Feb 12, 2007

Aerospace Company Fined $12 Million for Illegal Discharge

Hamilton Sundstrand Corporation, a manufacturer of aerospace systems, pleaded guilty to two counts of violating the federal Clean Water Act. The company admitted to discharging hexavalent chromium and copper into Connecticut’s Farmington River, over the amount allowed by the company’s permit.

According to the Environmental News Service, Hamilton Sundstrand has agreed to be placed on probation for five years and pay a fine of $1 million. Other penalties include contributions to environmental programs and facility upgrades that could cost the company $11 million.

The Environmental News Service reports that at the company headquarters in Windsor Locks, Conn., Hamilton Sundstrand generates various metal finishing and parts-testing wastewaters that contain toxic pollutants. Some of the wastewater is treated onsite and then discharged into the Farmington River under a federal permit.

Hamilton Sundstrand pleaded guilty to the fact that from 2001 through 2003 the chrome reactor did not consistently meet hexavalent chromium permit limits. At times, the data was recorded and then altered to conceal the violations. In addition, on September 2, 2003, the company knowingly discharged tens of thousands of gallons of contaminated wastewater to the Farmington River. The wastewater was not analyzed and the company did not notify the Connecticut DEP.
Tests later reveled that the concentrations of copper in the wastewater were over seven times the maximum levels allowed by the company’s permit.

The environmental upgrades the company is required to make will cost the about $5,600,000. If the amount ends up being less, then the company must pay the difference to the Connecticut Statewide SEP Account. Hamilton Sundstrand also must submit progress reports to the Government and the CT DEP.

The Farmington River Watershed supplies water to both Massachusetts and Connecticut. The reservoirs and aquifers provide water to one million people, about one-third of Connecticut’s population.