June 2009 Significant Cases
Table of Contents
Week of June 1, 2009
Region Resolves Illinois State Implementation Plan Violation Case against Flavor Concepts, Inc. (West Chicago, Illinois)
On May 29, 2009, the Acting Regional Administrator signed a Consent Agreement and Final Order (CAFO) in which Flavor Concepts, Inc., agreed to pay a penalty of $53,827 for violations of the Illinois State Implementation Plan (SIP) at its flavor manufacturing facility in West Chicago, Illinois. Specifically, Region 5 alleged that Flavor Concepts failed to obtain construction and operating permits for the air emission sources at its facility as required by 35 Illinois Administrative Code §§ 201.142 and 201.143. Based on an analysis of the factors specified in Section 113(e) of the Act, 42 U.S.C. § 7413(e), the facts of this case, and information Flavor Concepts provided regarding its ability to pay the proposed penalty, EPA determined that it is appropriate to settle this matter for $53,827. The parties agreed that settling the matter, without further litigation, was in the public interest. The CAFO became effective on June 2, 2009.
Primary contact: Ann Coyle, Office of Regional Counsel, 312-886-2248; secondary contact: Jamie Iatropulos, Air and Radiation Division, 312-886-6024
Region 5 enters into a Consent Agreement and Final Order with Pork King Packing, Inc., Marengo, Illinois
On August 8, 2008, EPA filed against the Respondent a Complaint and Notice of Opportunity for Hearing ("the Complaint"), which alleged the Respondent failed to: submit by March 31, 2004, a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for anhydrous ammonia or sulfuric acid, or a list showing anhydrous ammonia or sulfuric acid in violation of Section 311 of Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA), 42 U.S.C. § 11021 to the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), and local fire department; submit on time an Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory Form including anhydrous ammonia and sulfuric acid for calendar years 2003 and 2004, in violation of Section 312(a) of EPCRA, 42 U.S.C. § 11022(a) to the SERC, the LEPC, and the local fire department; and, submit on time an Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory Form including anhydrous ammonia and sulfuric acid for calendar year 2007, in violation of Section 312(a) of EPCRA, 42 U.S.C. § 11022(a) to the SERC, the LEPC, and the local fire department.
The Complaint proposed a civil penalty of $152,841. On June 2, 2009, EPA resolved the Complaint and entered into a Consent Agreement and Final Order requiring the Respondent to comply with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and EPCRA, and to pay a civil penalty of $56,000. EPA reduced the proposed civil penalty based upon credible fact provided by the Respondent, and pursuant to Section 325 of EPCRA, 42 U.S.C. § 11045, and EPA Enforcement Response Policy for Sections 304, 311 and 312 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act and Section 103 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, dated September 30, 1999.
Primary contact: Jeffery M. Trevino, Office of Regional Counsel, 312-886-6729; additional contact: Ginger Jager, Superfund Division, 312-886-0767
Region 5 Enters Into a Consent Agreement and Final Order with Conett, Inc. (formerly Geotek, Inc.) in Stewartville, Minnesota
On June 5, 2009, Region 5 and Conett, Inc. (formerly known as Geotek, Inc.) entered into a Consent Agreement and Final Order (CAFO) settling an action for Clean Air Act violations before filing a complaint. The alleged violations occurred at a facility in Stewartville, Minnesota at which Conett manufactured reinforced fiberglass pultrusion products. The CAFO requires Conett to pay a penalty of $151,000 for violations of the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Reinforced Plastic Composites Production at 40 C.F.R. Part 63, Subpart WWWW, and the NESHAP for Surface Coating of Plastic Parts and Products at 40 C.F.R. Part 63, Subpart PPPP.
The CAFO alleges that Conett failed to reduce total organic hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions from its pultrusion operations by at least 60 weight percent by April 21, 2006 as required by Subpart WWWW. Conett has represented that it installed and began operating enclosures that comply with the required HAP emission limitation for some of its pultrusion operations in January 2008 and completed the installation and operation of enclosures for all of its pultrusion operations by October 2008. This violation resulted in more than 19,000 pounds per year of excess HAPs being released to the air from the facility. In addition, Conett failed to submit a Notice of Compliance Status and three semiannual compliance reports under Subpart WWWW and an initial notification under Subpart PPPP in a timely manner. Conett has represented that it sold certain assets including the facility in Stewartville, Minnesota in February 2009 and no longer owns or operates that facility.
Primary contact: Christine Liszewski, Office of Regional Counsel, 312-886-4670; additional contact: Shilpa Patel, Air and Radiation Division, 312-886-0120
Week of June 8, 2009
Region 5 files joint Complaint/Consent Agreement and Final Order in Settlement of RCRA claims against Lockhart Chemical Company, Flint, MI
On June 10, 2009, Region 5 filed a joint Complaint and Consent Agreement and Final Order (CAFO) settling an administrative penalty action against Lockhart Chemical Company, Flint, Michigan for violations of the hazardous waste requirements of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), 42 U.S.C. § 6921 et seq., and federally authorized hazardous waste regulations promulgated by the State of Michigan, Michigan Administrative Code (MAC) 299.9101 et seq. In this case, Region 5 alleges Lockhart Chemical failed to properly manage its hazardous waste storage tank systems, failed to inspect air control systems, failed to properly label hazardous waste tanks, and failed to properly manifest hazardous waste shipments. Lockhart accumulated hazardous waste methanol and butanol in their hazardous waste tank systems, which exhibited the characteristic of ignitability (EPA hazardous waste number D001). Following the inspection, Lockhart modified their production process, ceased using tanks to accumulate hazardous waste, and notified the State of Michigan of their status as a small quantity generator of hazardous waste. The CAFO requires Lockhart Chemical Company to pay a $101,900 civil penalty.
Contacts: Thomas J. Kenney, ORC, 312-886-0708, and Paul Atkociunas, LCD, 312-886-7502.
Week of June 15, 2009
Region 5 enters into Administrative Order on Consent under the Clean Air Act in Minneapolis/St.Paul targeted enforcement initiative
On June 16, 2009, U.S. EPA Region 5 signed an agreement with Midway Iron. This enforcement action was part of Region 5's targeted enforcement of scrap yards in the Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota metropolitan area for compliance with the Clean Air Act refrigerant recovery requirements at scrap yards. Midway owns and operates a scrap metal recycling facility in St. Paul, Minnesota. From September 1, 2007 to September 30, 2008 it processed an estimated 12,000,000 pounds of crushed automobiles without recovering refrigerant or verifying the recovery of refrigerant. In addition to complying with the Clean Air Act refrigerant recovery regulations Midway agreed to reject appliances with cut lines or where individuals identified themselves as the person responsible for refrigerant recovery. Additionally, it agreed to provide U.S. EPA with copies of verification statements it accepts and information on loads it has rejected over a two year period.
Contacts: Richard Clarizio, Office of Regional Counsel, 312-886-0559, and Lynne Roberts, Air and Radiation Division, 312-886-0250
Week of June 22, 2009
Bad River Band of Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians Authorized to Implement Water Quality Standards for their Wisconsin Reservation
On June 26, 2009, the Regional Administrator approved the application of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa for treatment in a similar manner as a State (TAS) under Sections 303, 401 and 518 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) for purposes of administering water quality standards. Approval of the application allows the Tribe to adopt, review, and revise water quality standards pursuant to Section 303(c) of the CWA and to certify that discharges comply with those water quality standards pursuant to Section 401 of the CWA for all surface waters within the Tribe's Reservation.
The Tribe applied for TAS status in March 2006. The reservation is located in northwestern Wisconsin and is comprised of approximately 125,000 acres, containing a mix of fee and tribally owned lands at an approximate ratio of 20:80. The reservation includes portions of Lake Superior's shoreline as well as many rivers and streams, as well as large areas of wetlands, most significantly the Kakagon/Bad River Sloughs, which is an area where much of the Tribe's wild rice grows. The Decision Document on which this approval is based demonstrates that the Tribe met the statutory requirements for TAS. The Decision Document includes a Findings of Fact which outlines the facts which EPA relied on in determining that the Tribe met the test for showing jurisdiction over non-member activities on fee land established in Montana v. United States.
The State of Wisconsin submitted comments in opposition to the Tribe's application in 2006, challenging various factual assertions made by the Tribe regarding non-member impacts to water resources and arguing that the State has authority over waters within the reservation based on the Equal Footing doctrine, among other claims. The State chose not to file any comments on EPA's proposed Findings of Fact document, which was issued in 2009. The State's comments, and other comments from the public, are addressed in a Response to Comment document that accompanies the decision. Materials relating to the BRB TAS determination can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/region5/water/wqs5/wqstribes.htm.
Four other tribes in Region 5 previously have been approved for CWA authority for 303/401. These include the Sokaogon Chippewa Community and the Lac du Flambeau Band of Chippewa Indians, both of Wisconsin; and the Grand Portage and Fond du Lac Bands of Minnesota.
Contacts: Barbara Wester, Office of Regional Counsel, 312-353-8514; Rodger Field, Office of Regional Counsel, 312-353-8243
Region 5 files Clean Water Act Consent Order concerning City of Willmar, MN
On June 25, 2009, Region 5 finalized a Consent Agreement and Final Order (CAFO) under 40 Code of Federal Regulations Part 22 concerning the City of Willmar. In the CAFO, which both initiates and concludes this matter, EPA alleges that Willmar violated various provisions of its Clean Water Act Construction Storm Water General Permit during a 2004 construction project. In this CAFO, Willmar agrees to pay a penalty of $11,000.
Primary contact: Chuck Mikalian, Office of Regional Counsel, 312-886-2242; secondary contact: Jenny Davison, Water Division, 312-886-0184
Region enters into a corporate auditing agreement with American Transmission Company (Waukesha, WI) to address potential Toxic Substances Control Act PCB violations
In December 2008 and early 2009, American Transmission Company (ATC) self-disclosed potential violations of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) PCB storage and disposal regulations to Region 5 under EPA's "Íncentives for Self-Policing: Discovery, Disclosure, Correction and Prevention of Violations" (Audit Policy). ATC is one of a handful of multi-state, transmission-only utilities in the United States. It operates more than 9,300 miles of high voltage transmission lines and more than 500 substations in Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and Minnesota. In February 2009, Region 5 met with ATC about its self-disclosure, at which time ATC broached the possibility of entering into a corporate audit agreement (CAA) with EPA. ATC proposed to conduct audits of its equipment at approximately 524 sites, focusing on the TSCA PCB storage for reuse and storage for disposal requirements at 40 C.F.R. §§ 761.35 and 761.65. Region 5, after consulting with the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, concluded that a CAA letter agreement would be an appropriate vehicle for ATC to disclose its violations. The CAA sets up a ten-month schedule for ATC to conduct the audits and disclose and remedy any potential violations. In addition, while the focus of the Audit is on equipment stored for reuse or disposal, ATC has agreed to disclose any violations it identifies on its in-use equipment, which is in plain sight and/or poses a risk to human health or the environment. The CAA became effective on June 25, 2009.
Primary contact: Ann Coyle, Office of Regional Counsel, 312-886-2248; secondary contact: Kendall Moore, Land and Chemicals Division, 312-353-1147
Region 5 files Consent Agreement and Final Order concerning Co-Alliance, LLP
On June 26, 2009, Region 5 filed a Part 22 Consent Agreement and Final Order (CAFO) resolving a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) penalty action. Under this CAFO, the Respondent (Co-Alliance, LLP) agreed to pay a $15,716 penalty for violating Section 103 of CERCLA. In the CAFO, which both initiates and concludes this matter, EPA alleges that Co-Alliance violated Section 103 of CERCLA by failing to timely report to the National Response Center a release of ammonia at a Chillicothe, Ohio, facility.
Primary contact: Chuck Mikalian, Office of Regional Counsel, 312-886-2242; secondary contact: James Entzminger, Superfund Division, 312-886-4062
Clean Water Act Consent Decree Lodged to Resolve Sanitary Sewer Overflow violations by the City of Duluth, Minnesota and the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District
On June 23, 2009, the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota lodged a consent decree between the United States, the State of Minnesota, the City of Duluth, Minnesota, and the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District ("WLSSD"). This consent decree resolves injunctive relief and civil penalty claims of the United States and Minnesota against Duluth and WLSSD for numerous violations of Section 301 of the Clean Water Act ("CWA"), 33 U.S.C. § 1311, and CWA permits held by Duluth and WLSSD. Pursuant to this consent decree, the defendants will perform injunctive relief valued at approximately $130 million between now and 2016 and will pay civil penalties totaling $400,000.
WLSSD is a sanitary district that provides sewer service to 18 communities with a population totaling approximately 130,000.Duluth, with a population of 90,000, is the largest community served by WLSSD. Duluth owns and operates a system of collection sewers which feed into interceptor sewers and treatment works owned and operated by WLSSD. Between 1999 and 2004, the defendants experienced approximately 260 sanitary sewer overflows ("SSOs") in their respective portions of the overall sewer system. The SSOs are illegal discharges which violate Section 301 of the CWA as well as permits issued by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency ("MPCA"). These SSOs resulted in wastewater discharges to the St. Louis River and Lake Superior totaling approximately 49 million gallons.
The consent decree was negotiated with the full participation and agreement of MPCA and the Minnesota Attorney General.
Contacts: Chuck Mikalian, primary contact, Office of Regional Counsel, 312-886-2242; Duane Heaton, additional contact, Water Division, 312-886-6399
United States lodges civil consent decree with JLG Enterprises, Jeffrey Gilbert and Gary Gilbert in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota resolving violations of Clean Water Act Section 404, including unlawful placement of fill in waters of the United States and 404 permit violations occurring in Hermantown, Minnesota
On June 23, 2009, the United States lodged a civil consent decree resolving Clean Water Act Section 404 claims for penalties and injunctive relief, including restoration and mitigation, against JLG Enterprises (a Minnesota general partnership), JLG Enterprises of Hermantown, LLP, and these two entities' general partners, Gary and Jeff Gilbert, for Clean Water Act violations involving the placement of fill in waters of the United States in connection with their residential development activities. The unauthorized filling occurred on an area covered by a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit, and also on an area for which no permit application had been made. The affected area consists of a developed residential subdivision known as Jackson Estates First Addition, and an area to the south and east which had been a black ash-forested mixture of wetland and upland and is known as Jackson Estates Second Addition. On the latter area, which is the subject of EPA's claim for relief, the United States would allege that approximately 7.76 areas of wetland were filled. The two combined areas are in Hermantown, Minnesota, which is west of Duluth, and include wetlands that allegedly are adjacent to tributaries of Rocky Run Creek, which is a tributary to the Midway River, and the Saint Louis River, which in turn flows into Lake Superior.
Taking into account such factors as justice requires, the decree calls for, among other things: (1) payment of a $50,000 penalty according to an installment plan; (2) fill removal, reseeding/reforestation and hydrological monitoring of 2.36 acres of filled wetlands pursuant to a restoration plan; and (3) mitigation of 5.4 acres on the Second Addition area, including preservation and the purchase of mitigation credits according to an agreed schedule. The decree is subject to a thirty-day public comment period.
Contacts: Tom M. Williams, Office of Regional Counsel, 312-886-0814; Yone Yu, Water Division, 312-886-2260
Michigan Wastewater Business Sentenced for Illegally Discharging Untreated Wastes
On June 22, 2009, Comprehensive Environmental Solutions, Inc. (CESI) was sentenced to pay a criminal fine of $600,000 plus an additional $150,000 to fund a community service project through the International Wildlife Refuge Alliance for the Detroit River based on its criminal conviction under the Clean Water Act. The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Victoria Roberts of the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit. On September 4, 2008, CESI, a centralized wastewater treatment facility located in Dearborn, Michigan, pleaded guilty to knowingly violating the Clean Water Act by bypassing its treatment system and making false statements. Three managers of CESI were convicted of related crimes after a jury trial in October 2008. One other manager pleaded guilty prior to trial. Evidence at trial showed that during the period of January 2001 to June 2002, facility employees routinely bypassed the facility's treatment system in order to discharge untreated liquid wastes directly into the sanitary sewer system. During most of this time, the facility had no operable equipment to treat incoming liquid wastes and its 10 million gallon tank farm was full. Evidence at trial showed that company employees discharged approximately 13 million gallons of untreated liquid waste into the sanitary sewer in violation of the Clean Water Act. Company employees also took steps to conceal the lack of treatment from customers and regulatory officials, including Detroit Water and Sewerage Department personnel, through false statements andtampering with legally required compliance samples. In addition to accepting responsibility for its past misconduct, CESI, which is under new management, has taken a number of steps during the last several years to install new equipment and systems to treat liquid industrial waste before it is discharged to the sewer.As a condition of probation, CESI must abide by the terms of a consent order with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for the cleanup of the facility that includes the proper disposal of the liquid waste previously stored in the facility's tank farm.At the time of sentencing CESI asserted that it had completed its cleanup of the tank farm.
Contact: David Mucha, Office of Regional Counsel, 312-886-9032
Region 5 enters into a consent agreement and final order resolving violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act by Ecolab Incorporated, St. Paul, Minnesota
On June 22, 2009, Region 5 filed a Consent Agreement and Final Order (CAFO) commencing and concluding an action regarding three violations of FIFRA, for the sale and distribution of the following misbranded pesticide products: "A-33," EPA Reg. No. 42964-5, "A-33 Dry," EPA Reg. No. 42964-25, and "Omega," EPA Reg. No. 42964-14. These products made claims of antimicrobial efficacy, and when analyzed in a lab, were shown to be ineffective against Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus. As such, Ecolab's antimicrobial claims were false and misleading. Ecolab has agreed to pay the proposed penalty of $19,500.
Contacts: Joanna Glowacki, Office of Regional Counsel, primary contact, 312-353-3757; Terence Bonace, additional contact, Land and Chemicals Division, 312-886-3387
Week of June 29, 2009
Region 5 issues Unilateral Administrative Order and Explanation of Significant Differences to accelerate groundwater clean-up at Hedblum Superfund Site in Oscoda, Michigan using an innovative treatment technology
On June 30, 2009, U.S. EPA Region 5 issued a second unilateral order (UAO) to SPX Corporation to implement the ground-water enhancement remedy identified in the
April 8, 2009 Explanation of Significant Differences. SPX proposed and will
implement a proven but innovative treatment technology that combines in-situ air stripping and air sparging with vacuum extraction, supplemented with soil vapor extraction (SVE), enhanced bioremediation/oxidation and ground water circulation in a wellhead system, i.e., ground-water circulation wells (GCW). The enhanced system is expected to capture and remediate the contaminant plume within two years of implementation. This would greatly improve the existing ground-water pump and treatment system, which has been in operation since 1990 at a cost of $3 million. The enhanced system is also expected to address any potential subsurface vapor intrusion. The new system is estimated to cost $900,000 in capital costs and $200,000 for O&M over a two-year period.
Contacts: Richard Clarizio, Office of Regional Counsel, 312-886-0559; Sheila Sullivan, Superfund Division, 312-886-5902
U.S. EPA Enters Administrative Order on Consent with Rutgers Organics Corporation to Conduct Pre-Design Investigation and Remedial Design for Operable Unit 3 of the Nease Chemical Superfund Site, Columbiana County, Ohio
On June 30, 2009, Region 5 entered an administrative order on consent with the Rutgers Organics Corporation to conduct a pre-design investigation and remedial design to prepare implementation of a remedy for sediment and floodplain contamination at the Nease Chemical Superfund Site in Columbiana County, Ohio. The site is on Route 14, 2.5 miles northwest of Salem on the Columbiana-Mahoning county line. Between 1961 and 1973, Nease Chemical produced household cleaning products, fire retardants and pesticides at the site, and left behind significant hazardous substances including mirex. Extensive mirex contamination migrated off the former plant area through Feeder Creek to the Middle Fork Little Beaver Creek. The remedy chosen by EPA in the September 24, 2009, Record of Decision for Operable Unit 3 of the Nease Chemical Site (Middle Fork Little Beaver Creek and Feeder Creek) is expected to cost approximately $3.77 million and includes:
- Removal of the most contaminated sediment in the Middle Fork of Little Beaver Creek;
- Removal of Feeder Creek sediment;
- Removal of the most contaminated floodplain surface soil.
The pre-design investigation and remedial design will ensure successful implementation of this remedy.
Contacts: Mark Palermo, Office of Regional Counsel, 312-886-6082; Mary Logan, Superfund Division, 312-886-4699
Judge Biro issues decision on EPA's motion for a partial accelerated decision on penalty in the Wisconsin Plating Works of Racine, Inc., Racine, Wisconsin matter
On July 2, 2009, Judge Biro issued her decision on EPA's motion for a partial accelerated decision on the penalty in the Wisconsin Plating Works of Racine, Inc. (Wisconsin Plating) matter. EPA requested in this motion that the court find that EPA's calculation of the proposed penalty in the complaint was in accordance with the Clean Air Act Stationary Source Civil Penalty Policy and was reasonable. EPA did not ask for a ruling on mitigating factors to the proposed penalty since the Respondent raised the ability to pay the penalty in this matter. While Judge Biro did not find, as a matter of law, that EPA's penalty was reasonable, she did make an undisputed finding of fact that EPA calculated the preliminary deterrence amount in this matter in a manner consistent with the Penalty Policy. She also indicated that EPA would not have to prove this calculation at the hearing scheduled for July 21, 2009. The parties have recently reached a settlement in principle on this matter.
Region 5 initiated this enforcement action with a complaint on September 22, 2008. The complaint alleged violations of Section 112 of the Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. § 7612, and 40 C.F.R. Part 63, Subpart T for failing to monitor and maintain records of monitoring the temperature the freeboard refrigeration device used as control equipment on their vapor degreaser. On March 23, 2009, EPA filed a motion for accelerated decision on liability; the court granted this motion on April 30, 2009. On March 30, 2009, EPA filed a motion for partial accelerated decision on ability to pay or, in the alternative, a motion for discovery. On April 30, 2009, the court denied the motion for partial accelerated decision and granted the motion for discovery. This matter is set for hearing on July 21, 2009.
Contacts: Padmavati Bending, Office of Regional Counsel, 312-353-8917; Robert H. Smith, Office of Regional Counsel, 312-886-0765
EPA Enters Consent Agreement and Final Order with Fritz Products
On July 2, 2009, the Acting Regional Administrator signed a Final Order resolving violations of Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act (the Act) by Fritz Products, Inc. (Fritz). Specifically, at its River Rouge, Michigan facility, Fritz failed to comply with the Risk Management Plan requirements of Section 112(r) of the Act. Under the terms of the settlement in the Consent Agreement and Final Order (CAFO), Fritz will pay a civil penalty of $46,550. This action was commenced and concluded through the CAFO.
Primary contact: Cynthia A. King, Office of Regional Counsel, 312-886-6831; secondary contact: Monika Chrzaszcz, 312-886-0181
Former Indiana Water Treatment Plant Superintendent Pleads Guilty to Falsifying Reports
On June 30, 2009, Herbert L. Corn, the former superintendent of the city of Rochester Wastewater Treatment Plant in Rochester, Indiana, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in South Bend, Indiana, to falsifying monthly discharge monitoring reports that concealed violations of the Clean Water Act at the Rochester plant. Corn pleaded guilty to a five-count felony information charging him with making false statements in discharge monitoring reports submitted to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM). He admitted that from September 2004 through May 2007, he submitted at least five reports containing false data for treated water discharged from the Rochester plant into Mill Creek, a tributary of the Tippecanoe River. As part of the plea agreement, Corn admitted that on at least five separate occasions, from September 2004 through May 2007, he reported levels in the discharge reports submitted to IDEM indicating levels of E. coli, ammonia, and carbonaceous biological oxygen demand were in compliance with the permit concentration limits, when he knew in fact that they were not. The maximum sentence for these Clean Water Act felony convictions is up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for each count. Corn is scheduled to be sentenced on September 15, 2009.
Contact: David Mucha, Office of Regional Counsel, 312-886-9032
Region 5 Files a Consent Agreement and Final Order Commencing and Concluding A Proceeding with Lamplight Farms, Inc.
On July 1, 2009, Region 5 filed a Consent Agreement and Final Order commencing and concluding a proceeding with the Respondent (Lamplight Farms, Inc.) to settle violations of Section 12(a)(1)(A) of Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, 7 U.S.C. § 136j(a)(1)(A). Specifically, the Respondent distributed or sold unregistered pesticides on twelve separate occasions. These products were stopped at the U.S. border after Lamplight filed Notice of Arrivals for the products. The products were all citronella candles that did not meet the minimum risk requirements under 40 C.F.R. Section 152.25(f). Region 5 initiated prefiling discussions on this matter in May, 2009. The proposed penalty was $90,000. During settlement discussions, the Respondent agreed to pay a civil penalty of $90,000.
Primary contact: Nidhi O'Meara, Office of Regional Counsel, 312-886-0568; secondary contact: Claudia Niess, Land and Chemicals Division, 312-886-7598
Bankruptcy Judge Enters Consent Decree in Pielet Bankruptcy Cases for the Midwest Metallics Site in Summit, Illinois; and the H&H Enterprises Site; Gary, Indiana
On July 1, 2009, Judge Goldgar, of the Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Illinois, entered the proposed Consent Decree previously lodged by the United States in two related bankruptcy cases, In Re James Pielet, Case No. 06-01026 (Bankr. N.D. Ill.), and In re J.P. Investment, Inc., No. 06-01037 (Bankr. N.D. Ill.). The Consent Decree provides for the recovery of response costs that Region 5, EPA, has incurred and will incur in addressing environmental contamination at two Superfund removal sites: the Midwest Metallics Site in Summit, Illinois; and the H&H Enterprises Site in Gary, Indiana. The United States had asserted a claim against the J.P. Investments bankruptcy estate for $5,087,276 in costs associated with the Midwest Metallics Site, and it had asserted a claim against the James Pielet bankruptcy estate for $3,210,411 in costs associated with the H&H Enterprises Site.
The entered Consent Decree resolved the United States' claims in the two bankruptcy cases in exchange for providing EPA: (i) a $700,000 allowed secured claim against the James Pielet bankruptcy estate, to be paid on a priority basis, and (ii) several allowed general unsecured claims against both the James Pielet and J.P. Investments bankruptcy estates.
These allowed claims are expected to result in the distribution of the $700,000 secured claim to the United States within 30 days, and an additional approximately $400,000 when the payments to the unsecured creditors are distributed. Since response actions largely have been completed at H&H Enterprises, most of the distributions will be placed into a Superfund Special Account to finance future work at the Midwest Metallics Site.
Contacts: Sherry L. Estes, Office of Regional Counsel, 312-886-7164; Thomas Krueger, Office of Regional Counsel, 312-886-0562