"Atlas Foundry and State Reach a $60,000 Agreement in Illegal Bay Discharge Case"

“A settlement agreement has been reached between Tacoma’s Atlas Foundry and the state Department of Ecology, reducing by $5,700 a $66,075 penalty the agency assessed the foundry last June. The final penalty will be $60,375.Ecology issued the penalty to the foundry for illegally discharging metals-laden waste water into the city storm-drain system that flows into Thea Foss Waterway. The waste water contained copper and zinc, both toxic to marine life.The reduction in the penalty is owed to clarification the company provided about the number of quench-tank discharges that took place during the time frame of Ecology’s penalty evidence. Discharges were not continuous, but annual. A quench tank holds water that is used to cool metal parts.In addition, the settlement calls for Atlas Foundry to cease discharging waste water from the quench tank to the storm drain, to survey the storm drain for pollutants and to sample stormwater coming off its site on a quarterly basis.Atlas’ new penalty is due with interest, making the total penalty amount $65,190. The penalty settlement was reached in the state Pollution Control Hearings Board, to which Atlas Foundry had appealed the penalty.Commencement Bay was listed as a federal Superfund cleanup site in 1981. Since that time, Ecology has worked with industries to block sources of pollution to the bay. Last spring, an Ecology study revealed that water in Commencement bay contained 73 percent less zinc and 92 percent less copper than it did in 1984, though environmental sources say there is much to be done, especially in remediating contamination of soils at the bay’s bottom.”