Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley agreed to a recent settlement with Shield Packaging Company over allegations that the firm polluted a local river.
An employee at Shield's Dudley, Massachusetts, facility found more than 50 gallons of wastewater containing mineral spirits had leaked into a containment area from the tanks in an above-ground storage area. The employee then allegedly released the toxins into a catch basin that drained into the French River.
The company allegedly failed to report the release to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) within the required time period. MassDEP only learned of the release after a large sheen appeared on the river's surface.
“Our office is committed to protecting and preserving our rivers and the communities they serve,” Coakley said. “We expect companies handling hazardous materials to take proper precautions to prevent releases, to educate employees about the risks and to alert the MassDEP promptly if such a release occurs.”
As part of the $100,000 settlement, the company must implement systems to prevent the release of hazardous waste, pollutants or oils.
“Any company that uses large amounts of chemicals, toxic or otherwise, should use best management practices in their day-to-day operations to limit environmental impacts,” MassDEP Commissioner David W. Cash said. “Especially where direct connections to waterways exist, as at this location, the risk of harm to the environment and the public health must be prevented with vigilant, responsible management.”