Washington — A Massachusetts resin maker has agreed to pay a penalty for claims by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency it violated federal clean water laws.
Employees of Advance Coatings Co. in Westminster, Mass. accidentally overfilled a styrene container in September 2014, according to EPA. An unknown amount of styrene spilled, compromised a concrete berm around a floor drain and eventually made its way through the East Fitchburg city sewer system and into the Nashua River.
The Nashua River is fed by the Whitman River drainage basin and wetlands tributary, which is protected by federal Oil Pollution Prevention regulations. Advance Coatings is located in the drainage basin subject to the regulations, and will pay a $38,860 penalty under the April settlement.
According to a 2015 follow-up investigation by EPA, Advance Coatings did not have a spill prevention, control and countermeasure plan in place, which is required under the regulations, nor had the company gotten a required National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit and was therefore discharging storm water from its site without authorization.
Best known as a component of polystyrene foam, styrene is also found in ABS and other rubber and plastics products. Though styrene also occurs naturally in some plants, concerns about its toxicity have been increasing since 2011. Styrene is toxic, depending on the quantity, in the event of eye contact, skin contact, ingestion and inhalation.