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Pawcatuck, Conn. Facility Faces EPA Fine for PCB Contamination

Release Date: 03/09/2007
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – March 9, 2007) – A facility in Pawcatuck Conn., owned by Whittaker Corp. of Delaware, faces a fine from EPA under an administrative complaint that details a PCB-contaminated oil spill that has not been properly cleaned up.

In July 2005, a tenant at the Whittaker-owned facility discovered and reported a leak of PCB-contaminated oil from a transformer at the property. The spill was reported to the Conn. Dept. of Environmental Protection (CT DEP). Subsequent inspections by CT DEP revealed that Whittaker has not cleaned up the spill.

EPA’s complaint alleges that Whittaker improperly disposed of PCBs. Federal regulations require that PCB-containing liquids at or above concentrations of 50 parts per million (ppm) be properly disposed of in an incinerator, a high efficiency boiler, or a chemical waste landfill. Under the “Spill Cleanup Policy” of EPA’s PCB regulations, if Whittaker had properly cleaned up the spill within 48 hours of its discovery, it would have avoided a penalty enforcement action. Whittaker, however, has not properly cleaned up the spill for over a year and a half. EPA is seeking a fine of $8,000 for this violation.

Although federal regulations have prohibited the manufacture of PCBs and controlled the phase-out of their existing uses since 1977, the highly toxic substance can still be found in older paints, caulking, electrical equipment, and oil, such as the PCB-contaminated oil in the facility’s transformer. Facilities that have materials that might contain PCBs should arrange for PCB analysis before shipping them for disposal or recycling to help ensure compliance with federal regulations.

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