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Brayton Point operator agrees to fine and changing practices thanks to Somerset residents



Photo courtesy of Nancy Thomas

SOMERSET, MASS. – Under a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Patriot Stevedoring & Logistics, the port operator at Brayton Point in Somerset, Mass. has changed its system for loading scrap metal in order to avoid illegally discharging scrap metal into Mt. Hope Bay, in violation of the Clean Water Act. Patriot Stevedoring & Logistics also agreed to pay a $27,000 penalty to settle the alleged violations by EPA’s New England office that it discharged without a permit between Feb. 25 and Oct. 30 of 2020.

“Thanks to this settlement, this company is changing their procedures to eliminate scrap metal being deposited into Mt. Hope Bay. EPA is pleased that this will result in a cleaner and healthier bay environment,” said EPA New England Acting Regional Administrator Deb Szaro. “This action demonstrates that EPA takes the concerns of local citizens about noncompliance with environmental laws very seriously.”

EPA alleged that the company discharged scrap metal into Mt. Hope Bay while the material was being loaded onto ships. Although Patriot Stevedoring is authorized to discharge stormwater under an EPA permit, it is not permitted to discharge scrap metal.

Patriot Stevedoring changed its metal stevedoring process in September 2020 to load scrap metal onto a dumpster-like carrier that is hoisted directly into the ship’s cargo bay for unloading. This avoids metal being dropped into the water during loading. The company agreed to phase out the use of the mechanical claws it had used before. Patriot Stevedoring leases the port at 1 Brayton Point Road, the location of a coal power plant that is no longer operating. This port area discharges stormwater from one outfall into the bay. Eastern Metal Recycling is a deliverer of up to 50 truckloads of shredded scrap metal to the port daily and after about a month, enough is stockpiled to call in a ship to pick it up.

EPA received multiple complaints about scrap metal being discharged into the water during loading and transport. The case stems from an EPA inspection, as well as from photos and video sent by members of the public showing Patriot Stevedoring dropping metal from a crane’s claw when loading metal material onto the ship.

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