The owner of an inoperative Bridgeport, Connecticut, brass facility has agreed to pay $52,000 for violating federal regulations covering the disposal, use, storage, and marking violations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just announced.
The Fairfield-based Connecticut Transfer and Recycling Co., LLC. (CTC) owns the former Bridgeport Brass Company facility in Bridgeport. In 2008, CTC hired a waste transporter to pump out waste oil from an electrical transformer and two 55-gallon drums located at the facility.
According to the EPA, CTCâ€™s waste oil was not initially identified as containing PCBs and was mixed with waste oil from other companies by the waste transporter and sent off to be recycled. PCBs, however, were discovered in the combined waste and eventually traced back to the waste oil from CTCâ€™s facility.
This information prompted the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (CT DEP) to inspect CTCâ€™s facility for compliance with Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA) and PCB regulations. The inspection revealed several federal violations, including the improper disposal of PCBs via two spilled or leaking transformers and failure to comply with various use, storage, and marking requirements by not labeling a PCB transformer, not labeling PCB storage areas, and not meeting various PCB storage and dating requirements.â€¨CTC has also agreed to clean up the PCB spill areas around the transformers.
PCBsâ€”which have been making headlines in recent weeks for their part in contaminating NY Cityâ€™s Newton Creek and Hudson Riverâ€”are significantly problematic because they do not easily degrade and do bioaccumulate infiltrating plants, crops, fish, and small organisms, ultimately reaching those who eat these products. Because of this, nearly every human being on the planet carries some PCB in his/her body, which can also be passed from mothers to children during pregnancy and in breast milk.
PCBs can remain in our bodies for many years; the longer we live, the more these toxins build in our systems, increasing in strength over time.
PCBs include about 200 compounds and are a class of very toxic chemicals ubiquitously found in construction materials and electrical products in many buildings from the 1950s until 1978, when they were phased out. Although banned, PCBs were an element in school construction and electrical products during this time.
In addition to being a skin irritant, PCBs have been linked to some cancers, as well as a variety of other adverse health effects to the immune system, reproductive system, nervous system, and endocrine system, notes the EPA on its website.