BOSTON, MA, July 21, 2015 -- Pan Am Railways, North America's largest regional railroad system, recently announced that it has agreed to settle allegations from the Environmental Protection Agency for Clean Water Act (CWA) violations at two of its railyards operating in the cities of Waterville, Maine, and East Deerfield, Mass. The company has agreed to pay a fine of $152,000 to resolve the violations.
According to allegations in a complaint filed by EPA this past winter related to the Waterville facility, Pan Am violated the conditions of the Maine "Multi-Sector General Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Industrial Activity," as well as federal Oil Pollution Prevention Regulations. The complaint indicated that Pan Am's stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP) did not adequately describe control measures necessary to minimize the impact of stormwater running offsite to nearby surface waters.
Furthermore, debris piles were located on site without proper controls in place, and oil staining was observed throughout the site. EPA asserted that the company failed to maintain certain erosion control measures. In addition, the Agency alleged that Pan Am failed to fully implement a Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) plan -- a tool to avoid oil spills.
With regard to Pan Am's East Deerfield facility, EPA alleged that the company violated the conditions related to stormwater management of its individual NPDES permit and also violated the federal Oil Pollution Prevention Regulations. The complaint indicated that the facility failed to include adequate site maps that contained all the required components of a SWPPP; conduct annual stormwater inspections in 2011 and 2012; and implement good housekeeping practices designed to maintain areas that are potential sources of pollutants. It also failed to stabilize an area where significant erosion was occurring. EPA also alleged that Pan Am failed to fully implement its SPCC plan at this site.
As part of the settlement, in addition to the financial penalty, Pan Am also agreed to undertake an Environmental Culture Assessment (ECA) and develop and implement action plans to improve the current environmental culture at five of its New England facilities located in: East Deerfield, Mass.; Ayer, Mass.; North Billerica, Mass.; Waterville, Maine; and South Portland, Maine. The goal of the ECA and action plans is to reduce the impact of rail operation on the environment.
The CWA requires that certain industrial facilities, such as railyards, have controls in place to minimize pollutants from being discharged with stormwater into nearby waterways. Each site must have a stormwater pollution prevention plan that describes the best management practices that the company will follow to prevent runoff from being contaminated by pollutants (see "Examining Stormwater Best Management Practices at Industrial Sites").