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Cabot Corp. Settles Chemical Reporting And Hazardous Waste Storage Violations at Boyertown Plant

Release Date: 8/14/2003
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543

Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543

PHILADELPHIA – Boston-based Cabot Corp. has settled EPA complaints alleging untimely reporting of two hazardous chemical releases in 2000 and violations of hazardous storage regulations at the Cabot Supermetals plant in Boyertown, Pa. In consent agreements reached with EPA, the company agreed to pay total penalties of $98,726 to settle the alleged violations. The company’s Cabot Supermetals division supplies metal products to the electronics, aerospace, and chemical processing industries.

The chemical reporting violations involved a February 7, 2000 release of anhydrous ammonia and a March 25, 2000 release of hydrofluoric acid. EPA cited the company for violating two federal laws on reporting of hazardous chemical spills. The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA, also known as the “Superfund” statute) requires companies to immediately report releases of hazardous substances to the National Response Center, the national point of contact for reporting all oil and hazardous chemical spills. The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) mandates that facilities similarly notify state and local emergency officials of such releases. EPCRA also requires that companies promptly provide written followup reports on spill response plans, and the medical effects of the releases.

According to EPA, Cabot released 275 pounds of anhydrous ammonia at 6:35 a.m., on February 7, 2000, but did not report the release to the National Response Center until 4:47 p.m. on February 8, 2000, or about 34 hours after discovering the release. State emergency response officials were not notified until 1 p.m., on February 9, 2000, and local authorities were not properly notified for11 days.

EPA had also alleged that Cabot released 1,239 pounds of hydrofluoric acid at 7:30 p.m. on March 25, 2000, but did not notify the National Response Center and state and local emergency response officials until about four and half hours later. The company also did not provide the required followup report to state and local officials until 433 days after the spill.

The company also settled alleged violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the principal federal statute on hazardous waste handling, storage, and disposal. A May 2000 EPA inspection revealed that chromium-containing hazardous wastes were being stored at the Boyertown plant without a permit in two open, improperly labeled drums. EPA also cited the failure to provide hazardous waste management training to Cabot Supermetals employees, or to maintain records of such training.

As part of the settlement, Cabot neither admitted nor denied liability for the alleged violations.

The company has certified that it is now in compliance with applicable hazardous chemical reporting and storage regulations. The company has also complied with an EPA order requiring the submission of a hazardous waste training program.