A scrap metal processing facility run by a company in Springfield has agreed to pay $165,000 and to make system improvements.
This will be done to settle allegations that it illegally discharged industrial storm water into a tributary of the Chicopee River. According to Attorney General Maura Healey, the majority of the money will fund projects to improve local water quality and health inequities, reported the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The consent decree is filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Pending court approval, it settles the allegations, which are that Joseph Freedman Co., Inc. violated the federal Clean Water Act by illegally discharged polluted industrial storm water from its facility through Springfield’s municipal storm drain system and into Poor Brook.
Poor Brook is a tributary of the Chicopee River. The illegal discharges did not comply with its federal industrial storm water discharge permit, reported the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The neighborhood surrounding the facility is considered by the state as an environmental justice community due to its disproportionate environmental impacts on residents.
“This company was illegally polluting the Chicopee River and the City of Springfield’s storm drain system with dirty industrial storm water, potentially posing a threat to our aquatic ecosystems and to public health, in a community already burdened with environmental injustices,” said Attorney General Maura Healey, reported the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. “This settlement will benefit the community by improving the water quality of the Chicopee River watershed and supporting health equity programs in an underserved neighborhood.”
According to the Attorney General's complaint, Freedman’s sampling results show that for many years it has been discharging storm water with levels of pollutants many times higher than standards established by the U.S. EPA
The company is required to pay $115,000 to the community-based organization, Neighbor to Neighbor, to fund projects that benefit the Chicopee River watershed and address the health inequities and environmental injustice issues that these communities of Springfield face. The settlement also requires the company to pay the state $50,000 to offset the costs of the Attorney General’s enforcement efforts and for future monitoring of the company’s compliance.