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EPA Region 7 Compliance, Enforcement Net More Than $210 Million in Environmental Benefits

Release Date: 11/15/2007
Contact Information: Dale Armstrong, (913) 551-7316, armstrong.dale@epa.gov


Environmental News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Kansas City, Kan., Nov. 15, 2007) - An estimated $210 million in environmental benefits were achieved through compliance and enforcement actions taken by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Region 7 office during fiscal 2007. These actions prevented more than 51 million pounds of pollution from being released to the environment. Region 7 includes Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.

Region 7 Administrator John B. Askew highlighted the importance of actions in the four Region 7 states. "These actions are significant not just because of the dollar amounts involved, but because of their contributions to protecting human health and the environment."

Region 7 also reached voluntary agreements with violators to undertake 18 supplemental environmental projects as part of settlements, accounting for an additional $647,000 in benefits. Those agreements are for projects in addition to actions to correct any violations. The region worked with more than 16,000 regulated entities through its compliance assistance activities. "We are committed to firm and fair enforcement and compliance," Askew said.

EPA's enforcement program achieved historic results to protect the nation's air, water, and land in fiscal year 2007. Industries, government agencies and other regulated entities agreed to spend a record $10.6 billion in pollution controls and environmental projects, exceeding the previous record of $10.2 billion set in 2005.

Highlights of Region 7 cases contributing to the results include:

IOWA

Agriprocessors, Inc., Postville: A consent decree required Agriprocessors to comply with Clean Water Act requirements. The consent decree also resolves violations of the Community Right to Know Act, including implementation of a risk management plan covering the use of anhydrous ammonia at its facility. Agriprocessors paid a civil penalty of $590,000. Agriprocessors will also purchase emergency response equipment for the Postville Fire Department and conduct environmental compliance audits at its Postville, Iowa, and Gordon, Neb., facilities.

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations – Iowa: EPA, in 2007, ordered eight open cattle feedlots in western Iowa to stop illegally discharging manure into Iowa rivers and streams in violation of the Clean Water Act. Elimination of these discharges has resulted in keeping about 2.5 million pounds of pollution out of Iowa’s rivers and streams. The eight feedlots are Pithan Feedlot near Anthon, Lowell Vos Feedlot near Kingsley, Marion J Rus Feedlot near Rock Valley, A to Z Feeders near Atlantic, Harlan Van Voorst near Sioux Center, Drals Feedlot near Odebolt, Muschamp Feedlot near Corning and Performance Feeders near Sheldon. These orders are part of an ongoing effort by EPA and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to improve environmental performance at cattle feedlots. EPA and the Iowa DNR have worked with more than 150 large cattle feedlots in Iowa during the last five years to bring them into compliance with the Clean Water Act.

Muscatine: The city has agreed with EPA to make sewer system repairs the Agency estimates will reduce pollution by about 2 million pounds per year and eliminate the annual discharge of more than 200 million gallons of untreated sewage to the Mississippi River and local streams. Muscatine will spend $30 million over seventeen years to separate its combined sewers, which carry storm water and sanitary sewage. The systems often overflow during rains, allowing untreated sewage to flow into nearby creeks and streams.

KANSAS

Bunge North America, Inc.: A multistate Clean Air Act settlement reached in January with an oilseed processor Bunge North America, Inc. and three of its subsidiaries will eliminate more than 2,200 tons of harmful pollution per year when fully implemented. The $13.9 million settlement covers 12 plants in eight states. This resolves the liability of Bunge for violations of the Clean Air Act by making major modifications that increased emissions without obtaining pre-construction permits and without meeting the standards of performance for new air pollution sources at Bunge's 12 plants in eight states, including its Emporia, Kansas and Council Bluffs, Iowa facilities.

Toxic Substances Control Act Lead-Based Paint Rule Violation: The elimination of childhood lead poisoning by 2010 is a national priority for EPA. Lead exposure can cause reduced IQ, learning disabilities, developmental delays, reduced height, poor hearing, and a host of other health problems in young children. Peeling and deteriorating lead paint is the most common source of lead exposure to children in the United States.

About 75 percent of the nation's housing built before 1978 contains lead-based paint. The Toxic Substances Control Act requires landlords and sellers of pre-1978 housing to provide lead hazard information to all tenants and home buyers, and copies of any existing records or reports pertaining to lead-based paint in the housing. The most recent Census Bureau and Centers for Disease Control data indicate that more than 300,000 of the more than 1 million housing units in Kansas were built before 1950.

In FY07, Region 7 conducted 100 Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Rule compliance inspections in all four Region 7 states and took 30 enforcement actions. Penalties totaling $133,340 were collected and landlords of more than 8,000 housing units were brought into compliance with the disclosure rule. Supplemental environmental projects which resulted in environmental results over and above what the law requires, were agreed to in a number of these settlements.

In 2005, 406 cases of lead poisoning in children were confirmed in Kansas. In FY07, EPA Region 7 conducted 16 Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Rule compliance inspections in Kansas and took five enforcement actions. A total of $26,000 in penalties was collected, and landlords of more than 700 housing units were brought into compliance with the disclosure rule. As part of the settlement of one case, a violator paid more than $7,000 to perform lead abatement activities, including replacement of painted doors and windows in three dwelling units.

MISSOURI

Doe Run Transportation Company: The Doe Run Resources Corp. of St. Louis has agreed to implement specific work practices that will reduce the release of lead onto public roads. Doe Run will spend $55 million under a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act administrative order to install truck washing stations, to clean streets and roads near facilities, to ensure that lead-bearing materials are not leaking or spilling from trucks during transportations, and to develop spill response planning.

The agreement with EPA covers trucks that transport lead ore and concentrate from Doe Run facilities in southeast Missouri. Doe Run produces lead and other metals from its mines in southeast Missouri. The dangers of lead exposure to young children are well-known, and the order will help protect children who live along roads in the area of Doe Run operations.

HPI Products Inc.: EPA issued three administrative orders to a St. Joseph pesticide manufacturing company, requiring the company to cease illegal waste handling activities at the company's manufacturing plant and storage warehouses and clean up illegally stored wastes. The orders will result in the removal of more than 4 million pounds of illegally handled hazardous waste. It is estimated that the company will spend more than $15 million to properly dispose of illegally stored waste, clean up spills and to make sure the warehouses are fully cleaned, conditions are safe, and a plan is in place for proper management of hazardous materials.

J.H. Berra Construction Co., St. Louis: Berra and several related St. Louis area developers found responsible for polluting streams and lakes with runoff from three construction sites will adhere to a strict compliance program at future construction projects, clean up past pollution, and pay one of the largest environmental penalties of its kind in state history.

A consent decree, including a penalty of $590,000, was reached with EPA, the U.S. Department of Justice, Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon, and Wildwood, MO., and lodged July 12, 2007, in federal district court in St. Louis.

Columbia Storm Water Cases: EPA reached separate agreements with two companies in Columbia to reduce more than 4 million pounds of sediment runoff from their construction sites. One agreement is with THF Grindstone Development LLC and its contractor Emery Sapp & Sons Inc. and the other with The Links at Columbia L.P.

The administrative penalty against Grindstone and Sapp is one of the largest for construction-related violations of the Clean Water Act ever imposed by EPA Region 7. The penalty of $146,833 was imposed for illegal discharges of sediment, earth and concrete into an unnamed tributary of Hinkson Creek. EPA determined that the construction site lacked proper erosion controls, leading to runoff of sediment into the Hinkson Creek tributary in violation of the state discharge permit and federal storm water requirements.

The agreement with The Links will reduce 4.3 million pounds of sediment runoff from The Links at the Columbia site. The Links is a subsidiary of Lindsey Construction and Lindsey Management, a large Arkansas-based property management firm for multifamily housing. Storm water runoff from this site discharges into Hominy Branch, a tributary of Hinkson Creek, which has been formally designated as an impaired waterway.

Four Missouri Cities to Fix Sewers Under EPA Strategy for Small Communities: Four Missouri wastewater treatment plants will fix chronic wet weather sewer discharge problems under a new, cooperative strategy for small cities developed by Region 7 and coordinated with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Bolivar, Buffalo, El Dorado Springs, and Fredericktown have signed orders with EPA agreeing to achieve the needed improvements, with a cost of approximately $3 to $5 million dollars for each community. Region 7 and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources have worked closely with the four communities in planning for ongoing physical and operational improvements to the sewer collection systems and treatment plant processes and how to achieve better fiscal planning for future needs.

NEBRASKA

M.G. Waldbaum Co.: Waldbaum, a subsidiary of Minnesota-based Michael Foods Inc., agreed to pay a $1.05 million penalty to resolve chronic violations of the Clean Water Act. The settlement, which is a joint federal-state effort, involves a large egg processing facility and seven associated poultry farms near the City of Wakefield, Neb. The civil penalty will be divided equally between the state and the federal government. The violations include overloading the wastewater treatment lagoons at the City of Wakefield's publicly owned treatment works (POTW); discharging pollutants from a large pile of poultry waste into Logan Creek without a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit (NPDES) at its Husker Pride poultry concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) (one of Waldbaum's seven poultry farms); and improperly dumping process sludge waste from its egg processing facility at two of its other poultry farms rather than spreading on the ground in accordance with state standards. Under the settlement, the company will construct a new wastewater treatment plant at an estimated cost of $16 million. The company will also take measures to ensure that poultry manure is properly handled at its seven farms, so that it does not discharge into waters of the United States.

Nebraska Department of Roads, Hawkins Construction and Herbst Construction: EPA reached agreements with the Nebraska Department of Roads and two of its contractors for two separate violations of the Clean Water Act. The agreements include mitigation of environmental damages and cash penalties.

The Department of Roads and Hawkins have agreed to pay $73,000 for a causeway built along the banks of the Platte River in Sarpy County without a permit. They will pay a cash penalty of $18,309 and contribute the additional money to the Nebraska Land Trust to acquire permanent conservation easements in the lower Platte River Corridor near Schramm State Park. They will also purchase an additional 10 acres of conservation easements along the same area to mitigate the environmental damage caused by the fill.

In a separate action, the Department of Roads and Herbst have agreed to pay a $60,000 penalty for placing a concrete jetty in the North Loup River in Garfield County without a permit. They will also make a contribution to the Sandhills Task Force as mitigation for the environmental harm caused by their actions. The task force, in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will identify and restore channel habitats along the North Loup River.