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EPA Proposes $68,000 Fine Against Belmont Metal Plating Facility for Hazardous Waste Violations After Fire

Release Date: 02/19/2003
Contact Information: Andrew Spejewski, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1014

BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today proposed a $68,037 fine against Cambridge Plating of Belmont and Purecoat North, LLC which took over operations of Cambridge Plating's facility in January 2003. EPA's complaint alleges that the metal plating plant mishandled hazardous waste after a fire last May put the facility's wastewater treatment system out of operation. Today's proposed penalty is the third action in the last two years against the facility.

The complaint stems from events following a fire at the Belmont facility on May 25, 2002. The fire rendered the facility's wastewater treatment system inoperable for over a month, but Cambridge Plating resumed manufacturing operations the week after the fire, thereby generating significant volumes of untreated wastewater.

EPA's complaint alleges that the company failed to properly test and store wastewater containing toxic metals. In one case, liquid hazardous waste was stored in a single-walled tank in the facility's parking lot. The complaint also alleges that the company omitted significant information when responding to an EPA request for data about events after the fire.

"This metal plating operation has had an unfortunate history of environmental problems," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA's New England Office. "EPA will continue its close oversight to make sure that the company gets the message and fulfills its environmental responsibilities."

Previous EPA actions against Cambridge Plating for hazardous waste and air pollution violations have resulted in several orders and penalties, including $65,000 in fines and more than $350,000 in environmental projects. The previous orders, issued in May and November 2001, and September 2002, required the company to implement a full environmental management system at the plant, implement noise and odor reductions, eliminate chrome plating at the facility, and reduce the company's emissions of TCE (trichloroethylene, a hazardous solvent) by 40 percent. Purecoat is submitting reports to EPA on their compliance with the orders.