Two companies operating under the control of Cascades USA, Inc. have agreed to settle EPA allegations that they violated the federal Clean Water Act. The companies are Cascades Auburn Fiber, operating in Auburn, Maine; and Norampac New England, Inc., operating in Thompson, Conn.
Cascades Auburn Fiber has agreed to pay a fine of $65,000 for alleged clean water violations at its Auburn, Maine pulp mill. Norampac New England has agreed to pay a fine of $100,000 for alleged clean water violations at its Thompson, Conn. corrugated cardboard manufacturing facility.
According to allegations in a complaint filed by EPA this past summer, Cascades violated the conditions of its stormwater permit, and violated the federal Oil Pollution Prevention Regulations by failing to prepare and implement a Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Plan. According to the complaint, stormwater control measures that Cascades had in place were inadequate to prevent on-site pollutants from combining with stormwater and discharging to nearby surface waters. The company also failed to conduct certain monitoring and stormwater sampling as required by its stormwater permit.
EPA also filed a complaint against Norampac this past summer, alleging that the company violated the conditions of its stormwater permit, and violated the federal Oil Pollution Prevention Regulations by failing to fully implement its Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Plan. According to the complaint, the facility failed to implement best management practices described in its Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan related to site maintenance, failed to conduct certain inspections, and failed to take certain corrective measures after learning of benchmark sampling exceedences.
The Clean Water Act requires that certain industrial facilities, such as pulp manufacturers and corrugated cardboard manufacturers, 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 describes the best management practices that the company will follow to prevent runoff from being contaminated by pollutants.
Without adequate on-site controls, stormwater runoff can flow directly to the nearest waterway and can cause water quality impairments such as siltation of rivers, beach closings, fishing restrictions, and habitat degradation. As stormwater flows over these sites, it can pick up pollutants, including sediment, biological and chemical oxygen demand, and chlorine. The law also prohibits the discharge of process waste waters without a permit. Untreated wastewater discharges and stormwater runoff can harm or kill fish and wildlife and can affect drinking water quality.
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, to adequately address them.