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Environmental Enforcement: Metal Finisher Settles Hazardous Waste Claims

A metal finisher and electroplating company in Maine has agreed to pay over $38,000 to settle claims by the Environmental Protection Agency’s New England office that it violated state and federal laws regarding the disposal and handling of hazardous waste.

The EPA’s original penalty of $54,397 was filed in September 2010 following an inspection of Southern Maine Specialties’ (SMS) Saco, Maine facility in January of that year.

The inspection found that the plant violated state hazardous waste laws as well as the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act regarding the inadequate storage, labeling and general management of hazardous waste.

SMS also failed to provide adequate employee training on correct waste handling procedures, the EPA said.

SMS’s settlement – about $16,000 less than the EPA’s original proposed penalty – means the company accepts these specific violations leveled against it:

  • Failing to determine whether waste generated on-site was hazardous;
  • Storing containers of hazardous waste next to incompatible material;
  • Failing to provide required hazardous waste management training for employees;
  • Failing to manage hazardous wastes in accordance with requirements by storing two 55-gallon containers of sodium hydroxide sludge together. This was in excess of the limit of 55 gallons of one type of hazardous waste in one place;
  • Storing hazardous waste in a tank that was not designed for that purpose and that was not being managed in accordance with the required tank operating standards.

After the January 2010 inspection the plant was quickly brought into line with the laws, the EPA has stated.

The EPA’s New England office has also announced a $32,000 settlement for claims it made against a company that makes metal roofing equipment, for failing to file correct reporting of its actions.

The Lamb & Ritchie Company failed to file a Toxic Chemical Release Inventory Form for lead compounds being handled or used in its Sauguss, Mass., facility from 2007 to 2008.

According to the EPA complaint, failing to file the report violated the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.

This law is supposed to make communities aware of chemical releases in their neighborhood that could affect the environment or the health of residents.

The Feb. 4, 2011 settlement stems from a July 9, 2010 inspection of the Lamb & Ritchie plant. The inspection followed information passed to the EPA from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

Picture credit: Lamb & Ritchie

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