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Release Date: 06/11/1996
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Boston - Investments in environmental improvements by two Connecticut companies will result in significant pollution reductions as part of a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Pratt-Read Corporation, Cornwall & Patterson Division of Bridgeport and Simkins Industries Inc. of New Haven will together invest nearly $100,000 in projects at their facilities that will result in environmental benefits while paying a reduced penalty due to these supplemental projects. All three companies were cited for violations under the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA).

Pratt-Read Corporation, Cornwall & Patterson Division will spend approximately $23,300 to reduce the use of 400,000 gallons of water from tumbling, rinse, and bath operations, and conserve almost two miles of hazardous waste filter paper generated by the facility's water treatment system. The company will also pay a $3,750 penalty. Pratt-Read manufactures screw driver blades and piano hardware and was cited by EPA for failing to submit timely, complete, and correct reports regarding its use of sulfuric acid, as required by EPCRA.

Simkins Industries Inc. a paperboard manufacturing facility, will invest nearly $77,000 to remove and properly dispose of an electrical transformer contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Simkins will also pay a penalty of $13,600 for failing to report emissions of ammonia as required under EPCRA.

In addition, Ro-An Jewelry, Inc. of Johnston, RI, will pay a $7,750 penalty for failing to report emissions of 1,1,1 trichloroethane.

EPCRA was first established to provide public access to information concerning chemicals being emitted into the environment in their community. The failure of companies to submit data to EPA is an infringement of public rights to that information. The law requires facilities that manufacture, import, process, or otherwise use any of more than 300 specific chemicals over a specified threshold amount to submit to EPA and the state annual reports of emissions or disposal of the chemicals. Companies can be fined up to $25,000 for each violation.

The sort of settlement reached in two of these agreements -- a penalty plus investment in process modifications, allows a company to make changes to its operation that would provide greater long-term benefits to the environment than would the payment of a penalty alone. The extra expense to the company from this type of project may reduce the cash portion of the penalty the company is required to pay.

The Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) is a large data base of chemical emission information tracked from companies required to report under EPCRA. TRI data provides the amount, location, type of emissions released into the environment, and information on toxic waste shipped off-site for further treatment. But more importantly, the TRI has proved to be an effective vehicle for determining pollution prevention opportunities that drives the total emissions and waste streams down. More than one third of the nearly 24,000 the facilities filing TRI data reported undertaking at least one source reduction activity designed to prevent or reduce the generation of toxic chemicals. The most commonly reported source reduction activities were improved operating practices, process modifications, and spill and leak prevention programs.