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EPA Settles Clean Water Case with Wentworth, NH Sawmill

Release Date: 09/21/2006
Contact Information: Sheryl Rosner, (617) 918-1865

(Boston, Mass. – Sept. 21, 2006) – The Environmental Protection Agency announced that it has reached an agreement with Precision Lumber to settle claims that the Wentworth sawmill violated the terms of its permit to discharge storm water under the Clean Water Act. The NH company agreed to pay a penalty of $35,000 to resolve the violations.

The agreement resolves EPA’s claims that were cited in an Administrative Complaint and Compliance Order that were issued to the company in May 2006. EPA’s Complaint alleged that Precision Lumber was out of compliance with its storm water permit which authorizes discharges of storm water from many types of industrial sectors in New Hampshire, including sawmills.

“EPA takes seriously the obligations companies undertake when they apply for coverage under EPA’s storm water permit,” said EPA Regional Administrator Robert W. Varney. “This case demonstrates our commitment to continue enforcing and monitoring storm water requirements that are necessary to improve water quality in our rivers, lakes and estuaries.”

Under the company’s storm water permit, the 28 acre facility was authorized to discharge storm water to the Baker River under certain limitations and conditions including requirements regarding inspections, monitoring, reporting and implementing practices to minimize the discharge of pollutants in storm water into the Baker River. Since EPA’s issuance of the May Order, the company has worked cooperatively with EPA to come into compliance with its permit conditions.

Activities that take place at industrial facilities, such as material handling and storage, are often exposed to the weather. As runoff from rain or snowmelt comes into contact with these materials, it picks up pollutants and transports them to nearby storm sewer systems, rivers, lakes, or coastal waters. Storm water pollution is a significant source of water quality problems for the nation’s waters. Of the 11 pollution source categories listed in EPA’s National Water Quality Inventory: 2000 Report to Congress, urban runoff/storm sewers was ranked as the fourth leading source of impairment in rivers, third in lakes, and second in estuaries.

More information on EPA New England enforcement of the Clean Water Act is available at:

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