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Earthrise working to stop long-running pollution of the Connecticut River in Massachusetts

July 07, 2015

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    Connecticut River near Chang Farm
    Ben Frantz Dale

In June, Earthrise Law Center, on behalf of its client, the Connecticut River Watershed Council, sent a Notice of Intent to Sue letter to Chang Farms in Whately, Massachusetts, informing the company and its owners that a federal lawsuit was coming unless the company changed its polluting ways.  The notice letter documented years of Clean Water Act violations, resulting in discharging of pollution into the Connecticut River, a portion of which runs through western Massachusetts. 

“The polluting of the Connecticut River from this industrial-level farm has been going on for far too long,” said Earthrise Senior Attorney Kevin Cassidy, who is based in Massachusetts. “We’re happy to work with the Connecticut River Watershed Council to require the facility to institute effective pollution control measures that should have been in place years ago.”

Specifically, over the last five years, Chang Farms has violated the terms of its federal pollution discharge permit in 55 of the last 60 months, or 92% of the time, by discharging more pollutants than is allowed by law. They have violated permit limits for four separate pollutants more than 330 times. The excedances range from twice to more than 2,000 times the legal limits for particular pollutants. The facility also has failed the toxicity test of its effluent discharge 30% of the time.

“The Connecticut River is a national treasure and this section of river is used by thousands of people for swimming, boating/paddling, fishing, and diving every year. Everybody has to play by the rules so there is a level playing field and a clean environment,” noted Andrea Donlon, River Steward with the Connecticut River Watershed Council.
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