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RI Manufacturer Agrees to Pay $12,932 for Clean Air Act Violations
Release Date: 01/25/2006
Contact Information: Sheryl Rosner, Office of Public Affairs, 617-918-1865
BOSTON - In a settlement filed today, a Rhode Island jewelry finishing company has agreed to pay $12,932 in penalties for violations of federal and state clean air rules that regulate the release of hazardous air pollutants. The company will also pay for an independent audit of its overall compliance with air pollution and waste management laws.
According to a complaint issued last year by EPA’s New England office, Drew-Easton Manufacturing Company of Cranston, RI violated regulations designed to control hazardous trichloroethylene (TCE) emissions from machines that use TCE as a cleaning solvent. These machines, known as “degreasing” machines, often use solvents, such as TCE, to remove the grease from metal parts. Long-term exposure to TCE vapors poses a potential risk of nerve, kidney and liver damage. TCE is also a probable human carcinogen.
“Drew-Easton’s violations were significant because they may have resulted in excess TCE emissions, which can pose serious health risks,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Through active enforcement of clean air regulations, we are helping reduce health risks and ensure that workers and citizens breathe cleaner air.”
EPA’s complaint proposed a total penalty for Drew-Easton’s violations of $215,273. EPA agreed to substantially reduce Drew-Easton’s final penalty because the company documented that it was undergoing financial hardship and could not pay a penalty near the proposed amount.
EPA’s complaint came on the heels of two previous compliance orders issued to Drew-Easton requiring the company to update its degreasing machines to comply with equipment and operating control requirements for TCE emissions.
Drew-Easton owned an outdated degreasing machine that violated federal and state equipment and operating standards. In June 2004, EPA issued a notice of violation and compliance order citing these violations, together with various monitoring, record-keeping and reporting violations. In response, Drew-Easton installed a new degreasing machine in August 2004.
EPA re-inspected the company in December 2004 and found that the new machine was still in violation of certain equipment and monitoring requirements. The following month, EPA issued a second compliance order requiring the company to install additional cooling coils to minimize TCE vapor emissions from the degreaser tank. The additional control equipment was installed and began operating in April 2005.
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