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Connecticut Company Settles PCB Complaint; Agrees to $45,000 Fine and $269,000 in Environmental Projects

Release Date: 01/21/2003
Contact Information: Andrew Spejewski, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1014

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that the Rogers Corp., in Rogers, CT, has settled a case involving PCBs discovered in 1993 at the company's East Woodstock, CT manufacturing facility. Under the settlement, Rogers will pay $45,000 and undertake three innovative supplemental environmental projects that will cost an estimated $269,000.

The settlement stems from allegations of improper disposal of PCBs discovered at the company's East Woodstock facility in 1993. After EPA began its investigation, Rogers discovered high levels of PCBs in concrete and soil beneath the building, and conducted a full cleanup.

The PCBs are believed to come from PCB oil used at some point in basement pumps at the company's facility, as was common in the industry prior to 1978 before EPA regulated the use and disposal of PCBs.

"PCBs, which persist in the environment for decades, are a high priority for EPA New England, and companies need to ensure they're properly dealing with them," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA's New England Office. "I'm pleased we have resolved this case, and want to compliment Rogers for the three projects which will improve the health, safety and environment of the local community and its residents."

Rogers appealed a penalty imposed by an administrative law judge in 1998. EPA's Environmental Appeals Board upheld the penalty, but when Rogers continued its appeal, the federal Court of Appeals in 2002 found a procedural error and sent the case back to EPA for a rehearing. Rogers and EPA have now reached an agreement to settle the case.

In addition to a $45,000 penalty, Rogers has agreed to undertake three environmental projects. Rogers will install solar photovoltaic lighting at its East Woodstock facility to conserve fossil fuels and diminish conventional power plant emissions; provide hazardous materials training and equipment to the local fire department so that they are better prepared to deal with a broader array of fire events; and switch the fuel used at its South Windham, CT facility to a lower sulfur fuel oil, thus decreasing sulfur emissions from the plant. All of these three projects are voluntary and above and beyond what the company is required to do by law.

PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, are a class of chemical compounds widely used in electrical equipment before concern about their toxicity and environmental persistence led to a ban on their production in 1977.