Battery maker to pay $60K penalty to settle water violations

Battery manufacturer Koehler-Bright Star Inc. has entered into a settlement with the U.S. EPA over allegations that the company exceeded the limits of pollutants it is allowed to discharge to the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Sewer Authority...

Dec 2nd, 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PA, Dec. 2, 2011 -- Battery manufacturer Koehler-Bright Star Inc. (Luzerne County, PA) has entered into a settlement with the U.S. EPA over allegations that the company exceeded the limits of pollutants it is allowed to discharge to the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Sewer Authority (WVSSA). According to EPA, the company violated Clean Water Act requirements on the pretreatment of wastewater sent to WVSSA.

The settlement requires the company to pay a civil penalty of $60,000, with $30,000 going to the United States and $30,000 going to WVSSA.

EPA's complaint alleged that from 2005 through 2010 Koehler-Bright Star exceeded its pretreatment permit discharge limits for lead and copper for at least 52 months, including 84 monthly average violations, and six violations of daily maximum limits.

Koehler-Bright Star took a series of steps to mitigate the effluent limit violations, as they occurred, but was unable to achieve compliance. Due to a process change, separate from this action, the facility no longer discharges an industrial wastestream to WVSSA.

Under the Clean Water Act companies discharging certain types of pollutants to publicly owned wastewater treatment plants (POTWs) maybe required to obtain a pretreatment permit from the POTW limiting the amount of pollution that may be discharged to the plant. This often requires some type of pretreatment by the discharging facility before the wastestream is released to the POTW.

Pretreatment permit limits for pollutants are established in order to prevent impairment of waterways, either as a result of pollutants passing through the POTW -- or by interfering with the functioning of the plant.

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