Mass. mining facility resolves Clean Water Act violations

Oct. 18, 2017
Acushnet, Mass. company's wastewater and stormwater management systems previously violated NPDES permit.

BOSTON, OCT 18, 2017 -- A company with a mining, quarry and stone crushing facility in Acushnet, Mass. will now comply with Clean Water Act requirements, which will better protect people's health and the local environment. The action resolves allegations by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that the company violated federal clean water laws.

According to EPA's New England office, P.J. Keating Company of 72 South Main St. failed to comply with its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, or NPDES permit, which regulates stormwater and processwastewater discharges, and EPA's Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure regulations, designed to prevent oil spills under the federal Clean Water Act. Since being notified of the violations by EPA, the company has made improvements to its process wastewater and stormwater management systems.

This case stems from a 2016 inspection of the facility conducted to investigate a pattern of discharge permit violations, primarily for total suspended solids and pH. The inspection also identified a number of violations of spill prevention regulations, including the failure to have adequate secondary containment for some of its oil storage containers, in order to prevent a discharge of oil. Under terms of the settlement, the company has agreed to pay $140,000. The company has already taken steps and continues to implement best management practices in order to return to compliance.

Process wastewater discharges are prohibited under the Clean Water Act unless a company has a permit allowing those discharges. Process wastewater from mining and stone crushing facilities typically contain high levels of total suspended solids. When these solids settle they can form sediment deposits on the bottom of the water bodies that destroy the bottom fauna and the spawning grounds of fish.

The Clean Water Act also requires that these types of facilities have controls in place to prevent pollutants from being discharged with stormwater into nearby waterways. Each site must have a stormwater pollution prevention plan that sets guidelines and best management practices that the company will follow to prevent runoff from being contaminated by pollutants.

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