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U.S. EPA settles with Bay Area company for failing to report toxic chemical release information

Release Date: 10/16/2008
Contact Information: Wendy Chavez, 415/947-4248,

Company to donate equipment to city of Santa Rosa Fire Department

(San Francisco, Calif. -- 10/16/08) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has settled with a Santa Rosa, Calif., cable assembly company for $13,625 for allegedly failing to report its toxic chemical releases, a violation of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.

In addition to the penalty, the company has also spent more than $51,000 on hazardous material response equipment for the Santa Rosa Fire Department.

ITT Corporation, dba BIW Connector Systems, failed to submit timely, complete, and correct reports to the EPA and the state for reporting years 2005 and 2006 detailing the amounts of copper and lead compounds released at its facility located at 500 Tesconi Circle. EPA inspectors discovered the violations during a routine inspection in August 2007.

“Facilities that process toxic chemicals, such as copper and lead compounds, must follow our reporting rules so residents and emergency response personnel are aware of possible chemical hazards in the local environment,” said Enrique Manzanilla, Communities and Ecosystems Division director for EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “Today’s action not only ensures that this company complies with reporting regulations, but also provides valuable equipment to the local fire department beneficial to the community.”

ITT Corporation failed to submit reports to the EPA and the state reporting that the company released more than 12,800 pounds of copper compounds in 2005, more than 19,500 pounds of copper compounds in 2006, and released more than 250 pounds of lead compounds in 2005 and more than 380 pounds of lead compounds in 2006. Federal emergency planning and right-to-know laws require facilities processing, manufacturing, or otherwise using more than 25,000 pounds of copper compounds or 100 pounds of lead compounds report its respective releases on an annual basis to the EPA and the state.

The facility strips copper and lead compounds from electrical cable to enable cable connector installation.

Exposure to lead and lead compounds may result in high blood pressure, digestive problems, muscle and joint pain, nerve disorders, and memory and concentration problems. Exposure to even low levels of lead can severely harm children under the age of six. Exposure to high levels of copper can cause nose and throat irritation. Very-high doses of copper can cause damage to liver and kidneys, and can cause death.

Each year the EPA compiles the information submitted to it from the previous year regarding toxic chemical releases, and produces a national Toxics Release Inventory database for public availability. The TRI database estimates the amounts of each toxic chemical released to the environment, treated or recycled on-site, or transferred off-site for waste management, and also provides a trend analysis of toxic chemical releases.

For more information on the TRI program, please visit The EPA’s TRI program data, as well as other environmental databases, can be accessed at