July 17, 2018
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced settlements with four New England companies that resolve alleged violations of the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA), which requires companies and organizations to report their use and release of toxic chemicals.
The companies are Atlantic Footcare of North Smithfield, R.I., Smith & Wesson of Springfield, Mass., Masters Machine Co. of Round Pond, Maine, and Bath Iron Works of Bath, Maine. The settlement with Bath Iron Works also resolves alleged Clean Water Act violations.
All four companies promptly corrected the EPCRA violations after EPA inspections, and have filed required reports of their use of toxic chemicals under EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) program, allowing the public and local officials to access data about toxic chemicals used and released in their communities. Each company agreed to pay a civil penalty and improved its compliance with TRI requirements; Bath Iron Works is also now in compliance with the company’s Clean Water Act discharge permit.
More information on the settlements:
– Atlantic Footcare, which makes shoe inserts and prosthetics, allegedly failed to file annual TRI forms for chemicals within the diisocyanates chemical category in 2014, 2015, and 2016, and agreed to pay a $49,375 penalty.
– Smith & Wesson, a gun manufacturer, allegedly failed to file TRI forms for nickel in 2012 and 2013 and for manganese and chromium in 2012, and agreed to pay a $58,136 penalty.
– Master’s Machine, a manufacturer of precision automotive and electrical components, allegedly failed to file TRI forms for copper for the years 2013, 2014, and 2015, and for lead for the year 2014. Master’s Machine agreed to pay a $92,210 penalty.
– Bath Iron Works, which builds naval destroyers at a facility near the Kennebec River, allegedly failed to submit TRI reports for chromium, copper, manganese, and nickel for reporting years 2013, 2014, and 2015. EPA also alleged that the company failed to fully comply with all the requirements in its stormwater permit. The permit requires the company to minimize the exposure of waste from the shipbuilding process, such as metal shavings and grit from sand blasting operations, so that when it rains these pollutants do not flow into the Kennebec River. Bath Iron Works will pay a $355,000 penalty under the settlement with EPA.
The obligation to report toxic chemical use and releases under the Toxic Release Inventory program is included in EPCRA, enacted in 1986, in response to concerns regarding the environmental and safety hazards posed by the use and release of toxic chemicals. The yearly submission of Toxic Release Inventory forms is a key component of the statute. They ensure that citizens and public safety officials have access to information about chemicals at nearby facilities, their uses, and releases into the environment. Making such information available to the public and municipal officials also creates a strong incentive for companies to reduce or eliminate the use of toxic chemicals and improve overall environmental performance and safety.
– Toxic Release Inventory: www.epa.gov/toxics-release-
– Reporting requirements for facilities: https://www.epa.gov/epcra