Business Hit With $750,000 In Environmental Penalties

, The Connecticut Law Tribune

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By CHRISTIAN NOLAN

Daniel C. Esty, Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection v. Suraci Inc.; Suraci Metal Finishing, LLC; Suraci Paint & Powder Coating, LLC; and Bruno F. Suraci Jr.: A judge has ordered three New Haven companies and their operator to pay nearly $750,000 in penalties for violations of the state's hazardous waste and air pollution control laws.

According to state officials, Suraci Inc., Suraci Metal Finishing LLC, Suraci Paint & Powder Coating LLC and Bruno F. Suraci Jr., operated metal finishing businesses at two locations in New Haven, including a facility on River Street adjacent to the Quinnipiac River.

The state alleged that activities conducted at the sites produced hazardous waste and that the businesses failed to comply with laws regulating that waste, thus exposing employees, the public and the environment to health and safety risks.

The state also alleged that the Suraci businesses completely failed to comply with air pollution control statutes intended to regulate emissions from equipment in operation at the sites.

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Daniel Esty made their claims against Suraci and his businesses in a 34-page lawsuit filed last year. The state Attorney General's Office handled the case for the state.

The state's complaint alleged multiple violations, including improper storage and labeling, lack of proper state and federal permits, failure to conduct inspections, failure to separate incompatible waste materials and lack of proper employee training and certification.

According to the complaint, the company was mishandling "waste paint, solvent contaminated materials, solvent still bottoms, spent process baths, rinse waters, burn off ash, and used sand blasting media as well as used oil and spent fluorescent lamps."

The complaint said the businesses spent a lot of time sandblasting, spray painting, and powder coating steel.

"Hazardous waste violations are no small matter," Attorney General George Jepsen said in a statement. "Failure to properly manage dangerous substances exposes the public and the environment to potential risks. This is a significant judgment and should serve as a warning that those who engage in this kind of conduct will be held responsible for their actions."

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