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EPA Proposes RI Manufacturer Pay $215,273 Fine for Clean Air Act Violations

Release Date: 10/11/2005
Contact Information:

Contact: Sheryl Rosner (, EPA Office of Public Affairs, (617) 918-1865

For Immediate Release: October 11, 2005; Release # sr051006

BOSTON - The US Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has proposed a $215,273 penalty against a Rhode Island jewelry finishing company for failing to comply with federal and state clean air rules that regulate the release of hazardous air pollutants.

According to the complaint, issued this month by EPA’s New England office, Drew-Easton Manufacturing Company of Cranston violated state and federal regulations designed to control hazardous trichloroethylene (TCE) emissions from machines that use TCE vapor as a cleaning solvent.

EPA’s complaint comes on the heels of two previous compliance orders issued to Drew-Easton requiring the company to update its degreasing machines so that it would not violate equipment and monitoring requirements set out in federal rules and RI regulations promulgated under the Clean Air Act.

“For years, Drew-Easton failed to comply with air toxics regulations by operating an outdated and substandard degreasing machine,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Now that EPA has ensured that the facility’s equipment minimizes TCE emissions, the Agency is seeking penalties that reflect the seriousness of the violations and the economic benefits enjoyed by the company by not complying on time.”

Until June 2004, Drew-Easton owned an outdated degreasing machine that failed to comply with equipment and operational standards. EPA issued a Notice of Violation and Compliance Order to Drew-Easton in June 2004 that cited these violations, together with numerous monitoring, recordkeeping and reporting violations. In response, Drew-Easton installed a new degreasing machine in August 2004.

EPA re-inspected the company in December 2004 and found that the new degreaser was still in violation of certain equipment and monitoring requirements. The following month, EPA issued a second Compliance Order requiring the company to install additional cooling coils to minimize TCE vapor emissions from the degreaser tank. The additional control equipment was installed and began operating in April 2005.

Drew-Easton’s violations are significant because they may have resulted in excess TCE emissions from the degreasers. Long-term exposure to TCE vapors is a potential health risk, with possible nerve, kidney and liver damage. TCE is also a probable human carcinogen.

Visit the EPA New England’s Air Enforcement Program Web site to learn more

Related Information:
RCRA Enforcement
Air Enforcement
Clean Air Act