Narricot corrects wastewater discharge violations

Published 8:37 am Friday, March 13, 2009

BOYKINS—Narricot Industries LLC violated several parameters of its industrial wastewater discharge permit with Southampton County for four months of last year, but it has since been in compliance and has so far spent nearly $20,000 to fix the problems.

Narricot, which manufactures seatbelt webbing for cars and polyester and nylon webbing products for commercial, industrial and military use, plans to spend an additional $14,000 in wastewater improvements at its Boykins facility.

According to information supplied by Southampton County, 11 violations occurred in 2008.

In April, wastewater discharged from Narricot exceeded the pH limit. The company also violated monitoring requirements on color quality when it failed to take a weekly sample.

Three months later, Narricot ran afoul of the requirements again when it deleted color maximum from its discharge monitoring report.

Wastewater from Narricot failed toxicity tests in June and July and violated the monthly average and daily maximum limits for TKN — total kjehldahl nitrogen — in June and August. Limits on the amount of ammonia that can be discharged, which is also measured by monthly average and daily maximum allowed, were broken in August.

The Narricot facility in Boykins is considered a significant industrial user, or SIU, by the Environmental Protection Agency because the factory’s wastewater treatment plant processes more than 25,000 gallons of wastewater per average work day. Narricot, the largest private employer in Southampton County, is the only SIU in the county that is connected to a municipal system.

Narricot sends its treated wastewater to the Town of Boykins Wastewater Treatment Plant, located on Number 8 Schoolhouse Road. That county-owned facility is then authorized by the state Department of Environmental Quality to discharge into Tarrara Creek, which feeds into the Meherrin River.

Narricot voluntarily entered into a consent order with the county on Dec. 1 to help resolve the problems.

“They have been cooperative,” County Administrator Michael Johnson said of Narricot officials. “They were very apologetic and said that they wanted to fix the problem.”

Johnson added that at no time during the problems with Narricot did the county violate DEQ environmental regulations or did any polluted water entered Tarrara Creek.

The consent order calls for Narricot to pay a $20,000 penalty to settle its permit violations, but that penalty would be suspended if the company maintains perfect compliance with its permit and passes all toxicity tests for 24 consecutive months, beginning Dec. 1, 2008.

If Narricot is unable to comply with the environmental regulations, the agreement stipulates that the company may use proceeds from the $20,000 penalty “for engineering studies and/or pre-treatment process improvements that will allow it to achieve permit compliance.”

Southampton County has approved another stipulation allowing Narricot to have “the costs of any engineering studies or pre-treatment process improvements” spent after Sept. 1, 2008, credited toward the $20,000 penalty.

In a Jan. 27 letter to Johnson, Plant Manager Ed Hull outlined the improvements Narricot was making at the factory’s wastewater treatment plant.

According to Hull, since Sept. 1 the company has spent $16,897 on new equipment and additives and another $2,925 on testing and engineering studies. Additional equipment costing $7,200 is on order, and the company plans to buy another $7,125 in machinery that is currently in testing.

“We have invested countless hours and dollars on researching the root cause of past failures and installing process improvements, corrections and additions to the wastewater facility to bring our process into permit compliance,” Hull said.

Riverkeeper Jeff Turner said that although he focuses on the Nottoway and Blackwater rivers, he is familiar with issues involving Narricot.

“They have a history of problems. They deserve every fine they’ve every gotten,” Turner said. “However, I will say that it’s looking good if they’re going to put some money into upgrading some of their equipment. That’s a step forward. That could be positive. They need to step up their environmental conscience, that’s for sure.”