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Columbia N.H. Sand and Gravel Facility Faces Fine for Discharging Polluted Water

Release Date: 03/27/2012
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – March 27, 2012) – CSG Holdings, Inc. of Columbia, N.H. faces a possible fine of up to $532,500 from EPA for allowing polluted stormwater and process water from its Columbia facility to flow into nearby waters, in violation of the Clean Water Act.  CSG Holdings is the former operator of Columbia Sand and Gravel, a mining facility on the banks of the Connecticut River.

According to allegations in the complaint, CSG Holdings discharged process waste waters and stormwater from the facility without proper permits and violated the federal Oil Pollution Prevention Regulations by failing to prepare and implement a Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Plan. The recent complaint against CSG Holdings states that the violations were discovered by EPA’s New England office in 2010.

Stormwater monitoring by CSG Holdings confirmed that stormwater discharges from its sand and gravel mining and aggregate processing operations contain total suspended solids at levels that exceed permit benchmarks for their industrial sector.  When a facility's stormwater discharges exceed benchmark levels, the facility must review its stormwater control measures to determine if changes are necessary and make these changes as needed.

The Clean Water Act prohibits the discharge of process waste waters without a permit. The law also requires that industrial facilities, such as sand and gravel facilities, have controls in place to minimize pollutants from being discharged with stormwater into nearby waterways. Each site must have a stormwater pollution prevention plan that sets guidelines and best management practices that the company will follow to prevent runoff from being contaminated by pollutants. Without on-site controls, runoff from sand and gravel facilities can flow directly to the nearest waterway and can cause water quality impairments such as siltation of rivers, beach closings, fishing restrictions, and habitat degradation. As stormwater flows over these sites, it can pick up pollutants, including sediment, used oil, and other debris. Polluted process water discharges or stormwater runoff can harm or kill fish and wildlife and can affect drinking water quality.

Every year, thousands of gallons of oil are spilled from oil storage facilities, polluting New England waters. Even the effects of smaller spills add up and damage aquatic life, as well as public and private property. Spill prevention plans are critical to prevent such spills or, if they do occur, adequately address them.

In May 2011, CSG Holdings sold its Columbia, N.H. facility to another owner/operator. The new owner maintains the facility’s stormwater management system and is authorized to discharge stormwater under a general permit covering discharges from industrial facilities.

More information: Stormwater control for Industrial facilities (http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater/indust.cfm)

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