U.S. Water News Online
HARTFORD, Conn. -- Aerospace manufacturer Hamilton
Sundstrand pleaded guilty to two counts of violating the federal
Clean Water Act, admitting dumping industrial discharge into the
Farmington River from its Windsor Locks plant.
Lawyers for Hamilton Sundstrand, a subsidiary of United
Technologies Corp., appeared in U.S. District Court in Hartford. The
company agreed to pay a $1 million fine and contribute another $11
million for environmental improvement projects. It was also placed on
probation for five years.
U.S. Attorney Kevin O'Connor called the $12 million in fines and
contributions one of the largest settlements of a pollution case ever
in Connecticut. He declined to say whether any company employees will
be charged, but noted the investigation is continuing.
U.S. District Judge Alvin Thompson will decide whether to accept
the plea agreement and impose the sentence on April 27.
Hamilton Sundstrand was accused of exceeding government-set levels
for discharge of hexavalent chromium between 2001 and 2003 and
altering documents to conceal the violations.
The company was also accused of knowingly dumping tens of
thousands of gallons of contaminated wastewater containing chelated
copper into the Farmington River in September 2003.
"I think what today's convictions demonstrate is that state DEP,
the federal EPA and the U.S. attorney's office believe that this type
of conduct is downright criminal and we will continue to prosecute it
aggressively,"O'Connor said at a news conference.
"We're sending a strong deterrent message,"he said. "At the same
time, we're reaping great benefits for the environment here in
The company, which makes space suits and aircraft operating
systems, said in a statement it is now in full compliance with
"Hamilton Sundstrand is committed to environmental leadership that
goes beyond mere compliance,"the company said. "Clearly we did not
live up to our standards in this instance. We regret this failure and
will take all necessary steps so such events never happen again.''
Gina McCarthy, commissioner of the state Department of
Environmental Protection, said there are no long-term impacts on the
environment or drinking water supplies from the discharges of the
chromium and copper, both toxic substances used in metal finishing
"Hamilton Sundstrand and every other company needs to understand
that no matter how exciting your products are, you have an obligation
to this earth, to our natural resources,"McCarthy said. "They failed
to remember that obligation.''
Besides paying the $1 million fine, the company will also:
O'Connor said a DEP worker learned about the chromium and copper
discharges while monitoring the company as part of a previous consent
agreement on environmental issues. He would not say exactly how the
DEP official obtained the information.
Return to the
U.S. Water News' Archives page
Return to the U.S. Water
Use a comma to separate e-mail addresses:
Hi, I thought you might like to read this article.