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Rhode Island Concrete Manufacturer Pays Penalty for Clean Water Violations

Release Date: 07/20/2010
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – July 20, 2010) – Subject to court approval, Cardi Materials, LLC of Warwick, R.I., will pay a $55,000 civil penalty and perform an additional project costing $168,500 to resolve numerous violations of the Clean Water Act at its Warwick concrete manufacturing facility.

In addition to a financial penalty, the proposed settlement requires Cardi to eliminate all process water discharges from the facility. Process waters include waters from concrete production manufacturing operations such as vehicle and equipment cleaning, and concrete truck washout and can contain caustic chemicals that are toxic to fish and other aquatic life. These measures will result in the elimination of caustic chemical discharges, the elimination of tens of thousands of pounds of sediment being discharged into the environmental annually, as well as significant reductions in oil and grease, iron and nitrate and nitrogen.

Further, the settlement announced today requires Cardi to perform a comprehensive environmental audit of its facility to ensure that it is in compliance with all federal environmental laws. The company must also conduct additional monitoring and reporting of stormwater discharges, hire personnel certified in stormwater management to oversee compliance with stormwater permits, and provide training in stormwater management for all operational employees. 

“Stormwater run-off from industrial facilities can carry sediment, debris and other pollutants into surrounding waterways,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Protecting our waters is everybody’s responsibility, and we expect others in the industry to assess the adequacy of their own stormwater controls.”

The proposed settlement also requires Cardi to perform a “Supplemental Environmental Project” (SEP), costing $168,500, to install porous pavement along a park road located in Hunt’s Mills, a park located in East Providence, R.I. The current roadway is made of impervious materials that are in poor condition. Stormwater from the road currently runs into wetlands adjacent to the Ten Mile River and into the Ten Mile River directly. The SEP will not only serve to demonstrate the use of green building and sustainable practices, but also will reduce stormwater runoff, increase groundwater recharge, and reduce the need for irrigation.

The complaint, filed in federal court with the settlement, alleges unpermitted process water and stormwater discharges from the company’s concrete truck washing and loading operations, and failure to develop and implement a Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Plan under the Oil Pollution Prevention regulations. 

For a period after receiving a permit to discharge stormwater, the complaint alleges that Cardi failed to implement best management practices to minimize the pollutant levels in stormwater discharged offsite. The stormwater, contaminated with process wastewater, and containing total suspended solids, oil and grease, metals, and caustic chemicals, flowed into Three Pond Brook, which flows into the Pawtuxet River and ultimately, to Narragansett Bay.

The Clean Water Act requires that many industrial operations, such as ready-mix concrete plants and asphalt batching plants, have controls in place to prevent pollutants from being discharged with stormwater into nearby waterways. Each site must have a stormwater pollution prevention plan that establishes and implements best management practices that the company will follow to prevent runoff from being contaminated by pollutants.

Without onsite controls, as stormwater flows over these sites, it can pick up pollutants, and carry them to nearby waterways where they contribute to water quality impairments that can harm or kill fish and wildlife, and impair or degrade uses, such as swimming, fishing and drinking. 

Cardi is required to pay the penalty within 30 days of the court’s approval of the settlement. 

This settlement is the latest in a series of federal enforcement actions to address stormwater violations from industrial facilities and construction sites around the country. Last August, Aggregate Industries - Northeast Region Inc., paid a $2.75 million civil penalty and implemented a regional evaluation and compliance program to resolve numerous violations of the Clean Water Act at 23 facilities in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. That penalty was the largest ever assessed to a nationwide ready-mix concrete company for stormwater violations under the Clean Water Act. 

More Information:

The consent decree, lodged in the U.S. District Court for Rhode Island, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court. A copy of the consent decree will be available on the Department of Justice Web site at http://www.usdoj.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html

EPA enforcement of Clean Water Act in New England (www.epa.gov/region1/enforcement/water)

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