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Release Date: 09/03/1996
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA Press Office, (617) 918-1064

The U.S. District Court in Concord, New Hampshire accepted a Consent Decree filed by the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency settling a case against James River Corporation for violations at the paper and pulp mill facilities in Berlin and Gorham now owned by Crown Vantage. The Consent Decree includes a $200,000 penalty, requires the company to reduce the release of sulfuric compounds into the air, and requires an assessment of all potential sources of illegal discharges to the Androscoggin River and evaluation of the adequacy of practices, procedures, and facilities in place to prevent unpermitted discharges.

The case arose out of a sulfuric acid spill that reached the Berlin, New Hampshire wastewater treatment plant in 1993. According to EPA, the company had failed to follow proper procedures for reporting the spill. At that time James River was also found in violation of federal limits prescribed in the company's National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) wastewater discharge permit, and in violation of federal limits on industrial wastewater discharged to municipal sewers.

"This settlement between EPA and the James River Corporation will result in environmental benefits that far exceed the value of a simple monetary penalty," said John DeVillars, Regional Administrator for EPA's New England office. "EPA is commited to creating innovative solutions to environmental problems that go beyond typical enforcement actions. By dedicating a portion of the penalty settlement to the redesign of the Berlin facility, we are insuring a significant reduction in the release of pollutants into the region's air."

DOJ Quote:

The Department of Justice initially filed a Consent Decree in May, 1995. Cascade Flats Neighborhood Organization objected to that Consent Decree. The Consent Decree was amended to require Crown to study past illegal discharges to the River and identify potential sources for other illegal discharges. The Neighborhood Organization subsequently withdrew its objection.