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Anacostia River

Pepco, Innophos Pay Millions in Water Pollution, Hazardous Waste Settlements

Anacostia RiverThe Potomac Electric Power Company (Pepco) has agreed to pay $1.6 million and install a water treatment system for alleged Clean Water Act violations at its service center in Anacostia, Washington, DC.

Under a settlement with the US Justice Department and EPA, announced today, Pepco will pay a $1.6 million civil penalty and implement a number of measures to reduce metals in stormwater entering into its drainage system. The company will also install an in-pipe treatment system to further treat the stormwater, which discharges into the Anacostia River.

Pepco also agreed to perform a mitigation project to eliminate stormwater discharges from another outfall at the facility, and will pay an additional stipulated penalty of $500,000 if it fails to put the project into operation.

The federal government alleges Pepco violated its Clean Water Act permit limits for metals, including copper, zinc, iron, and nickel, and total suspended solids, in its stormwater discharges.

In an unrelated settlement announced yesterday, specialty phosphates producer Innophos agreed to pay almost $1.4 million and stop sending hazardous waste from the company’s facility in Geismar, Louisiana, to an adjacent facility that was not permitted for hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal.

The EPA says the agreement resolves the company’s alleged violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

Innophos manufactures purified phosphoric acid from merchant-grade acid at its facility in Geismar. Innophos sent hazardous waste streams to a neighboring phosphoric acid manufacturing facility that produces acid from phosphate ore, the EPA says.

One waste stream, called RP pondwater, consisted of an acidic stream contaminated with arsenic, cadmium and chromium. The other waste stream, called raffinate, consisted of a concentrated acid stream contaminated with cadmium and chromium.

Innophos says it has been working with the EPA for several years to fix the problem.

“We are committed to supporting our phosphoric acid customers’ needs and believe that the terms of this settlement position us to be able to do so by securing the long-term viability of our Geismar PPA plant,” said Kim Ann Mink, Innophos CEO, in a statement. “We believe that the agreed upon solution addresses all environmental concerns with minimal effect on our business and operations.”

As part of the solution, Innophos will build a deep well injection system. The company expects to complete the $16 million project in early 2018.


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