EPA and U.S. Attorney Announce $1.3 Million Enforcement Settlement for Clean Water Act Violations
United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan and Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency's New England Office, announced that the United States has reached a settlement with Boston Sand & Gravel Company ("BS&G") and two of its subsidiaries, Ossipee Aggregates Corporation and Southeastern Concrete, Inc., to resolve claims that the companies violated the federal Clean Water Act at several facilities in Massachusetts. A civil complaint also was filed with the consent decree.
Under the consent decree signed by EPA, BS&G, Ossipee and Southeastern, BS&G will pay a civil penalty of $897,983 to resolve the government's claims. BS&G also will complete a supplemental environmental project (SEP) that will cost the company $445,000. The SEP is a wastewater recycling project at BS&G's Charlestown, Mass., facility. The project is designed to reduce discharges of wastewater and conserve potable water by recycling waste concrete slurry.
After being informed of the government's civil enforcement action BS&G made considerable effort to achieve compliance at its facilities. The consent decree requires BS&G to maintain company compliance with the Clean Water Act in the future. The consent decree also requires the company to conduct multimedia compliance audits at its Massachusetts facilities. Additionally, BS&G has agreed to develop a comprehensive environmental management system which will identify potential environmental problems and correct them before they occur.
"EPA found significant Clean Water Act violations by Boston Sand and Gravel, the most serious at its Charlestown facility which is in the Charles River Basin," Varney said. "With this consent decree the company is showing not only a willingness to correct the problems but also to prevent pollution in the future."
The civil complaint alleges the following violations of the Clean Water Act at facilities located in Charlestown, Everett, Weymouth and South Boston, Mass.
According to the complaint, at BS&G's Charlestown facility, located beneath the loop ramps near the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge, BS&G discharged truck wash water containing waste concrete material into the Millers River without a proper permit; failed to properly monitor and report for process wastewater discharges at its permitted outfall; discharged stormwater without a permit; failed to monitor and report for stormwater; and failed to amend its stormwater pollution prevention plan.
At a facility in Everett, Ossipee discharged stormwater to the Island End River and the Mystic River without a permit; failed to complete an adequate stormwater pollution prevention plan; and failed to complete a timely and adequate spill prevention, control and countermeasure plan.
At a facility in Weymouth, Southeastern discharged stormwater to tributaries of the Old Swamp River without a permit and failed to complete a timely and adequate stormwater pollution prevention plan.
At its South Boston facility, BS&G failed to complete a timely and adequate spill prevention, control and countermeasure plan.
"We considered these to be serious violations which warranted a significant penalty," Sullivan said. "The water resources of this Commonwealth are a precious resource that deserve vigorous protection. Companies who get caught violating the federal Clean Water Act can expect to face stiff consequences."
The most significant violations occurred at BS&G's Charlestown facility. The complaint alleges that the company repeatedly discharged process wastewater which had extremely high levels of pH, a corrosive, into the Millers River without a permit. "This high pH posed serious risks to wildlife, both birds and aquatic organisms, in the Millers River," Varney said. The Millers River is part of the Charles River basin and BS&G's Charlestown facility is located within several hundred feet of both the Millers and Charles Rivers. Making the Charles River fishable and swimmable by Earth Day 2005 is a major priority for EPA New England.
The case was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney George Henderson in Sullivan's Civil Division and Michael Wagner, EPA Enforcement Counsel.