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EPA Seeks Monetary Penalty from Fiskeville, R. I. Manufacturer for Air Emissions Violations

Release Date: 08/07/2001
Contact Information: Mark Merchant, EPA Press Office (617-918-1013)

BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today it will seek $376,483 in penalties against a photographic film and paper manufacturer in Rhode Island for violations of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, or RCRA.

Arkwright is owned by OCE-USA Holding, Inc. of Chicago. The plant where the violations occurred is located at 538 Main St. in Fiskeville, southwest of Providence.

Wastes resulting from Arkwright's manufacturing process contained volatile organic compounds, (VOCs), which evaporate readily into the air. The emission of VOCs into the air results in the formation of ground-level ozone, or smog. High concentrations of ozone are known to cause difficulties in breathing, especially for children, asthmatics and people with lung ailments. Although total emissions have not been established, the emitted chemicals are also known to have various forms of toxic effects at certain levels of exposure, including toxicity to the nervous system, liver, kidneys, reproductive systems, and aquatic life.

During a September, 2000 inspection of the plant, EPA inspectors discovered the company had not taken the necessary steps to control the emissions of VOCs from tanks and other equipment that contained or contacted these hazardous wastes.

The regulations governing the control of air emissions from hazardous wastes took effect in December, 1996. At the time of the September, 2000 inspection, EPA found no records or other evidence that the company had made the required efforts to control the emissions from that time. Hazardous waste storage tanks that were supposed to be closed had visible openings, and inspectors using organic vapor monitors recorded VOC emissions at these openings and in their vicinity.

The EPA inspections resulted from a referral by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, which had inspected the Arkwright plant and found other RCRA violations. In March, 2000, the company agreed to pay the state $23,000 for these violations.