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EPA fines Red Shield $126,000 for wastewater violations at Old Town pulp mill in Maine

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EPA fines Red Shield $126,000 for wastewater violations at Old Town pulp mill in Maine

March 27, 2013 - 09:12
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BOSTON, March 27, 2013 (Press Release) -Red Shield Acquisition LLC has agreed to pay a $126,000 fine to resolve claims that it violated the terms of wastewater and stormwater permits at its Old Town, Maine pulp mill, in violation of the Clean Water Act.

EPA alleged that Red Shield, which does business under the trade name Old Town Fuel & Fiber, discharged process wastewater and stormwater from the facility in violation of the terms and conditions of permits issued by the Maine Dept. of Environmental Protection. According to EPA, Red Shield failed to comply with the requirement under its wastewater permit to properly operate and maintain all components of the wastewater treatment system at the facility. EPA also alleged that Red Shield failed to adequately maintain control measures put in place to reduce pollutants in stormwater discharges from the facility and failed to properly prepare a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan for the site. Red Shield also violated the federal Oil Pollution Prevention Regulations by failing to fully maintain and implement its Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Plan.

The Clean Water Act prohibits the discharge of process wastewater in violation of the terms and conditions of a permit and requires that industrial facilities, such as pulp mills, have controls in place to minimize pollutants from being discharged with stormwater into nearby waterways. Each site must have a stormwater pollution prevention plan that sets guidelines and best management practices that the company will follow to prevent runoff from being contaminated by pollutants. Without on-site controls, runoff from pulp mills can flow directly to the nearest waterway and can have significant effects on water quality and the aquatic ecosystem, including effects on oxygen demand, interference with photosynthesis, and disruption to the aquatic food chain.

Every year, thousands of gallons of oil are spilled from oil storage facilities, polluting New England waters. Even the effects of smaller spills add up and damage aquatic life, as well as public and private property. Spill prevention plans are critical to prevent such spills or, if they do occur, adequately address them.

The company cooperated with EPA throughout its investigation, and since EPA's Complaint was filed in August 2012, the company has completed some work and pledged to complete additional work to fix the problems identified at the facility.

Source: US Environmental Protection Agency.