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CT Company to Pay $229,874 Penalty for Air Violations at Adams, MA Facility; Settlement Includes Retirement of Pollution Credits

Release Date: 03/04/2003
Contact Information: Peyton Fleming, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1008

BOSTON - MacDermid Graphic Arts Inc. of Waterbury, CT has agreed to pay a penalty of $229,874 to settle an enforcement case with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regarding Clean Air Act violations.

The penalty stems from violations between 1997 and 2001 at a manufacturing plant in Adams, MA that the company has since closed for business reasons. Among other violations, the EPA complaint alleged that MacDermid exceeded allowable emission limits for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in operating one of its process lines. EPA also alleged monitoring, record-keeping and reporting violations under federal and state air regulations.

VOCs are a main cause of ground-level ozone, or smog, pollution. Ozone irritates the respiratory system and can cause coughing, damage to the lungs and asthma.

MacDermid manufactured fabricated rubber products for the commercial graphic arts industry at the Adams facility. The company operated coating lines that emitted VOCs and were subject to emission limits.

In addition to paying a penalty, MacDermid agreed to permanently retire any VOC emission reduction credits that may have been generated by the shutdown of the Adams plant. Retiring emission credits provides an environmental benefit because, under pollution trading rules, companies often can sell their rights to emit certain amounts of air pollution to other companies which, for example, might be building a new facility or expanding an existing one.

EPA estimates that MacDermid's credits may have been as much as 150 tons of VOCs per year based on reported actual emissions for 1998 at the Adams plant. By permanently retiring VOC emission credits, the local air quality in Adams, as well as regionally, should benefit.

"Given the poor air quality that frequently exists during the summer in western Massachusetts, violations like these are unacceptable," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England Office, noting that western Massachusetts had nearly a dozen days last summer when ozone levels were unhealthful. "Although MacDermid has shut down the Adams facility, this agreement will secure real environmental benefits by ensuring that these pollution credits are never available to other pollution sources."