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Release Date: 10/24/1997
Contact Information: Leo Kay, Press Office, (617)918-4154

BOSTON - In the largest environmental action ever taken against the state, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to assess $453,185 in penalties against the Connecticut Department of Transportation for violations at Bradley Airport in Windsor Locks and two other facilities in Wethersfield and Rocky Hill.

The main portion of the penalty -- $400,560 -- concerns the Department of Transportation's handling, storage and documenting of hazardous waste in violation of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, or "RCRA" at Bradley Airport, where the department regularly generates wastes such as solvents, fuel and paint as a result of general maintenance activities. The EPA is proposing an additional $52,625 penalty for oil spill control violations at the other facilities.

"Through our public agency initiative, we aim to ensure that public agencies adhere to an equal -- if not higher -- environmental standard than industry when handling and storing hazardous waste," said John P. DeVillars, administrator for the EPA's New England office.

EPA investigators initially discovered the violations at the airport during an inspection in February. The EPA is proposing to fine the Connecticut DOT for the following violations:

    • Failure to provide initial and annual training to employees involved in hazardous waste management;
    • Failure to maintain a contingency plan;
    • Failure to conduct weekly inspections of the facility's hazardous waste storage areas;
    • Failure to properly label, mark or date containers of hazardous waste;
    • Failure to close containers of hazardous waste;
    • Failure to conduct adequate waste determinations; and,
    • Failure to notify receiving facilities of land disposal restrictions or retain copies of those forms for off-site shipments of hazardous waste.
The EPA is also citing the DOT for failing to maintain oil spill prevention plans for above-ground fuel storage at its facilities in Wethersfield and Rocky Hill. Due to the facilities' oil storage capacity and proximity to natural resources, the department is required under the federal Clean Water Act to maintain documents that lay out a plan of action should a spill occur.

This recent order will require the CT DOT to correct all of the problems identified in the inspections in addition to paying the fine. The EPA and the CT DOT will now enter negotiations to reach a settlement on the complaints.