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Springfield scrap metal firm pays $165K over stormwater discharge

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.
Jesse Costa
/
WBUR
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is one of many Democratic attorneys general to reject the Purdue Pharma settlement.

A Springfield scrap metal company has agreed to pay $165,000 to settle allegations it improperly discharged industrial storm water.

According to the Massachusetts Attorney General's office, Joseph Freedman Company allowed the polluted water to run into a tributary of the Chicopee River, and into Springfield's storm drain system.

“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,” Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement.

Much of the money, $115,000, will go to an advocacy group Neighbor to Neighbor. The funds are slated to be used for projects involving the river's watershed, and to address health inequities and environmental justice in the area.

"We've been thinking about some ideas to not only bring awareness to the water pollution issue in the city of Springfield, but we're also thinking about ideas to bring filtration systems into folks’ homes so that they can actually drink their tap water," said Terry Gibson, an organizer with Neighbor to Neighbor.

The remainder of the money, $50,000 will go to the attorney general’s office to pay for its costs related to the situation, and to monitor Freedman’s compliance with the agreement. As part of the deal, the company will also install a new stormwater treatment system and pave part of the facility.

In a statement from Freedman provided by its attorney, Lee Hoffman, the company said “While we disagree with the assertions made by the Attorney General in her complaint, we recognize that, like everyone else in the metals industry that deals with dissolved metals measured in the parts per million, we must continue to do better.”

The statement continued: “It should also be noted that neither the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection nor the US Environmental Protection Agency brought any regulatory action against the company.”

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