Sep 02, 2020

Massachusetts Companies Owe $185,000 for Discharging Polluted Storm Water

AG's Office reaches settlements with Massachusetts companies illegally discharged polluted storm water

massachusetts drinking water quality

Two companies in Massachusetts are agreeing to pay $185,000 over allegations that the companies illegally discharged polluted industrial storm water into local rivers.

The companies reached a settlement, according to a press release by Office of Attorney General Maura Healey.

UAVE LLC in Norwood and Cargill, Inc. and Salt City, Inc. in Westfield settled the allegations that the companies violated the federal Clean Water Act by discharging industrial storm water into storm drain systems, which flow to cold-water fisheries. 

Cargill and Salt City own and run a road salt warehousing, storage and transportation facility in Westfield, Massachusetts. The facility contains a salt pile that has spanned nearly two acres at certain times. According to the attorney general’s office, poor salt and storm water management at the facility led to large amounts and concentrations of road salt to the Westfield municipal storm sewer system.

The settlement includes $130,000 paid to local watershed associations for water quality improvements near the facilities, according to Healey’s office in a statement. $55,000 will also offset the costs of the attorney general’s enforcement efforts and future monitoring of compliance.

“Storm water pollution is causing serious harm to our state’s waterways and wetlands, which are critical natural resources that provide flood control and habitats for wildlife,” said Healey. “These settlements will help improve water quality, prevent future pollution in the Westfield and Neponset River watersheds, and ensure compliance with basic federal environmental protections at a time when the Trump Administration has stepped back from enforcement.”

According to Healey’s office, storm water pollution is the largest threat to water quality in Massachusetts. Consent decrees have been filed with the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts and are pending court approval. 

That system is connected to Powdermill Brook, a tributary of the Westfield River, and near a potential source of drinking water for Westfield, Healey’s office said.

As part of the settlement, the companies have agreed to take steps to mitigate runoff. This includes building an asphalt berm, plugging catch basins and limiting storm water contact with salt piles. $80,000 will also be paid from the companies to the Westfield River Watershed Association, and Healey’s office will be reimbursed for costs incurred in bringing the case.

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