Paint Paperwork Draws $100K Fine


A Vermont ferry service will pay $100,000 to resolve federal allegations of recordkeeping violations and improper paint use.

The firm denies the improper painting operations—but admits that it does not have the records to prove the claim, according to a local newspaper.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the settlement Monday (Sept. 15) with Lake Champlain Transportation Company, which operates ship repair and painting facilities in Burlington and Shelburne, VT.

The company, which dates to 1826, operates ferry boat services for passengers and vehicles between Vermont and New York. It performs coating operations and other maintenance on its ferry boats at its facilities.

Emissions and Permits

According to the EPA, the service violated the U.S. Clean Air Act's "National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants" (NESHAP) for Shipbuilding and Ship Repair Facilities by:

  • Using paints with hazardous air pollutant contents greater than the allowable limits;
  • Failing to keep required records of paint usage; and
  • Failing to submit a written notification, implementation plan and semi-annual reports to state and federal officials.

EPA also said the company had:

  • Violated Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) coating limits set by the state's pollution regulations;
  • Failed to apply for permits when it acquired new paint spray guns in 2005 and 2009; and
  • Failed to apply for a Clean Air Act Title V operating permit. Title V permits have been required since 1990 for most large sources and some smaller sources of air pollution.

"Many of the chemicals used by Lake Champlain Transportation Co. are both hazardous air pollutants and volatile organic compounds," the EPA statement said. "Exposure ... can cause a variety of health problems."

Paperwork Snafu

Heather Stewart, operations manager for the ferry company, told the Burlington Free Press that the firm's mistake was not keeping records that would prove the company had remained within the allowable limit on its paint use.

Lake Champlain Transportatio Co.

"We did not have the records to prove we didn't exceed the [hazardous air pollutants] limit," a company spokeswoman told the local paper.

"We did not have the records to prove we didn't exceed the limit," she said.

Without those records, the EPA assumes the paint was sprayed on the boats 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Stewart told the newspaper.

Stewart said the company spends "a few hours a month" applying paint to its boats at its downtown Burlington maintenance area or at a dry-dock facility at Shelburne Shipyard.

In a statement, the company said it was "fully cooperating with the EPA in resolving our noncompliance issues as it relates to record keeping and permitting requirements."


Tagged categories: Emissions; Environmental Controls; Environmental Controls; Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Hazardous air pollutants; Maintenance coating work; Marine Coatings; North America; Shipyards

Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.