WA firms settle CWA violations with EPA as part of Puget Sound initiative

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SEATTLE, WA, April 30, 2014 --  As part of ongoing federal and state efforts to restore Puget Sound, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing enforcement actions against three Seattle-area companies for discharging industrial stormwater to area waterways in violation of the Clean Water Act (CWA).

According to Ed Kowalski, director of EPA's office of Compliance and Enforcement in Seattle, the action is part of a broader Agency campaign to better protect Puget Sound. "Stormwater runoff from industrial sites, if not properly controlled and treated, is a real problem for Puget Sound," Kowalski said. "Storms can transport a toxic 'stew' of chemicals, heavy metals, contaminated sediment, and nutrients directly into our waterways and Puget Sound. All are harmful to marine life and the Puget Sound ecosystem."

In addition to the companies committing to manage stormwater more diligently at their facilities in the future, they agreed to pay a combined total of $163,500 in penalties. EPA, in partnership with the Washington Department of Ecology, is helping ensure compliance and enforce clean water rules at permitted and unpermitted industrial stormwater sources to reduce Puget Sound pollutants. 

Here are the three facilities settling with EPA:

  • Steeler, Inc. (Penalty: $40,000) -- Located in Seattle, Wash., it discharges industrial stormwater to the Duwamish River flowing to Puget Sound.  EPA inspected the facility on September 19, 2012, to assess compliance with the Washington State NPDES Industrial Stormwater General Permit. Alleged CWA violations include: failure to develop a stormwater pollution prevention plan, failure to sample stormwater discharges, failure to conduct visual inspections, and failure to implement best management practices (BMP)
  • MacMillan-Piper, Inc. (Penalty: $37,500) -- Located in Seattle, Wash., it discharges industrial stormwater to the Duwamish River flowing to Puget Sound. EPA inspected the facility in 2013 on January 25 and February 11, to assess compliance with the Permit. Alleged CWA violations include: failure to sample; failure to implement operational source control BMPs, including keeping dumpster under cover or closed when not in use; failure to document visual inspections, and a total suspended solids (TSS) effluent limit exceedance. The monitored discharges from this facility has contained zinc, copper and turbidity. 
  • Saint-Gobain Containers, Inc. (Penalty: $86,000) -- Located in Seattle Wash., EPA inspected the facility on August 16, 2012, to assess compliance with the Permit. Alleged CWA violations include: failure to sample; failure to implement operational source control BMPs, including keeping dumpsters under cover or closed when not in use and providing secondary containment for containers; and record keeping violations. The discharges from this facility have historically contained zinc, copper, and turbidity. 

See also:

"WA Port of Tacoma settles with EPA, Dept of Justice for CWA violations"

"New website helps explain Puget Sound toxic chemical threats"

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