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Benson Metal, Simsmetal settle pollution complaint

Keywords: Tags  scrap metal, Simsmetal, Sims Metal Management, Benson Metal, water pollution, Gowanus Canal, Lisa Gordon

PITTSBURGH — A water pollution complaint against Benson Metal Corp. of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Simsmetal East LLC over scrap metal that fell into a local waterway has been settled.

Benson has agreed to pay $85,000, which includes a $50,000 civil penalty, $27,000 for natural resource damage and $8,000 in costs, and has taken steps to prevent it from happening in the future, the New York Attorney General’s Office said.

Simsmetal, which provided barges for the scrap metal, has agreed to comply with best management practices when it loads any barge in the New York City metropolitan area.

The state attorney general and the state Department of Environmental Conservation launched an investigation in 2009 after it received complaints that Benson’s metal was falling into the Gowanus Canal. The state, which said it observed more than 100 instances when metal was inadvertently dropped into the waterway, alleged that employees were not properly trained, vessels were loaded using inadequate procedures and too much material was put on barges.

A Benson spokesman told AMM that it voluntarily changed its barge loading practices when the matter came to its attention and has not had a single complaint from the state for more than a year. "Benson is proud of its many years of environmental performance, and its use of barges to transport recycled metal has a positive effect on the environment in that it eliminated countless truck deliveries on already highly congested roads," the spokesman said.

Simsmetal parent Sims Metal Management Ltd. had no comment.

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