hazard exists whenever the Secretary determines, that there exists a condition caused by an inactive hazardous substance or waste disposal site, including a release or a substantial threat of a release into the environment of a hazardous substance from the site, which is causing serious harm to the public health or environment, or which is likely to cause such harm before a remedial action plan can be developed. Whenever the Secretary determines that an imminent hazard exists he may, in addition to any other powers he may have, without notice or hearing, order any known responsible party to take immediately any action necessary to eliminate or correct the condition, or the Secretary, in his discretion, may take such action without issuing an order. Written notice of any order issued pursuant to this section shall be provided to all persons subject to the order as set out in G.S. 130A-310.3(c). Unless the time required to do so would increase the harm to the public health or the environment, the Secretary shall solicit the cooperation of responsible parties prior to the entry of any such order. The provisions of subdivisions (1) to (3) of G.S. 130A-310.6(a) shall apply to any action taken by the Secretary pursuant to this section, and any such action shall be considered part of a remedial action program, the cost of which may be recovered from any responsible party.
(b) If a person violates the requirements or schedules in an order issued pursuant to this section, the Secretary may institute an action for injunctive relief, irrespective of all other remedies at law, in the superior court of the county where the violation occurred or where a defendant resides.
(c) The cost of any action by the Secretary pursuant to this section may be paid from the Inactive Hazardous Sites Cleanup Fund, or the Emergency Response Fund established pursuant to G.S. 130A-306, subject to a later action for reimbursement pursuant to G.S. 130A-310.7. (1987, c. 574, s. 2; 1989, c. 286, s. 4; 1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 1004, s. 9, c. 1024, s. 30(a); 1991, c. 342, s. 8.)