Advance Coatings Co. agrees to pay penalties after observed discharge
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that Advance Coatings Co. in Westminster, MA has agreed to pay penalties totaling $38,860 for allegedly violating clean water laws.
The EPA alleged that on September 30, 2014, the company was filling containers with styrene as normal, when a container was overfilled by a staff member and spilled onto the floor.
The following day, the company was notified by a city employee that the product had entered the publicly owned East Fitchburg sewer treatment facility. The Styrene had entered the sewer system through a compromised concrete berm that was around the floor drain.
According to the EPA, " the Styrene interfered with East Fitchburg's treatment process and some of the Styrene passed through the treatment system, resulting in an unauthorized discharge into the Nashua River." Styrene is a resin and part of the Benzene family, which is a toxic chemical and a known carcinogen that does not dissolve in water.
Wetlands and rivers are regulated
The Nashua River is fed by the Whitman River drainage basin and wetlands tributary, which is protected in part by the Oil Pollution Prevention regulations. Advance Coatings is located in the drainage basin, and therefore, subject to these regulations.
The EPA indicated in a 2015 follow-up investigation that Advance Coatings did not have a spill prevention, control, and countermeasure plan in place, which is required under the regulations.
Follow-up investigation revealed missing permit
Advance Coatings also did not have the required National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit for the discharge of the sites stormwater. As a result, stormwater from the site was discharged by the company without the required authorization.
Curt Spalding, regional administrator of New England's EPA office pointed out that the company "will now be taking necessary steps to reduce the chance of an oil or chemical discharge that could harm people's health or our environment" by addressing the noted issues.