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EPA Settles Enforcement Case With Cambridge Plating in Belmont

Release Date: 09/20/2002
Contact Information: Peyton Fleming, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1008

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that the Cambridge Plating Co., a Belmont-based metal finisher, has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $65,000 and spend a total of $357,000 on environmental projects as part of a settlement of an enforcement case.

The Consent Agreement stems from various violations discovered during EPA inspections at the company in 2000 and 2001. EPA found violations of hazardous waste handling requirements under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and violations of monitoring and reporting requirements under the Clean Air Act.

Under the agreement finalized yesterday, the company agreed to close the chrome plating portion of its operations by the end of this year. This goes above and beyond legal requirements and will eliminate air emissions of hexavalent chromium, a highly toxic air pollutant.

The company also agreed to reduce air emissions of trichloroethylene (TCE), another toxic pollutant, by at least 40 percent and to attempt to replace TCE in all of its on-site uses with a less hazardous substance. Finally, the company agreed to implement a series of noise and odor control measures, and already has constructed a noise barrier as a result of its negotiations with the EPA.

"EPA is pleased to resolve these violations in a way that benefits both the community and the environment," said Stephen Perkins, director of the Office of Environmental Stewardship at EPA's New England Office. "The company's agreement to reduce or eliminate the use of toxic substances at its facility sends an especially strong signal about its commitment to improved environmental performance."

The EPA and the company had negotiated today's Consent Agreement last spring, but after a fire occurred at the facility on May 25, 2002, the EPA put the agreement on hold due to concerns about the facility's safety. In July, however, the company reached an agreement with the town of Belmont to institute a safety program and town officials recently recommended to the EPA that the agency proceed with issuing the Consent Order.

Compliance with today's Consent Agreement should help to increase the facility's safety. In addition, general environmental compliance at the facility should improve with the introduction of an Environmental Management System (EMS) and an audit program, which the company had previously agreed to implement under an earlier Consent Agreement. The company recently submitted its EMS manual to the EPA and has begun to implement the EMS.

While the Consent Agreement being issued today resolves the EPA's penalty claims for the violations discovered during the years 2000 and 2001, the EPA has notified the company that it plans to file a separate complaint addressing new violations which occurred at the facility after the fire.

"Cambridge Plating has had a series of environmental violations over the years and we'll be monitoring its operations closely to make sure that the pattern of recurring violations comes to an end," Perkins added. "We are hopeful that Cambridge Plating will finally achieve ongoing compliance by implementing an Environmental Management System, implementing a safety program and implementing the environmental projects agreed to today."