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Environmental Enforcement: Pharmco of Conn. to Pay $164,109 to Settle Clean Air Act Claims

Pharmco Products, a Connecticut company that deals in commercial alcohol and chemicals, has agreed to pay $164,109 to settle claims leveled by the Environmental Protection Agency that it violated sections of the federal Clean Air Act.

According to a complaint filed Dec. 30 by the EPA, Pharmco failed to submit a risk management plan to the agency relating to the company’s sporadic storage of pentane – a compound regularly used in manufacturing and laboratory work – in violation of the Clean Air Act.

In addition, the Brookfield, Conn., company failed to alert emergency responders of the presence of more than two dozen chemicals and failed to file Toxic Release Inventory reports for four chemicals, in violation of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, the EPA alleged.

Pharmco has come into compliance, the EPA said, and has put into place a sophisticated inventory management system that should help prevent the company from exceeding the regulatory thresholds of chemicals that are subject to regulations regarding risk management plans.

The improved inventory system should also help the company accurately report its chemicals to emergency responders and the public, in compliance with the federal right-to-know law, according to the EPA.

Pharmco was cooperative at all stages of the EPA’s investigation and enforcement, the agency said.

The discovery of the alleged violations at Pharmco and a few other chemical warehouses in New England has led to a broader effort to inspect and ensure compliance at warehouses storing chemicals. Pharmco is one of several chemical warehouses or distribution companies in New England that have been found violating environmental law. The EPA has said that more enforcement actions should be expected.

In February, the EPA’s New England office announced settlements against two companies for improper handling and storage of potentially hazardous chemicals.

Southern Maine Specialities – a metal finisher and electroplating company in Maine – agreed to pay over $38,000 to settle claims by the EPA that it violated state and federal laws regarding the disposal and handling of hazardous waste.

After an inspection, the agency 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.

The second case involved the Lamb & Ritchie roofing company based in Massachusetts. The firm paid $32,000 to settle claims by the EPA that it had mishandled lead compounds being used in its Sauguss, Mass,. facility from 2007 to 2008.

The 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.

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