The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has filed suit against an Oakland scrap metal company, charging that the company violated sections of the federal Clean Water Act by improperly monitoring waste disposal and allowing pollutants to enter nearby streams through stormwater discharge.

In civil action filed April 1 in U.S. District Court for the District of Maine, the government is seeking penalties against Kennebec Scrap Iron Inc. for failing to comply with the conditions of its permits and affecting water quality in nearby Messalonskee Stream, according to court documents.

The government seeks to get Kennebec Scrap Iron to stop discharging stormwater associated with its industrial activities, along with a civil penalty of up to $37,500 per day for each violation.

People who answered the phone Monday at Kennebec Scrap Iron declined to comment on the case. An email to the company was not answered. It was not clear Monday whether the company has a lawyer.

The company, at 48 Broomhandle Road in Oakland, is a scrap metal recovery and recycling operation that takes in cars and trucks, which are drained of fluids, then dismantled and crushed on site.

Fluids can include motor oil, gasoline, anti-freeze and hydraulic fluids. The company also removes batteries and electrical switches that can contain mercury. The company has been in operation since April 2009, according to court documents.

Stormwater from the site flows from at least two drainage areas and exits the site through two separate points into two tributaries of Messalonskee Stream. The tributaries merge before crossing under Route 23 near the site. The water flows into Messalonskee Stream and ultimately into the Kennebec River and the Atlantic Ocean.

There are six claims listed in the civil action.

The first claim alleges that:

• The company had a deficient site map for locating scrap storage and structural or engineered control devices and systems to treat polluted stormwater.

• The stormwater pollution protection plan does not fully list all pollution sources, such as material stockpiling, wet vehicle storage and vehicle crushing.

• The company failed to clearly identify areas where potential spills and leaks might occur with accompanying drainage points.

• It failed to describe and maintain a preventive maintenance program for inspection and stormwater management devices, such as cleaning of oil/water separators and catch basins and “good housekeeping best management practices” for material containment.

In the second claim, the government alleges Kennebec Scrap Iron did not keep to its permitted management plan by allowing such things as rotting, unsecured hay bales; an improperly placed catch basin; a saturated oil boom disintegrating in a spill pond; and uncovered trailers, according to the court document.

In addition, the government claims the company did not conduct benchmark monitoring, visual monitoring, quarterly site evaluations and adequate employee training. The company employed as many as five people who worked in areas where industrial material or activities were exposed to stormwater or who were responsible for implementing activities under the pollution prevention plan, according to the document.

In its civil action against Kennebec Scrap Iron, the government requests that the court order the company to comply with all applicable requirements of the Clean Water Act and with its permitting from the state of Maine and to order the company to pay civil penalties not to exceed $37,500 per day for each violation and to award the government all costs and fees involved in the case and other relief that the court deems just and proper.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow

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