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Press Release  Springfield Scrap Metal Company to Fund Water Quality and Health Equity Projects Following Claims of Illegal Stormwater Pollution

Company to Pay $165,000 for Unlawful Stormwater Discharges into the Chicopee River
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  • Office of Attorney General Maura Healey

Media Contact   for Springfield Scrap Metal Company to Fund Water Quality and Health Equity Projects Following Claims of Illegal Stormwater Pollution

Chloe Gotsis

BOSTONA company that runs a scrap metal processing facility in Springfield has agreed to pay $165,000 and to make system improvements to settle allegations that it illegally discharged industrial stormwater into a tributary of the Chicopee River, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today. The majority of the money will fund projects to improve local water quality and health inequities faced by Springfield residents.

The consent decree, filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts and pending court approval, settles allegations that Joseph Freedman Co., Inc. (Freedman) violated the federal Clean Water Act when it illegally discharged polluted industrial stormwater from its facility through the City of Springfield’s municipal storm drain system, and into Poor Brook, a tributary of the Chicopee River, without complying with its federal industrial stormwater discharge permit. The neighborhood surrounding the facility has been designated by the state as an environmental justice community because its residents are disproportionately burdened with environmental and other injustices.

“This company was illegally polluting the Chicopee River and the City of Springfield’s storm drain system with dirty industrial stormwater, potentially posing a threat to our aquatic ecosystems and to public health, in a community already burdened with environmental injustices,” AG Healey said. “This settlement will benefit the community by improving the water quality of the Chicopee River watershed and supporting health equity programs in an underserved neighborhood.”

The AG’s complaint, filed with the consent decree, alleges that Freedman’s own sampling results show that for many years, it has been discharging stormwater with levels of pollutants, including heavy metals, many times higher than standards established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Stormwater pollution is regulated under a variety of federal Clean Water Act permits and is recognized as the largest threat to water quality in the state. Certain industrial facilities in Massachusetts, like this one, must obtain specific authorization for stormwater discharges and then properly monitor and control those discharges. The AG’s complaint alleges the company failed to monitor and control its stormwater discharges, including heavy metals, polluting Poor Brook and the Chicopee River.

Under the terms of the consent decree, the company is required to pay $115,000 to the community-based organization, Neighbor to Neighbor, to fund projects that benefit the Chicopee River watershed and to address the health inequities and environmental injustice that the historically marginalized and overburdened neighborhoods of Springfield continue to face. Neighbor to Neighbor’s projects will focus on water quality, community engagement, and reducing the amount of trash entering waterways in the Chicopee River watershed. The settlement also requires the company to pay the state $50,000 to offset the costs of the AG’s enforcement efforts and for future monitoring of the company’s compliance with the consent decree. Freedman is also required to take action to reduce the level of pollutants in its stormwater discharge, including by installing a new stormwater treatment system and paving a portion of the facility.

Today’s announcement is part of a civil enforcement initiative out of AG Healey’s Environmental Protection Division that focuses on combatting pollution by enforcing the requirements of the federal Clean Water Act and the federal Clean Air Act in Massachusetts, along with applicable state environmental laws. This will be the thirteenth settlement from the initiative since its inception in 2018. These settlements have recovered more than $1,000,000 for local environmental improvement projects and civil penalties. The Division has also prioritized directing settlement funds from appropriate enforcement actions to support communities that have been historically overburdened by environmental harm.

Last week, AG Healey announced the launch of a new interactive website that allows Pioneer Valley residents to measure air pollution levels in their neighborhoods and provides them with guidance on how to protect themselves from exposure to certain air pollutants. The AG’s Office funded the installation of 80 air quality sensors in Springfield to collect data on pollution hotspots and inform public health measures.

This case was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Emily Mitchell and Nora Chorover, both of AG Healey’s Environmental Protection Division.


Media Contact   for Springfield Scrap Metal Company to Fund Water Quality and Health Equity Projects Following Claims of Illegal Stormwater Pollution

  • Office of the Attorney General 

    Attorney General Maura Healey is the chief lawyer and law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
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