WILKES-BARRE – The Department of Environmental Protection announced today that Elementis Pigments Inc., of Easton, Northampton County was fined $16,000 for industrial waste spills into Bushkill Creek in February, March and November 2006, and for violations of its discharge permit dating back to October 2004.
“Elementis agreed to pay this fine following our investigation of the spills and the review of its discharge monitoring violations,” said Northeast Regional Director Michael D. Bedrin. “The company responded promptly and conducted a thorough cleanup of the spills under DEP supervision.”
On Feb. 18, 2006, DEP investigated a spill of iron oxide, a non-toxic, water insoluble industrial waste, into the Bushkill Creek. The company was required to cleanup the streambed, and a subsequent inspection of the creek by DEP biologist showed no signs of impairment to the stream.
On March 29, the department was notified of another iron oxide spill, which was cleaned up by the company. DEP took enforcement action on April 14 for both spills and issued a notice of violation to Elementis Pigments that also documented violations of the company’s wastewater discharge permit.
An enforcement conference was held May 16 to discuss required measures to prevent a reoccurrence of these spills including construction of new containment areas and rehabilitation of existing containment structures. In addition, the company instituted treatment improvements to correct its discharge violations for iron oxide and water temperature.
On Nov. 10, a few pounds of iron oxide leaked into the Bushkill Creek through cracks in a concrete containment area. Repairs were implemented immediately by the company.
“Even though the company was responsive and cooperative, we are concerned about repeat violations,” said Bedrin. “The company has instituted corrective actions and repairs and has operated in compliance since November.”