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Connecticut Company Faces Penalty for Clean Water Violations


Erickson Metals Corp., a Cheshire, Conn. aluminum processing company faces a penalty of up to $157,500 for violating the federal Clean Water Act in July 2006. EPA recently announced it has filed an enforcement complaint against the company for failing to prepare an oil spill prevention plan, which led to extensive pollution during an oil spill last summer damaging wildlife and surrounding bodies of water.

According to the complaint filed by EPA’s New England office, Erickson Metals Corp. illegally discharged as much as 6,000 gallons of cutting oil from its facility. The oil spill occurred when a water tank in the Cheshire facility ruptured, activating a sump pump that pumped the released water into a reservoir tank containing cutting oil. The oil tank subsequently overflowed and oil traveled into a nearby pond, Judd Brook and the Tenmile River, oiling swans, geese, and turtles as well as damaging aquatic vegetation. Oiled animals were captured and washed and some were moved to a wildlife rehabilitation clinic before release.

The oil discharge prompted an emergency response, including EPA, the local fire department and the Conn. Dept. of Environmental Protection. EPA’s New England office determined that the company had not prepared a Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) plan, as required by the Clean Water Act. SPCC plans specify spill prevention and response measures at facilities that store oil above threshold amounts and help ensure that a tank failure or oil spill does not lead to oil reaching bodies of water. After the spill, the facility worked cooperatively with EPA and prepared an SPCC plan.

“The impacts to wildlife and habitat from this spill are examples of the harm that oil spills can cause to the environment,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Companies that store significant quantities of oil must follow established procedures to prevent and minimize the impacts of oil spills.”


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