Atlantic Wire settles toxic dump suit

Drew Smith Jan. 5, 2009, 2:00pm

Richard Blumenthal (D)

HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) -- Branford, Conn.-based Atlantic Wire Co. has agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle allegations that it illegally dumped toxic waste in the Branford River for over two years.

The company reached the agreement with Attorney General Richard Blumenthal after he filed a lawsuit in January 2008 on behalf of the Department of Environmental Protection.

The lawsuit alleges that the company dumped toxins into the river 21 times from December 2005 and January 2008.

"One and a half million dollars sends a powerful message: dumping toxins into Connecticut's waters is intolerable -- and killing aquatic life callously and cavalierly is unconscionable legally and morally and must have consequences," the Democratic attorney general said. "Atlantic Wire inexcusably allowed toxic waste water to flow into the Branford River not once, but an incredible 21 times, causing a massive
crab kill."

The Connecticut Fund for Environment also sued Atlantic Wire over the spills. Its attorney, Roger Reynolds, said the organization brought five notices against companies accused of pollution in September 2007.

"These penalties send a strong message to industry that environmental negligence will not be tolerated. Long Island Sound is a precious resource that provides immeasurable economic and recreational benefits to residents and visitors," Reynolds said.

Atlantic Wire ceased operations in September and is currently in a liquidation bankruptcy. The proceeding won't discharge, forgive or eliminate the $1.5 million penalty.

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