Railway Company Settles Clean Water Act Violations
Pan Am Railways has agreed to settle EPA allegations that it violated the federal Clean Water Act at two of its railyards operating in Waterville, Maine, and East Deerfield, Massachusetts. The company has agreed to pay a fine of $152,000 to resolve the violations.
According to allegations in a complaint filed by the EPA this past winter related to the Waterville facility, Pan Am’s stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP) did not adequately describe control measures necessary to minimize the impact of stormwater running offsite to nearby surface waters. Debris piles were located on site without proper controls in place, and oil staining was observed throughout the site.
The agency asserted that the company failed to maintain certain erosion control measures. In addition, the EPA alleged that the company failed to fully implement a Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) plan, a tool to avoid oil spills.
The EPA had also filed another complaint alleging similar violations related to the company’s East Deerfield facility. It alleged that Pan Am violated the conditions related to stormwater management of its individual NPDES permit, and also violated the federal Oil Pollution Prevention Regulations.
According to the complaint, the facility failed to include adequate site maps that contained all the required components of a SWPPP; failed to conduct annual stormwater inspections in 2011 and 2012; and failed to implement good housekeeping practices designed to maintain areas that are potential sources of pollutants. The facility also failed to stabilize an area of the site where significant erosion was occurring. In addition, the EPA alleged that the company failed to fully implement its SPCC plan at this site as well.
As part of the settlement, in addition to the financial penalty, Pan Am also agreed to undertake an Environmental Culture Assessment (ECA) and develop and implement action plans to improve the current environmental culture at five of its New England facilities located in: East Deerfield, Massachusetts, Ayer, Massachusetts, North Billerica, Massachusetts, Waterville, Maine, and South Portland, Maine. The goal of the ECA and action plans is to reduce the impact of rail operation on the environment.
In May the EPA and US Army finalized the Clean Water Rule in a move the agency says will make permitting less costly, easier and faster for businesses and industry as it more precisely defines water protected under the Clean Water Act.
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