Vermont Business Magazine Four New England facilities have reported publicly on their use of certain chemicals, creating a safer environment for the public, as a result of investigations and enforcement actions taken by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). All four facilities quickly corrected their non-reporting when notified of their oversight. The St Albans Creamery was among them.
Companies and facilities are required to report annually on their use of certain chemicals and substances under the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). The reports are filed in EPCRA’s Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) database, which is available to the public. Complying with EPCRA’s and TRI requirements helps ensure that communities are informed about chemical usage that may affect public health and the environment.
“To inform the public and protect communities, EPA requires companies and organizations that produce, manage or store certain chemicals to report this information every year. Complying with this reporting is an essential part of protecting peoples’ health and for emergency preparedness,” said EPA New England Acting Regional Administrator Deborah Szaro.
St. Albans Creamery, LLC, a facility located in St. Albans, Vermont and a subsidiary of Dairy Farmers of America, Inc., processes milk and other dairy products. St. Albans agreed to pay a settlement penalty of $58,765 for three alleged violations of TRI reporting. A 2017 TRI report for nitric acid was due by July 1, 2018 and two 2018 TRI reports for nitric acid and nitrate compounds were due by July 1, 2019. St. Albans filed all three missing reports in May 2020, after being contacted by EPA.
Westfield Electroplating Company, a Westfield, Mass. based company that electroplates, anodizes, colors, and finishes metals and formed products for the aerospace and defense industries, agreed to pay a settlement penalty of $55,862 to resolve claims by EPA that it failed to submit TRI reports for nitric acid, nitrate compounds and cyanide compounds at its facility for 2018.
Nichols Portland, LLC agreed to pay a settlement penalty of $36,943 to resolve claims by EPA that it failed to timely submit TRI reports for both copper and nickel processed at its Portland, Maine facility in 2018. The facility uses powdered metals to manufacture small parts and pump components. Nichols Portland was required to file 2018 TRI reports for copper and nickel by July 1, 2019. The company filed the reports for their facility ten months later in April 2020 after being contacted by EPA.
First Light Technologies, Inc., a Poultney, Vermont based ultraviolet lamp production company, agreed to pay a settlement penalty of $23,558 to resolve claims by EPA that it failed to timely report more than ten pounds of mercury that the facility had processed in 2018. The company manufactures custom ultraviolet germicidal lamps and bulbs for the air and water purification industries. First Light was required to file a TRI report for mercury by July 1, 2019. The company filed the report ten months later in April 2020 after being contacted by EPA.
Under federal TRI regulations, companies that use certain listed chemicals must report their chemical usage each year to EPA. This information serves as the basis for the Toxic Release Inventory, which is a collection of data that can be reviewed by communities, government and industry. Because the information is available to the public, companies have an incentive to reduce harmful chemical use and improve their environmental performance. TRI reporting informs surrounding communities about a facility’s toxic chemicals that could potentially harm public health and the environment.
Toxic Release Inventory: www.epa.gov/toxics-release-inventory-tri-program/learn-about-toxics-release-inventory
Reporting requirements for facilities: https://www.epa.gov/toxics-release-inventory-tri-program/reporting-tri-facilities