EPA cites companies for law violation
Published: Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, November 9, 2010 23:11
Six New England companies that store, produce or use chemicals have been cited by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for violating the federal right-to-know law.
The right-to-know law is in place in order to protect the health and safety of citizens in the environment. It requires companies to file reports regarding the chemicals they use so residents and emergency service responders have the information necessary to respond to an accident. It would give them the means to protect themselves and the environment.
"When companies that store chemicals fail to file these required forms, the community's first responders do not have adequate information about chemicals present on a site that could be released into the neighborhood in the event of an accident," said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "Without this information, the local and state responders cannot properly plan for an emergency, and the community is deprived of information relevant to the health and safety of its residents."
Out of the six companies cited, four are in Connecticut, one is in Massachusetts and one is in New Hampshire. The companies are being faced with fines ranging from about $8,000 to almost $139,000. The chemicals related to the violation of this federal law consisted of sulfuric acid, nitric acid, anhydrous ammonia, styrene, methyl methacrylate, propylene, diesel fuel, lead, quench oil and zinc compounds.
One company involved is Cascades Boxboard Group in Versailles. The EPA has fined them $138,866 for the six violations. Reportedly, the company didn't file a chemical inventory form in 2007 for sulfuric acid at its plant. They also stored 57 times the minimum threshold level of 500 pounds required for notification. In addition, the company didn't file mandatory toxic release inventory forms for chlorine dioxide in 2007, vinyl acetate in 2008 and nitrate compounds in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
BJ's Wholesale Club in Uxbridge, Mass. agreed to pay a $27,000 fine for failing to file the right forms to local and state emergency officials in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Through an inspection by the EPA in March 2009, it was also discovered that BJ's possessed amounts of sulfuric acid, lead and diesel fuel at levels that required documentation, but were not reported in its chemical inventory form.
Another Connecticut company fined is Scott Metal Finishing located in Bristol. This company agreed to pay their fine for a total of $11,115. Out of an inspection in July 2007, it was found that the company neglected to file an emergency and hazardous chemical inventory form for 2006 with local and state responders. The chemical involved was nitric acid, in which the company had more than the minimum threshold level, which required them to file a report for it.
The Kalwall Corporation was penalized for $25,100. This company is in Bow, N.H., and manufactures fiberglass flat sheets. They were cited for failing to file toxic release inventory forms in 2008 for methyl methacrylate, propylene and styrene.
The third Connecticut company involved is the Sousa Corporation in West Hartford. According to the EPA, the Sousa Corporation neglected to file a chemical inventory report on anhydrous ammonia and quench oil to local and state emergency officials in 2007. In March 2007, the company agreed to pay its $8,014 fine for its actions.
Highway Safety Corporation in Glastonbury. is the final company noted to have received a fine in New England. They paid $42,700 for not filing toxic release inventory forms for zinc compounds they manufactured in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Even though the zinc compounds are recycled, they still must be documented.
There are various negative health effects as a result of these chemicals which also pose a threat to the environment, which is why it is important that such chemicals are documented and reported. It is vital for the community and proper officials to be notified what they are dealing with in case of an emergency in order to take the proper course of action.