Grimmel Industries, a metal scrap recycler located on the banks of the Piscataqua River in Portsmouth, N.H. faces a large fine for allowing polluted stormwater to flow into surrounding waters, in violation of the Clean Water Act. EPA is seeking a proposed penalty of up to $532,500 from the company.

Stormwater monitoring by the property owner of Grimmel’s Portsmouth facility (Pease Development Authority) confirms stormwater discharges from Grimmel’s metal scrapyard operations contain metals, suspended solids and chemical oxygen demand which exceed permit benchmarks. Further, the stormwater discharges contain mercury and PCBs that cause or contribute to an exceedance of water quality standards.

Grimmel had several violations of the “Multi-sector General Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Industrial Activity,” including failing to perform required inspections or sampling, and not taking corrective actions or required reviews of its Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan to address the exceedances of benchmarks and water quality standards. Grimmel also has discharged stormwater and dust suppressant wastewater to the Piscataqua River, which is not allowed by the permit.

Following an EPA order in April 2011, Grimmel has terminated its unpermitted process water discharge and has taken measures to minimize pollutants in its stormwater.

Rainwater running off industrial sites such as metal scrapyards can carry sediments, oil and other pollutants which contaminate nearby streams, ponds and rivers. Sediments and chemicals can also contribute to fish die-offs, toxic algae blooms, contaminated shellfish beds and closed swimming beaches.

EPA inspected Grimmel Industries after receiving correspondence and relevant data from the New Hampshire office of the Conservation Law Foundation.

(Boston, Mass. – October 5, 2011)

EPA Water Permit Program in New England (