The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently reached an agreement with Emhart Teknologies, a manufacturer of precision screw-thread wire and screw-lock inserts based in Danbury, Connecticut., to settle alleged violations of the Clean Water Act.
Under the settlement, Emhart Teknologies agreed to pay a penalty of $29,658 for allegedly discharging a mixture of water and coolant, used to keep the facility's cutting machines from overheating during their operations, into the Sympaug Brook near Danbury. The mixture contained oil and toxic metals, such as copper and lead, which were left over from machining operations.
"EPA is committed to improving the water quality of New England waterbodies by taking action to reduce pollution so that these bodies can serve as healthy habitats for wildlife," said EPA New England acting regional administrator Deborah Szaro. "This incident, and EPA's subsequent enforcement action, serve as a powerful reminder to companies the importance of evaluating sources of potential spills at their facilities and having adequate prevention measures in place."
Emhart Teknologies' facility performs screw machine operations that generate used coolant containing oil and toxic metals from machining brass. An automatic sump pump operated by the facility displaced 1,800 gallons of dilute metal cutting coolant from an aboveground storage tank into nearby storm basins, which subsequently discharged into the Sympaug Brook. The facility reported that 15 barrels (or 630 gallons) of dilute cutting coolant reached the brook. The oil and metals in the coolant caused a fish kill from the spill entry location at the brook to its convergence with the Still River.
The company completed the cleanup of the brook shortly after the spill was discovered and was cooperative with EPA during the enforcement investigation and case settlement negotiations.