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Gloucester Mass. Shipyard Will Help Educate Customers and Peers about Clean Water Responsibilities under Settlement

Release Date: 10/16/2014
Contact Information: David Deegan (617) 918-1017

BOSTON – Gloucester Marine Railways Corp. will adhere to appropriate practices to protect water quality and thereby protect the health of citizens and the environment, under a settlement with EPA. The company will also pay a fine of $20,000 under the settlement for alleged violations of the federal Clean Water Act at its Gloucester, Mass. shipyard.

According to allegations in the settlement agreement filed by EPA, the company violated the Clean Water Act by discharging wastewater from boat-washing operations into Smith Cove without authorization, and additionally discharged contaminated stormwater without a stormwater permit and without employing “best management practices” to minimize the impacts of such stormwater discharges. The facility covers approximately 3.3 acres, and contains several wharfs, two marine railways, a travel lift, a maintenance shop, and fueling operations.

An EPA inspection in June 2012 revealed that up until the summer of 2011, the company discharged process water from boat-washing operations directly into Smith Cove, which opens up into Gloucester Harbor. These discharges were mixed with paint chips containing toxic metals such as copper and tin which are used to inhibit marine growth on ship hulls. During the summer of 2011, Gloucester Marine Railways Corp. (GMRC) ceased such discharges from the part of the site serviced by a travel lift by collecting such discharges and filtering and recycling the used wash water. Discharges from the part of the site serviced by the marine railways were ceased the following summer. In addition, at the time of the inspection, the facility did not have coverage under the federal Multi-Sector General Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Industrial Activities (“MSGP”).

In addition to paying a penalty, GMRC will implement an “Environmental Compliance Promotion” project to raise awareness in the maritime community of Clean Water Act requirements that apply to boatyards, marinas, and private boat owners. GMRC will provide $30,000 to Maritime Gloucester, a local non-profit organization, to implement the project.

The project will include an outreach component that will target the 15 marinas and boatyards, five yacht clubs, and more than 1,200 mooring holders in Cape Ann. Maritime Gloucester will also host a conference which will include presentations on Clean Water Act compliance requirements including implementing stormwater best management practices at facilities subject to federal stormwater permitting requirements. The conference will also include presentations on technologies, management approaches, and experiences associated with boatyard activities potentially impacting stormwater and water quality. Also, a one page handout will be mailed to all 1,200 mooring holders as well as to all marinas, boatyards and yacht clubs in Cape Ann. In addition, a webpage will be specifically developed and referenced on the one page handout for additional information related to these topics.

The Clean Water Act requires that certain industrial facilities, such as shipyards and marinas have controls in place to minimize pollutants from being discharged with stormwater into nearby waterways. Each facility must have a stormwater pollution prevention plan that sets guidelines and best management practices that the company will follow to prevent runoff from being contaminated by pollutants on their site(s). Without adequate on-site controls, stormwater runoff from such sites 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. As stormwater flows over these sites, it can pick up pollutants, including sediment, used oil, toxic metals such as copper and tin, and nitrogen.

For more information:

- EPA's enforcement of the Clean Water Act in New England (

- Storm water permits in New England (

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