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EPA and Paperboard Co. in Lawrence Reach Settlement

Release Date: 09/07/2000
Contact Information: Amy Miller, EPA Press Office (617-918-1042)

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached a settlement with a paperboard manufacturer in Lawrence, Mass. that failed to submit required toxic and hazardous chemical reporting forms between 1995 to 1998. Under a settlement filed at EPA this week, The Newark Group will pay the civil penalty of $23,420 and will perform environmental improvement projects worth a total of $50,696.

The company, which is based in Cranford, NJ, operates its manufacturing facility in Lawrence under the name Newark Atlantic Paperboard Corporation. EPA learned about the violations during inspections on March 16 and Nov. 15, 1999, and filed an administrative complaint against the company on April 4, 2000.

In addition to paying a penalty, the Newark Group will donate two infrared cameras to the Lawrence Fire Department, which is the Local Emergency Planning Committee. This $33,000 investment will help emergency response crews to navigate through smokey conditions and locate the sources of chemical fires. The company will also take steps to reduce pollution on site, including reducing or eliminating its use of certain chemicals and putting new spill control measures into place. These projects, valued at $17,500, will help to prevent releases of hazardous chemicals into the environment.

"Reporting laws let the public know when a company is using or storing potentially dangerous chemicals," said Mindy S. Lubber, Regional Administrator for EPA New England. "The Newark Group has responded to our complaint by correcting the violations and making a series of improvements at their plant. We feel confident the company will be more vigilant about its reporting obligations in the future."

The Newark Group is required under the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) to annually notify the local fire department, local emergency planning committee and state emergency response commission of hazardous chemicals kept onsite. Between 1996 and 1998, the company failed to file required chemical inventory forms for 11 hazardous chemicals stored on site above the threshold limits.

Between 1995 and 1997, the company failed to submit the reports of its use of diethylene glycol monomethyl ether to the EPA's Toxic Release Inventory. Federal law requires facilities that manufacture, process or otherwise use any of more than 600 specific chemicals over specific threshold amounts to submit reports annually to EPA and the state. This information is entered into the Toxic Release Inventory, or TRI, a large database available to the public, industry and state and local governments.

Since the inspections, the facility has filed the necessary reports. In addition, the company audited other facilities and has disclosed other violations to the agency.