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Regulatory Actions Archive

Reportable Releases


November 2018 – Carrollton, GA – A solenoid valve malfunctioned and started sending process water to an outside collection tank.  The tank and the secondary containment system eventually overflowed, releasing an estimated 50 gallons to Buffalo Creek.  Upon discovery of the overflow, the system was shut down and the release was terminated.  The National Response Center and Georgia Environmental Protection Division were notified.  There were no observed impacts to the creek, and no further action is expected.  Facility personnel are evaluating options to prevent the potential recurrence of this event.

April 2018 – Mineral Wells, TX – While our supplier was delivering a load of calcium carbonate, the storage silo was overfilled and approximately 500 pounds of material blew out of the silo and onto the ground.  A combination of plant personnel and outside cleanup services cleaned up the release.  Plant personnel are researching alternatives to prevent future incidents.  Although the release did not trigger any regulatory reporting requirements, the City of Mineral Wells issued a notice of violation with no monetary penalty.   

December 2017 – Carrollton, GA – Due to an electrical fault, a pump associated with the groundwater collection system at the closed copper refinery failed, and approximately 7,200 gallons of groundwater were accidentally discharged to Buffalo Creek.  The defective pump has been replaced, and backup equipment has been ordered to stock in case of future failures.  No regulatory reportable quantity (RQ) was exceeded; however, the release was reported to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division as a conservative measure.  No further action is expected.

December 2017 – Starkville, MS – The cooling tower that services the facility’s drawing and stranding department had a section of pipe freeze and rupture, which released approximately 4,000 gal of non-contact water to an unnamed tributary to Glen Creek.  The damaged pipe was replaced, and there were no negative impacts observed in the drainage way.  The appropriate state and local agencies were notified.  No further action is expected.

December 2017 – Carrollton, GA – The level control device on the Building Wire Plant process water pond failed which caused the pond to overflow, and <50 gallons of process cooling water were accidentally discharged to Buffalo Creek.  The defective level control device will be replaced with a more advanced system with redundancies.  No impact to the creek was observed. The release was reported to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.
  
December 2017 – Carrollton, GA – While a plasticizer tank was being filled at the Plastics Blending Plant, the cap on the observation port was dislodged causing material to “splash out” of the tank and outside of the primary containment area.  The material was captured by the secondary containment system; however, a pump mechanical failure caused the lift station to overflow and <25 gallons of plasticizer were released to Buffalo Creek.  Southwire is investigating overflow protection alternatives to minimize future “splashing” and ensure any “splash out” will be contained within the primary containment area.  Additionally, the defective pump will be replaced.  No impact to the creek was observed.  This incident was reported to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.

October 2017 – Houston TX- Sumner Houston was issued a Notice of Violation by the Harris County Pollution Services department related to a sanitary sewer discharge event. The facility has multiple sewer discharge lines. Facility personnel were unaware of a private line that discharges to the rear of the property into the county main. The cleanout caps to this line were in disrepair and left open. Water accumulation in the County Main resulted in backflow up the Sumner line. Due to the disrepair of the cleanouts discharge occurred out of the open caps. Approximately 50- 100 gallons of sanitary sewer was discharged. Remediation of the affected areas was conducted immediately, and a plumber was contracted to address the broken clean out caps.  Weekly inspections have been started to ensure no discharges have occurred or occurring.

October 2017 – Starkville, MS – A water pipe failed, causing the release of approximately 4,600 gallons of process cooling water to an unnamed tributary of Glen Creek.  The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and Oktibbeha County Emergency Management were contacted, and representatives were dispatched to the site.  The water showed no evidence of contaminants, and minimal impact to the creek is expected.  Southwire replaced the leaking pipe and inspected all associated piping and valves to evaluate the integrity of the process cooling system.  Components will be replaced as necessary.  No further action is expected.

March 2017 – Florence, AL – A valve was inadvertently left open, and the facility accidentally released approximately 300 gallons of process water (containing approximately 7% water-soluble lubricant) into a roadside drainage ditch.  Upon discovery of the spill, crews put containment equipment in place, and an outside contractor utilized a vacuum truck to remove material from the drainage way.  Southwire reported the discharge to the National Response Commission, Alabama Department of Environmental Management, and Local Emergency Planning Committee.  No further action is expected.

February 2017 – Carrollton, GA – Due to a process control system malfunction and subsequent pump failure at the Utility Products plant, approximately 100 gallons of process water were accidentally discharged to Buffalo Creek.  Minimal impact to the creek is expected.  The controller was repaired and the pump put back into service.  Additional preventative and corrective actions are being evaluated. The release was reported to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD).  No additional follow-up action is expected. 

February 2016 – Carrollton, GA – An organic liquid sheen was discovered in Buffalo Creek and along the roadway behind the Building Wire Plant.  The material was from an unknown source but thought to have originated from a scrap metal box or the truck pulling the box.  The release volume was estimated to be 5 gallons.  Clean-up actions were hampered by heavy rains, but a majority of the spill was contained and remediated by plant personnel and outside contractors.  Minimal impact to the creek is expected.  The release was reported to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) and National Response Center as required.  The EPD inspector who visited the site to assess the situation and clean-up response was generally pleased and had no adverse comments.  No follow-up action was required.

January 2016 – Starkville, MS – Two issues resulted in an unpermitted discharge of approximately 40 gallons of process water to a tributary of Glen Creek.  First, an employee inadvertently left a process water valve before opening a steam valve, which allowed process water to flow into the steam blowdown pipe.  Second, a crack in the elbow of the steam blowdown pipe allowed water to leak out of the system.  This release was reported to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality as required.  In the short term, the facility will repair the cracked pipe elbow and develop a procedure to correctly maintain the valve positions.  Long term, the facility will reconfigure the piping system to prevent both valves from being open at the same time.

January 2016 – Carrollton, GA – As a result of a significant December 2015 flood, Southwire experienced a number of equipment failures related to our water management system. failure These failures included pump malfunctions that resulted in two unauthorized process water discharges to Buffalo Creek totaling approximately 31,000 gallons.  Upon discovery, the pumps were restarted, and the discharges were stopped.  The releases were reported to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.  No follow-up action was required.

December 2015 – Carrollton, GA – Protracted rainfall caused severe flooding of Buffalo Creek, which impacted our manufacturing facilities and support operations.  Power failure resulting from the flooding caused a flow-through tank associated with a wastewater treatment system to overflow, and approximately 2 gallons of petroleum based lubricant were released.  The release stopped and conditions returned to normal after the flood waters subsided.  The release was reported to the National Response Center and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.

October 2015 – Carrollton, GA  – A forklift at the Utility Products Plant experienced a hydraulic fluid line failure, and approximately 14 gallons of oil leaked into a nearby storm drain and were discharged to Buffalo Creek. Southwire employees contained the spill on the pavement and deployed oil-absorbent booms across the creek to prevent the fluid from traveling downstream.  Outside contractors cleaned the spill and vacuumed hydraulic fluid from the creek. Southwire reported the release to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) and the National Response Center.  No adverse effects were observed following the release, and EPD did not require any further cleanup action.

March 2015 – Douglas, GA – Following the failure of a steam generator hot well drain line, softening rinsate water was rerouted to an alternate floor drain believed to discharge to the city sewer.  It was later discovered that the alternate floor drain was tied into the storm water runoff system.  After the release was detected, the discharge was stopped, the water was correctly routed to a sewer drain, and the alternate floor drain was permanently sealed.  The release was reported to both the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) and the Coffee County Local Emergency Planning Commission.  Because the discharge was softening rinsate water from the steam generators, EPD does not believe any harm was done to the environment, and no further action has been required at this time.

May 2014 – Douglas, GA - An operator was transferring liquid from a tank at the electroplater into a 55 gallon drum. The operator had placed the drum outside of containment. The operator walked away and approximately 275 gallons of material was pumped out and overflowed the drum. This pool of liquid ran out of the building and into the asphalt area to the South of the plant. There is a storm drain present at that point and the liquid entered the storm drain. The material was contained and remediation was completed. Investigation into the incident resulted in the implementation of new containment policy and procedure.

April 2014- Carrollton GA - A Southwire contractor working in a stream bed damaged a sanitary sewer line belonging to the City of Carrollton. An estimated 460 gallons of sanitary sewage was released, and a small fraction reached Buffalo Creek before it could be isolated and contained. The City Sewer Department was notified of the incident. City personnel responded, repaired the pipe, and notified the GA EPD of the sewage release. Due to the general poor condition of the subject sewer line, the City in conjunction with Southwire replaced the entirety of the dilapidated sewer line.

April 2014- Carrollton GA- Due to an intense rainfall event, a groundwater collection trench emergency overflowed into a tank of soluble oil. This tank overflowed releasing approximately 500 gallons of soluble oil into a tributary of Buffalo Creek. A natural dam in the creek stopped the majority of the soluble oil from passing any further, and a vacuum truck was brought into cleanup the release. The release was reported to the National Response Center and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. The EPA representative observing the cleanup activities stated that all proper measures had been taken to contain the spill and was pleased with the cleanup efforts. Southwire has removed the tank from service to prevent future overflows.

March 2014- Carrollton GA- A contractor was using a diesel powered water pump to assist with storm water management. The fuel line on the pump broke, and some diesel fuel was released to the ground and, subsequently, a slight sheen was noticed on the stream down gradient from the spill. The contractor responded immediately and was able to contain the spill. The release was reported to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA EPD) and the National Response Center (NRC). Southwire personnel and the contractor evaluated the incident and determined actions to prevent future spills.

September 2013- Hawesville, KY - A contractor was loading a vacuum roll-off (vac box) onto the trailer when the cable broke causing the box to fall onto pavement and release oily sludge material. The spilled material consisted of approximately 1,000 gallons of oily sludge.  None of the spilled material left Southwire property.  After vacuuming the majority of the spilled material, oil dry was placed on the pavement.  The oil dry was then recovered and placed in a designated hopper for proper management at a waste-to-energy facility. Plant personnel worked with the contractor to determine the cause and implemented corrective actions to prevent future spills.

August 2013-Coffeyville, KS- A waste management contractor was at the Coffeyville plant to remove the drawing solution, which is about 95 percent water, but which also contains small amounts of oil, copper and other substances. During the process, the contractor’s tanker trailer tipped over, spilling about 3,000 gallons of solution. The contractor recovered most of the solution, using a vacuum truck. Plant personnel responded immediately, containing the material and ensuring none of it left Southwire property. A certified testing laboratory evaluated the affected soil and ensured the contractor followed proper removal and disposal procedures.

February 2013 - Carrollton, GA – A combined process and storm water discharge containing metal concentrations in excess of allowable limits was released from the Carrollton wire mills into Buffalo Creek.  This excess discharge was similar to a January 2013 incident, and Southwire conducted an investigation to determine the source of the issue.The Investigation resulted in facility has taking steps to increase process and storm water capture in order to minimize discharge to the creek.

January 2013 - Carrollton, GA – A combined process and storm water discharge containing metal concentrations in excess of allowable limits was released from the Carrollton manufacturing facility.  The process and storm water system was cleaned to remove any residual contamination.

September 2012 – Carrollton Utility Products Plant – An incorrect seal was installed on a production line during a product changeover, process water flooded the area when the production line was activated, and approximately 300 gallons of process water were discharged to Buffalo Creek.  Piping changes, additional training of production and maintenance personnel, and alarms systems were employed to prevent future discharges.

January 2012 – Starkville Plant – Less than 50 gallons of process cooling water were released from a manhole onto the pavement due to an unusually large return volume of process water into the return tank.  This water did not appear to reach a waterway; however, the State was notified.  The high-level alarm that was supposed to alert Maintenance did not work.  Measures to provide additional return water capacity and alarm testing were implemented to avoid a recurrence.

November 2011 – Carrollton Building Wire Plant – A process water make-up valve was inadvertently left open while the plant was shut down for the Thanksgiving holidays. Upon restart of the plant, the process water pumps were energized restoring flow to the subject valve. The open valve went unnoticed resulting in an overflow onto the plant floor and eventually an unpermitted discharge of approximately 25-50 gallons to Buffalo Creek.  The material was process water contaminated with soluble oil.  Preventive measures have been employed to reduce the likeliness of a similar event occurring in the future.

September 2011 – Carrollton Building Wire Plant – During a heavy rainfall event, storm water volume exceeded the facility’s wastewater collection system pumping capacity resulting in an overflow discharge of approximately 20 gallons to Buffalo Creek.  Absorbent booms were deployed across the creek, and an industrial cleaning vendor vacuumed oil sheen at the booms.  An investigation was conducted and measures were employed to prevent a future occurrence.

August 2011 – Starkville Plant – Approximately 120 gallons of process cooling water were discharged to a tributary of Glen Creek due to a plugged screen on a cooling tower.  The cause of the overflow has been corrected, and additional preventative measures were implemented to avoid a recurrence.

October 2009 – A forklift spilled 350 gallons of wastewater onto pavement at our Watkinsville plant. The spill was fully contained and cleaned up.


Southwire reported the following releases in September 2009 as the result of a 500 year flood event at our Carrollton, Georgia facilities:

 

 

September 2009 —Release of 500,000 gallons of process cooling water and 20 gallons of plasticizer and lube oil

September 2009 —Process water leak due to flood (300 gallons discharged) - Read Press Release

September 2009 —A spill of approximately 25 gallons of diesel fuel from a mobile air compressor following the flood. It is estimated that less than 1 gallon of fuel reached surface water. - Read Press Release 

 


 

Southwire reported two incidents that were both related to dry weather discharges into Buffalo Creek at Southwire’s Carrollton, GA building wire plant:

August 2008 —Process water leak due to damaged water pipe (100 gallons discharged)—$4,000 fine -  Read Press Release 

November 2008 —Process water leak due to flexible hose failure (5,000 gallons discharged)—$4,000 fine - Read Press Release

 


 

April 2009 - Release of approximately 20 gallons of copper drawing solution from a damaged container of copper filter paper.
 
March 2009 - Our Carrollton building wire plant discharged approximately 150 gallons of process cooling water to Buffalo Creek due to blockage of a drain line.
 
February 2009 - The Southwire Carrollton building wire plant discharged approximately 2,500 gallons of process cooling water to Buffalo Creek due to overflow of a drain line.
 
January 2009 - Our Stouffville, Canada plant spilled 1,050 liters (~280 gallons) of plasticizer onto pavement. The majority of the plasticizer was recovered.

Letters of Noncompliance (LON), Notices of Violation (NOV), etc.

September 2018 – Carrollton, GA - Southwire received a Notice of Violation (NOV) from the City of Carrollton for failure to make timely submission of a required monthly sewer effluent certification letter for August 2018. There is no monetary fine associated with this violation, and there was no failure to meet any parameter set forth in our permit. To address the possibility of this occurring again, a monthly activity calendar reminder has been established making clear the approaching deadline for this obligation. In addition, there will now be two individuals overseeing this requirement.

April 16, 2018 – The El Paso Plant received a Notice of Violation (NOV) from the El Paso Water Authority for total dissolved solids (TDS) concentrations in excess of the facility’s sewer discharge limit.  The NOV contained a monetary penalty of $100.  Plant personnel determined that a faulty valve was causing an increase in salt used in the facility’s water softener system, which resulted in an increase in TDS.  The facility has corrected this issue. 

March 2018 – Southwire El Paso plant received a Notice of Violation (NOV) from the El Paso Water Authority for copper discharges in the sanitary sewer in excess of their permit limit.  The NOV contained a monetary penalty of $100.  The plant has been investigating the possible causes of the exceedances and will implement corrections to prevent any future non-compliances.

October 2017 – Houston, TX – Sumner Houston was issued a Notice of Violation by the Harris County Pollution Services department.  Details are provided above under the “Reportable Releases” section.

September 2017 – Carrollton, GA – Southwire was issued a Notice of Violation by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division related to two air permit deviations.  First, a temperature monitoring system was out of service for 5.75% of the operating time during the reporting period, which exceeded the 5% acceptable threshold.  The monitoring system has been replaced with redundant backups to prevent a recurrence of this deviation.  Second, an electrical failure triggered the startup of an emergency generator, and the unit was allowed to operate in excess of the 100 hour annual limit.  The electrical issue has corrected, and new procedures have been implemented to prevent excessive engine run time in the future.  The impact to the environment was minimal in both cases, and no monetary penalty was issued
 
March 2017 – Southwire’s Denton, TX plant received a Letter of Non-Compliance from the City of Denton for copper discharges to the sanitary sewer in excess of their permit limit.  The plant is investigating the cause of the violation and will take the necessary steps to eliminate the potential for future exceedances.  No monetary penalty was issued.

October 2016 – Fontana, CA – Southwire’s Western Energy & OEM customer service center was issued a Notice of violation (NOV) following an inspection conducted by the California Unified Program Agency – San Bernardino County Fire Department (CUPA). The facility was cited for having required elements missing from the site map submitted as part of the facility’s Business Plan.  Southwire updated the map with the required information and submitted CUPA for approval.

September 2016 – Carrollton, GA – Southwire received a Notice of Violation, with no monetary penalty, from the City of Carrollton for failure to make timely submittal of sewer sample test results for August 2016.  The required sampling was performed, but the subcontract laboratory inadvertently failed to submit the report as they normally do.  Southwire worked with the lab to assure that future sewer sample test results are delivered to the City on a timely basis.

September 2016 – Carrollton, GA – Southwire was assessed a Notice of Violation by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division following 5.82 hours of downtime of the continuous monitoring system for our Waukesha Engines.  The monitoring system downtime occurred due to upset conditions associated with our network and failure of the backup system to capture the required data.  Corrective actions include installing a dedicated fiber optic line to avoid potential network outages and upgrading the memory capacity of the data backup system.  No monetary penalty was issued.

July 2016 – Lafayette, IN – Southwire was issued a Notice of Violation following the failure of a chemical feed pump which allowed high pH water to be discharged to the City of Lafayette sewer system. This situation went unnoticed for a short period of time, due to personnel being on leave. To avoid a possible recurrence, the pump has been replaced and added to the facility preventative maintenance program. Additional personnel have been trained to monitor the pH level and pump operation. Finally, an existing pH controller will be connected to an alarm that will sound an alert before the pH exceeds permit limits.

April 2016 – Bremen, IN – In 2015, Southwire identified process equipment that had been installed in 2014 without receiving the appropriate approval from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM).  Upon learning of this oversight, Southwire submitted the an air application to IDEM and was issued an air permit modification in December 2015.  Subsequently, the facility received a Violation Letter for failing to obtain prior approval for these emission units.  No further action was required and no monetary penalty was assessed.

February 2016 – Carrollton, GA – Southwire’s Carrollton operations discharge storm water runoff to Buffalo Creek, which is currently on US EPA’s 303(d) list of impaired streams based on a generic, conservative copper standard.  Southwire is unable to meet this benchmark.  Partnering with EPA and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD), Southwire conducted extensive sampling to develop a site-specific copper standard based on actual water chemistry in the creek and demonstrate that the water quality meets this site-specific standard.  EPD approved the proposed standard in 2015 and is in the process of completing the necessary steps to demonstrate that the creek should be removed from EPA’s list of impaired waterways.  Until the State of Georgia and US EPA finalize removal of Buffalo Creek from the list of impaired waterways, Southwire has agreed to a Consent Order to provide interim coverage for the site’s industrial storm water discharge.

November 2015 – Bremen, IN – The facility received a Violation Letter following an inspection conducted by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM).  The facility was cited for various hazardous waste management violations.  Most items were corrected immediately, and all items were corrected within 10 days of receiving the letter.  In addition, additional inspections have been added to the facility’s EHS activity calendar in order to prevent similar issues in the future.  No monetary penalty was issued.

December 2014 – Rancho Cucamonga, CA - The service center was issued a Notice of violation (NOV) following an inspection conducted by the California Unified Program Agency – San Bernardino County Fire Department (CUPA). The facility was cited by CUPA for failing to amend the hazardous materials inventory within 30 days of a change, and the reported inventory did not include all hazardous materials on site.  We have updated and submitted a current inventory and have added a monthly alert to our EHS activity calendar to prompt an inventory of hazardous materials. 

September 2014 –  El Paso, TX - The plant was issued a Notice of Violation and a $500 penalty for exceeding their sewer discharge permit limit for molybdenum. The facility has identified two potential sources of molybdenum and has taken measures to eliminate or minimize the risk of future contamination the facility’s sewer discharge from these sources. 

June 2012 - Southwire's Douglas, GA manufacturing plant received a RCRA NOV for not submitting a copy of the facility's Contingency Plan to the local hospital in accordance with 40 CFR 265.53(b).  Southwire subsequently provided the required plan to the Coffee Regional Medical Center, and proof of submittal was provided to the GA EPD.  No monetary penalty was issued.

July 2011 - Southwire's Douglas, GA manufacturing plant received a RCRA NOV for not having a waste determination for seven (7) lead-acid batteries.  Appropriate documentation was subsequently provided to GA EPD demonstrating that the batteries are reclaimed in accordance with 40 CFR 266.80.  No monetary penalty was issued.

March 2011 - Southwire's Carrollton, GA Building Wire Plant and MC Plant each received an air permit NOV for failure to perform required extruder pellet hopper inspections in December 2010.  No monetary penalty was issued.

June 2010 - Received request from GA EPD to conduct additional sampling and analysis at a past remediation site on Stripling Chapel Road.  Southwire conducted the sampling and analysis as requested and submitted a report to GA EPD in January 2011.

June 2010 - Southwire's Carrollton, GA machines services group received an air permit NOV for exceeding the VOC content limit for paint used in the facility's paint booth.  No monetary penalty was issued.

August 2009 - The Southwire Carrollton, GA copper rod operation received an NOV for a delay in formally notifying of a groundwater seep.

An older NOV, dating back to February 2006—At Hawesville, KY, several items that were not in compliance with requirements of the Secondary Aluminum National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants under the Clean Air Act have now been resolved, and a settlement was reached with both the EPA and the State of Kentucky for a total fine of $337,500.

July 2008 —At Heflin, AL, A NOV was issued for an x-ray unit serial number that did not match the permit; the appropriate paperwork has been updated. No penalty was issued.

February 2008 —At Carrollton, GA, A LON was received for pressure drop readings outside the acceptable range on a blast booth. No penalty was issued.