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Montrose Stone-cutting Company Settles Clean Water Act Case

Release Date: 7/8/2003
Contact Information: Roy Seneca (215) 814-5567

Contact: Roy Seneca (215) 814-5567
PHILADELPHIA – Powers Stone Inc. has agreed to complete two environmental projects and pay a $27,500 penalty as part of a settlement for alleged Clean Water Act violations at its stone-cutting facility in Montrose, Susquehanna County, Pa. The violations concerned federal regulations designed to reduce water pollution and contaminated storm water runoff from industrial operations.

Powers Stone discharges industrial wastewater and storm water to a tributary of the Wyalusing Creek, which flows into the Susquehanna River. EPA’s complaint alleged that the company failed to obtain a Clean Water Act permit for its industrial and storm water discharges, and failed to implement a required erosion and sediment control plan.

“This settlement demonstrates how EPA is committed to working with states and local partners to ensure that our streams, rivers and lakes are protected from polluted runoff at industrial and construction sites,” said Donald S. Welsh, administrator for EPA’s mid-Atlantic region.

As part of the settlement, Powers Stone has committed to two improvement projects that will benefit the environment:

• At least $165,000 will be spent on filters that allow the facility to recycle its water, so that less contaminated water is discharged into the environment.

• About $15,000 will be spent to plant and maintain high-density wetlands plants such as cattails or reed canary grass around the sedimentation pond at the facility, which would improve the settling-out of waste materials, and thus reduce the contamination in the runoff from the facility.

The Clean Water Act requires owners of industrial or construction sites to obtain a permit before discharging pollutants and storm water runoff into streams, creeks, rivers, lakes or other waterways. These permits require pollution limits, discharge monitoring, and a “storm water pollution prevention plan” which includes pollution-reducing measures such as erosion controls, oil spill prevention, storage of waste fluids in proper containers sheltered from rainfall, and employee training in environmental requirements.

Storm water runoff from industrial and construction sites often contains pollutants such as oil and grease, chemicals, nutrients, and oxygen-demanding compounds. Stone-cutting operations use substantial amounts of water to suppress dust and cool equipment. become contaminated with minerals, stone dust pollutants, including stone dust.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection assisted EPA in the investigation. As part of the settlement, the company has neither admitted nor denied liability for the alleged violations, but has certified its compliance with applicable Clean Water Act requirements.