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Sweeping Industry News Bulletin

Air Sweeping for Stormwater Runoff a Requirement of Court Settlement

Westborough, MA – June 2015

A recycling facility in Framingham, MA, is being required to sweep with an air sweeper, strengthen its protocols to monitor stormwater runoff and pay $50,000 to a group that promotes the health of the Sudbury River after being named in a legal complaint by environmental group Clean Water Action.

Clean Water Action Logo E.L. Harvey & Sons recently reached an agreement with the Massachusetts chapter of Clean Water Action to resolve allegations it failed to comply with federal requirements for assessing and cleaning stormwater runoff.

The environmental group last year accused E.L. Harvey of violating provisions of the federal Clean Water Act. In specific, the organization accused the recycling plant of ignoring requirements imposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at its scrap and waste recycling facility in Westborough, MA. Stormwater runoff from the facility discharges to Cedar Swamp, which is a tributary of the Sudbury River.

EPA requires recycling facilities to monitor stormwater discharges during certain periods and report the results of water quality testing. Recycling plant operators must also conduct routine facility inspections.

Clean Water Action alleged in 2014 that E.L Harvey failed to consistently monitor stormwater discharges and report information to the EPA about the findings of its annual inspections or any corrective actions taken to address stormwater concerns.

While the company denies any wrongdoing, it has since taken steps to improve stormwater quality, including retaining a new consultant and reviewing housekeeping and maintenance practices. This is according to a consent decree between E.L Harvey and Clean Water Action filed in U.S. District Court in Boston late last year.

The agreement recently went into effect after undergoing a mandatory 45-day review by the U.S. Department of Justice. The company also updated a stormwater pollution prevention plan and committed to using a vacuum street sweeper to clean its facility.

As part of the agreement, Harvey agreed to pay $50,000 to OARS, Inc. to fund projects to control invasive water chestnut on the Sudbury River in Framingham. It will also pay $22,000 to Clean Water Action to cover its legal costs and place $10,000 into a trust to reimburse Clean Water Action for monitoring compliance with the consent decree for two years.

"E.L. Harvey has been and remains focused on complying with environmental regulations and working with the environmental community on issues that are of concern to it," said Marc J. Goldstein, the lawyer who represented E.L. Harvey in the matter. When issues were raised with E.L. Harvey, we sat down and we had a sensible conversation about those issues and we came to a resolution that everybody could live with," Goldstein said.

Editor's Note: We suggest that this article shows that non-compliance with stormwater runoff requirements can end up costing much more in the long term. If you are a sweeping contractor, you may want to utilize this court finding as a way to show prospective clients – who are currently out of compliance with EPA stormwater requirements – that instituting a periodic schedule of air sweeping can serve to bring them into compliance while reducing their impact on the environment and surrounding community.

Thanks to the MetroWest Daily News for the initial report on this situation.

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