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Wentworth N.H Sawmill Cited for Clean Water Violations

Release Date: 05/16/2006
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – May 16, 2006) – A sawmill in Wentworth, N.H. may be required to pay a fine of up to $157,500 under a complaint filed by EPA’s New England office. EPA’s complaint outlines that over the past several years, Precision Lumber violated the terms of its permit to discharge storm water under the Clean Water Act.

In early 2001, Precision Lumber elected to be covered under a general permit which authorizes discharges of storm water from many types of industrial sectors in New Hampshire, including sawmills. Under the permit, the facility was authorized to discharge storm water to the Baker River, subject to certain limitations and conditions. Among the conditions were requirements regarding inspections, monitoring, reporting and implementing practices to minimize the discharge of pollutants in storm water into the Baker River.

Following an investigation over the past year, EPA has determined that Precision Lumber failed to develop and maintain an adequate Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan, failed to conduct monthly storm water inspections, failed to conduct two annual comprehensive site compliance evaluations, and, at times, failed to conduct quarterly visual inspections of its four outfalls. All of these violations could potentially have resulted in the facility’s storm water discharges adding pollutants to the Baker River.

Activities that take place at industrial facilities, such as material handling and storage, are often exposed to the weather. As runoff from rain or snowmelt comes into contact with these materials, it picks up pollutants and transports them to nearby storm sewer systems, rivers, lakes, or coastal waters. Storm water pollution is a significant source of water quality problems for the nation’s waters. Of the 11 pollution source categories listed in EPA’s National Water Quality Inventory: 2000 Report to Congress, urban runoff/storm sewers was ranked as the fourth leading source of impairment in rivers, third in lakes, and second in estuaries.

Under EPA’s complaint, Precision Lumber may be required to pay a penalty of up to $157,500 for the Clean Water Act violations. EPA has also issued a Compliance Order that will require the facility to immediately correct the violations alleged in the Complaint.

More information on EPA New England enforcement of the Clean Water Act is available at: .

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