The U.S. Department of Justice, the Eastern District of Texas, the U.S. EPA and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) announced a settlement with E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) and Performance Materials NA, Inc. (PMNA).
This settlement resolves alleged violations of hazardous waste, air and water environmental laws at the PMNA Sabine River chemical manufacturing facility in Orange, Texas.
According to DOJ, DuPont and PMNA will conduct compliance audits, control benzene emissions and perform other injunctive relief to address violations at the facility.
Defendants will pay a $3.1 million civil penalty and attorney’s fees to the state, benefitting nearby communities burdened by pollution. The relief will also reduce uncontrolled emissions of hazardous air pollutants and unpermitted discharges from surface impoundments at the facility.
A joint complaint was filed on Oct. 13, on behalf of the EPA, and the state of Texas. asserting claims against DuPont and PMNA for alleged violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Clean Water Act (CWA), the Clean Air Act (CAA), Section 7.002 of the Texas Water Code and applicable regulations at the former DuPont facility now owned and operated by PMNA.
According to DOJ, the alleged RCRA violations include failure to make hazardous waste determinations, the treatment, storage or disposal of hazardous waste without a RCRA permit and failure to meet land disposal restrictions. Alleged CWA violations include unpermitted discharges of processed wastewater in violation of the facility’s Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits. And the alleged CAA violations include failure to comply with the national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants for benzene waste operations and for miscellaneous organic chemical manufacturing for certain waste streams.
“The petrochemical industry must operate in compliance with environmental laws,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, reported DOJ. “We will continue to hold operators accountable to address pollution from industrial operations that violate the law, such as those at the Sabine River facility, and to enhance public health and the environment, particularly in surrounding communities overburdened by industrial pollution.”
Additionally, an independent third party will conduct multimedia compliance audits to review the facility’s compliance with RCRA, the CWA and the CAA, as well as state laws and regulations.
The defendants will also monitor and control benzene emissions and pH levels in wastewater, conducting soil, sediment or groundwater sampling to determine the extent of contamination.