- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
The EPA, the U.S. Justice Department, and the states of Alabama and Iowa announced on Wednesday, July 14, 2010, that McWane Inc., a national cast iron pipe manufacturer headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., has agreed to pay $4 million to resolve more than 400 violations of federal and state environmental laws. The settlement covers 28 of McWane's manufacturing facilities in 14 states and also requires the company to perform seven environmental projects valued at $9.1 million.
The settlement resolves civil violations over the past decade of pretty much every major environmental law, including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, RCRA, EPCRA, TSCA, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and CERCLA.
"In addition to meeting its environmental obligations and taking corrective measures, McWane will go beyond compliance and take action to protect communities that are at the greatest risk for air and water pollution," said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "The additional environmental projects included in the settlement will protect children, pregnant mothers, local residents and workers from harmful pollution and are an example of securing public health and environmental benefits in addition to those achieved by compliance with our nation's environmental laws."
"This is a comprehensive settlement that brings McWane into full environmental compliance at twenty eight facilities nationwide, and imposes a penalty on the company for its civil environmental violations at those facilities over the past decade," said Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division. "As a result of this agreement, McWane has completely re-engineered its environmental management systems to ensure that it remains in compliance, and has committed over $9 million to environmental projects that will remove significant amounts of pollutants from the environment and benefit the surrounding communities."
The environmental projects McWane will perform will address storm water contamination at numerous locations; reduce mercury emissions in Provo, Utah and Tyler, Texas; reduce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emissions in Bedford, Ind. and Anniston, Ala.; and enhance air quality in Coshocton, Ohio. Additionally, McWane has already undertaken corrective measures to resolve the violations, at a cost of more than $7.6 million.
As part of the settlement, the United States also required the company to develop and implement a corporate-wide environmental management system (EMS) to promote environmental compliance, achieve pollution prevention and enhance overall environmental performance. The EMS was implemented prior to the filing and is now complete. The agreement requires the company to conduct an audit of the EMS to evaluate the adequacy of the system. In addition, the company has modified its corporate-wide stormwater pollution prevention plan and will develop or upgrade facility-specific plans as part of the agreement.
At its Coshocton, Ohio, iron foundry, the company will operate a cupola furnace, which is a particulate emissions source, in accordance with its newly revised Clean Air Act Title V permit. The consent decree further establishes operating conditions and emission limits for the furnace, and is separately enforceable by the EPA.
In the past, multiple McWane divisions and facilities have been the subject of criminal investigations that have resulted in five federal prosecutions. As a result, the company has paid more than $25 million in criminal fines and penalties and spent approximately $5 million on environmental projects. Company executives have been sentenced to prison terms of up to 70 months and the company and certain executives have been placed on probation.
The proposed settlement agreement, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, Birmingham Division, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court.
More information on the settlement is available at www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/cases/civil/mm/mcwane-infosht.html
Source: EPA Press Release