DuPont Sabine Settlement
(Washington, DC – October 14, 2021) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) have announced a settlement with E.I. Du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) and Performance Materials NA, Inc. (PMNA) to resolve alleged violations of hazardous waste, air, and water environmental laws at the PMNA Sabine River chemical manufacturing facility in Orange, Texas. Under this settlement agreement, DuPont and PMNA will conduct compliance audits, control benzene emissions, and perform other injunctive relief to address violations at the facility. Defendants will also pay a $3.1 million civil penalty and attorney’s fees to the State of Texas. These measures will benefit nearby communities already overburdened by pollution by reducing uncontrolled emissions of hazardous air pollutants and unpermitted discharges from surface impoundments at the facility.
- Injunctive Relief
- Pollutant Impacts
- Environmental Benefits
- Civil Penalty
- Comment Period
- For More Information, Contact
The DuPont Sabine facility is located at 3055 FM 1006, Orange, Orange County, Texas. DuPont was owner and operator of the Facility from 1946 through February 2019. On December 11, 2015, E.I du Pont De Nemours announced a merger with Dow Chemical Company, which closed on August 31, 2017. The combined company, DowDuPont, owned and operated the Facility from August 2017 through April 1, 2019. On April 1, 2019, Dow, Inc. (“Dow”) was spun off of DowDuPont, Inc. as a stand-alone publicly traded company. PMNA was a wholly owned subsidiary of DuPont and was incorporated in Delaware in 2018. PMNA is the current owner and operator of the Facility through a Special Warranty Deed transfer of the Facility from DuPont to PMNA on or about February 1, 2019.
This settlement resolves DuPont and PMNA's liability for alleged violations under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), including failure to make a hazardous waste determination (30 Tex. Admin. Code § 335.62 and 40 C.F.R.§ 262.11); treatment, storage or disposal of hazardous wastes without a permit or interim status (42 U.S.C. § 6925 (a) and (e) and 30 Tex. Admin. Code § 335.43(a)); failure to perform land disposal determinations and to meet applicable treatment standards for hazardous waste disposal (Tex. Admin. Code § 335.431(c)(1) and 40 C.F.R. Part 268); and failure to provide financial assurance for closure, long-term care, and third-party liability (30 Tex. Admin. Code §§ 37.6021, 335.179(b) and 335.128(a), and 40 C.F.R. §§ 264.143 and 265.143).
Violations resolved under the Clean Water Act (CWA) include unauthorized discharges of process wastewater and treated domestic wastewater through Outfall 001 (33 U.S.C. § 1311(a), and Tex. Water Code § 26.12); failure to accurately report sampling results (33 U.S.C. § 1311(a), and Tex. Water Code § 26.121); failure to comply with permit conditions for the pond system (33 U.S.C. § 1311(a) and Tex. Water Code § 26.121).
Violations resolved the Clean Air Act (CAA) include failure to accurately report annual benzene waste quantity for the quench settler in its TAB Reports from 2006 through 2015 (40 C.F.R. § 61.357(a)(3)(vi) and (d)(2), 30 Tex. Admin. Code § 122.143, and Tex. Health & Safety Code § 382.085(b)); failure to comply with sewer drain system requirements (40 C.F.R. § 61.346, 30 Tex. Admin. Code § 122.143(4), and Tex. Health & Safety Code § 382.085(b)); failure to comply with a two megagram per year limit for uncontrolled waste streams (40 C.F.R. § 61.342(c)(1), 30 Tex. Admin. Code § 122.143(4), and Tex. Health & Safety Code § 382.085(b)); and failure to operate a wastewater treatment unit with no detectable emissions (40 C.F.R. §§ 61.348(a)(2) and 61.347(a)(1), and 30 Tex. Admin. Code 122.143(4)).
The injunctive relief required by the consent decree includes:
- Hiring a third-party auditor to locate and identify each waste stream, perform hazardous waste determinations and evaluate the Facility’s compliance with applicable statutory and regulatory hazardous waste management requirements.
- Conducting a complete review and analysis of its pH exceedance and tracking system to ensure it is operating properly.
- Investigating the sediments within the Third Street Wood-Lined Ditch, East Conduit, and the Shell Pit for the presence of constituents of concern (“COCs”). If any COCs are detected in sediments at concentrations above levels determined pursuant to the Decree and the Texas Risk Reduction Program (“TRRP”), then the investigation will be extended to the soils below the affected unit, and, if necessary, to the groundwater below and downgradient of the unit(s) for those COCs.
- Submitting a report that addresses the full nature and extent of the contamination and, if a response action plan (“RAP”) is required, then Defendants will submit a RAP to TCEQ which will include the necessary response actions to remove, decontaminate, and/or control any COCs.
- Depending on the findings of the investigation, additional financial assurance for response (and/or closure and post-closure, if applicable) and corrective action may be required.
- Evaluation by the third-party auditor of the functionality and effectiveness of the wastewater treatment system to ensure compliance with the CWA and TPDES program.
- Evaluation by the third-party auditor of the Facility’s compliance with the applicable requirements of the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants Benzene Waste Operations (BWON) and Miscellaneous Organic Manufacturing (MON).
The disposal of contaminated wastewater into unlined ditches and surface impoundments could potentially lead to the release of contaminants offsite to the Sabine River Basin. Defendants are one of several industrial facilities along the Sabine River in Orange so any emissions of hazardous air pollutants could lead to an increase in the overall burden of air emissions on the communities in the local geographic area.
The primary mechanism for pollution reduction in the proposed Decree is through the extensive injunctive relief under RCRA which provides for the investigation and subsequent cleanup of certain ditches and impoundments at the facility, if necessary, and the third-party audits under the CAA, CWA and RCRA. The Decree also includes RCRA corrective action obligations for the surface impoundments and ditches onsite to ensure cleanup of any soil, sediment or groundwater contamination, if identified through sampling.
Defendants will pay a civil penalty of $3.1M to resolve the alleged violations and the penalty will be split with the State of Texas who is a co-plaintiff in this action.
The proposed settlement, lodged in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Texas, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. Information on submitting comment is available at the Department of Justice.
For More Information, Contact:
U. S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20460