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N.H. Based Printing Manufacturing Company Fined for Environmental Violations in South Hadley, Mass.

Release Date: 08/27/2008
Contact Information: Paula Ballentine (617) 918-1027

Boston, Mass. – (August 27, 2008) - A Hudson, New Hampshire-based company that manufactures digital plates for the printing industry has agreed to pay $31,975 and perform a supplemental environmental project (SEP) to resolve environmental violations related to a chemical spill at one of the company's South Hadley, Mass. manufacturing facilities, which is now closed.

On Oct. 30, 2006, 751 pounds of hydrofluoric acid, an extremely hazardous chemical, were released to the environment through a ventilation fan in the Presstek facility. The release caused the evacuation of approximately 90 residents living within a one-mile radius of the facility and required that the South Hadley public schools be closed as a precautionary measure the following day.

EPA’s Emergency Response office responded to the release, assisted with acid gas air monitoring support, and provided technical expertise to state and local emergency response teams. EPA also developed an assessment strategy for school buses parked near the facility, testing and clearing all vehicles.

Following the release, EPA alleged that Presstek failed to design and maintain a safe facility, in violation of the Clean Air Act. EPA alleged that insufficient safety controls and operator error were the likely causes of the chemical release.

EPA also alleged that Presstek failed to notify the National Response Center of the release, in violation of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act.

Presstek will perform a SEP, which is an environmentally beneficial project that the company voluntarily agreed to undertake in exchange for mitigation of the penalty. Presstek’s SEP involves developing a Green Chemistry curriculum for implementation in Massachusetts schools. Quincy Public High School will pilot the curriculum during the 2008-2009 school year. The curriculum will then be presented at a workshop open to Massachusetts educators during the summer of 2009. The SEP is worth $70,000

More Information:

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EPA's Air enforcement in New England (epa.gov/region1/enforcement/air)
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EPA’s chemical emergency management programs: http://www.epa.gov/emergencies/
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Superfund Enforcement (http://www.epa.gov/Compliance/cleanup/superfund/)