The Urethane Blog

Hauthaway to Pay Fine

Lynn company settles allegations it illegally discharged industrial stormwater into Saugus River

Wicked Local

Attorney General Maura Healey issued the following press release

A Lynn-based chemical manufacturing company has agreed to pay a total of $302,000 – the majority of which will fund local water quality improvement projects – to settle allegations that it violated federal regulations designed to prevent the accidental release of toxic chemicals into the environment and that it illegally discharged industrial stormwater into the Saugus River, Attorney General Maura Healey announced.

“This company’s actions risked the health of workers and nearby residents of an environmental justice community and threatened the water quality of the Saugus River,” Healey said. “This settlement holds this company accountable for violating important laws that protect public health and our clean air and water and provides funding for local environmental projects.”

“I am grateful for the work of Attorney General Maura Healey and her Environmental Protection Division staff for their support and vigilant work that protects the residents of Lynn,” said Lynn Mayor Thomas McGee. “Funding made available through this settlement will help supplement the city’s ongoing efforts to mitigate flooding hazards and improve stormwater quality in the Strawberry Brook Watershed. Funds will allow us to significantly increase the scale and number of low impact design elements as part of an ongoing pilot project targeting the watershed. The project will replicate natural processes in managing stormwater while offering co-benefits to our community by introducing additional landscaping and street trees in our neighborhoods, which in turn reduce the heat island effect, improving air quality, and otherwise enhancing our public spaces. I look forward to seeing the positive effects of this project for our community and our residents.”

The consent decree, filed with the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts and pending court approval, settles allegations that C.L. Hauthaway & Sons, Inc. violated the federal Clean Air Act at its Lynn manufacturing facility when it failed to appropriately plan for the prevention and response to accidental release of toluene diisocyanate (TDI), an extremely hazardous chemical at the facility.

The consent decree also settles allegations that the company violated the federal Clean Water Act when it discharged polluted stormwater into the Saugus River without a permit. The facility is adjacent to the Saugus River and is close to several residences.

Lynn has been designated by Massachusetts and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as an environmental justice community disproportionately subjected to environmental harms and risks.

According to the complaint, TDI is highly toxic when inhaled, ingested or exposed to the skin or eyes, and it is capable of contaminating water. The company used the chemical in amounts above the applicable threshold, and it did not prepare and implement a risk management plan as required by the Clean Air Act. The AG’s complaint does not allege that there was a release of TDI to the environment.

Stormwater pollution is recognized as the largest threat to water quality in the state. Certain facilities like C.L. Hauthaway’s must obtain specific authorization for stormwater discharges, properly monitor and control stormwater discharges, report stormwater sampling results to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and comply with state water protection laws. The AG’s Office alleges that the company failed to take these required actions at its Lynn facility.

The company is located on the Saugus River – a state-listed impaired waterbody – within a flood zone and in an area designated by the state as the Rumney Marshes Area of Critical Environmental Concern. Impaired waterbodies have been designated by the state as needing additional pollution regulations. The Rumney Marshes Area of Critical Environmental Concern has been characterized as needing heightened environmental protection because of its significant unique natural resources.

Under the terms of the consent decree, the company is required to pay $240,000 to the City of Lynn to build green infrastructure and improve water quality in the vicinity of the facility. It is also required to pay the state $62,000 to offset the costs of the AG’s enforcement efforts and for future monitoring of the company’s compliance with the consent decree.

The announcement is part of a civil enforcement initiative out of AG Healey’s Environmental Protection Division that focuses on combatting pollution by enforcing the requirements of the federal Clean Water Act and the federal Clean Air Act in Massachusetts, along with applicable state environmental laws. This will be the seventh settlement from the initiative since its inception in 2018. These settlements have recovered nearly $600,000 for local environmental improvement projects and civil penalties.

This case was handled by Special Assistant Attorney General Nora Chorover and Attorney Emily Mitchell, both of AG Healey’s Environmental Protection Division.

https://www.wickedlocal.com/story/saugus-advertiser/2020/12/07/lynn-company-settles-allegations-illegally-discharged-industrial-stormwater-into-saugus-river/3853273001/