U.S. Department of Justice
Peter F. Neronha
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
July 23, 2010
Settlement Agreement Calls for R.I. Concrete Manufacturer to
Pay Penalty for Clean Water Violations
Subject to court approval, Cardi Materials, LLC of Warwick, R.I., will pay a $55,000 civil penalty and perform an additional project costing $168,500 to resolve numerous violations of the Clean Water Act at its Warwick concrete manufacturing facility.
A federal complaint and settlement agreement filed with the U.S. District Court in Providence was announced by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha and Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. The complaint alleges unpermitted process water and stormwater discharges from the company’s concrete truck washing and loading operations, and failure to develop and implement a Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Plan under the Oil Pollution Prevention regulations.
In addition to a financial penalty, the proposed settlement requires Cardi to eliminate all process water discharges from the facility. Process waters include waters from concrete production manufacturing operations such as vehicle and equipment cleaning, and concrete truck washout and can contain caustic chemicals that are toxic to fish and other aquatic life. These measures will result in the elimination of caustic chemical discharges, the elimination of tens of thousands of pounds of sediment being discharged into the environmental annually, as well as significant reductions in oil and grease, iron and nitrate and nitrogen.
Further, the settlement requires Cardi to perform a comprehensive environmental audit of its facility to ensure that it is in compliance with all federal environmental laws. The company must also conduct additional monitoring and reporting of stormwater discharges, hire personnel certified in stormwater management to oversee compliance with stormwater permits, and provide training in stormwater management for all operational employees.
The proposed settlement also requires Cardi to perform a “Supplemental Environmental Project” (SEP), costing $168,500, to install porous pavement along a park road located in Hunt’s Mills, a park located in East Providence, R.I. The current roadway is made of impervious materials that are in poor condition. Stormwater from the road currently runs into wetlands adjacent to the Ten Mile River and into the Ten Mile River directly. The SEP will not only serve to demonstrate the use of green building and sustainable practices, but also will reduce stormwater runoff, increase groundwater recharge, and reduce the need for irrigation.
For a period after receiving a permit to discharge stormwater, the complaint alleges that Cardi failed to implement best management practices to minimize the pollutant levels in stormwater discharged offsite. The stormwater, contaminated with process wastewater, and containing total suspended solids, oil and grease, metals, and caustic chemicals, flowed into Three Pond Brook, which flows into the Pawtuxet River and ultimately, to Narragansett Bay.
The Clean Water Act requires that many industrial operations, such as ready-mix concrete plants and asphalt batching plants, have controls in place to prevent pollutants from being discharged with stormwater into nearby waterways. Each site must have a stormwater pollution prevention plan that establishes and implements best management practices that the company will follow to prevent runoff from being contaminated by pollutants.
Without onsite controls, as stormwater flows over these sites, it can pick up pollutants, and carry them to nearby waterways where they contribute to water quality impairments that can harm or kill fish and wildlife, and impair or degrade uses, such as swimming, fishing and drinking.
Cardi is required to pay the penalty within 30 days of the court’s approval of the settlement.
The federal court matter is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dulce Donovan.
The consent decree, lodged in the U.S. District Court for Rhode Island, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court. A copy of the consent decree will be available on the Department of Justice Web site at http://www.usdoj.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html.
EPA enforcement of Clean Water Act in New England (http://epa.gov/region1/enforcement/water/index.html)
A complaint is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.