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Mass. Chemical Manufacturer to Pay for Safety Violations Following Release of Styrene
Release Date: 05/31/2006
Contact Information: David Deegan, 617-918-1017
(Boston, Mass. - May 31, 2006) - A major chemical company in Indian Orchard, Mass., NOVA Chemicals, Inc., will pay a fine of $13,800 to settle an EPA claim that they failed to implement measures designed to prevent releases of extremely hazardous substances, as required by the Clean Air Act.
In addition, the company has agreed to undertake a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) that consists of donating emergency response equipment to its local fire department, at a cost of about $14,000. The equipment will enable the Springfield, Mass. fire department to accurately measure and monitor chemical emissions during emergency responses.
EPA’s action was triggered by an accidental release of 4,500 pounds of a hazardous substance, styrene, on Jan. 7, 2004. EPA alleged that the facility violated the Clean Air Act through its failure to comply with the "general duty" clause to identify hazards that may result from accidental releases of extremely hazardous substances. This can be done by using the appropriate hazard assessment techniques, to design and maintain a safe facility taking such steps as are necessary to prevent releases, and to minimize the consequences of accidental releases which do occur. Fortunately, nobody was injured as a result of the Jan. 2004 chemical release.
NOVA Chemicals, Inc. is a chemical manufacturing facility that employs 70 employees. The facility’s corporate parent has 4,100 employees in 18 world-wide locations and had annual sales of $5.27 billion in 2004, with a net income of $252 million.
The violation being settled is in addition to another alleged violation by NOVA, in which they failed to notify the National Response Center immediately upon knowing that a release of styrene, an extremely flammable and hazardous substance, in excess of the reporting threshold had occurred, in violation of CERCLA. This violation carries a proposed penalty of $6,875.
More information on emergency chemical preparedness at EPA (https://yosemite.epa.gov/oswer/ceppoweb.nsf/content/index.html)
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