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Connecticut Company to Pay $78,000 for Environmental Reporting Violations

Release Date: 05/03/2011
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – May 3, 2011) – A company that manufactures paperboard in Sprague, Conn., has agreed to pay a penalty of $78,000 and to spend $40,000 to improve local emergency capabilities in order to resolve EPA claims that it violated federal community right-to-know laws.

According to the agreement signed April 14, EPA’s New England office alleged that Cascades Boxboard Group failed to file a chemical inventory form, known as a Tier II form, for the year 2006 for sulfuric acid stored at the facility. Sulfuric acid is considered to be an “extremely hazardous substance” under federal regulations and Cascades stored 57 times the minimum threshold level.

This violation of the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act was discovered during an EPA inspection in Sept. 2008. EPA also alleged that Cascades Boxboard Group failed to file four Toxic Chemical Release Inventory forms, known as Form Rs, which are required for chemicals at the facility. These violations were discovered after EPA’s inspectors noticed the company had not submitted the forms for 2007.

The environmental project will pay for emergency response equipment and training for the Town of Sprague and other area emergency response units. It also requires Cascades to conduct a large-scale chemical spill exercise to gauge emergency preparedness and identify areas needing improvement.

A facility’s failure to file chemical inventory forms deprives the community of its right to know about chemicals present and released in the neighborhood. In addition, when companies store or use chemicals listed as extremely hazardous substances, they are required to have emergency plans in accordance with federal law. Lack of chemical inventory information can compromise proper emergency planning and response by the state emergency response commission, local emergency planning committee, and local fire department. 

This enforcement action is expected to encourage compliance by the regulated community with the reporting requirements of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, and to ensure that the community is not deprived of its right to know about chemicals present and released in the neighborhood that may affect public health and the environment. It will also provide the emergency response personnel with information about dangerous chemicals present in the community.

Cascades filed the required Tier II forms for 2008 and 2009. The company also submitted the missing required Form Rs. 

Cascades Boxboard developed the environmental project in consultation with the fire chief of the Baltic Fire Department, which serves a village within the Town of Sprague, and with the Sprague first selectman.

More information on complying with the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (http://www.epa.gov/region1/enforcement/epcra/index.html)

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