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Detroit Metals Recycler Reaches Deal with EPA

Chicago, IL - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has reached an agreement with R & F Metals Co. Inc. on alleged violations of clean-air, clean-water and hazardous-waste regulations at the company's scrap metal processing plant, 9101 W. Fort St., Detroit, Michigan. EPA assessed a $25,000 penalty, and the company agreed to do environmental projects costing $129,000.

"I'm pleased that R & F Metals is willing to do these supplemental projects that go beyond what is required by law," said Thomas Skinner, EPA Region 5 administrator. "These projects will cut water pollution, assess and recover chlorofluorocarbon refrigerants from appliances, and reduce dirt and other contaminants tracked out of plant grounds by cars and trucks." Mr. Skinner said EPA's efforts at R & F Metals are part of a larger, cooperative effort by EPA, the state of Michigan, Wayne County, and the city of Detroit to address contamination problems caused by junk and scrap yards in the Detroit area.

The agreement resolves three alleged violations in an administrative complaint filed in March 2001. The complaint alleged that R & F Metals violated the Clean Air Act by improperly disposing of appliances containing ozone-depleting refrigerants and by failing to keep records of proper removal of refrigerants from the appliances.

Chlorofluorocarbon refrigerants deplete the stratospheric or "good" ozone layer, allowing dangerous amounts of cancer-causing ultraviolet rays from the sun to strike the earth. Production of some of these chemicals was stopped in 1995, and federal law strictly controls their use and handling.

The complaint also alleged that the company violated the Clean Water Act by failing to have an oil spill prevention, control and countermeasures plan. In addition, the complaint alleged that R & F Metals violated the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act by illegally storing used oil and by failing to timely respond to an EPA information request.

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