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Manufacturer Pleads Guilty to Illegal Storage of Phosphorus Waste in $18 Million RCRA Case

Release Date: 01/23/2004
Contact Information:

Suzanne Ackerman 202-564-7819 /

(01/23/04) On Jan. 14, Rhodia Inc., of Cranbury, N.J., former operator of a phosphorus manufacturing plant in Silver Bow, Mont., pled guilty to two felony counts of violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act by illegally storing phosphorus contaminated waste and sludge. In its plea, Rhodia agreed to pay a $16.2 million criminal fine, $1.8 million in restitution to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, clean up pollution at the closed facility, and serve probation for five years or for the duration of the cleanup, whichever is longer. This sentence is subject to approval by the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana. Rhodia manufactured elemental phosphorus from 1986 until the plant’s 1996 closure. In its plea, Rhodia admitted that from January 1999 until August 2000, it illegally stored carbon brick and precipitator dust contaminated with elemental phosphorus waste, and also admitted that it illegally stored elemental phosphorus-contaminated sludge. Waste elemental phosphorus is highly reactive, can ignite when exposed to air and presents a significant risk to human health and the environment. The case was investigated by the Denver Area Office of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality with the assistance of EPA’s National Enforcement Investigations Center and legal and technical assistance from EPA Region 8 in Denver. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Missoula.