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Amsterdam fiberglass company fined, replaces air cleaners

Monday, November 4, 2013
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— Air cleaners cited as deficient by state inspectors were replaced soon after an inspection in an Amsterdam factory this summer, a company official said Monday.

Fiberglass Industries Inc. was fined $16,000 following a July visit by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

In addition to record-keeping violations, inspectors cited the lack of employee training on disposing of hazardous materials.

Fiberglass Industries, or FGI, employs about 80 people at its Edson Street factory and another 50 at its Homestead Place facility.

The company turns sand into fiberglass, which is then used to make fishing rods, boats, lining and sea walls, among other products.

After a July inspection, FGI president John Menzel on Monday said the company made immediate changes thanks to input from state regulators.

“We’re good citizens,” Menzel said.

According to a consent order dated Oct. 29, inspectors visited the Edson Street facility in July to review compliance with federal and state hazardous waste laws.

The company makes use of a containment system that includes large nylon bags that trap dust from being let out into the air. DEC inspectors cited the firm for not keeping those dust traps clean.

Menzel said all the one-ton nylon bags have since been replaced.

Inspectors also found dust in the containment system, which was near an exit that could lead to a storm sewer, according to the consent order.

The state cited several issues related to paperwork and training that governs how hazardous waste is disposed of at the site.

Two manifests didn’t identify the disposal method, and one of them was never sent to the state as required under the facility’s permit, according to the consent order.

Another manifest — required to be on hand for three years — couldn’t be found.

Employees are supposed to be trained on how to deal with hazardous waste either in a classroom or on the job and then undergo annual follow-up training each year.

Two employees involved in the disposal didn’t have it, according to the DEC.

“At least two of the [company’s] employees, who sign the manifests, have not successfully completed any type of [Resource Conservation and Recovery Act] related training and Department of Transportation training,” the consent order states.

State law requires hazardous waste generators to provide contact information for an emergency coordinator responsible for responding in the event of an emergency. The primary contact listed by the company didn’t work there anymore, according to the DEC.

An additional citation accuses the company of leaving “universal waste lamps,” such as used fluorescent light bulbs, lying around for more than a year.

Menzel described the issues as “minor maintenance” and said he doesn’t believe the shortcomings ever led to any exposure in the air or otherwise. The inspections, he said, help the company maintain a clean interaction with the environment. “They help us assess our potential for dust getting on the ground. They’ve been very helpful,” Menzel said.

 
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