EPA settles with abrasives manufacturer over pollution violations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced a settlement with United Abrasives, an abrasives manufacturer in North Windham, Connecticut. 

In September 2013 the EPA filed a complaint against the manufacturer over alleged violations of hazardous waste management laws. United Abrasives produces a variety of bonded abrasives at the North Windham facility, such as grinding wheels and adhesive discs. The company's violations included failing to:

  • Notify the EPA of hazardous waste activity.
  • Develop and implement a hazardous waste inspection program.
  • Manage universal waste, such as florescent light bulbs.

Under the settlement, United Abrasives paid a penalty of $26,619 and spent $100,000 on an environmental project to help reduce the risks posed by waste generation. The company installed updated equipment in its North Windham facility to eliminate or reduce waste epoxy resin production. This equipment is currently fully operational and benefiting the local community.

The settlement also requires United Abrasives to comply with the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The EPA regulates household, industrial and manufacturing solid and hazardous wastes under this act.

The RCRA rules are designed to ensure that operating facilities manage all hazardous waste in a way that protects humans, wildlife and the environment.  The RCRA helps conserve energy and natural resources through recycling and works to clean up waste that has spilled, leaked or been disposed of badly.

Manufacturing facilities often generate hazardous wastes during production, which must be properly managed and disposed of. These companies should work with environmental consultants to ensure that they have notified all necessary agencies of hazardous waste activity and have developed an effective waste management program. Consultants can also help businesses comply with federal and state environmental laws.