State wins $1.059 million in specialty bulbs mercury discharge case
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Arthur J. Rocque Jr. today announced a state court ruling that will force Light Sources Inc., LCD Lighting Inc., and LS Neon Inc. to pay $1.059 million in civil penalties and costs and to clean up mercury contamination from their operations on and around three sites in Milford and Orange.
The lawsuit was filed against the companies in July 1998, and the court issued a temporary injunction ordering the companies to perform an interim level of clean-up immediately, pending the outcome of the case. The decision requires the companies to clean up the wetlands and stream sediments contaminated with mercury. Light Sources, Inc. and LCD Lighting, Inc. manufacture fluorescent light bulbs and specialty bulbs, both of which contain mercury. LS Neon, Inc. dissolved in 2002.
"This victory ensures that the serious contamination at these sites will be cleaned and the polluters will be penalized," Blumenthal said. "The clear message is that companies defying our environmental laws will be prosecuted vigorously and successfully. Mercury contamination is a profoundly serious, potentially toxic, and long-lasting threat."
"Our goal is to do everything in our jurisdiction to remove mercury from the environment. Ensuring compliance with mercury-handling requirements is a priority of this department. This ruling signifies that the courts share our concerns and reinforces the seriousness we place on the proper handling and disposal of mercury," Rocque said. "As a result of this action, Light Sources will be held accountable for their failure to comply with Connecticut's environmental standards, and they will be held responsible for addressing the environmental contamination they created."
The state's lawsuit was filed after a DEP investigation in March 1998 discovered mercury contamination in wetlands and stream sediments south of two recently vacated properties at 70 Cascade Boulevard and 11 Cascade Boulevard in Milford. DEP officials then investigated the companies' new operations at 37 Robinson Boulevard in Orange and found that site was also contaminated with mercury. The contamination resulted from the improper disposal of fluorescent light bulbs rejected during the manufacturing process.
Mercury, a highly toxic substance to both humans and animals, is retained for long periods of time in soils and sediments. When it seeps into surface water, it accumulates readily in aquatic organisms, and, from there, up the food chain.
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Mark Harris contributes and publishes news editorial to http://www.discount-light-bulbs.com.
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