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Coatings Company Settles with EPA

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

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A Massachusetts polyester resin and specialty chemical products manufacturer has settled allegations it violated federal clean water laws.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reached a settlement with Advance Coatings Company to resolve federal Clean Water Act violations, according to the agency’s Thursday (April 7) news release.

The alleged violations included (1) unauthorized discharge of stormwater into waters of the United States and failure to apply for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NDPES”) permit for the discharge of stormwater associated with industrial activity; (2) failure to prepare a Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (“SPCC”) Plan; and (3) violation of the general pretreatment regulations.

Nashua River in Fitchburg, MA
 By Nick Allen / CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

EPA alleged the styrene spill at the Advance Coatings site interfered with East Fitchburg’s treatment process, and some of the styrene passed through the treatment system, resulting in an unauthorized discharge into the Nashua River.

Advance Coatings will pay a $38,860 penalty as part of the agreement.

Styrene Spill

According to EPA, the incident occurred Sept. 30, 2014, as employees of the Westminster, MA, coatings company were filling containers with styrene, a chemical compound used in making resins, per their normal routine.

The staff members accidentally over-filled one container, spilling an unknown amount on the floor. The workers were unaware the product had entered the sewer until a city employee notified them the next morning, EPA said.

Advance Coatings then learned the styrene had run into the East Fitchburg publicly owned sewer treatment system because a concrete berm surrounding a floor drain leading to the sewer was compromised.

The styrene interfered with East Fitchburg’s treatment process, EPA said, and some of the styrene passed through the treatment system, resulting in an unauthorized discharge into the Nashua River.

Follow-Up Inspection

The EPA’s follow-up inspection in April 2015 determined that Advance Coatings sits in the drainage basin of a wetlands tributary to the Whitman River that flows to the Nashua River. This site makes it subject to the Oil Pollution Prevention regulations, but the company had failed to prepare a Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Plan, EPA alleged.

Advance Coatings also failed to get the required National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit and discharged stormwater from its site without necessary authorization, EPA noted.

According to the Notice of Proposed Assessment of Class II Clean Water Act Section 309(g)(2)(B) and 311(b)(6)(B)(ii) Administrative Penalties and Opportunity to Comment, the company faced penalties of up to $16,000 per violation for each day during which the stormwater and general pretreatment regulation violations continued up to a maximum of $187,500 and penalties of up to $16,000 per violation for each day during which the SPCC violations continued up to a maximum of $187,500.  

“By addressing these concerns, the facility will now be taking necessary steps to reduce the chance of an oil or chemical discharge that could harm people’s health or our environment,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office.

About the Company

Advance Coatings Company, incorporated in 1939, did not respond to a request for comment on the case. According to its website, the company employs a staff of 25 and manufactures a full line of polyester resin and specialty chemical products onsite at its Westminster location.

The company produces a variety of gelcoats, resins, coatings and dispersions including general purpose resins, orthophthalic and ortho blend resins, class 1 and 2 low emission fire shield resins and putties, vinyl ester resins, aqua shield resins, tooling gelcoats, a full line of NPG ISO gelcoats, and marine grade gelcoats. Its resin and gelcoats are used on boats, flagpoles, car parts, tanks, flooring and architectural applications, among others.

   

Tagged categories: Clean Water Act; Coating chemistry; Coating Materials; Coatings manufacturers; Coatings raw materials manufacturers; Environmental Protection; Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Gel; North America; Raw materials; Regulations; Resins; Violations

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