For Immediate Release - March 24, 2017

MassDEP Penalizes Joseph Freedman Co. of Springfield $5,000 For Discharge of Cutting Fluid to Storm Drains

BOSTON -  Joseph Freedman Company, Inc., a scrap metals recycling company based in Springfield, has been assessed a penalty of $5,000 by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) for discharging machine cutting fluid to the storm drainage system at its facility at 115 Stevens Street.

On June 16, 2016, the Freedman company self-reported discharges of machine cutting fluid to the storm drainage system at its property. The cutting fluid, a water-based mixture that contains petroleum hydrocarbons, is utilized in the precision machining industry during fabrication of metal parts; machine shops send their scrap metal chips to Freedman for recycling. The fluid is regulated by MassDEP as an industrial wastewater. Prior to recycling, the chips are stored at the firm's facility; residual cutting fluid seeps from the chips and is collected in a holding tank.

The discharge occurred when an employee pumped the contents of the holding tank to an outside storm drain. The company estimated that 2,500 gallons of cutting fluid was discharged to the storm drainage system at the property during the course of several months. The discharge was ceased as of June 16, 2016, and the Freedman company retained an environmental contractor to clean out the impacted storm drainage structures. Storm water from the property ultimately drains to Poor Brook, however, it is apparent that most of the cutting fluid infiltrated to soil underlying the storm drainage structures due to the age, construction and current physical condition of the structures.

Prior to meeting with MassDEP to discuss the violation, the company re-trained its employees on procedures for collection and disposal of waste cutting fluid. Additionally, Freedman's environmental consultant is assessing soil and groundwater for contamination from the cutting fluid.   

"It is imperative that companies generating hazardous and industrial wastes continually monitor their employees and operations in order to verify that proper collection and disposal of waste material is occurring," said Michael Gorski, director of MassDEP's Western Regional Office in Springfield. "We appreciate Freedman's cooperation in taking steps to correct the violation and assessing environmental impacts from the cutting fluid discharge."

MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.

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