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EPA Seeks Monetary Penalty Against Waterbury Conn. Company for Violations of Right to Know Act

Release Date: 10/05/2001
Contact Information: Mark Merchant, EPA Press Office (617) 918-1013

BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today it is proposing $330,000 in penalties against a Waterbury, Conn. company for failing to file timely reports about toxic chemical releases between 1996 and 1999.

EPA inspectors visited the Allegheny-Ludlum Co. on Jan. 3 and discovered that releases of three toxic chemicals – chromium, manganese and nickel – were not properly reported to EPA and state officials.

The company, which is headquartered in Pittsburgh, makes stainless steel and alloy sheets in its Waterbury plant. In all, it had 12 reporting violations of the Toxic Releases Inventory under the federal Emergency Planning and Right to Know Act.

The penalty is large, in part, due to the amount of each chemical processed at the facility, the lateness of each of the reports and the size of the company.

The TRI is a large data base of chemical emission information tracked from companies required to report under EPCRA. TRI data provides the amount, location, type of emissions released into the environment, and information on toxic waste shipped off-site for further treatment and disposal. TRI data covers legal chemical emissions and is used for comprehensive risk planning by federal, state and local officials.

"When a company fails to report information like this, it deprives a community of its right to know about the chemicals being used in its neighborhoods and being released into its environment," said Robert W. Varney, head of EPA's New England office. "I hope this action will encourage companies to do the reporting required by law."

The chemicals that are reported under the TRI can have significant adverse effects on human health and the environment. The TRI data allows the public, industry and state and local governments to make informed decisions about the management and control of these and other toxic chemicals. The data is used by industries to analyze their wastes and identify areas where source reduction and other pollution prevention activities can be used so that wastes and emissions are minimized.

But more importantly, the TRI has proved to be an effective vehicle for determining pollution prevention opportunities that drives the total emissions and waste streams down. More than one third of the nearly 24,000 facilities filing TRI data reported undertaking at least one source reduction activity designed to prevent or reduce the generation of toxic chemicals.

Regional Administrator Varney noted that "the TRI data is there for the public to use. Companies that have made reductions in releases will continue to improve their operations if they know citizens are watching."