Ranor, Inc. and Techprecision Corporation are facing federal penalties under the Clean Water Act and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) for violations at their metal fabrication facility in Westminster, Mass.
EPA New England filed an administrative complaint earlier this month seeking penalties for the companies’ discharges of storm water without a permit and for their failure to submit to EPA Toxic Release Inventory Forms related to the processing at their facility of materials containing chromium, nickel and manganese. The complaint seeks a penalty of up to $157,500 for the storm water violations and up to $32,500 for each of the EPCRA violations.
The storm water discharge violations, which had occurred for a period of more than five years, are significant because the companies failed to implement best management practices to address storm water discharges from the facility and failed to conduct required monitoring, preventing the companies and EPA from knowing the quantity of pollutants being discharged into waters of the United States. These measures, when properly implemented, ensure that storm water runoff does not diminish water quality.
“The Clean Water Act violations prevented the EPA and the company from knowing the quantity of pollutants being discharged into waters of the United States,” noted Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. "The right-to-know violations are also significant because EPA and the general public need to know how facilities are affecting the neighborhoods in which they live.”
Activities that take place at industrial facilities, such as material handling and storage, are often exposed to the weather. As runoff from rain or snowmelt comes into contact with these materials, it picks up pollutants and transports them to nearby storm sewer systems, rivers, lakes, or coastal waters. Storm water pollution is a significant source of water quality problems for the nation’s waters.
The companies’ failure to comply with the chemical reporting requirements hampers the general public’s ability to obtain accurate, quantifiable data about the type and amount of pollutants being used and released in their neighborhoods.