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Release Date: 02/09/2000
Contact Information: Amy Miller, EPA Press Office (617-918-1042)

BOSTON - The former owner of a weapons manufacturer in Saco, Maine, has agreed to pay $75,800 to settle claims by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it failed to meet federal environmental standards regarding chromium emissions.

The consent agreement and order, signed last week by SDI Management Co. and EPA, stems from an administrative complaint issued in July alleging Saco Defense Inc. exceeded chromium emissions limits in August 1997 and in April 1998 at its plant at 291 North St. The complaint also said Saco failed to follow regulations for monitoring, record-keeping and reporting during 1997 and 1998.

According to the complaint, Saco was exceeding federal chromium emission standards by 20 percent on one occasion and 33 percent on the other.

EPA conducted an inspection of Saco's facility in 1998 after receiving a report from the company showing one of its three scrubbers had failed a chromium emissions test. The company has since come into compliance with EPA regulations, according to reports submitted by Saco since then. Chromium, a known carcinogen and air pollutant, is designated a "hazardous air pollutant" under the Clean Air Act. Saco uses chromium in the finishing process of manufacturing guns. Saco's facility was sold to New Colt Holding Corporation of Connecticut in December 1998.

"Saco learned that companies that fail to follow the regulations may face enforcement action by EPA," said Mindy S. Lubber, acting regional administrator for EPA New England. "We are satisfied the company is now in compliance, and expect other companies will follow the regulations that are meant to protect the public's health and the environment."

The action against Saco was part of a larger initiative to control hazardous pollutants released by the metal industry. As part of this initiative, EPA has offered assistance to companies that clean or finish metal and has educated them on relevant environmental regulations.

Much of the work with the metal industry is being done through EPA's Metal Finishing Strategic Goals Program, a three-year-old program that is encouraging metal finishers to meet aggressive pollution reduction goals by the year 2002. The national program was launched in partnership with industry groups, environmental groups and state and local regulators.

Companies that sign up for the program receive compliance and pollution prevention assistance. And, as companies work toward meeting the goals, they'll be rewarded with more flexible regulatory oversight from EPA and state environmental regulators.

More information on federal regulations and how to prevent pollution is available by calling Linda Darveau in the Office of Assistance and Pollution Prevention at 1-617-918-1718.

EPA efforts to control pollution by the metal industry stems in part from regulations enacted in 1995 to regulate emissions of chromium, trichloroethylene and other toxic chemicals.