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Manufacturer to Pay $38K for Spilled Styrene

Posted on 4/8/2016 by Roger Marks

A resins manufacturer in Westminster, MA will pay $38,860 to resolve allegations that it violated Clean Water Act oil spill and stormwater pollution requirements stemming from an incident in September 2014.

According to US EPA, employees at the manufacturing site accidentally spilled a small amount of a chemical compound called Styrene (also known by the name ethenylbenzene). The spill occurred while filling containers and went unnoticed until a city employee brought it to the staff’s attention.

oil spill in clean water
According to US EPA, the company did not have a Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan in place. In addition to having no SPCC Plan, the company allegedly did not hold the required permit for discharging stormwater under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES).

Read the EPA enforcement Press Release here.

Wait a Second—Is Styrene Oil?

It may seem odd that spilling a chemical product could result in EPA fines related to oil spill planning and reporting. While Federal SPCC requirements apply only to “oil” as defined in 40 CFR 112, each state is authorized to create rules more stringent that the US EPA regulations.

Massachusetts, the state in which the alleged violations occurred, has adopted the Massachusetts Oil and Hazardous Material Release Prevention and Response Act. This State law expands on the Federal requirements for oil spill planning and reporting to encompass hazardous chemical spills as well.

EPA Clean Water Act Developments

US EPA made headlines in 2015 when it redefined the term “Waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. The change of definition put more bodies of water under EPA’s purview and was the subject of a hotly contested PR battle and a Federal lawsuit. A Federal judge blocked implementation of the Rule in thirteen states. In October 2015, the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued an official “Order of Stay,” effectively putting a hold on the new water regulations nationwide until further notice.

Learn the Latest EPA Air, Water, and Chemical Rules

Gain clarity and confidence working with the complex, overlapping environmental rules that affect your day-to-day job. At the Complete Environmental Regulations Workshop, find out what to monitor, control, report, and keep on file to meet your responsibilities under major programs like the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, CERCLA, EPCRA, TSCA, FIFRA, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and more. 

Tags: Act, Clean, EPA, NPDES, state rules, Water

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