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Six New England Companies Face Fines for Chemical Reporting Violations

Release Date: 11/03/2010
Contact Information: Paula Ballentine, 617-918-1027

(Boston, Mass. – November 3, 2010) – Six companies in New England that store, manufacture or use chemicals in their operations have been charged recently by EPA with violating the federal right-to-know law meant to protect the health and safety of citizens and the nearby environment.

All six companies – four in Connecticut, one in Massachusetts and one in New Hampshire – were charged with failing to file reports that are required by federal laws that ensure residents, as well as emergency responders, have the necessary information to protect the community and the environment.

The companies face fines ranging from just over $8,000 to nearly $139,000 for violating the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act. The violations involved a number of different chemicals, including sulfuric acid, nitric acid, anhydrous ammonia, styrene, methyl methacrylate, propylene, diesel fuel, lead, quench oil and zinc compounds.

“When companies that store chemicals fail to file these required forms, the community’s first responders do not have adequate information about chemicals present on a site that could be released into the neighborhood in the event of an accident,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Without this information, the local and state responders cannot properly plan for an emergency, and the community is deprived of information relevant to the health and safety of its residents.”

Companies charged by EPA with violating the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act were:

Cascades Boxboard Group
in Versailles, Conn. – EPA has proposed that Cascades Boxboard, which is owned by Cascades Canada, pay a $138,866 penalty for six violations of EPCRA. According to the complaint, Cascades Boxboard failed to file a chemical inventory form for 2007 for sulfuric acid stored at the facility. According to EPA, Cascades Boxboard stored 57 times the minimum threshold level of 500 pounds required for reporting. The company also failed to file the required Toxic Release Inventory forms for chlorine dioxide in 2007, vinyl acetate in 2008, and nitrate compounds for 2006, 2007, and 2008.

BJ’s Wholesale Club
in Uxbridge, Mass. –BJ’s has agreed to pay $27,000 to settle claims by EPA it failed to submit the proper forms to state and local emergency officials for 2006, 2007 and 2008. According to EPA, BJ’s did not file its chemical inventory form for sulfuric acid, lead and diesel fuel, all of which were present at the facility at levels above that required for reporting. The complaint grew out of a March 2009 EPA inspection.

Scott Metal Finishing
in Bristol, Conn. – Scott Metal Finishing has agreed to pay a penalty of $11,115 to settle claims by EPA it violated chemical reporting laws. According to EPA, this commercial metal finishing facility failed to file an emergency and hazardous chemical inventory form for 2006 with local and state responders. Scott failed to file the form for nitric acid, which was present above the minimum threshold level. The case grew out of a routine inspection in July 2007.

Kalwall Corporation
, Flat Sheet Division in Bow, N.H. – Kalwall, which makes fiberglass flat sheets, has agreed to pay a penalty of $25,100 to settle claims by EPA that the company failed to file Toxic Release Inventory forms for styrene, methyl methacrylate, and propylene in 2008.

The Sousa Corporation
in West Hartford, Conn. – Sousa agreed in March 2010 to pay $8,014 to settle claims by EPA that it failed to file a required chemical inventory report in 2007 with local and state and emergency officials. According to EPA, Sousa failed to report on anhydrous ammonia and quench oil, which were present above the threshold for reporting.

Highway Safety Corporation
in Glastonbury, Conn. – Highway Safety, doing business as Connecticut Galvanizing, has agreed to pay a penalty of $42,700 to settle claims by EPA that it failed to file Toxic Release Inventory forms for zinc compounds that it manufactured in 2006, 2007 and 2008. The zinc compounds are manufactured during the galvanizing process and must be reported even though they are recycled.

Sulfuric acid, a hazardous chemical, is extremely corrosive and presents significant risks from contact, including lung damage from inhalation of vapors.

Nitric acid is an extremely hazardous chemical as a result of its health risks and reactivity. It is corrosive to the skin, eyes, mucous membranes and respiratory tract. Additionally, nitric acid can cause combustible material to ignite upon contact, which may produce toxic gases.

Anhydrous ammonia is an extremely hazardous chemical and quench oil is also a hazardous chemical.

Lead presents a reactivity risk and a threat to response personal from contact, including skin and lung contact. Diesel fuel is a flammable liquid and vapor and poses health risks from contact, including skin irritation and lung damage.

More information: EPA enforcement of EPCRA in New England:
http://www.epa.gov/region1/enforcement/epcra/index.html

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