By Patrick Cronin
Hampton Union Friday, November 21, 2008
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
HAMPTON -- An investigation into the illegal dumping of 3,000 gallons of raw latex at Foss Manufacturing into the town's sewer system appears to have become a criminal one.
Foss Manufacturing has posted a $5,000 reward for the arrest and prosecution of the party responsible for the spill that made its way into the sewer system in October.
Bill Cummings, chief operating officer of Foss, confirmed the company is offering an award, but declined to comment further because it is an ongoing investigation.
"I can tell you that we are fully cooperating with the town and in the investigation," Cummings said.
The spill is also being investigated by the state Department of Environmental Services, the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Hampton Police Department.
The EPA recently assigned a special agent on the law enforcement side to aid in the investigation.
Hampton Public Works Director John Price said his department was first notified about the incident by officials from Foss Manufacturing. Price said he could not comment on how or where the latex was flushed into the system.
Cummings said raw latex is used in the manufacturing process to coat some materials made for the automobile industry. There is no reason, he said, for it to be dumped.
Price said DPW workers are still working on removing the latex from the plant.
Two of the tanks have been cleaned out and officials estimate it will take another two weeks for the other tanks to be cleaned out.
"Foss Manufacturing has been very cooperative with us," said Price, who noted the company is being billed for all the cleanup costs.
Cummings confirmed the company's commitment about reimbursing the town.
"Any costs that were caused by Foss will be picked up by Foss," Cummings said.
The Hampton company with more than 300 employees makes nonwoven fabrics and synthetic fibers.
Hampton Police Chief Jamie Sullivan said he couldn't comment on the case or any possible suspects because the investigation is ongoing.
Tips can be reported to the Hampton Police Department at 929-4444 or anonymously to the Crimeline for the Hamptons at 929-1222 or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.