An East Hartford, CT, company, BWE Inc., that stores and distributes petroleum products and other flammable liquids at several facilities in New England, will ensure that community and emergency responders have the information they need to plan for accidents and protect themselves against dangerous materials.
BWE agreed to pay $82,200 to settle claims it failed to file timely chemical inventory reports required by a federal right-to-know law, said officials at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
BWE, which operates as G.H. Berlin-Windward, stores petroleum products and other flammable liquids in warehouses throughout New England. The company agreed to pay the penalty to settle claims it violated the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) at its Manchester, N.H. facility.
The case is result of an inspection by the EPA New England at the company’s West Rutland, VT facility in May 2012 and additional investigations into compliance with reporting requirements at the company’s other facilities, including in Manchester. The EPA said the company failed to report hazardous chemicals present at the Manchester facility by the annual deadlines in 2012 and 2013.
The specific requirements involved “Tier II” forms, required under provisions of EPCRA Sections 311 and 312. As part of the settlement, the company certified it is now in compliance with federal reporting requirements. The products stored and distributed by BWE see use in trucks, automobiles, and industry.
Chemicals at the Manchester facility include, among others, methanol and diesel fuel. Methanol is highly flammable and requires specialized emergency response because of the way in which it burns. Likewise, diesel fuel is flammable.
“Lack of chemical inventory information can compromise proper emergency planning and response by the local officials,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “The penalty paid by BWE is a reminder to other companies that the federal government takes seriously the public’s right and need to know about chemicals present in the community.”
What happened in New England falls in line with the blast in West, TX, that killed 15 people in April 2013. The blast ripped through the West Texas Fertilizer Co. Hundreds more suffered injuries in the powerful blast that seriously damaged the city of West. When firefighters went in to battle the blazed caused by the explosion, no one knew to what extent the amount of chemical stored at the facility. That lack of knowledge ended up deadly as most of the victims in the blazed ended up being firefighters.