Amtrak Reaches Clean Water Agreement With EPA

The nation's largest passenger rail operator, Amtrak, has agreed\r\nto carry out environmental audits at its facilities nationwide.

The nation''s largest passenger rail operator, Amtrak, has agreed to carry out environmental audits at its facilities nationwide. The company has also agreed to undertake other environmental improvements, including projects to restore wetlands and reduce PCBs in locomotive transformers.

The agreement settles claims that Amtrak violated numerous requirements of the Clean Water Act, including its storm water provisions, at nine Amtrak sites in New England.

The company will also pay a $500,000 civil penalty and spend $900,000 on environmental projects in New England.

"This Amtrak settlement is a good example of industry and government working together to achieve a high level of environmental compliance," said EPA Administrator Christie Whitman. "I commend Amtrak for its cooperation in this settlement and for the aggressive steps it has taken to correct the environmental deficiencies in its operations."

The settlement stems from environmental violations discovered by EPA in the late 1990s at Amtrak facilities in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

The agency cited Amtrak for violating the Clean Water Act''s storm water provisions and for other infractions.

Storm water discharges from rail maintenance facilities can carry oil, grease and metals into storm drains, ultimately comprising the health and quality of streams and waterways.

EPA has identified storm water runoff as a leading cause of impaired water quality in the United States.

The agreement with Amtrak is the federal government''s second nationwide settlement addressing storm water violations.

On June 7, EPA announced a settlement with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to resolve claims that the retailer violated storm water requirements at 17 locations across the country.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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