Shipyard CWA Settlement an Educational Experience for Many
Following an inspection in 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determined that up until the summer of 2011, a Gloucester, Massachusetts, shipyard had directly discharged process waters from its boat-washing operations into Smith Cove, which opens into Gloucester Harbor. The discharges contained mixed wastes, including paint chips containing toxic metals used as biocides to inhibit marine growth or “fouling” on the hulls of ships. At the time, the facility also discharged contaminated stormwater and was not covered under the required federal Multi-Sector General Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Industrial Activities (MSGP). The company began recycling its wastewater on one part of the 3.3-acre site in summer 2011, and from another section in summer 2012.
According to the EPA, the alleged violations resulted in a settlement with the company that includes a $20,000 penalty and a commitment to educate others about their responsibilities and how to achieve compliance with the CWA. To accomplish this, the company will spend $30,000 to implement an “Environmental Compliance Promotion” project to raise CWA awareness in the local maritime community, including boatyards, marinas, and private boat owners. The money will be provided to Maritime Gloucester, a local nonprofit organization that will implement the project.
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Specifically, the project will include an outreach component targeting 15 marinas and boatyards, 5 yacht clubs, and more than 1,200 mooring holders in Cape Ann. In addition, Maritime Gloucester will host a conference encompassing presentations on a range of CWA compliance requirements and other topics, including:
- Implementing stormwater best management practices (BMPs) at facilities subject to federal stormwater permitting requirements,
- Management approaches, and
- Experiences associated with boatyard activities potentially impacting stormwater and water quality.
In addition, a one-page handout will be mailed to all 1,200 mooring holders as well as to all marinas, boatyards, and yacht clubs in Cape Ann that will include a reference to a webpage that will be specifically developed to provide additional information related to the conference topics.
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The CWA requires shipyards and marinas to have controls in place to minimize pollutants from being discharged with stormwater into nearby waterways. Each facility’s stormwater pollution prevention plan must establish guidelines and BMPs that the company will follow to prevent stormwater runoff from becoming contaminated by pollutants on their sites. Without such on-site controls, stormwater runoff can flow directly to the nearest waterway resulting in water quality impairments such as siltation of rivers, beach closings, fishing restrictions, and habitat degradation.
According to EPA’s proposed administrative penalty assessment for the case, in “Class II proceedings under Sections 309(g)(2)(B), any person who violates certain provisions of the Clean Water Act may be administratively assessed a civil penalty of up to sixteen thousand dollars ($16,000) per day per violation for each day during which the violation continued, up to a maximum of one hundred eighty-seven thousand five hundred dollars ($187,500).”