CF Industries will spend approximately $12 million to reduce and manage hazardous wastes generated at its Plant City, Fla. phosphoric acid and ammoniated fertilizer manufacturing facility. Under a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Justice Department to resolve violations under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), CF also is required to pay a civil penalty of more than $700,000.
EPA says this is the first case concluded under the agency’s National Enforcement Initiative for Mining and Mineral Processing.
CF Industries operates a 400-acre phosphogypsum stack and associated ponds for storing mineral processing wastes from its phosphoric acid production operations. Between December 2004 and January 2005, inspectors from EPA and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection found that CF Industries was treating, storing and disposing of hazardous wastes in its stacks and associated ponds without a permit and failing to meet land disposal restrictions.
Since the company also failed to provide adequate financial assurance for closure, long-term care and third-party liability for its facility, it also is required to provide $163.5 million in financial assurances under the agreement, says EPA.
As part of the settlement, CF Industries has implemented waste containment and spill prevention measures to better manage its wastes, reconfigured scrubbers to eliminate all hazardous wastes from fertilizer manufacturing and reduce ammonia releases to the environment, and constructed a treatment system for hazardous wastes generated in fertilizer operations.
The company also has completed the full site investigation required under the settlement to assess the degree of environmental contamination from the phosphogypsum stacks and ponds.
CF will remove and treat contaminated soils, and implement several management plans to ensure future compliance with RCRA.
EPA says mining and mineral processing facilities generate more toxic and hazardous waste than any other industrial sector, according to the agency’s Toxic Release Inventory. Since 2003, EPA has investigated a total of 20 phosphoric acid facilities in seven states.
In April, the EPA proposed to add 16 more chemicals to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) list of reportable chemicals.