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EPA ORDERS NEWBURYPORT COMPANY TO MEET ENVIRONMENTAL CODE

Release Date: 09/13/1996
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA-New England Press Office, (617) 918-1064

BOSTON --The New England office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ordered M & V Electroplating Corporation (M&V) of Newburyport, Massachusetts, to immediately comply with federal hazardous waste management laws and correct numerous violations found at its facility. M&V is operating under Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. The EPA also filed a claim in Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts for penalties of up to $25,000 per day for the violations cited in the compliance order issued to M&V. In the same claim, EPA is seeking to recoup approximately $700,000 in costs resulting from the government cleanup of another M&V facility also in Newburyport.. The company plates metal parts with zinc, copper, nickel, and tin for the defense, telecommunications, and computer industries. M&V's operations generate toxic wastes including sodium cyanide, zinc caustic solution, waste acid solutions, metal hydroxide sludge and other process wastes.

"Even though EPA has offered compliance and pollution prevention assistance to electroplaters and metal finishing companies in New England, some companies only seem to respond when faced with an enforcement action," said John P. DeVillars, administrator of EPA's New England office. "There is a better way for metal platers to achieve compliance - it's called pollution prevention. Time after time, metal platers are finding that by working with EPA to identify ways to reduce environmental impacts, they are saving money and the environment. We wish M&V had taken that course. Companies need to realize that bankruptcy will provide little protection from corporate responsibility. EPA fully intends to seek a significant penalty on M&V for its careless management of toxic wastes."

EPA cited the company for numerous violations. According to EPA, M&V failed to:

    • segregate incompatible hazardous wastes;
    • send hazardous waste off-site to a permitted treatment, storage, or disposal facility;
    • keep containers of hazardous waste closed when not in use; and
    • appropriately label containers of hazardous waste.
EPA observed waste management practices that created potentially unsafe conditions at the facility. The agency issued the company a Notice of Violation (NOV) in February to put them on notice of violations discovered at the time of the inspection. M&V has provided EPA with written information on actions it has taken to address the violations alleged in the Order.

The management of hazardous waste is regulated under the federal Resource Conservation of Recovery Act (RCRA).