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The United States Attorney’s Office has filed a complaint on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency in federal district court in New Hampshire against Torromeo Industries Inc. for Clean Water Act (CWA) violations at its sand, gravel, and stone mining operation and ready-mix concrete plant in Kingston, N.H.
According to EPA’s New England office, Torromeo Industries, Inc., whose headquarters is in Methuen, Massachusetts, violated the CWA by discharging stormwater and process water into wetlands and waterways, including the Little River, without the required authorization under a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit. The complaint proposes that Torromeo pay a penalty of up to $37,500 per day, per violation.
The complaint grew out of a joint inspection with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services on April 9, 2009. Federal and State inspectors found that the company discharged process waste waters, and storm water without proper permits. The inspectors observed that the company failed to implement best management practices to minimize the impacts of storm water that ran off the site during rain events. The violations at the facility have been ongoing for decades and include:
• discharging process water, without authorization, from the mid 1970s through present; and
• discharging stormwater associated with industrial activity, without authorization, from the mid 1990’s through December 19, 2009;
“Stormwater runoff and process water discharges from the sand and gravel and ready-mix concrete industry are a significant source of water pollution,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “This industry plays a very important role in protecting water quality by taking the appropriate steps to prevent pollution, and we will continue our work to ensure compliance with these practices.”
Without onsite controls, runoff from ready-mix concrete and sand and gravel facilities 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 storm water flows over these sites, it can pick up pollutants, including sediment, used oil, pesticides, solvents and other debris. Polluted runoff can harm or kill fish and wildlife and can affect drinking water quality.
In August 2009, EPA’s New England Office and the Department of Justice entered into a $2.75 million settlement with Aggregate-Industries Northeast Region, Inc. to resolve similar violations of the Clean Water Act at many of that company’s concrete manufacturing facilities in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. That penalty was the largest ever assessed to a nationwide ready-mix concrete company for storm water violations under the Clean Water Act, and is part of the Region’s increased enforcement efforts in this industrial sector.
More information is available at: http://epa.gov/region1/enforcement/water/index.html