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Release Date: 06/18/1997
Contact Information: Leo Kay, Press Office, (617)918-4154

BOSTON -- As part of a larger effort to stem pollution from negligent auto salvage yards in the region's low-income and sensitive ecosystem areas, Siegel Truck Parts, Inc. in Revere, Mass. agreed to pay $20,000 to settle an administrative penalty the Environmental Protection Agency brought against the company for allegedly violating sections of the federal Clean Water Act.

In the coming months, the EPA will issue special notices to other auto salvage yards that have begun but not yet completed actions to obtain storm water permits. The EPA also intends to intensify its efforts at locating and fining other facilities that have not started the permit process at all. In a separate move, the EPA will also expand its education and outreach campaign that is aimed at assisting other facilities to comply with storm water discharge permits.

"Although small in size, auto salvage yards have the potential to wreak havoc on local ecosystems, more often than not in low-income, inner-city neighborhoods. Today's announcement serves notice that while we are ready to help these facilities correct any existing pollution management problems they may have, we will nonetheless go after them if they fail to make an effort. " said John P. DeVillars, administrator of the EPA's New England office. "In working to ensure 'environmental justice' for all, we will contine to ferret out sources that pollute and threaten the public health of New England's urban residents."

"It's great that the federal government comes in to protect the ecology and address potential sources of pollution in the community," said Revere Mayor Robert Haas. "I thank John DeVillars and his staff for their great work in handling this case."

Some of the storm water pollutants identified from auto salvage yards include oil, heavy metals, acids and other compounds associated with industrial activity.

EPA officials first became aware of Siegel last year during a tour of Revere and Chelsea that focused on environmental justice issues. EPA inspectors subsequently found that Siegel did not have the mandatory oil spill prevention plan nor a stormwater discharge permit for its facility, nor had the company taken any actions to get them. The facility sits next to a salt water marsh that drains into Diamond Creek and the Pines River.

The Siegel inspection led staff to examine the compliance of other New England auto salvage yards subject to storm water permit requirements. A preliminary records search found that 36 of 168 auto salvage yards in Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire had failed to follow through in obtaining a storm water discharge permit after submitting an initial application. EPA will also conduct inspections of those who have not have even started the application process.

The impacts caused by auto salvage yard storm water discharges varies depending on a number of factors, including the location and size of the facility. The EPA's multi-sector storm water general permit takes a site-specific approach to controlling storm water from auto salvage yards and requires each facility to develop and implement its own storm water pollution prevention plan. The best management practices contained in such plans may include ensuring that all fluids are drained from vehicles prior to storage, covering storage areas and installing oil-water separators.