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Release Date: 01/29/1998
Contact Information: Peyton Fleming, Press Office (617-918-1008)

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this month issued a compliance order against a Cranston-based metal plating company for numerous violations relating to improper handling and storage of hazardous waste.

The enforcement order, issued Jan. 13 to the Rhode Island Technical Plating Inc., requires the company to submit a full-scale action plan for managing and removing the waste materials within 30 days. Additionally, the company was required to take some immediate steps, including labeling and proper closure of all containers and segregation of incompatible wastes.

The company was cited for 13 separate violations, including improper labeling and storage of hazardous waste, storing hazardous waste without a permit and inadequate record keeping. The violations were discovered during EPA inspections at the company's 50 Libera St. location on Oct. 31 and Nov. 12, 1997. The company, which plates metals with nickel and chrome, abuts Randall Pond.

"This facility was rife with storage violations that are unacceptable both for company employees as well as the local environment," said John P. DeVillars, administrator of the EPA's New England Office. "Until these materials are properly stored and removed, the facility poses a significant public health threat."

Much of the waste stored at the site illegally were cyanide sludges, chrome sludges and waste chromic acid. The wastes remained on-site after the R.I. Department of Environmental Management ordered the company to discontinue its chrome operations in 1992 for violations of chrome air emission standards. The EPA inspectors also observed acids, sludges from wastewater treatment, waste degreasing solvents (trichloroethylene), used acid filters and used cyanide filters.

The inspections last fall are among dozens the EPA has done in recent months in Rhode Island.

"The unannounced inspections are part of a heightened enforcement presence by the EPA in Rhode Island due to reduced enforcement resources at DEM, which has seen significant cuts in its budget the past several years," DeVillars said. "We've done a number of multi-media inspections during the past year, focusing on specific industries as well as public facilities."