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Agway Pays $45,000 EPA Penalty for Violations at Five NY Locations; Binghamtom, Batavia, Guilderland, Kennedy, Sangerfield Facilities Had Chemical Reporting Violations

Release Date: 01/18/2000
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(#00014) New York, N.Y. -- Syracuse, New York-based agricultural corporation Agway, Inc. has settled with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on charges that it failed to submit information about chemicals at five Agway facilities in New York state. Agway has paid a penalty of $45,000 in the settlement, and has agreed to comply with all of EPA's chemical reporting requirements in the future.

The case against Agway stemmed from an October 1997 EPA inspection of an Agway feed processing plant at 44-50 Montgomery Street in Binghamton, New York. EPA found that the facility had not filed on-time Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) data for manganese compounds from 1994 to 1996, zinc compounds for 1995 and 1996 and cobalt compounds for 1995. Companies like Agway that manufacture, process, import or otherwise use such chemicals above a certain amount must submit TRI forms to EPA giving detailed information about them by July 1 of every year. The information includes how the chemicals were used, and whether they were released into the environment, recycled, treated or disposed-of. Chemical data from companies and facilities around the nation are then compiled by EPA into a Toxic Release Inventory report, which is made available to the public every year to help people know more about the chemicals present in their local environment. After

EPA filed a complaint against Agway for the violations at the Binghamton plant, the company voluntarily disclosed similar violations at four other New York Agway plants: 888 Wortendyke Road in Batavia (Genesee County); Building 16 Guilderland Center in Guilderland Center (Albany county); Clark's Corner Road in Kennedy (Chautauqua county); and Route 20 in Sangerfield (Oneida County). Chemical reporting violations at the four additional plants involved the same chemicals as in the Binghamton case, with the exception of the Batavia facility, which had not reported TRI data for copper compounds in 1994 and 1996.

Agway submitted all of the missing data by October 1999.

"The TRI program is one of the best ways for people to find out what is happening in their local environment, but it is only as good as the information it contains," said Jeanne M. Fox, EPA Regional Administrator.

"This is why we expect any company that deals with toxic chemicals to adhere to all of our regulations -- particularly those that help us make information more accessible to communities. When a company does fall into non-compliance as in the case of Agway we strongly recommend that it self-disclose the problem promptly and cooperate with EPA to ensure that the violations are not repeated."

Agway, Inc. is an agricultural cooperative owned by 80,000 farmer members with headquarters in Syracuse, New York. The company employs 5,000 people at approximately 800 locations, and reported $1.7 billion in sales and revenue for fiscal year 1997.