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Release Date: 01/05/1999
Contact Information: Peyton Fleming, EPA Press Office (617-918-1008)

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing a $132,500 penalty against a New Hampshire-based leather tanning facility for numerous environmental violations, including various illegal stormwater releases into the Suncook River.

The penalty, proposed last month, stems from various violations at Suncook Leather Inc.'s tanning operation in Pittsfield, N.H. All of the violations stem from Clean Water Act requirements.

Among other violations, EPA cited the company for failing to apply for a stormwater discharge permit, for discharging stormwater without a permit and for failing to file semi-annual monitoring reports related to pretreatment of industrial wastewater. The facility's wastewater is discharged to a municipal wastewater treatment facility.

Suncook Leather also was cited for failing to maintain its 1974 spill prevention plan, which is required for the operation of the company's 15,000-gallon fuel tank which is situated five feet from the river. Federal law requires that the spill prevention plan be reviewed and evaluated every three years.

"Suncook Leather's environmental compliance performance has been lacking," said John P. DeVillars, administrator of the EPA's New England Office. "The stormwater discharge violations are especially disturbing considering that the company stores substantial quantities of hides, hide scraps and wastewater treatment sludge outdoors, where they are exposed to stormwater that eventually discharges into the river."

EPA inspectors discovered the violations during a series of inspections in 1996 and 1997.