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EPA Settlement Requires Biddeford, Maine Company to Buy Emergency Response Equipment for Local Fire Department

Release Date: 12/04/2014
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

BOSTON – An EPA settlement with a Biddeford, Maine manufacturer for the company’s alleged failure to file required toxic inventory information requires the company to provide local emergency responders with $13,240 of equipment that will help firefighters to better protect local residents in emergencies.

Under the settlement, Fiber Materials Inc. will also pay a $6,935 penalty, settling EPA claims that it violated the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act by failing to complete and submit a toxic release inventory form for polycyclic aromatic compounds, or PACs, which are toxic. The company will donate the safety equipment to the Biddeford Fire Department to use during emergency response activities.

The equipment being purchased by Fiber Materials as part of the agreement includes specialized equipment to aid responders in entering confined spaces such as chemical tanks; a gas detection unit that can measure the levels of various gases in the air so that responders do not enter without appropriate protection; and air cylinders that will increase the amount of time crews may safely spend responding to emergencies in dangerous atmospheres.

This case stems from an EPA inspection earlier this year. EPA alleged that Fiber Materials processed more than 4,000 pounds of PACs in 2012, far more than the 100-pound threshold for reporting.

“Failing to file toxic inventory forms deprives the community of its right to know about releases and the presence of toxic chemicals in the neighborhood,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “EPA is pleased that in this settlement, the local community will benefit from their local fire department having access to specialized equipment to better protect health during emergencies.”

The Toxics Release Inventory is a public right-to-know requirement that tracks the management of certain toxic chemicals that may pose a threat to human health and the environment. U.S. facilities in different industry sectors must report annually how much of each chemical is released to the environment and/or managed through recycling, energy recovery and treatment. A "release" of a chemical means that it is emitted to the air or water, or placed in some type of land disposal.

More information on Toxic Release Inventory: http://www2.epa.gov/toxics-release-inventory-tri-program/learn-about-toxics-release-inventory

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