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January 2004

Metals Recycling Case Settled

Providence, RI— The Department of Environmental Management announced that under terms of a settlement approved in Superior Court by Judge Gilbert Indeglia, Metals Recycling LLC of Johnston will pay $250,000 into the state’s environmental response fund.

The settlement is part of a consent agreement reached between DEM, the state Attorney General’s Office, and Metals Recycling LLC. Under the terms of the consent agreement, pending criminal charges relating to illegal operation, storage, transportation, and disposal of hazardous waste will be dismissed upon payment of the $250,000 penalty. The Attorney General’s Office agreed to dismiss the criminal charges in order to close the case in a timely and cost-efficient manner. The consent agreement is also a settlement of the administrative Notice of Violation that resulted from the joint investigation by DEM and the FBI.

Metals Recycling LLC had been indicted by a Providence County Grand Jury in August of 2002 on 10 counts of hazardous waste violations stemming from an eight-month surveillance from July 1998 through January 1999 by investigators from the Department of Environmental Management’s Office of Criminal Investigation and the FBI. The investigation focused on hazardous levels of PCB-contaminated automobile shredder residue - commonly known as auto fluff - being transported by tractor-trailer from a Metals Recycling LLC facility in Worcester, Massachusetts to the Johnston facility and to the Central Landfill. PCBs are suspected cancer-causing agents and are classified as extremely hazardous waste by federal and state regulations.

In the years since DEM issued the Notice of Violation on this case, DEM and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have taken additional enforcement actions against Metals Recycling LLC resulting in significant improvements in management practices at the facility and less risk to public health and the environment. Those actions also resulted in the assessment of additional penalties. With regard to auto fluff, it is DEM’s understanding and belief that the facility no longer receives the waste from outside sources, no longer transports the material generated onsite to the Central Landfill, and now employs sound practices to manage the material generated onsite.

The settlement of the case does not relieve Metals Recycling LLC of its obligation to comply with state hazardous waste laws and regulations, and DEM will continue to take the steps necessary to ensure that such compliance is achieved.

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