Aug 21, 2015

Settlement Requires Glass Manufacturer to Improve Storm Water Treatment

The manufacturer will pay a $103,440 penalty and fund three environmental projects costing a total of about $121,700 to settle claims it was discharging wastewater in violation of its permits

stormwater treatment pollution Ardagh Glass Inc.

Wastewater discharged by a glass manufacturing company in Milford, Mass., into wetlands adjacent to the Charles River will be cleaner as a result of a recent settlement between the manufacturer and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Ardagh Glass Inc. agreed to pay a $103,440 penalty and to fund three environmental projects costing a total of about $121,700 to settle claims it was discharging wastewater in violation of its permits.

In the settlement with EPA’s New England office, Ardagh agreed to install equipment that will enhance the treatment of storm water before it is discharged. In addition, the company will buy firefighting equipment and materials for the town of Milford Fire Department.

EPA alleged that Ardagh, which makes glass bottles, jars and other containers, was in violation of its permits issued under the Clean Water Act to discharge storm water and cooling water, which both flow into wetlands adjacent to the Charles River.

“We are glad that action has been taken to make sure wastewater and storm water discharged by the company complies with federal permits and standards designed to protect our environment,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “This action will ensure that the Charles River is protected."

During a September 2013 inspection of the facility, EPA inspectors found that the company was not consistently in compliance with permit effluent limitations for maximum daily flow, acidity, temperature and residual chlorine concentrations in cooling water it discharged between 2010 and 2014.

EPA also alleged that the company did not comply with the conditions in its storm water discharge permit. While Ardagh maintained a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan, it was not fully implementing certain terms and conditions required by the permit and in the plan, including: conducting and documenting all the required routine facility site inspections, quarterly visual assessments for discharges to the wetlands, and annual comprehensive site inspections; illustrating required information in a facility site diagram; installing adequate control measures to minimize the exposure of industrial materials stored outside from coming into contact with storm water; and managing storm water runoff to minimize soil erosion and reduce pollutants in discharges to the wetlands and ultimately the Charles River.

Finally EPA alleged that the company discharged untreated process wastewater into adjacent wetlands without a permit.

The Clean Water Act prohibits the discharge of process wastewater without a permit or in violation of requirements in a permit. The law also requires that industrial facilities, such as glass manufacturers, 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 industrial facilities can flow directly to the nearest waterway and can reduce water quality resulting in, for instance, siltation of rivers, beach closings, fishing restrictions, and habitat degradation. As storm water flows over these sites, it can pick up pollutants, including sediment, used oil, and other debris. Polluted process water discharges and storm water runoff can harm or kill fish and wildlife and can affect drinking water quality.