Environment Connecticut, Toxic Action Center v. Connecticut Galvanizing, Highway Safety Corp

Environmental Gourps and Connecticut Galvanizing Corp Agree to Settlement of Clean Water Act Law Suit

Company Will Upgrade Glastonbury Facility to Eliminate Toxic Runoff
Settlement Will Also Fund Local Water Pollution Reduction Measures

October 19, 2016

HARTFORD, CT – Environment Connecticut and Toxics Action Center announced today that a Consent Decree filed in federal court was approved by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Meyer. This settles their Clean Water Act lawsuit against Connecticut Galvanizing Corp., Highway Safety Corp., and Highway Safety Design and Fabrication, Corp.

            This settlement agreement negotiated by the parties ends a long history of water pollution violations at the Glastonbury metal fabrication and galvanizing facility operated by the defendants.

            “This settlement is a victory for Glastonbury neighbors living near Salmon Brook and Hubbard Brook and for countless residents who swim, boat and fish along the Connecticut River”, said Sylvia Broude, Executive Director of Toxics Action Center, a New England-wide public health and environmental non-profit with a local office in Hartford. “This is a great example of the power under the Clean Water Act for citizens to take action to protect their communities from harmful pollution.”

The settlement agreement will require Connecticut Galvanizing to:

  • install a stormwater collection and treatment system that will remove heavy metals and other pollutants;
  • upgrade its operations and maintenance practices to keep toxic pollutants out of the facility’s stormwater in the first place;
  • comply with the Clean Water Act’s pollution limits, or face additional fines; and
  • pay a $188,000 penalty, the majority of which will be dedicated to fund additional stormwater pollution reduction projects in the area.

            Environment Connecticut and Toxics Action Center filed their citizen enforcement suit in January 2016.  Their suit was based on Connecticut Galvanizing’s own reports to the State of Connecticut showing that, for years, it has regularly discharged stormwater containing pollutant levels significantly higher than those allowed by its Clean Water Act permit.  The lawsuit alleged that Connecticut Galvanizing’s pollution levels are so high that its stormwater runoff, which it currently does not treat, is acutely toxic to aquatic life in Salmon Brook and Hubbard Brook, which run through Glastonbury and into the Connecticut River.

            “Stormwater pollution presents a significant risk to the health and quality of wetlands, streams, rivers, and lakes, particularly in developed areas like Glastonbury,” explained National Environmental Law Center attorney Kevin Budris, who represents the two groups.  “The risk is particularly high at industrial sites like Connecticut Galvanizing that store toxic materials outdoors, on paved surfaces.”

            The parties’ proposed Consent Decree requires the defendants to install its new treatment system by June 30, 2017. Most of the $188,000 penalty payment will go to the Farmington River Watershed Association to fund the development and installation of stormwater pollution control measures on tributaries of the Farmington River, within the Connecticut River Watershed.

            Environment Connecticut is a citizen-based non-profit environmental advocacy organization that promotes clean air, clean water, and open space protection.  It is a state project of Environment America.  For more information, visit www.EnvironmentConnecticut.org.

            Toxics Action Center is a non-profit organization that works side-by-side with communities throughout New England to prevent and clean up pollution at the local level.  For more information, visit www.toxicsaction.org.

            The groups are represented by the Boston-based, non-profit National Environmental Law Center, which represents citizen groups across the country in actions to enforce the nation’s environmental laws; attorney David Nicholas of Newton, Massachusetts; and Andrew O’Toole from O’Toole + O’Toole PLLC of Hartford, Connecticut.

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Status: 
Resolved
Resolution Date: 
2016
Location: 
Connecticut