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Central Conn. State to Pay $31,250 and Do Environmental Project for Water and Waste Violations

Release Date: 03/02/04
Contact Information: Contact: Amy Miller, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1042

For Immediate Release: March 2, 2004; Release # 04-03-01

BOSTON – Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Conn., has agreed to pay a $31,250 penalty and conduct an environmental project worth another $93,750 in New Britain to settle charges by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it violated federal hazardous waste and clean water laws.

The university agreed to pay $28,250 for violations of the federal Resource and Conservation and Recovery Act regulating hazardous waste and $3,000 for violations of the Clean Water Act
In addition, the school agreed to work to reduce PCB pollution in New Britain through a two-year project that consists of identifying unoccupied industrial facilities in the New Britain area that house PCB-containing transformers and other PCB-containing electrical equipment; assessing the likelihood of a release of PCBs from that equipment; and removing and disposing of the equipment posing the greatest risk of release. The two-year project is expected to cost $93,750, primarily to sample and dispose of the equipment posing the greatest risk to sensitive ecosystems and waterways in the area.

"Through this agreement, the university will become a more responsible partner in protecting the environment," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "The institution's initial failure to follow basic rules of handling and storing hazardous waste put both the environment and the public at an increased risk of harm. Its failure to prepare a proper oil spill plan also increased the threat of a spill to a tributary of Piper Brook that runs directly across the campus."

EPA's New England office filed the complaint in September 2002. The charges stemmed from EPA inspections at the university's 143-acre campus in June 2001.

Hazardous waste is generated at the university primarily in its chemistry and biology building, the fine arts center and through activities overseen by the university's Facilities and Construction Management Department. Among the hazardous waste violations, EPA charged the university with failure to:

    • obtain a state permit to operate as a hazardous waste storage facility;
    • conduct and document hazardous waste training, emergency planning and regular inspections of hazardous waste areas on campus;
    • perform proper waste determinations on hazardous waste and solid waste generated on campus;
    • properly label, date and manage containers of hazardous waste in accordance with federal and state hazardous waste regulations.
In addition, EPA said the university failed to prepare and implement a complete oil spill prevention plan. The university stores 23,400 gallons of oil in five underground tanks, 3,784 gallons in 31 above-ground tanks, and 6,370 gallons above-ground in 28 transformers.

In filing its complaint, EPA ordered CCSU, which serves 14,000 students, to ensure that all employees with the responsibility of handling or working with hazardous waste are thoroughly familiar with proper waste handling and emergency procedures; that emergency information is posted next to telephones and that all other hazardous waste laws are followed. In addition, the university must submit to EPA by August 2003 a revision of its oil spill plan, known as a "Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures Plan" that includes August 2002 changes in the law.

The settlement is among numerous enforcement actions EPA's New England Office has taken against universities and colleges across the region as part of its College and University Initiative.
Launched in 1999, the initiative includes inspections, extensive compliance assistance, including workshops geared for university environmental compliance personnel, and a university compliance web page, which can be visited at

At a roundtable in 2003 at Yale University, EPA provided universities with information on an Audit Initiative, which allows universities to self-disclose any violations and therefore get penalty reductions or low inspection priority. So far, 176 university facilities in New England are enrolled, and 148 self-disclosures have been received and reviewed.

The College and University Initiative was launched after EPA inspectors noticed generally poor compliance during their visits to universities, which typically have large numbers of laboratories and other operations handling a large array of toxic chemicals.

Related Information:
EPA New England College and University Web site
Oil Spill Prevention Plan
RCRA/Hazardous Waste