BOSTON, MA, Dec. 8, 2014 -- Facing Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allegations of violating the federal Clean Water Act (CWA), two major companies operating under the control of Cascades USA, Inc. -- Cascades Auburn Fiber (CAF) in Auburn, Maine; and Norampac New England (NNE), Inc. in Thompson, Conn. -- have agreed on a settlement. CAF has agreed to pay a fine of $65,000 for alleged clean water violations at its Auburn pulp mill, and NNE has agreed to pay a fine of $100,000 for alleged clean water violations at its Thompson corrugated cardboard manufacturing facility.
According to allegations in a complaint filed by EPA this past summer, CAF violated the conditions of its stormwater permit and violated the federal Oil Pollution Prevention Regulations by failing to prepare and implement a Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Plan. According to the complaint, stormwater control measures that the company had in place were inadequate to prevent on-site pollutants from combining with stormwater and discharging to nearby surface waters. CAF also failed to conduct certain monitoring and stormwater sampling as required by its stormwater permit.
EPA also filed a complaint against NNE this past summer, alleging that the company violated the conditions of its stormwater permit and violated the federal Oil Pollution Prevention Regulations by failing to fully implement its Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Plan. According to the complaint, the facility failed to implement best management practices (BMPs) described in its StormWater Pollution Prevention Plan related to site maintenance, failed to conduct certain inspections, and failed to take certain corrective measures after learning of benchmark sampling exceedances.
The CWA requires that certain industrial facilities, such as pulp manufacturers and corrugated cardboard manufacturers, 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 BMPs that the company will follow to prevent runoff from being contaminated by pollutants.
Without adequate on-site controls, stormwater runoff can flow directly to the nearest waterway and can cause water quality impairments such as siltation of rivers, beach closings, fishing restrictions, and habitat degradation. As stormwater flows over these sites, it can pick up pollutants, including sediment, biological oxygen demand (BOD) and chemical oxygen demand (COD), and chlorine. The law also prohibits the discharge of process wastewaters without a permit. Untreated wastewater discharges and stormwater runoff can harm or kill fish and wildlife and can affect drinking water quality.