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NH Company Agrees to Pay $525,000 Fine for Water Pollution Violations

Release Date: 01/19/2001
Contact Information: Andrew Spejewski, EPA Press Office (617-918-1014)

BOSTON -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Justice today announced a $525,000 settlement with the Hitchiner Manufacturing Co. regarding clean water violations at three plants in New Hampshire. The Milford-based company manufactures metal castings for use in the automotive, golf, military and aerospace industries.

The settlement stems from an EPA complaint against the company for illegal discharge of wastewater to the municipal sewer system at two facilities, and uncontrolled stormwater run-off from all three facilities. Two of the facilities are located in Littleton, NH and the third is located in Milford, NH.

The complaint alleges that the two facilities in Littleton were discharging wastewater to the municipal sewer system without appropriate treatment. Since the facilities were constructed, they had never installed proper treatment equipment for the process wastewater from the two facilities. The facilities also failed to monitor the discharges and provide reports to EPA as required.

Testing at one of the Littleton facilities revealed that chromium levels were well above legal limits. Metals in wastewater can interfere with the proper operation of sewage treatment plants or pass through the plants to pollute water bodies.

"This case is significant because of the size of Hitchiner's facilities and the long amount of time the company was out of compliance with clean water laws," said Mindy S. Lubber, regional administrator for EPA's New England office. "With this settlement we're sending a clear message: if companies like Hitchiner ignore their environmental obligations, they're going to pay the price."

In addition to the pretreatment violations, the complaint also states that neither of the Littleton facilities had stormwater management plans to control pollution from rainwater and snow melt running off the facility. The Milford facility had a stormwater management plan, but it was not being implemented. Rainwater and snow melt can carry a significant amount of pollution off industrial properties and into nearby rivers and lakes.

The EPA complaint also states that one of the Littleton facilities was intermittently discharging a small volume of wastewater into the Ammonoosuc River without a permit. Since the violation was uncovered, the company stopped the discharge.

The violations outlined in EPA's complaint were uncovered through EPA inspections in 1998 and monitoring required by EPA following the inspections. Since the inspection, Hitchiner installed appropriate treatment for its wastewater at the two Littleton facilities, has developed stormwater plans for the two Littleton facilities, and has agreed to implement stormwater plans at all three facilities.