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Rhode Island Metal Plater Pays $20,000 Fine for Environmental Violations

Release Date: 03/29/2001
Contact Information: Andrew Spejewski, EPA Press Office (617-918-1014)

BOSTON -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a settlement with Rhode Island Technical Plating Inc. (RITP) over alleged violations of hazardous waste and clean air laws at the company's Cranston facility. Under the agreement, the company will pay a $20,000 penalty, maintain compliance with environmental laws and investigate possible chromium contamination in the soil and groundwater on its property at 50 Libera St.

"Even though this was a small facility, the situation at Rhode Island Technical Plating had the potential to cause big environmental problems," said Ira W. Leighton, acting regional administrator for EPA's New England office. "We're pleased that ongoing violations have been fixed, and the site is being properly investigated. EPA New England will continue making sure that companies, both big and small, operate responsibly and comply with environmental laws."

The settlement stems from EPA inspections in 1997 and 1998 which uncovered significant environmental threats from RITP's operations. According to EPA's complaint, the company was releasing hazardous solvents directly into the air, had released toxic chromium to the soil at the plant (possibly contaminating groundwater), and was improperly handling hazardous chemicals in a way that increased the potential for fire or explosion as well as environmental contamination. EPA was particularly concerned because the facility is located in a mixed residential and industrial neighborhood.

After the inspections, EPA immediately ordered RITP to come into compliance with applicable clean air and hazardous waste laws. Since the order, RITP revamped its production system to eliminate the cited violations. As part of the settlement, RITP will certify its compliance with all environmental laws to EPA.

The settlement also requires RITP to investigate its property for possible soil and groundwater contamination with chromium. If contamination is detected, RITP may be required to clean up the property.

The settlement was lodged as a consent decree in federal court this month.