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Environmental Enforcement Roundup: Cement Plant Air Penalties; Misbranded Sanitizers; Oil Facility Discharges



Environmental Leader’s daily roundup of key environmental enforcement news:

CALPortland to Pay $350,000 in Penalties for Clean Air Violations

The U.S. Department of Justice, on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, yesterday lodged a consent decree resolving Clean Air Act claims against CalPortland Company concerning the company’s Rillito, Arizona cement plant.

EPA’s complaint alleged that CalPortland did not obtain permits required by the Clean Air Act. The company agreed that it will either upgrade equipment, such as baghouses and spraybars to reduce particle pollution, or install a new, state-of-the-art kiln and retire four existing kilns.  In addition, CalPortland agreed to pay a $350,000 civil penalty.

“This settlement will result in cleaner air for communities affected by the CalPortland facility,” Deborah Jordan, director of the EPA’s Air Division for the Pacific Southwest region said in a press release. “To safeguard the public health, all cement plants need to be properly permitted and keep their air emissions within the limits set by federal law.”

Cement kiln operations emit particulate matter, which can cause major health problems. Concerns for human health from exposure to coarse particle pollution include: effects on breathing and respiratory systems, damage to lung tissue, cancer, and premature death. The elderly, children, and people with chronic lung disease, influenza, or asthma, are especially sensitive to the effects of particulate matter. 

The consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period, after which it can be entered by the court.


Companies Fined for Misbranded Disinfectant and Sanitizer Products

A manufacturer and its authorized distributor have agreed to pay approximately $15,000 in civil penalties to settle allegations that they sold misbranded versions of the products in violation of federal pesticide regulations, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced yesterday.

Stepan Company, of Northfield, Ill., will pay a civil penalty of $10,200, and Consolidated Products, Inc., of Pagedale, Mo., will pay a civil penalty of $5,148, according to separate but related administrative consent agreements filed by EPA Region 7 in Kansas City, Kan.

Stepan is the official EPA registrant for a veterinary disinfectant known as Kennel Clean, and for a dairy and food processing cleaner and sanitizer known as Al-Brite. Consolidated Products serves as an authorized supplemental distributor of the two products, which are regulated as pesticides.

During an inspection of Consolidated Products’ facilities in January 2010, a representative of the Missouri Department of Agriculture collected evidence that the company was holding quantities of Kennel Clean and Al-Brite for sale or distribution in packaging that did not include proper labeling. Labels for both products held for sale lacked accurate net contents statements and had precautionary statements that differed from those on the EPA-accepted labels. The label for Kennel Clean lacked complete information on the virucidal activity of the product. The label for Al-Brite lacked the required warning, “May be fatal if absorbed through skin,” and additionally lacked required first aid language from the EPA-accepted label.

According to EPA, further investigation revealed that the misbranded products were distributed to Consolidated Products by Stepan, in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

The sale or distribution of misbranded or mislabeled pesticides can pose serious risks to human health, plant and animal life, and the environment. Without proper labeling or safety instructions on packaging, users can unintentionally misapply pesticides and may not have adequate information to address needs for first aid in the event of emergency.

Through their approvals of the respective settlements, Stepan and Consolidated Products have both certified that their operations are now in compliance with FIFRA and its regulations, EPA said.


EPA Orders Oakland Petroleum Operating, Inc. to Stop Discharging

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a cease and desist administrative order to Oakland Petroleum Operating, Inc. of Tulsa, Oklahoma, for violations of the federal Clean Water Act.

According to EPA, a recent inspection of the company’s oil field production and brine disposal facility in Osage County, Oklahoma, found two unauthorized discharges of oil field brine and produced wastewater generated by oil production activities into Turkey Creek. The inspection also revealed that water located at the discharge points of entry into Turkey Creek was contaminated with brine discharges and salts.

EPA ordered Oakland Petroleum Operating, Inc. to cease all discharges of pollutants from the facility, remove all brine and contaminated soils from the flow path located between the brine tanks and injection flow line within the facility and the discharge points into Turkey Creek. The company has also been ordered to remove all residual brine within Turkey Creek and within 30 days provide written certification that these activities have been completed.

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