Coatings Resin Producer Settles EPA Case

MONDAY, MARCH 14, 2016

A California resin and polymer company has settled allegations it violated provisions of the federal law governing water pollution at a manufacturing facility in Fairfield.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reached a settlement with Sunpol Resins & Polymers Inc., to resolve federal Clean Water Act violations at its facility, according to a Wednesday (March 9) news release.

Sunpol will pay a $41,600 penalty as part of the agreement, and has already corrected its oil pollution prevention violations, EPA notes.

The public is invited to comment on the proposed settlement until April 8.

Investigation Details

A March 9, 2012, EPA investigation found that Sunpol—whose product line includes resins used in coatings—was out of compliance with several Clean Water Act pollution prevention requirements, according to the EPA. The case concerned protecting the Suisun Marsh, located 35 northeast of San Francisco.

Sunpol had “failed to develop, certify and implement a Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan containing all measures needed to prevent and respond to oil spills,” the agency said.

In addition, some parts of the facility lacked necessary containment systems or drainage control measures, such as using drip pans to catch spills when pumping oil between containers, according to the EPA.

Suisun March
California Department of Water Resources

The Suisun Marsh is located in southern Solano County, CA, about 35 miles northeast of San Francisco.

Above-ground oil storage tanks also lacked adequate secondary containment, which must be in place to keep spilled oil from leaving the site and entering surrounding waters, EPA alleged. A simple berm made of earth or concrete can control such spills, EPA noted.

The goal of EPA’s oil pollution prevention regulations, as required by the Clean Water Act, is to keep oil spills from polluting the nation’s waterways and nearby environments. Specific prevention measures include developing and implementing SPCC Plans and establishing necessary spill response capabilities.

About the Company

Sunpol, founded in 1989, did not respond to a request for comment on the case. According to its website, the company is one of the West Coast’s leading producers of specialty polymers for a variety of end markets, including paints and coatings.

Specifically, Sunpol reports on its website that its recent focus has been on developing new high-solids technology for paint and coatings markets as well as developing new customers for its 100 percent solids ink alkyds as well as other areas.

On the company’s “Environment” section of its website, Sunpol lists among its stated goals: “to continue to operate in an accident-free environment, including continued elimination of fires, toxic spills and releases, and associate injury accidents.”

A Critical Case

“Protecting California’s waterways from oil pollution is critical,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest.

“As a result of this enforcement action, the Suisun Marsh is better protected from possible spills and the resulting environmental degradation."

According to the state’s Department of Water Resources, the Suisun Marsh, at 116,000 acres, is the largest contiguous brackish marsh remaining on the west coast of North America. The marsh serves as a critical part of the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary ecosystem.


Tagged categories: Clean Water Act; Coating chemistry; Coatings raw materials manufacturers; Coatings Technology; Environmental Protection; EPA; Good Technical Practice; North America; Regulations; Resins

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