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EPA Settles With Connecticut Manufacturing Company for Violations of Federal "Right to Know" Regulations

Release Date: 01/23/2002
Contact Information: Mark Merchant, EPA Press Office (617) 918-1013

BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced it has settled a case with the Durham Manufacturing Co. for violations of the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA).

The company, located in Durham, Conn., will pay a cash penalty of $9,625 and perform a voluntary supplemental environmental project that will reduce the company's use of trichloroethylene (TCE) as a metal degreaser.

The company will reduce its annual use of TCE by at least 2,375 gallons and will eliminate at least 297 gallons of TCE waste. The reduction in use will also result in the elimination of 188 pounds of TCE released to the air per year from Durham's operations.

"EPA is pleased that Durham Manufacturing turned a negative situation into a positive outcome. When the company learned of its violations, it took immediate steps to correct what was wrong. Durham's reduction in the use of TCE in its operations will have tangible and long lasting environmental benefits," said Robert W. Varney, Regional Administrator of EPA's New England office.

Durham Manufacturing makes metal boxes at its plant on Main Street in Durham. In 1997 and 1998, the company under-reported the quantities of xylene and dichloromethane that it released into the air to the Toxic Release Inventory, or TRI.

Xylene and dichloromethane are used by Durham for degreasing and in spray painting. The violations were discovered during an EPA inspection performed in April, 1999. The company has cooperated fully with EPA since the inspection and when it learned that EPA was proposing a penalty for the violations, Durham sought a settlement.

As part of the settlement, the company proposed to perform a supplemental environmental project (SEP). Companies faced with a proposed EPA penalty may receive credit against the penalty in recognition of their performing a SEP, so long as the SEP provides real environmental benefits and fits within the guidelines of EPA's settlement policy. The TCE elimination that Durham will achieve is a pollution prevention project. By using a safer cleaning process to substitute for TCE degreasing, Durham provides an example to others that less toxic industrial processes are viable alternatives.

The 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 and disposal. TRI data covers process chemical emissions and is used for comprehensive risk planning by federal, state and local officials.

The TRI data allows the public, industry and state and local governments to make informed decisions about the management and control of these and other toxic chemicals. The data is used by industries to analyze their wastes and identify areas where source reduction and other pollution prevention activities can be used so that wastes and emissions are minimized.

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 facilities filing TRI data reported undertaking at least one source-reduction activity designed to prevent or reduce the generation of toxic chemicals.

Any citizen can access TRI reports on the internet by visiting EPA's Envirofacts website at The TRI data for Durham Manufacturing Co., which reflects the corrections the company has made since the inspection, shows a downward trend in air emissions in the most recent years of reporting. Varney noted that "the TRI data is there for the public to use. Companies that have made reductions in releases will continue to improve their operations if they know citizens are watching."