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A Roundup of Recent News Items in New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the U.S.V.I.; Arecibo, Puerto Rico; Pharmacia and Upjohn Caribe Charged with Filing Late Information about Toxic Releases

Release Date: 05/31/2001
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(#01063) New York, New York -- EPA has charged pharmaceutical manufacturer Pharmacia & Upjohn Caribe, located at Road #2, Km. 60.0 in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, with failing to file on-time information required by the agency about the company’s release into the environment of certain toxic chemicals. EPA is seeking a penalty of $49,655 for the violations. Companies like Pharmacia & Upjohn Caribe are required to report to EPA by July 1 of every year how much of certain toxic chemicals they released into the air, water and land the prior year as a result of their day-to-day operations. These releases generally occur under permits held by such facilities. EPA compiles the data into a Toxic Release Inventory (TRI), which provides people with information about how much of certain toxic chemicals used by nearby facilities are released into their local environment. Following an EPA inspection of the Arecibo facility in August 2000, the agency charged that Pharmacia & Upjohn Caribe filed information about its release of the chemical n,n-dimethylformamide in 1995 two years late, and its release of the chemical in 1996 one year late. The agency also charged that the company filed information for the chemical toluene four months late in 2000. The TRI is an important tool for communities seeking environmental information, but is only as accurate as the information provided to EPA by facilities. The agency encourages all facilities that are required to submit TRI data to perform regular internal audits for compliance with TRI requirements, and to disclose any errors, oversights or inaccuracies. Facilities that self-disclose violations to EPA may be eligible for a 100% reduction of certain financial penalties. For more information about self-disclosure, please contact Ms. Michelle Angelich, EPA Region 2's Audit Policy Coordinator at (212) 637-4084.  For more information about the case, please contact Nina Habib Spencer at (212) 637-3670.

Saratoga County, New York
XAR Corporation Pays $6,500 for Illegal Wetlands Fill

New York, New York – XAR Corporation has agreed to pay a $6,500 penalty for filling wetlands while trying to improve drainage on its property in Clifton Park in Saratoga County New York, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The company had violated the federal Clean Water Act by filling three acres of wetlands on its property. In the late summer and fall of 1998, XAR excavated two ditches and spread the soil from these ditches onto a three-acre tract of wetlands. Two of the three acres were wetlands with tall grasses called Phragmites, one acre is forested wetland. In November 1998, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers inspected XAR’s property and, shortly thereafter, issued a Cease and Desist Order directing XAR to immediate stop filling wetlands. The Corps asked EPA to take over and EPA collected information and inspected the site in June 1999. The Agency concluded that the company had, indeed, violated the wetland provisions of the Clean Water Act. As a result of a November 1999 Order, the forested wetlands are being restored and the Phragmites wetlands will continue to recover naturally. For more information, contact Mary Mears at (212) 637-3669.