Ferry company to pay $100,000 in EPA penalties

SEPTEMBER 16, 2014 — Lake Champlain Transportation Company, which operates ferry boat services for passengers and vehicles between Vermont and New York, has reached a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection under which it will pay $100,000 in penalties to resolve EPA claims that it violated both federal and state clean air regulations at its ship repair and painting facilities in Burlington and Shelburne, VT. It will also take actions to minimize air emissions and protect air quality.

The company performs maintenance on its ferry boats at the facilities, including coating operations with the use of paint spray guns.

Specifically, EPA alleged that Lake Champlain Transportation Co. violated the federal Clean Air Act "National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants" (NESHAP) for Shipbuilding and Ship Repair Facilities by using paints with hazardous air pollutant contents greater than the allowable limits, failing to keep required records of paint usage, and failing to submit a written notification, implementation plan and semi-annual reports to state and federal officials.

EPA also alleged that the company violated Vermont Air Pollution Control Regulations by failing to comply with volatile organic compound coating limits, and by failing to apply for and obtain permits at the time the company acquired new paint spray guns in 2005 and 2009.

In addition, EPA alleged that Lake Champlain Transportation failed to apply for and obtain a Clean Air Act Title V operating permit.

To address the violations identified by EPA, Lake Champlain Transportation Co. will submit an implementation plan to EPA outlining how it will comply with the NESHAP. The company will also apply for permits from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation.

The EPA says that many of the chemicals used by Lake Champlain Transportation Co. are both hazardous air pollutants and volatile organic compounds. Exposure to hazardous air pollutants and volatile organic compounds can cause a variety of health problems. Volatile organic compounds contribute to the formation of ozone, exposure to which can damage lung tissue and reduce lung function. Children, the elderly, people with lung disease, and people with asthma are most susceptible.

Future compliance with clean air standards will help reduce health risks from the emission of these chemicals.

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