Seymour wastewater treatment plant to pay $ 2.4 million for violating the Clean Water Act


SEYMOUR – In a plea deal with the federal government for violating the Clean Water Act, a local manufacturing company agreed to pay $ 2.4 million in restitution, prosecutors said.

Marmon Utility waived his right to be charged and pleaded guilty on Tuesday before Judge Kari A. Dooley in Bridgeport to a criminal violation of the Clean Water Act. Marmon Utility is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, which owns and operates the plant.

The charge arises out of the company’s alleged knowledge of failing to properly manage and maintain the industrial wastewater treatment system and sludge treatment equipment at the power cable and pump cables factory located at 49, rue Day in Seymour.

Under the terms of the plea deal – which have yet to be accepted by the court – places Marmon on federal probation for three years.

The deal also orders Marmon to pay the government $ 2.4 million, of which $ 800,000 will be used as a federal penalty and $ 1.6 million to fund an additional environmental project led by the State Department of Energy. and Environmental Protection to “fix” the Naugatuck River, prosecutors mentioned.

The Seymour plant makes large electrical cables and generates industrial wastewater containing heavy metals like lead and zinc, prosecutors said. Under DEEP’s 2015 plant license, Marmon was required to operate and maintain the plant’s wastewater treatment system to reduce the heavy metal content through chemical precipitation before it was released. be discharged into the wastewater treatment plant.

Prosecutors said investigators found the company had “reduced” its environmental compliance for years. Marmon had not had a worker with environmental training to manage the wastewater treatment system since February 2004, prosecutors said. When the worker running the system fell ill in March 2016, prosecutors said Marmon ran the system for five months with employees who lacked environmental training or training on the system.

On September 7 and 8, 2016, the manager of the Seymour treatment plant saw rusty brown sewage flowing into the plant and alerted DEEP. The superintendent took samples and found that the lead concentration was about 127 times the plant’s normal lead measurement and the zinc was more than 10 times the usual amount, prosecutors said.

Over the next few days, in September 2016, prosecutors said the superintendent inspected the facility and found that it had released rusty brown sewage with high concentrations of lead and zinc on the 7th, 8th and 9th. September.

To break down the untreated sewage, the superintendent ordered several trucks of biological microorganisms. Prosecutors said it took two weeks for the processing plant to return to normal operating capacity.

On September 27 and 29, 2016, DEEP and the factory manager inspected the factory and confirmed the manager’s previous findings. DEEP issued a notice of violation to Marmon.

Prosecutors said the plant released 5,725 gallons of industrial wastewater on September 7, 2016 and 5,225 gallons on September 6, both of which exceeded the daily limit on the company’s DEEP permit.

An investigation by the United States Environmental Protection Agency indicated that from at least April 25, 2016 and until September 29, 2016, maintenance workers at Marmon managing the sanitation system did not know how to check. and maintaining the pH probe, how to operate the sludge filter press or how to check or change some filters. Prosecutors said the measures were necessary to remove heavy metals from the plant’s wastewater.

These workers told investigators that when the tanks were full and the system was out of balance, they drained the tank by opening certain valves to let the sewage escape without treating it, prosecutors said. As of mid-October 2016, the plant’s 3,000-gallon tank contained 1,000 gallons of sludge.

“Any company operating a plant in Connecticut that ignores federal and state environmental laws does so at its own risk,” Boyle said in a statement. “Although Marmon once had a strong environmental program, the company has gradually phased out its environmental compliance department and reassigned these tasks to maintenance workers with minimal training. “

Officer-in-charge Tyler Amon of the EPA’s New England Criminal Investigations Division said in a statement that the company’s conduct had harmed the city.

“A city’s wastewater treatment plant disinfects wastewater from industry so that clean water can be returned safely to our streams, rivers and lakes,” Amon said. “Marmon Utility’s criminal conduct compromised Seymour’s operations and the company simply broke the rules.”

This Clean Water Act violation is punishable by a fine of at least $ 5,000 but not more than $ 50,000 per day of violation, prosecutors said. The judge set the sentence for April 7, 2022.


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