DEC cuts fine after firm addresses problems at Amsterdam site

An Amsterdam manufacturer avoided $30,000 in fines by storing drums of flammable, hazardous waste in

An Amsterdam manufacturer avoided $30,000 in fines by storing drums of flammable, hazardous waste in a safer manner, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Power and Composite Technologies was fined $37,500 after inspectors from the DEC cited the company for 13 different violations involving the storage of materials including acetone and toluene, according to a consent order dated May 31.

A company official declined to comment Wednesday but said the situation has been addressed.

Formerly known as Advanced Generator Technologies Inc., Power and Composite Technologies got its start in 1994 making parts for General Electric’s power generators. The company now fabricates generator parts for companies worldwide.

The fine stems from an August 2010 inspection at the Wallins Corners Road facility that revealed that acetone waste, which can’t be held at a site for more than six months, was stored there for more than a year.

Containers of waste were found open and without any markings identifying what was in them, including nine drums of waste acetone and one drum of waste xylene that weren’t marked at all, according to the consent order.

State law requires any hazardous waste to be stored in a way that allows for movement of people and equipment in its vicinity.

A state inspector determined that “11 drums holding acetone were jammed together such that there was no way to inspect or allow access for emergency equipment.”

DEC Region 4 spokesman Rick Georgeson said in an email Wednesday that the regulation is in place to make it easier and safer for employees and first responders during an emergency.

“Regulations require that hazardous waste generators maintain aisle space between containers to allow for the unobstructed movement of personnel, fire protection equipment, spill control equipment and decontamination equipment in the event of an emergency,” Georgeson said.

Both waste acetone and xylene are flammable, he said.

Violations cited by the state also focused on storage of used light bulbs and batteries and record keeping.

The company was criticized for having a container of used light bulbs that was “overfilled with bulbs and had bulbs sticking out of it”; they are supposed to be stored in a closed, structurally sound container.

Neither the light bulb container nor another one used to store batteries were marked to identify their contents.

The consent order states that most of the concerns identified have since been remedied. As such, the fine was reduced from $37,500 to $7,500.

Amsterdam Town Supervisor Thomas DiMezza on Wednesday said the state, not the town, handles inspections of manufacturing sites.

He said the situation sounds like it could have complicated any efforts in the event of an accident and the fact that the DEC is monitoring it is heartening.

“We certainly wouldn’t want to see anybody injured,” DiMezza said.

Company principal John Dackow on Wednesday said the issues have been corrected but declined further comment.

Categories: Schenectady County

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