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Portsmouth N.H. Scrap Yard Ordered to Address Polluted Water Discharges
Release Date: 04/06/2011
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017
(Boston, Mass. – April 6, 2011) – Discharges of polluted stormwater and other pollutant discharges in violation of the Clean Water Act has prompted EPA to issue an enforcement order to Grimmel Industries, LLC, a metal scrap recycler located on the banks of the Piscataqua River in Portsmouth, N.H.
Grimmel leases the property from Pease Development Authority. Monitoring by Pease shows the stormwater discharges from Grimmel’s metal scrapyard operations contain metals, suspended solids and chemical oxygen demand which exceed permit benchmarks. Further, the stormwater discharges contain mercury and PCBs that cause or contribute to an exceedance of water quality standards. Because of mercury and PCBs in fish and shellfish, New Hampshire has issued an advisory limiting consumption of salt-water fish (bluefish, striped bass, king mackerel, swordfish, shark and tilefish) as well as lobster.
Grimmel Industries applied late for the Multi-sector General Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Industrial Activity. In violation of the Multi-sector General Permit, Grimmel Industries did not perform required inspections or sampling, and did not take corrective actions and the required review of its Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan to address the exceedances of benchmarks and water quality standards. In addition, Grimmel Industries has an unpermitted discharge caused by spraying scrap metal piles with water to suppress dust. The company discharges its stormwater and dust suppressant wastewater to the Piscataqua River.
The EPA order requires Grimmel to terminate its unpermitted discharge, begin sampling its stormwater discharges, and develop and implement a plan to reduce contaminant levels in its stormwater discharge.
Because the company is an operator of a facility that sought to discharge pollutants to a water of the United States, the company was required by the Clean Water Act to apply for a permit to discharge. The permit imposes limits to the amount of pollutants that the company may discharge. Companies that fail to comply with such permit limits risk facing substantial penalties.
Rainwater running off industrial sites such as metal scapyards can carry sediments, oil and other pollutants which contaminate nearby streams, ponds and rivers. Sediments and chemicals can also contribute to fish die-offs, toxic algae blooms, contaminated shellfish beds and closed swimming beaches.
EPA inspected Grimmel Industries after receiving correspondence and relevant data from the New Hampshire office of the Conservation Law Foundation.
EPA Water Permit Program in New England (https://www.epa.gov/region1/npdes)
Enforcing Clean Water requirements in New England (https://www.epa.gov/region1/enforcement/water)
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