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In a consent agreement with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, American Sugar Refining Inc., which produces Domino Sugar, has agreed to pay a $37,500 penalty to settle Clean Water Act violations at its raw sugar refinery, 1100 Key Highway-East, Baltimore, Md.
The violations focused on storm water runoff that flows from the refinery into the Northwest Harbor of the Patapsco River. Uncontrolled storm water runoff from industrial sites often contain raw materials, products, and byproducts resulting from the industry's manufacturing process, in this case, primarily sugar.
The biodegradation of sugar in streams can deplete water of the dissolved oxygen that supports aquatic life. The Clean Water Act requires owners of certain industrial operations to obtain a permit before discharging storm water runoff into waterways. These permits require pollution-reducing "best management practices" such as spill prevention safeguards, material storage and coverage requirements, runoff reduction measures, and employee training.
A July 2003 inspection of the American Sugar refinery by EPA and the Maryland Department of the Environment revealed several site conditions that fell short of requirements in the facility's state-issued permit. Specifically, the inspectors observed the following conditions that were likely to contribute to contaminated storm water runoff:
Outside storage of uncovered piles of calcium carbonate.
Syrupy substance outside the raw sugar shed.
Runoff leaking from open trash containers used for the disposal of sugar and manufacturing byproducts.
Broken sugar boxes in open rolloff trash containers.
Spillage of raw sugar at an unloading dock.
Failure to clean spillage of raw sugar at a dock and pier at the facility.
The company has cooperated with EPA to resolve violations, and has taken prompt action to comply with Clean Water Act requirements.