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December 5, 2014

EPA fines Biddeford composites maker for allegedly failing to report toxic compounds

Fiber Materials Inc., a Biddeford-based manufacturer that has provided high-end composite materials for NASA’s Orion spacecraft, has agreed to pay a fine as part of a settlement with federal environmental regulators for allegedly failing to report the storage of toxic compounds.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced on Thursday that it has reached a settlement with Fiber Materials Inc., which will pay a $6,935 penalty and will also have to buy $13,240 worth of emergency response equipment for the Biddeford Fire Department.

The EPA said the settlement followed an investigation earlier this year, when it discovered that Fiber Materials Inc. allegedly processed over 4,000 pounds of polycyclic aromatic compounds, also known as PACs, in 2012 and failed to file a federally required toxic inventory form.

EPA spokesman David Deegan told Mainebiz that Fiber Materials Inc. decided to settle with the regulatory agency instead of going through a more adjudicated process.

Companies are required to file toxic inventory forms annually for certain toxic chemicals, the EPA said. In Fiber Material Inc.’s case, the EPA said the company should have filed a toxic inventory form because it processed far more than the 100-pound threshold for reporting PACs.

“Failing to file toxic inventory forms deprives the community of its right to know about releases and the presence of toxic chemicals in the neighborhood,” Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office, said in a prepared statement. “EPA is pleased that in this settlement, the local community will benefit from their local fire department having access to specialized equipment to better protect health during emergencies.”

Fiber Materials Inc. did not respond to a request for comment by late Friday morning.

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