January 1, 2013
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that CSG Holdings, Inc. paid $150,000 to resolve EPA claims that it allowed polluted storm water and process water from its Columbia, N.H., facility to flow into nearby waters, violating Clean Water Act (CWA) provisions to prevent pollution from storm water runoff at industrial sites. CSG Holdings is the former operator of Columbia Sand and Gravel on the banks of the Connecticut River.
EPA alleged that CSG Holdings discharged process waste waters and storm water from the site without proper permits and violated the federal Oil Pollution Prevention Regulations by failing to prepare and implement a Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Plan. Monitoring confirmed that storm water discharges from the facility contained high levels of total suspended solids.
CWA prohibits the discharge of process waste waters without a permit and requires that industrial facilities have controls in place to minimize pollutants from being discharged with storm water into nearby waterways. Each site must have a storm water pollution prevention plan that sets guidelines and best management practices that the company will follow to prevent runoff from being contaminated by pollutants. Without on-site controls, runoff from sand and gravel facilities 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, the EPA says.
EPA is working to bring facilities in the aggregate industry into compliance with storm water regulations. The effort includes enforcement actions and has also included development of written materials, websites, workshops, and other products to help those involved in sand and gravel mining to understand how to comply with storm water laws at their facilities.
More information: Clean Water Act enforcement in New England (http://www.epa.gov/region1/enforcement/water/index.html)