Environmental Enforcement Roundup: Printing Co. Fined $385,000; Ocean Dumping Violations; Oil Co. Settlement

by | Dec 8, 2010

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Printing Company Fined $385,000 for Clean Air Violations


A printing company has agreed to pay a penalty of $80,000 and to spend $305,000 to replace old, polluting wood stoves in western Massachusetts with new, cleaner models to settle claims by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it violated the federal Clean Air Act.

Interprint, Inc. of Pittsfield, Mass., which is owned by a German company, has agreed to help homeowners replace their wood stoves with EPA-certified wood stoves or other cleaner, more efficient home heating equipment such as gas or propane heaters. Interprint will provide a voucher—typically for $1,000 per household—as an incentive to replace pre-1988 woodstoves. Pre-1988 woodstoves are a significant source of indoor and outdoor air pollution. A new wood stove installation costs about $3,000.

“The Pittsfield area will benefit from this wood stove change-out project,” Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England regional office said in a statement. “Homeowners will get help with buying new wood stoves, which will burn cleaner and more efficiently. This project will create green jobs, reduce fuel consumption, and improve air quality in communities by reducing the harmful pollutants that come from wood smoke.”

Interprint designs and prints decor paper used as the design layer in laminate surfaces such as counter tops, flooring, furniture, and store fixtures. In the printing process, Interprint uses large amounts of inks that contain volatile organic compounds and hazardous air pollutants.

Interprint built a new printing facility in Pittsfield in 2004 without applying for a permit required under the Clean Air Act’s new source review provisions. In addition, Interprint began operating the new facility in 2005 without complying with new source review requirements for VOC emissions, Title V operating permit requirements, and the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Printing and Publishing Facilities.

The consent decree, lodged in federal court, requires the company to come into compliance with the Clean Air Act by obtaining the proper permits and significantly reducing its VOC and hazardous air pollutant emissions. Interprint has reformulated its inks to reduce VOC and hazardous air pollutant content, and has demonstrated that its new inks provide emissions reductions equivalent to those achieved through stringent add-on controls. As a result, Interprint’s new formulations represent the lowest achievable emission reductions.

Interprint began operating in Pittsfield in 1988 at 125 Pecks Road. In May 2004, the company began construction of its new facility at 101 Central Berkshire Boulevard. The Pittsfield location is Interprint’s only U.S. facility.

The EPA action grew out of a joint EPA and state DEP inspection of the facility in July 2007.

The consent decree, lodged in the U.S. District Court, will be subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court.

Two Companies Face Fines for Ocean Dumping Violations  

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have brought enforcement actions against two New England firms for improper disposal of dredged sediments in ocean waters during recent dredging projects in Massachusetts Bay harbor communities. 

EPA pursued the enforcement actions under the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA), commonly known as the Ocean Dumping Act. In both cases, EPA has coordinated closely with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (which is the actual permitting authority for dredging projects) and with offices of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, including Mass. Dept. of Environmental Protection (MADEP) and Coastal Zone Management (CZM). The goal of the Ocean Dumping Act is to regulate the dumping of all types of materials into ocean waters and to prevent or strictly limit the dumping into ocean waters of any material which could adversely affect human health or welfare or the marine environment. 

Cashman Dredging & Marine Contracting Co., LLC, based in Quincy, Mass. reached a settlement with EPA for alleged violations occurring during its dredging of the Porter and Crane Rivers in Danvers, Mass. Cashman was found by the state and federal agencies, including EPA, the Army Corps, MA DEP and CZM, of performing a “short dump” of sediment in Beverly Harbor, which was well outside of the prescribed ocean dumping zone authorized by the permit issued by the Army Corps of Engineers. Unauthorized dumping of dredged sediment within Beverly Harbor harmed the aquatic environment, which was documented by an EPA divers that investigated the dump area. 

EPA also alleged that the company over dredged in some areas and took unauthorized sediments for disposal in the Massachusetts Bay Disposal Site. The state also brought a suit for illegal dredging and disposal violations under state law. 

“When companies like Cashman perform work in the Commonwealth’s sensitive wetlands and coastal ecosystems, they must comply with the permits issued by MassDEP for that work,” Attorney General Coakley said in a statement. “Here, Cashman’s alleged failure to carefully conduct its dredging activities damaged important fisheries habitat in Beverly Harbor. The civil penalty and habitat improvement work required will alleviate the damage Cashman caused to the harbor seabed, and also help ensure that companies adhere to permit requirements during dredging projects.” 

Working cooperatively with the state and federal agencies, the company reached a settlement of both the federal and state actions. Under the terms of the settlement of the Federal case, Cashman will pay a penalty of $50,000, which includes performance of a “supplemental environmental project” favored by the federal and state natural resource agencies and the Town of Beverly Harbormaster. Specifically, the company will install in Beverly Harbor “low impact” moorings that will prevent turbidity and allow for eelgrass habitat recovery. This project will produce environmental and/or public health benefits beyond those required by law. 

In a separate action, EPA filed an administrative complaint against Burnham Associates, Inc., based in Salem, Mass. for alleged MPRSA violations associated with a dredging project in the Town of Hingham, Mass. EPA reviewed documentation that showed that on at least 28 occasions, Burnham dumped dredged sediments in areas of the Massachusetts Bay Disposal Site that were in some cases up to one nautical mile from their prescribed ocean dumping area. 

Burnham faces fines of up to the maximum allowed under the federal statute which is $70,000 for each disposal event.

Pacific Functional Fluids Fined over $21,000 for Chemical Reporting Violations


Pacific Functional Fluids LLC., agreed to pay over $21,000 to settle hazardous chemical reporting violations at its facility in Tacoma, Wash., according to a consent agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The company prepares, stores and distributes petroleum and other products at its facility located at 2244 Port of Tacoma Road.According to EPA, the company stored large amounts of hazardous substances without properly reporting them to the Tacoma Fire Department, Pierce County Local Emergency Planning Committee and the State Emergency Response Commission.
“Local emergency planners and responders need this information to do their jobs. It’s critical for them in order to protect the community and themselves when a dangerous chemical release occurs,” Wally Moon, Prevention and Preparedness Team Leader from the EPA Emergency Response Unit said in a statement.
The facility stores 10,000 pounds or more each of ethylene glycol, potassium hydroxide and acetic acid, which is the threshold for required reporting under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act. These chemicals can pose a serious health hazard when released, most notably respiratory risks.  
According to documents, the company failed to file inventory forms, as required by law, with state and local emergency response entities.
In addition to the penalty, the company agreed to purchase and install a new containment system worth more than $31,000 for its railcar slots. It is designed to capture and channel spills, including catastrophic releases, guiding them to a receiving tank. The system will prevent chemicals from entering the environment and provide a higher level of safety for emergency responders in the event of a release.

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