Connecticut Attorney General's Office

Press Release

Attorney General, DEP Announce $100,000 Settlement With Plymouth Chemical Company For Clean Water, Hazardous Waste Violations

January 4, 2010

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal today announced that the state will receive $100,000 from Phoenix Products Company of Plymouth to settle allegations it illegally dumped corrosive chemicals into the town's sewage treatment system and improperly stored, transported and disposed of toxic waste for nearly a decade.

Blumenthal reached the settlement in cooperation with the U.S. Attorney's Office, which today announced a plea and conviction of the company in a related criminal prosecution, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Phoenix produces chemicals for water treatment, pools and cosmetics.

Blumenthal said, "This settlement punishes Phoenix Products for endangering human health and the environment by failing for nearly a decade to safely store and dispose of hazard waste. The company illegally dumped dangerous toxins down the drain, imperiling its workers and the public.

"The company's haphazard storage and intentionally illegal disposal of hazard materials are unconscionable and unforgiveable, creating an accident waiting to happen. Phoenix's actions demonstrated downright disregard for the permitting process vital to public safety and the environment, and now it must pay the price. The company's dire financial straits should not give it a pass.

"I thank the U.S. Attorney's Office, the FBI, the EPA, the DEP and the town of Plymouth for their hard work and dedication in this case, resulting in today's strong penalties and settlement. This combined successful enforcement effort signals polluters that we will untiringly uncover abuses, winning severe sanctions where appropriate," Blumenthal said.

DEP Commissioner Amey Marella said, "It is essential that companies comply with regulations governing the proper management and disposal of hazardous wastes. We take enforcement of these regulations very seriously because they establish standards and requirements designed to protect our environment and the public health. In the case of Phoenix Products, the improper handling of hazardous wastes also adversely impacted the town's wastewater treatment facility, which posed a risk to water quality.

"A special thanks goes to the town of Plymouth in this case for their efforts to work with DEP to help pinpoint the source of the contamination that was flowing in to the treatment plant."

A DEP, federal and town of Plymouth investigation revealed that the company in September 2008 illegally dumped highly corrosive chemicals into Plymouth's sewage treatment system. The dumping hindered the functioning of the Plymouth waste water plant, costing the town about $10,000. The company has reimbursed the town.

Subsequent investigation showed that for eight years the company broke the law by storing and disposing without required permits hazardous waste -- including include waste epoxy paint, amkote epoxy paint solid, and methyl ethyl ketone. It also violated the law by transporting the materials to an unpermitted facility.

The company will pay the state a total of $75,000 in quarterly installments for three years. The state will also receive $25,000 of an additional $75,000 the company will pay the federal government in a related settlement.

The state will use $75,000 for DEP environmental remediation projects. The remaining $25,000 will go to the state's General Fund.

The U.S. Attorney's Office today announced a related settlement of criminal charges against the company.