Seymour Manufacturing Company Pleads Guilty to Violating Clean Water Act; agrees to pay $ 2.4 million | USAO-CT


Leonard C Boyle, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, Tyler Amon, Special Agent in charge of the EPA’s Criminal Investigations Division for New England, and Commissioner Katie Scharf Dykes of the Department of Energy and Connecticut Environmental Protection announced that MARMON UTILITY LLC waived his right to be charged and pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Kari A. Dooley in Bridgeport for a criminal violation of the Clean Water Act for knowingly failing to properly operate and maintain the Kerite’s industrial wastewater treatment system and sludge treatment equipment Power cable and pump cable factory located at 49 Day Street in Seymour, Connecticut. Marmon Utility LLC (“Marmon”), a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, owns and operates the plant.

Under his plea agreement, if accepted by the court, Marmon will be on federal probation for three years and will have to pay the government $ 2.4 million: $ 800,000 as a federal penalty and $ 1.6 million. dollars to fund an additional environmental project administered by Connecticut. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (“CT DEEP”) to clean up the Naugatuck River.

According to court documents and court statements, the Kerite Power Cable & Pump Cable (“Kerite”) plant in Seymour manufactures large power cables and generates industrial wastewater containing heavy metals such as lead and zinc. Under its 2015 CT DEEP permit, Marmon was required to properly operate and maintain the plant’s wastewater treatment system to reduce the heavy metal content through chemical precipitation before the wastewater could be discharged into the plant. purification.

The investigation revealed that Marmon had curtailed its environmental compliance program for many years and that no employee with environmental training had managed their wastewater treatment system since February 2004. When the system operator sewage treatment fell ill in March 2016, Marmon ran the system for about five months with maintenance workers who lacked environmental training and training on the treatment system.

On September 7 and 8, 2016, the Seymour Treatment Plant Manager observed unusual rusty brown sewage flowing into the plant and notified CT DEEP. This rusty brown tributary interfered with the decomposition of the sewage. The superintendent took samples and determined that the lead concentration of the rusty brown influent was approximately 127 times the plant’s normal lead reading, and its zinc concentration was more than 10 times the zinc concentration. typical. Over the next few days, the superintendent had to order several trucks of biological microorganisms to break down the untreated sewage. It took two weeks for the treatment plant to regain its normal operational capacity.

On September 27-29, 2016, CT DEEP and the plant manager inspected the Kerite facility in Marmon and concluded that it had released the rusty brown influent with the high concentrations of lead and zinc on the 7th. September 8 and 9, 2016. CT DEEP issued a Notice of Violation to Marmon based, among other evidence:

  • Statements by the manager of the Marmon establishment (1) according to which the wastewater treatment operator had not been present at the establishment since the end of March 2016 for medical reasons; (2) that no sludge had been processed in the filter press since the departure of this employee; and (3) no other Marmon employee had been trained to handle the sludge as required by the CT DEEP permit.
  • The Kerite plant had discharged 5,725 gallons of industrial wastewater on September 7, 2016 and 5,225 gallons on September 8, 2016, which exceeded the daily discharge limit of the Marmon CT DEEP permit.
  • The concentration of lead in water samples taken from the final Marmon landfill tank, which flows to the Seymour wastewater treatment plant, was 69 times greater than the limit allowed in the CT DEEP permit of Marmon. The zinc concentration was 8.5 times the prescribed limit.

The EPA’s investigation further found that from at least April 24, 2016 and until September 29, 2016, maintenance workers at Marmon operating the wastewater treatment system did not know how to check and maintain. the pH probe, operate the sludge filter press, check or change certain filters. These were all key components of the treatment system used to remove heavy metals from the plant’s industrial wastewater. These employees also did not have access to detailed manuals for operating the system.

Indeed, these Marmon employees informed the investigators that, during this period, when some tanks were full and the system was unbalanced, they emptied the tank by opening certain valves to evacuate industrial wastewater without treating it. As of mid-October 2016, the 3,000 gallon tank of the Marmon wastewater treatment system contained 1,000 gallons of sludge.

In addition to failing to properly operate and maintain the sewage treatment system and sludge treatment equipment at the Seymour plant, Marmon also admitted to knowingly exceeding his maximum daily discharge limit in his CT DEEP 7 permit. and September 8, 2016, by knowingly failing to notify CT DEEP without delay of the incorrect bypass and that it ceased to process the sludge using a sludge filter press as required by CT DEEP’s permit.

“Any company operating a plant in Connecticut that ignores federal and state environmental laws does so at its own risk,” Acting US Attorney Boyle said. “Marmon has failed to properly operate its industrial wastewater treatment system, thereby allowing unacceptably high levels of lead and zinc in its plant wastewater to flow to the wastewater treatment plant in Seymour – almost taking her offline. 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. Today’s CWA lawsuits are a direct result of Marmon’s senseless and senseless approach. We acknowledge and thank the EPA and CT DEEP for their invaluable work in protecting the environmental integrity of the rivers of Connecticut and the Long Island Strait.

“A city’s wastewater treatment plant disinfects wastewater from industry so that clean water can be returned safely to our streams, rivers and lakes,” the special agent explained. charges Tyler Amon of the EPA’s New England Criminal Investigations Division. “The criminal conduct of Marmon Utility compromised Seymour’s operations and the company simply broke the rules. Today’s criminal argument once again demonstrates the commitment of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the EPA to protecting Connecticut’s environment.

“By divesting in environmental management and the proper operation and maintenance of its wastewater pre-treatment systems, the Marmon pipeline compromised the ability of the City of Seymour’s public treatment works to properly treat all wastewater that it receives from its community and to protect the quality of the Naugatuck River. for fishing and swimming, ”said DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes. “This action sends a clear message: everyone has a role to play in protecting public health and our environment, and failure to comply with our environmental laws and regulations has significant consequences. The funds that will be provided to DEEP as a result of the proposed resolution of this matter will strengthen programs that preserve and enhance the quality of the Naugatuck River and its aquatic ecosystem. This settlement was achieved through a strong partnership between DEEP, EPA and the United States Attorney’s Office. DEEP is proud to have played a role in this effort.

This violation of the Clean Water Act is punishable by a fine of at least $ 5,000 but not more than $ 50,000 per day of violation.

Justice Dooley set the sentence for April 7, 2022.

This matter has been investigated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. The case is being pursued by Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Chen, with assistance from the Connecticut Attorney General’s office.

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