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Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. Faces Fine for Ozone Violations in Stratford, Conn.

Release Date: 03/31/2006
Contact Information: Paula Ballentine, (617) 918-1027

(Boston, Mass. - Mar. 31, 2006) - A fine of more than $325,000 may be levied under an EPA complaint against the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation for violations of the federal stratospheric ozone protection regulations and two federal hazardous air pollutant standards. The complaint follows up on administrative orders issued to Sikorsky in both 2004 and 2005, and is EPA’s third case in three months against New England companies for violations of the ozone protection program.

Sikorsky, a world-leading helicopter manufacturer, has a major plant in Stratford, Conn. EPA’s complaint asserts that two refrigeration units at the Stratford plant that use ozone-depleting substances as refrigerants violated the leak repair and follow-up repair verification requirements of the ozone protection regulations. As a result, these units leaked excess ozone-depleting substances into the atmosphere. Sikorsky also failed to document the type of service performed on the units. The maximum fine proposed under EPA's complaint is $325,348.

“The ozone layer provides important protection to all of us from the sun’s harmful rays,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “It’s important that companies and individuals who work with ozone depleting substances follow appropriate steps to ensure the materials are not released into the atmosphere. This helps keep the ozone layer intact.”

Certain types of refrigerants have been known to destroy the thin layer of ozone in the upper part of the atmosphere known as the stratosphere. Most of these refrigerants are being phased out and replaced with safer alternatives.

The stratospheric ozone layer protects humans from being exposed to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Federal stratospheric ozone protection regulations were established to limit the emissions of substances that destroy the ozone layer. These regulations provide strict rules governing the service, maintenance, repair and disposal of ozone depleting substances.

Last December, EPA brought cases for violations of the federal ozone protection regulations against Kraft Foods in Woburn, Mass., and against U.S. Surgical in North Haven, Conn. EPA proposed fines of $112,200 and $165,000 for these cases.

EPA’s case against Sikorsky also includes violations of a federal chromium standard for failing to properly operate emission filtration equipment, and violations of an aerospace manufacturing standard for failing to shut down paint booths when emission-controlling waterwalls lacked proper water pressure.

Sikorsky, which is part of United Technologies Corporation, designs and manufactures advanced helicopters for commercial, industrial and military uses. Sikorsky’s helicopters are used by all five branches of the United States armed forces.

More information on EPA New England’s Air Enforcement Program: .

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